WV SORO Update Archive

July 8, 2011

Rally in Charleston, Educational Meetings Next Week in Clarksburg & Wheeling

Group to Rally Around Marcellus Shale Drilling, Fracking Regulations ~ Monday, July 11 in Charleston
On July 11, a rally at the State Capitol complex in Charleston, will bring together community members, expert speakers, politicians, and entertainers to urge the WV Legislature to put a moratorium on Marcellus Shale hydraulic drilling and to develop comprehensive regulations that will protect the people of West Virginia. The rally is concurrent with a interim session of the legislature. The organizers of the rally, West Virginians for a Moratorium on Marcellus ("WV4MOM"), support a moratorium until the impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling can be assessed and properly regulated. The group is encouraging the public to attend the rally and to contact members of the WV Legislature's Joint Select Committee on Marcellus Shale

WV4MOM has invited WV-SORO to participate in the rally to share our members concerns and perspective. Other speakers include WV Delegates Barbara Evans Fleischauer and Anthony Barill; former Morgantown City Councilman Don Spencer; Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Bob Baber; author Denise Giardina; attorney Hiram Lewis; and Rose Baker and Bonnie Hall of the Wetzel County Action Group. Musical guests include The Carpenter Ants, T. Paige Dalporto, Mike and Carrie Klein, and Cracker Stackwell. 

When: Monday, July 11, 2011 ~ 10AM to 2PM
Where: State Capitol (North Side/Capitol Circle), Charleston, WV

Click here for more information or email frackingquestions@gmail.com.

Educational Forum on Marcellus Shale Drilling ~ Wednesday, July 13 in Clarksburg
North Central WV Democracy for America (NC WV DFA) is sponsoring an educational forum on Marcellus Shale drilling. 

Who Should Attend?
Landowners (with or w/o mineral rights) with existing or future Marcellus Shale drilling/fracking. Anyone in the vicinity of a Marcellus Shale well. Anyone concerned about WV's natural resources. Anyone who would like to know more about what they can do to help pass regulatory legislation.  Anyone who would like to get involved as a citizen activist.  Anyone who breathes air or drinks water and would like to continue to do the same.
When and Where?
Fairmont State University Caperton Center, Clarksburg, WV Campus (Room 148)
on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 at 6PM - 7:30PM
Featured Speakers:
Denise Binion, Chair of the NC WV DFA
Barry Pallay, Co-Chair of WV/PA Monongahela Area Watersheds Compact
Gary Zuckett, WV Surface Owners Rights Organization
Delegate Mike Manypenny, 42nd WV Delegate District
A question and answer period will follow the main presentation.
For more information about this event, please contact: Denise Binion, Chair of NC WV DFA at dbinion@gmail.com or (304)669-024.

Educational Meeting on Surface Owners' Rights ~ Thursday, July 14 in Wheeling
Charleston based Oil and Gas attorney David McMahon, who authored the West Virginia Surface Owner’s Guide to Oil and Gas and co-founded the West Virginia Surface Owner’s Rights Organization (WV-SORO), will share his top ten tips for leasing natural gas rights. He will then discuss the rights of those who have already signed a lease and the rights of surface-only owners. A question and answer period will follow the presentation.  The event is part of the Fracking Facts informational series sponsored by the Ohio County Public Library. 

When: Thursday, July 14 at 7PM
Where: Ohio County Public Library, 52 16th Street, Wheeling, WV

Additional events to be announced. Call 304-232-0244 for more information.

Other News and Events

Case May Give Landowners Leverage in Dealings with Drillers
(Excerpt from "Property, mineral rights conflict," by Ry Rivard, the Charleston Daily Mail, July 5, 2011)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - In a case that may give West Virginia landowners a stronger bargaining chip in dealings with natural gas companies, a Marion County man is suing two of the state's largest gas producers to pay up or get off his land.

Richard Cain argues that gas producers don't have a right to put large Marcellus shale wells on his land in order to get at gas on his neighbors' property. If Cain prevails, it could become more difficult and expensive for gas companies to place multi-acre Marcellus well pads.

David McMahon, a lawyer who co-founded the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, filed the lawsuit last week in Marion County Circuit Court. Cain is suing XTO Energy, a division of Exxon Mobil, and Glenville-based Waco Oil and Gas.
[Click here to read more.]

More information on the arguments and legal authority involved in the case are available here.

Select Committee on Marcellus Shale to Meet July 12
The joint committee appointed to study natural gas drilling and prepare for a special session later this summer will meet at 6PM Tuesday, July 12 in the Senate Judiciary Committee Room (208-W) at the State Capitol in Charleston. The State Journal and Beckley Register-Herald have more information on the meetings here and here. Don Garvin, Legislative Coordinator for the WV Environmental Council and WV-SORO's Dave McMahon are among the invited speakers. 

As this process moves forward, you can help can help ensure that surface owners rights are considered in new drilling regulations by contacting members of the Select Committee and your legislators. Click here to view our latest action alert which includes contact information for the committee members. Tell committee members about what happened to you and educate them about the regulatory changes needed to expand surface owners’ rights and help us protect our land and our water resources. Consider sending a copy of your letter to the U.S. DOE Natural Gas Subcommittee on Fracking Issues (more information below).  Thank you!

DOE Natural Gas Subcommittee Recommendations Due August 18
In May, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the establishment of the Energy Advisory Board Natural Gas Subcommittee on Fracking Issues to make recommendations on improving the “safety and environmental performance” of hydraulic fracturing in shale formations.

Members need to hear from people whose water, property, and health have been impacted by gas drilling, and they need to be told why current industry practices and regulations are not nearly enough to protect our communities.

You can submit a written statement and other documentation to:

Renee Stone
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington D.C. 20585

or by email to: shalegas@hq.doe.gov.

The subcommittee's recommendations are due to Secretary Chu by August 18, therefore, your comments should be sent in as soon as possible so that the subcommittee will have as much time as possible to review them.

For more information see:
New York Times article: Energy Dept. Panel to Revise Standards for Gas Extraction
Natural Gas Subcommittee on Fracking Issues website: www.shalegas.energy.gov

West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization
1500 Dixie Street, Charleston, West Virginia 25311