Tomblin Calls Special Session for Marcellus Shale

Map of Marcellus Shale natural gas.

Governor Tomblin has called a special legislative session to handle various issues concerning Marcellus Shale drilling throughout the state. Tomblin’s administration has been meeting with stakeholders to work on a compromise. The “Joint Legislative Committee on Marcellus Shale” recently, in November, drafted a bill to regulate Marcellus drilling. Their draft increases drilling permit fees from $$5,000 to $10,000 and requires drilling sites to be more than 625 feet from a house – current regulations require only 200 feet. The permit increase is meant to increase funding for inspectors and field staff. The draft bill also requires that such inspectors be paid at least $35,000 per year.

The bill also includes incentives for operators who enter into agreements with property owners prior to drilling and requires them to enter into agreements with the Department of Highways to maintain and repair roads affected by their operations. It also sets standards for protecting water resources and grants the land owner additional property rights.

Rob Aslop, Chief of Staff for Tomblin, said that it was important to strike a compromise between the industry, environmentalists and property owners.

Sunday at 5:00pm, the entire WV Legislature will begin its special session to handle these issues. Tomblin previously mentioned that he planned on legislation being passed before the end of the year.

The Marcellus Shale formation is approximately one-mile underground and stretches from most of West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. It is believed to contain between two and six times as much natural gas as was produced nationwide in 2009 and is one of the biggest reserves in the world. It’s estimated that West Virginia contains about a quarter of these reserves.

“Working with Legislative leaders, I believe we now have sufficient consensus on a piece of legislation that is in the best interest of West Virginia,” Tomblin said. “We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass legislation next week.”

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Posted on December 10, 2011, in Legislation, Lobbying, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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