Last month the Joint Legislative Interim Judiciary Subcommittee A introduced a draft bill establishing a new regulatory program for gas wells utilizing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. While the bill is aimed at regulating the Marcellus Shale gas well drilling occurring now in West Virginia, it would apply to all drilling using these new drilling techniques.
The subcommittee will begin discussing this important bill as early as next Monday, December 13, at their monthly interim committee meetings. Our preliminary reading of this draft legislation shows that it contains some good things and some not-so-good things, and omits some things we want.
But it is important that the subcommittee pass a bill out before Interim sessions end in January, so that the full legislature will have a comprehensive draft bill to consider when they convene on January 12.
Conventional natural gas drilling and production is a major industrial activity with a host of environmental and other consequences. Effects can range from water contamination related to drilling and disposal of drilling fluids, air quality degradation from internal combustion engines on drill rigs and trucks, excess dust from equipment transportation, impacts to solitude and night skies from noise and lighting, and safety concerns associated with the large number of trucks needed to support drilling operations. However, “unconventional” shale-gas drilling, such as in the Marcellus Shale play, represents a huge leap in technology, and causes an exponential increase in surface disturbance, water use and waste disposal. And all this new activity is largely unregulated in West Virginia.
Please contact NOW the members of Interim Judiciary Subcommittee A and urge them to pass this comprehensive draft legislation out of subcommittee and on to the full legislature for its further consideration. Committee members need to know their constituents are concerned about the greater impacts of Marcellus and other deep shale drilling and this bill is a crucial start. Including comments about problems you’ve experienced or know about in other areas of the state is helpful, but not necessary.
The industry has already made its opposition to this bill known — now it’s time for legislators to hear from YOU.
Below is a list of Judiciary A Subcommittee members and their contact information. You can also try to contact (and leave messages for) members using the Toll Free phone number: 1-877-565-3447.
You may use this action alert page provided by the Sierra Club to email all members!
Thanks for your help.