Get a Marcellus Shale bill passed this week in the West Virginia Legislature

by Duane Nichols on March 8, 2011

>>>>> Hoppy Kercheval’s Commentary for March 7th on MetroNews is summarized below:

“There are predictions of a significant economic windfall for the state from the deep well drilling  [for natural gas in the Marcellus shale]—thousands of new jobs, more revenue for state and local governments, big money for mineral rights owners and a significant energy source for the nation.  Today begins the final, critical week of the regular session with still no agreement on legislation.”

“This is the time in the session where true leadership needs to emerge.  Key lawmakers must sit down with interested parties and hammer out a regulatory foundation for Marcellus Shale drilling.  The state is asking for trouble if nothing passes.”

“Lawmakers still have time. Get a Marcellus Shale bill passed this week.  At the very least, get the regulatory groundwork in place and give Secretary Huffman [WV-DEP] the inspectors he needs and the proper authority over them to do his job.”

>>>>>  Senate Bill 424 is to be taken up by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning, March 9th.  If a Committee Substitute bill passes the House Judiciary Committee, it may need to pass through the Finance Committee then to the full House of Delegates.  A Conference Committee would then resolve differences between the House and Senate versions prior to possible consideration by the Governor.  The Governor would have 15 days to approve or reject the bill, although it would become law if the Governor did not act up or down on it.

>>>>> On Tuesday, March 8th,  the House Judiciary Committee took up amendments to Senate Bill 121, the bundle of rules changes proposed by the WV DEP.  An amendment to restore a 500 ppm in-stream standard for total dissolved solids (TDS) was defeated by a substantial voice vote, after strong lobbying efforts on both sides.  So, even though 500 ppm has been support by the US EPA and the WV DEP , neither of the two legislative bodies in West Virginia  would accept this recommendation. Our streams state-wide will continue to be at risk for some time to come and our drinking water will be in question.

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