WV SORO Update Archive

March 19, 2012

Upcoming Events ~ Educational Meetings in Philippi, Harrisville and Parsons

Informational Meeting on Surface Owners’ Rights ~ March 20 in Philippi
The Tygart Valley Conservation District is hosting an informational meeting for landowners on oil and gas drilling at the Funkhouser Auditorium at Alderson-Broddus College on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 starting at 7:00 PM.  Julie Archer with the WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WV-SORO) will give a presentation and answer questions about surface owners' rights. The presentation will also discuss changes that were made to the state's drilling laws with the passage of the Governor's Marcellus Shale bill in December. 

Who:      Tygart Valley Conservation District
What:     Informational Meeting on Surface Owners’ Rights
When:    Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Where:   Funkhouser Auditorium, Alderson-Broddus College, Philippi, WV
Contact: Tygart Valley Conservation District ~ (304) 457-3026

WVU Extension Service Program: Aquatic Life, Roads and Natural Gas Drilling ~ March 22 in Harrisville & April 26 in Parsons

6 p.m. ~ Aquatic Impacts of Marcellus Shale Gas Development
Frank Jernejic, Fisheries Biologist, WV Division of Natural Resources

6:30 p.m. Q & A Session

6:45 p.m. Damage To Roads: Who is Responsible for Permitting, Maintenance and Repairs?
Gary Clayton, NE Regional Maintenance Engineer and Central Coordinator for Natural Gas Permitting, WV Department of Transportation

7:15 p.m. Q & A Session

7:30 p.m. General Q & A Session

Questions and Answers: The above speakers will answer audience questions for 15 minutes following each presentation and another 15 minutes at the end of the program. All presentations and more information are available at the WVU Extension Service’s Oil and Natural Gas Website found at http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/oil_gas.  For more information please contact WVU Extension Agents John Miller at 304-234-3673 or Brian Wickline at 304-772-3003. Or contact Visiting Instructor/Program Coordinator Georgette Plaugher at 304-329-1391.

Education Program Schedule

Thursday, March 22, 2012, 6 p.m. Ritchie County 4-H Camp, Harrisville, WV (Ritchie County)
Contact: Alexandria Straight or Stephanie Deem ~ 304-643-2164 Ext. 5

Thursday, April 26, 2012, 6 p.m. Parsons Volunteer Fire Department Hall (Tucker County)
Contact: Jennifer Poling ~ 304-478-2949 Ext. 209

West Virginia Host Farms Program Launches
West Virginia Host Farms Program is a volunteer-based initiative. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for the environmental community to study the impact of Marcellus shale natural gas drilling in the state. This would include academic researchers, journalists, environmental scientists, public policy and environmental law professionals, and advocacy groups, among others who desire to learn more about the environmental impact of Marcellus shale drilling in WV.  WV landowners who opt to participate in the program become volunteer “host farms.”  These are people who are living on or in close proximity to land where Marcellus wells are already drilled, Marcellus drilling and hydrofracking is currently taking place, or where such activity is proposed to take place in the near future. Landowners living adjacent or in close proximity to compressor stations are also participants in the program.

In West Virginia, little environmental research is being conducted on the impact of Marcellus shale drilling and how it affects the people of West Virginia, their farms, their health, safety, and their environment. Oil and gas corporations and their lobbying groups operating in West Virginia have funded numerous research projects through grants and other allocations which explore the economic benefits of Marcellus shale drilling for the state and its citizens. But it is difficult to locate a comparable volume of research projects underway that give equal attention to the environmental aspects of Marcellus shale drilling in WV.

Hence, the concept of balancing that opportunity came about through the WV Host Farms Program.

The intent of the program is to provide a platform through which environmental science faculty and students, health professionals, environmental advocacy groups, environmental law and public policy professionals, journalists, and others can easily access West Virginia to study Marcellus shale drilling. It is access into West Virginia that many in the environmental community believe has previously been difficult to obtain.

The willingness of WV landowners to make available their private properties for the benefit of promoting environmental research opportunities is what the WV Host Farms Program is all about. In much the same manner as hosting a foreign exchange student in one’s home during their study abroad, the WV Host Farms Program offers to the environmental community a large networked group of West Virginia landowners.

Information provided by WV Host Farms Program. To learn more about the project or sign-up to be a host farm, visit www.wvhostfarms.org or e-mail wvhostfarms@yahoo.com.

DEP Announcements ~ Horizontal Drilling Page Launches; Comments Sought on Pit Construction Standards, Discharge Permit

DEP’s Office of Oil & Gas launches horizontal drilling page on Website
Last week, the WV Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Oil & Gas launched a webpage that contains information specifically related to horizontal drilling as defined by the Horizontal Well Control Act that was passed by the state Legislature in December.

As part of the Act, the Legislature required the DEP to create the page so citizens could obtain information about the location of proposed horizontal wells and give them the opportunity to comment on those permit applications.

Currently, the page offers links to items that will be further developed as permit applications are received by the agency. Links to pages that allow citizens to submit or review comments about specific permit applications, as well as a link to a tool that helps them find the location of a proposed well, are included.

“The page will continue to grow and change as more permit applications are submitted to the agency,” said James Martin, Chief of the Office of Oil and Gas. “Soon, after we populate the site with applications that have been received, people will be able to see a list with information such as the applicant, where the well is located, the formation it targets, whether the well has been completed and the date the permit was issued.”

Under the new legislation, one of the first steps operators have to take is placing a Class II Legal notice in local newspapers at least 10 days prior to submitting an application.

“As an added public notice option, people can go to this page and sign up for an email notification whenever a permit is received or issued by the Office of Oil and Gas,” Martin said.

(Source: WV Department of Environmental Protection, http://www.dep.wv.gov/news/Pages/default.aspx)

The site can be found hereThe State Journal has more details here

DEP seeking comments on Centralized Pit Construction Standards
The DEP Office of Oil and Gas is taking comments on its design and construction standards for centralized pits used to store wastewater associated with horizontal drilling.

The standards provide guidelines for construction, liner requirements, water quality monitoring and engineer certifications.

The document can be found here.
Comments may be submitted in writing by email to dep.oogcomments@wv.gov or through the U.S. Postal Service to:

John Kearney
Office of Oil and Gas
601 57th Street SE
Charleston, WV 25304.

Comments will be accepted until April 12, 2012 at 5 p.m.

(Source: WV Department of Environmental Protection, http://www.dep.wv.gov/news/Pages/default.aspx)

WV DEP permit would control run-off from oil, gas sites
The DEP Division of Water and Waste Management is accepting comments on a draft general permit to regulate the discharge of stormwater run-off from construction at oil and gas-related sites.

The proposed permit will regulate discharges of stormwater, not from well pads, but from activities associated with exploration, production, processing or treatment operations or transmission facilities that disturb one acre of land area or more.

According to DWWM Director Scott Mandirola, this proposed permit addresses an area that federal law exempts but that state law authorizes the DEP to regulate. Mandirola told the State Journal, "If someone's constructing an oil and gas well site, their permit will have erosion and sediment control requirements in it by law, but pipelines and certain compressor and pump stations don't fall under that. In some cases, say, for a pipeline, you're talking about 50-foot- to 100-foot-wide areas that go on for miles."

If the construction-related stormwater run-off causes a water quality violation, the department's enforcement personnel will act, he said — but until a violation takes place, there currently is nothing requiring operators to control run-off.

More information and a link to the permit are available here

The public is invited to comment on the draft permit. Comments may be mailed to the Department of Environmental Protection, Attention:

Tonya Ombler
601 57th Street SE
Charleston, WV 25304

or e-mailed to Tonya.K.Ombler@wv.gov. Correspondence should include the name, address and telephone number of the writer and a concise statement of the nature of the issues being raised.

In addition, a public hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 9, 2012, at the DEP's Coopers Rock Training Room in its Charleston offices. Oral and written comments will be taken at that time.

For more information, contact Tonya Ombler at 304-926-0499, extension 1132.

(Source: The State Journal, http://www.statejournal.com/story/17122625/dep-permit-would-control-run-off-from-oil-and-gas-sites)

WV-SORO hopes to have more information and talking points available soon for those wishing to submit comments on the pit construction standards and the discharge permit. 

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