Senate Drags Feet on Select Committee Meeting (amended)

by Dee Fulton on November 2, 2011

This post has been amended for the insertion of editorial comments (4th paragraph) and replaces previous post.  DJF

Delegate Tim Manchin

Although the November interim legislative sessions are approaching, the Joint Select Committe on Marcellus Shale may not have a completed draft bill ready for the review of the West Virginia Legislature.   Committee co-chair Delegate Tim Manchin (Harrison) is pushing to have a meeting of the committee, but co-chair Senator Doug Facemire (D-Braxton), is not so eager.  You may recall that the public meetings to solicit input regarding the draft committee bill was organized by the House side of the committee, and was not supported by the attendance of the Senate side of the 10 person committee.

According to a story by David Beard in the Nov. 1st Dominion Post (Morgantown), Manchin says that the committee has 4 amendments left to handle for its draft Marcellus bill, and Manchin would like to see a committee meeting called before the next interim legislative meetings begin  on Nov. 14th.  There must be 5 days public notice given before a meeting of that committee can be called.  The Senate side of the committee has not committed to a meeting date, per Manchin.  His concern is that if the committee does not meet until the November interims begin, then there may not be enough time for the Governor-elect and leaders of the House and Senate to review the draft bill and ensure a consensus before the December interims begin on December 12th.

The committee has passed 27 amendments to a draft Marcellus shale bill.  The four amendments pertain to drilling in karst, inspector qualifications, WVDEP permitting, and surface owner agreements.  Full story here. (Dominion Post requires online registration and subscription.)

My question regarding legislation drafting and passage (which has been said to be comparable to watching sausage being made) is this.  Why can’t the legislation be passed piecemeal?  That’s the way it’s done in at least one state, Arkansas.  Why should an entire bill be torpedoed because there is dissent on one amendment?   Why should the corporations be allowed to run roughshod over the public, our land and our health,  because of a dysfunctional legislature?   Hark back to the 2010 legislative session.  The red herring issue, the contentious forced pooling issue, consumed enormous amounts of time and energy.  The word was put out that if the gas industry didn’t get this included in legislation, then no bill would be passed.  Guess what.  The industry kept their promise.  No protective law was issued from the 2010 regular session.  What does that say about the power of industry in our state?  What does it say about the willingness of certain legislators to prioritize the relationship and good will of the industry above the health and well-being of its denizens?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Duane Nichols November 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm


The amendments that have been accepted by the Joint Select Legislative Committee on Marcellus Regulation relative to SB-424 can be accessed below:


RD Blakeslee November 3, 2011 at 9:52 am

From the amended forth paragraph, above:
“Why should the corporations be allowed to run roughshod over the public, our land and our health, because of a dysfunctional legislature?”

Once again, a one-sided attack on industry.

There have been substantia,l time-consumung demands from the neo-religious green community holding up the legislation, as well.


Duane Nichols November 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) on October 27th released a new study of explosions at oil and gas production sites across the U.S., identifying 26 incidents since 1983 that killed 44 members of the public and injured 25 others under the age of 25, and is calling for new public protection measures at the sites.


RD Blakeslee November 4, 2011 at 8:40 am

The legislation in preparation by the WV legislature’s select committee addresses the known safety issues. Calling the legislature “dysfunctional” is surely counterproductive.


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