UPDATE: Progress for WV Joint Select Committee on Marcellus Shale

by Duane Nichols on October 14, 2011

After a long meeting at the Capitol on Thursday morning, only four matters remain for the committee, as shown below. Senator Facemire said he and Delegate Manchin hope to have all work wrapped up in a  final meeting in Clarksburg on October 22nd. Then they can forward a bill to acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the leadership of both houses, as reported yesterday. If a general consensus can be reached, the bill could be on the agenda for a special meeting in November, Facemire said.

 AMENDMENTS TO Senate Bill-424 
› Adopted – Acreage Reduction
› Adopted – Air Regulation
› Adopted – Air Study
› Adopted – Approval of Certification
› Adopted – Calender Days
› Adopted – Clarifying Reporting Requirements
› Adopted – Directional Drill Info
› Adopted – Eliminate Oil and Gas Ex Board
› Adopted – Highway Enforcement
› Adopted – Impoundments
› Adopted – Increase Bonding
› Adopted – Notice Requirements
› Adopted – Permit Fee
› Adopted – Property Owner Public Notice
› Adopted – Public Comment and Hearing
› Adopted – Public Website and E-Notification
› Adopted – Quality Test
› Adopted – Reports to Div of Labor
› Adopted – Reuse Frac Fluid
› Adopted – Single Pad Impoundments
› Adopted – Stronger Frac Review
› Adopted – Tax Reimbursement
› Pending – Casing Cement Requirements
› Pending – Protection of Water Supplies
› Pending – Surface Owners Agreement
› Pending – Well Location Restrictions

The  Joint Select Committee on Marcellus Shale this past week, worked on the following:

Expanded the buffer zones between Marcellus shale wells and homes, livestock and drinking water through provisions added Wednesday. These include one of 625 feet between the center of a well site and a residence or building that houses dairy cattle or poultry. The committee voted after hearing from Marion County resident Casey Griffith, who said the dream house he built with his wife has been ruined by a well site 200 or so feet away. Around-the-clock noise, dust churned up by well construction and waste gas burned off at the site are among his family’s concerns, he said.

The committee also agreed to allow the DEP secretary to increase this spacing if scientific evidence shows unacceptable health risks to residents of the nearby house. Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer proposed that amendment while also advocating without success for larger buffers.

Other provisions added Wednesday would keep wells 250 feet from drinking wells or springs, 1,000 feet from public water supply intake points and 300 feet from a recognized trout stream.

Industry groups have objected to the proposed new permit fees of $10,000 for an initial well and $5,000 for each additional well at that site. These fees aim to provide DEP with enough revenue to hire the additional gas field inspectors and support staff needed for Marcellus operations. Lawmakers have been hoping for detailed cost estimates from the agency, to allow them to adjust those fees and ease industry concerns. But DEP Secretary Randy Huffman told the committee Wednesday that each change to the bill requires a new set of estimates. Fleischauer and other lawmakers urged Huffman to provide at least some figures at Monday’s meeting.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Ford October 15, 2011 at 11:17 am

Why would you consider imposing fees on drilling companies that are not competitve with neighboring states? We prefer that they develop this natural resourse and create a solid economic base similar to Alaska but if our legislature is selfish we will see cracker plants and drillers move to neighboring states. Get your heads out of the coal mines and let’s develop our natural resources–coal/gas/geothermal, etc–in a productive way. By the way, a severance tax is already imposed and should be evaluated and perhaps it could be used more benefically. Drop the politics and go for the benefit of WV.


Karen October 18, 2011 at 4:38 am

What an idiot. What will you use for water? Do you like earthquakes? Ever been in one? Do you love West Virginia? If you love West Virginia you would not be pushing fracking.


esther December 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I am glad to see this legislation. I live in PA, a well was drilled 150 feet from our property line, completed in Jan of 2010. Of our cows that bred, we had two still births, this year all of the cows were bred, took and at the follow up blood test at 3 months, only two out of 20 remained pregnant. This has never happened before. Something has gone awry with their reproduction. It is hurting us in the pocket. Now what do we do? We cannot sell cows that should be safe in calf and are open. We do not know the long term effect, is the cow ever going to breed now? How can you sell the meat when you don’t know if it is contaminated and with what by product. We are waiting to see, we have no other choice.


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