DEP review of oil and gas drilling regulatory program

DEP Secretary Randy Huffman has initiated a total review of the state’s regulation of oil and gas drilling in light of the increase in activity and the new techniques related to Marcellus Shale development. WV-SORO was invited to participate and provide a “laundry list” of the issues that we thought needed addressed.

Our laundry list includes many of the provisions of the proposed Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights, as well as many of the needed changes we identified when we submitted comments on DEP’s rule changes last year, and much more.  In addition to surface owners’ rights issues generally (more notice to landowners, a mandated negotiation process with incentives for the driller to participate in good faith and improvements to the Surface Damage Compensation Act), major areas of concern include water use; management and disposal of both solid and liquid waste generated in the process of drilling and fracturing wells; and soil erosion and sediment control issues related to the construction of well sites and access roads.

Special thanks to WV-SORO members George Monk and Molly Schaffnit for their help in developing the list and providing supporting documents for many of our recommendations. (Check out George and Molly’s website and blog at

We are particularly encouraged that the Office of Oil and Gas already has a draft revision of the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Field Manual that it will be putting out for comment soon.

The Independent Oil and Gas Association (IOGA), the association of small producers and their service companies, submitted its position paper at a April 28, 2010 meeting, the same day WV-SORO did.

We do not believe the large producers’ organization, the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA), has  made its positions public.

Click here to view meeting agendas, copies of presentations and comments that have been submitted as part of the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas Program Review.

Related News Articles:
Officials Seek Stronger Drilling Rules (11-13)
Water key focus of W.Va. DEP proposed gas law (11-13)
DEP names panel to help guide W.Va. gas drilling (9-23)
DEP Secretary Working On Marcellus Shale Plan
Groups Brainstorm Oil and Gas Rules for W.Va.  (9-8)
WVDEP looking to beef up drilling permits (9-3)
W.Va. regulators scramble to keep up with drilling (6-21)

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