WV SORO Action Alert Archive

January 4, 2011

No Action on Marcellus Shale Drilling Bill ~ Calls Still Needed

In November, 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.  We were hoping to report that the study committee had advanced the bill at their December meeting so that the full legislature would have a comprehensive draft bill to consider when they convene next week. Unfortunately, the committee couldn’t take any action on the bill because there were too few members present. (Read more here and here.) We’re disappointed lawmakers couldn't take up the measure, but they could still endorse the bill during January interim meetings, which begin on Sunday, January 9.

Please contact the members of Interim Judiciary Subcommittee A NOW 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.

Why is this legislation needed?  We are facing the industrialization of rural West Virginia

A few years ago, Marcellus Shale gas was unrecoverable and West Virginia was a relative backwater in the oil and gas industry. 

The new techniques of high volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have made a sea change in all of that.  The Marcellus Shale is now the second largest field of gas -- in the WORLD.  It is twice the size of the gas fields in Saudi Arabia.  Major oil companies like Exxon are buying up gas resources here.  Conventional shallow wells  have given way to 6 to 8 horizontal wells drilled from one well site. This drilling causes an exponential increase in surface disturbance, water use and waste disposal. It also requires compressor stations and staging areas and greatly increases demands on roads and other infrastructure.

Our state is facing this new industrialization with regulatory statutes have not been modified in decades, and a staff of 17 inspectors for 55,000 active wells and 900 to 3,000 new permit applications a year.

West Virginia needs to overhaul and modernize its oversight of gas well drilling, and commit significantly more resources to address the impacts of this industrialization.

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.

Thanks for your help and Happy New Year from the WV-SORO Team!

Judiciary A Subcommittee Senate Members

Senator Herb Snyder - Chair (D - Jefferson) District 16
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7957
E-mail: herb.snyder@wvsenate.gov
Capitol Address: Room 217W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Clark S. Barnes (R - Randolph) District 15
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7973
E-mail: clark.barnes@wvsenate.gov
Capitol Address: Room 203W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Richard Browning (D - Wyoming) District 9
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7807
E-mail: richardbrowning@verizon.net
Capitol Address: Room 204W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Dan Foster (D - Kanawha) District 17
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7866
E-mail: daniel.foster@camc.org
Capitol Address: Room 223W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Mike Hall (R - Putnam) District 4
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7901
E-mail: delegate200@hotmail.com
Capitol Address: Room 245M, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator William R. Laird IV (D - Fayette) District 11
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7849
E-mail: william.laird@wvsenate.gov
Capitol Address: Room 229W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Joseph M. Minard (D - Harrison) District 12
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7904
E-mail: joe.minard@wvsenate.gov
Capitol Address: Room 206W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Ron Stollings (D - Boone) District 7
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7939
E-mail: ron.stollings@verizon.net
Capitol Address: Room 229W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Jack Yost (D - Brooke) District 1
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7984
E-mail: jack.yost@wvsenate.gov
Capitol Address: Room 213W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Senator Jeffrey V. Kessler (D - Marshall) District 2
(Senate Judiciary Chairman, Ex Officio member of Subcommittee A)
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7880
E-mail: jeff.kessler@wvsenate.gov
Capitol Address: Room 210W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Judiciary A Subcommittee House Members

Delegate Mike Caputo - Chair (D - Marion) District 43
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3249
E-mail: mike.caputo@wvhouse.gov
Capitol Address: Room 246M, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Delegate Larry W. Barker (D - Boone) District 18
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3149
E-mail: larry.barker@wvhouse.gov 
Capitol Address: Room 224E, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Delegate Michael T. Ferro (D - Marshall) District 04
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3111
E-mail: mike.ferro@wvhouse.gov
Capitol Address: Room 222E, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305
 
Delegate Danny Wells (D - Kanawha) District 30
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3287
E-mail: danny.wells@wvhouse.gov
Capitol Address: Room 208E, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Delegate Tim Manchin (D - Marion) District 43 - Nonvoting member
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3166
E-mail: tmanchin@manchin-aloi.com
Capitol Address: Room 212E, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

Delegate Tim Miley (D - Harrison) District 41
(House Judiciary Chairman, Ex Officio member of Subcommittee A)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3252
E-mail: tim.miley@wvhouse.gov
Capitol Address: Room 418M, Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, WV 25305

West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization
1500 Dixie Street, Charleston, West Virginia 25311
304-346-5891    Fax 304-346-8981