WV Legislative Session Ends This Saturday, March 12th at Midnight

by Duane Nichols on March 6, 2011

With a week remaining in the 2011 West Virginia Legislative Session, almost everything dealing with water is still up in the air.  Will there be consideration for the public water supplies, for surface land owners, for the conservation of our watersheds, for the quality of life in West Virginia’s hills?

Regulation of Marcellus Shale drilling  is still alive, but just barely. The Senate has passed and sent to the House SB 424, a greatly pared down version of the bill proposed by the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Putting it on the “special calendar” can keep the issue alive until the end of the session on March 12.

What is still needed in SB 424? Horizontal wells need to be 1000 feet from occupied dwellings and water wells unless a variance is granted. Horizontal wells must be inspected during each phase of cementing, completing and altering before the company can proceed. Produced (blow-back) water must be maintained in a closed system, and recycled to the extent possible before disposal. Studies of radioactivity and air pollution must be conducted. Inspectors must be selected and trained by the WV DEP.

The Water Quality Standards Rule (47CSR2) has now been “bundled” with all the rest of the WV-DEP proposed rules and sent to the House, where restoring the 500 ppm TDS standard will be opposed by the same industry lobbyists who opposed it in the Senate.

You can help by visiting, calling or faxing your representatives in the House of Delegates.

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