April 5, 2013
2013 Legislative Update
What you can do: The rule is now part of a DEP Rule Bundle (SB 243). SB 243 will be on the House Judiciary Committee agenda Monday or Tuesday.
We know it has been a while since we have been in touch, but there has not been much news to report from the 2013 Legislative Session. A number of bills introduced to address shortcomings in the Horizontal Well Control Act passed by lawmakers in December 2011 (including more than 20 bills sponsored by Delegate Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) and various co-sponsors). Bills were also introduced to increase opportunities to rejoin split estates by giving surface owners a chance to own the minerals under their land if those minerals are sold for unpaid taxes, and to require the Department of Environmental Protection to issue a procedural rule to allow surface owners a right to a hearing and appeal of a decision of the Department's decision to issue a permit for well work on the surface owner’s land. The latter was in response to the W.Va. Supreme Court opinion in Martin v. Hamblet, which encouraged the Legislature to re-examine these procedures. However, none of these bills were taken up by the committees to which they were assigned and Wednesday was the deadline for bills to out of the house of origin (House or Senate). The good news is this means the industry's scaled back and repackaged version of forced pooling known as "lease integration" also met its demise.
The one drilling related bill that is working its way through the process, is a bill that contains the DEP's rule implementing the Act. WV-SORO and many of you submitted comments to the DEP last summer regarding these rules. Despite the weakness of the Horizontal Well Act itself, the rule contains a number of good provisions that we would like to see take affect. Unfortunately, the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining (EIM) Committee adopted an amendment that weakens the provisions of the rule that require disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The amendment was adopted due to pressure from Halliburton. These changes are not protective of human health or our right to know what chemicals are being transported on our roads, being worked with in our communities and on our land, and pumped in the ground below us. We have included more information below about these changes, as well as contact information for House Judiciary Committee members, who will be considering the "Halliburton" amendment Monday or Tuesday of next week. Please contact House Judiciary Committee members and tell them to protect the public by removing the “Halliburton”/EIM amendment from the rule.
We'll be back in touch soon with updates on the status of the studies mandated by the Horizontal Well Control Act, as well as other news and upcoming events. In the meantime, thank you for taking action and for your continued support.
Help Stop “Halliburton” Amendment to DEP’s Horizontal Well Control Act Rule
Background: The original versin of the proposed rule, approved by the Rulemaking Review Committee, required the driller or its contractor to disclose to the DEP all of the additives and all of the chemicals in each additive, plus the concentrations of the chemicals in the additives and in the finally mixed hydraulic fracturing fluid.
The amendment adopted by EIM allows operators and their service providers to keep not only the concentrations of additives secret, but also the identity of specific chemicals in those additives.
The amendment also requires health care providers to sign confidentiality agreements and provide a written statement of need in order to obtain information about the identity or concentration of a chemical designated as a confidential trade secret.
These changes are not protective of human health or our right to know what chemicals are being transported on our roads, being worked with in our communities and on our land, and pumped in the ground below us.
For additional information see the following article and editorial from the Dominion Post:
Please contact House Judiciary Committee members and tell them to protect the public by removing the “Halliburton”/EIM amendment from the rule. Ask committee members to return the Rule to the original version, approved by the Legislative Rulemaking Review Committee.
House Judiciary Committee Members:
Tim Miley, (D-Harrison), Chair – (304) 340-3252 – email@example.com
Tim Manchin, (D-Marion), Vice Chair – (304) 340-3392 – firstname.lastname@example.org
John Ellem (R-Wood), Minority Chair – (304) 340-3394 – email@example.com
Patrick Lane (R-Kanawha), Minority Vice Chair – (304) 340-3275 – Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Ferro (D-Marshall) – (304) 340-3111 – email@example.com
Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) – (304) 340-3169 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Frich (R-Monongalia) – (304) 340-3125 – email@example.com
Eric Householder (R-Berkeley) – (304) 340-3274 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Hamilton (R-Upshur) – (304) 340-3167 – email@example.com
Mark Hunt (D-Kanawha) – (304) 340-3366 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynwood “Woody” Ireland (R-Ritchie) – (304) 340-3195 – email@example.com
Linda Longstreth (D-Marion) – (304) 340-3124 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) – (304) 340-3139 – email@example.com
Justin J. Marcum (D-Mingo) – (304) 340-3126 – firstname.lastname@example.org
John McCuskey (R-Kanawha) – (304) 340-3183 – email@example.com
Clif Moore (D-McDowell) – (304) 340-3189 – firstname.lastname@example.org
John O’Neal IV (R-Raleigh) – (304) 340-3164 – email@example.com
John Overington (R-Berkeley) – (304) 340-3148 – firstname.lastname@example.org
John Pino (D-Fayette) – (304) 340-3170 – email@example.com
Meshea L. Poore (D-Kanawha) – (304) 340-3106 – firstname.lastname@example.org
John Shott (R-Mercer) – (304) 340-3187 – email@example.com
Stephen Skinner (D-Jefferson) – (304) 340-3248 – Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell) – (304) 340-3175 – email@example.com
Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) – (304) 340-3154 – Isaac.firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny Wells (D-Kanawha) – (304) 340-3287 – email@example.com