Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LGCR Environmental Attorney Publishes Article On Chemical Spill In ABA Newsletter

Joseph Jenkins, an oil and natural gas environmental, energy and natural resources associate at Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC, recently wrote an article on the January 9, 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia.  His article was published in the nationally distributed Trends, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter (Vol. 45 No. 6, July/August 2014).  The article focuses on the regulatory landscape surrounding the spill and the state’s legislative response that culminated in the recently passed Aboveground Storage Tank Act and Public Water Supply Protection Act.  To read his article, please click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Richard Gottlieb To Speak AT WVONGA's Spring Meeting

Richard Gottlieb, managing member of LGCR and head of the firm’s natural gas practice, will be providing a presentation at the upcoming Spring Meeting of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association.  That meeting will be held June 16-18 at Glade Springs Resort in Daniels, W.Va. Gottlieb will provide a presentation on “Recent Significant Oil and Natural Gas Litigation in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.”  Gottlieb’s remarks will concentrate on challenges by lessors to validity of leases, lease extensions, and lease forfeitures.

W.Va. DEP Opens Registration Period For Aboveground Storage Tanks

Provided is a statement from the W.Va. DEP:

As part of its work to implement a new Aboveground Storage Tank Regulatory Program, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today opened the registration period for tank owners to submit information required for a statewide inventory. Any tanks that are subject to the Aboveground Storage Tank Act (Senate Bill 373) that are not registered with the DEP by Oct. 1 will be out of compliance with state law. The legislation gave the DEP until July 6 to get the registration and inventory process ready but the agency worked to launch registration early so that tank owners would have more time to submit the required information.

The law, drafted in response to a Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water of approximately 300,000 West Virginia residents, was passed by the Legislature in March and went into effect June 6. It applies to all aboveground storage tanks located in the state that are large enough to hold at least 1,320 gallons of fluid, are in one place for more than 60 days, are 90 percent or more above ground and are not considered “process vessels” as defined by the legislation. One common example of “process vessels,” which are exempt from the program, would be sewage treatment tanks.
Registration information is being collected online through the agency’s Electronic Permitting/Electronic Submission System (ESS) so that data can quickly and easily be stored and accessed.

Companies that already use ESS for permit applications and/or discharge monitoring reporting can use their existing user IDs and passwords. Tank owners who do not already have ESS user IDs and passwords need to visit the DEP’s Aboveground Storage Tank web page for instructions on how to gain access to the system.

The page, www.dep.wv.gov/tanks, also includes a complete explanation of the program requirements and deadlines, a survey to help tank owners determine if they need to register and links to useful information such as frequently asked questions, nationally recognized standards for tanks, and public input received by the agency about the rules for the program.

Questions about the new law and requirements can be directed to Joe Jenkins, an environmental attorney with Lewis Glasser, at jjenkins@lgcr.com.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

W.Va. Legislature To Study Several Oil, Natural Gas Matters - Including Lease Integration

The West Virginia Legislature has outlined its legislative interim studies for 2014, and there are a number of oil and gas matters that lawmakers will be examined over the coming months.

Key among these will be another study of “lease integration” by the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary, and this study will focus on the feasibility of various methods to compensate persons affected by lease integration.  A study of how to handle drill cuttings also will be examined by the committee.

The Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources was assigned two topics:  HCR 51 — examining the need for interconnectivity and other improvements in West Virginia’s water resources and SCR 98 — examining the management of contaminants that can impact public water quality and distribution.

Two other matters will be taken up as part of interim studies - studying “workplace safety issues generally” and “needs or education requirements for future Marcellus driven industries.”  As of  this time it is not clear which committees will be assigned these topics to study.

Lewis Glasser, and its government relations affiliate LGCR Government Solutions, will be tracking and monitoring these matters during the monthly legislative interim meetings across the state.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WVDEP Launches New Web Site For Aboveground Storage Tanks

West Virginia DEP’s new website for aboveground storage tanks (AST) has gone live and can be found here: http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/abovegroundstoragetanks/Pages/default.aspx.  This website has been created to assist the regulated community in complying with the new AST statute passed as part of the sweeping SB373 addressing January’s chemical leak and contamination of drinking water in Charleston, W.Va. 

On the website, WVDEP sets forth important, upcoming deadlines to keep in mind: June 6th – statute becomes effective; June 10th  - registration anticipated to begin; September 1st – deadline for NPDES general permit holders with ASTs within a zone of critical concern to apply for an individual NPDES permit; and October 1st – all ASTs must be registered.  Additional deadlines follow regarding specific requirements of the statute for submission of spill prevention response plans (December 3rd) and inspection and certification of ASTs by qualified persons (January 1, 2015).

The site is still under construction and more information will be added as WVDEP continues the rulemaking process, and policies and forms are drafted for use.  Some of the currently available information incudes copies of the public comments submitted as part of the informal, preliminary rulemaking process (http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/abovegroundstoragetanks/Pages/ASTPublicInput.aspx) and an FAQ explaining some of the statute’s requirements (http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/abovegroundstoragetanks/Pages/FAQ.aspx).  If you are still unsure as to whether you must register your AST, WVDEP has also prepared a short survey to help answer that question:  https://apps.dep.wv.gov/ast/astsurvey.cfm.

LGCR’s Joseph Jenkins, an environmental and oil and gas attorney, will continue to monitor WVDEP’s rulemaking progress and provide important updates.  In the meantime, should you have any questions please feel free to contact him at jjenkins@lgcr.com or 304-345-2000. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WVDEP Begins Registration, Rule-Making Process For Aboveground Storage Tanks

West Virginia's DEP will begin accepting online registrations for aboveground storage tanks soon after June 6th – the effective date of the new Aboveground Storage Tank Act recently passed by the West Virginia Legislature.  Although registration isn’t required until the Act’s October 1st deadline, WVDEP is wanting to ensure everyone has sufficient time to register.  WVDEP has also started the rule-making process for the new legislation and recently accepted preliminary comments from stakeholders.  A formal commenting period will take place once a draft set of rules is released – likely in mid-July. 

LGCR’s Joseph Jenkins, an environmental and oil and gas attorney, will continue to monitor WVDEP’s rulemaking progress and provide important updates.  In the meantime, should you have any questions please feel free to contact him at jjenkins@lgcr.com or 304-345-2000.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Media Scrutiny Focuses On Deaths Occurring In State's Natural Gas Industry

Provided are recent stories that show heightened media scrutiny of the state's natural gas drilling and production industry:

AP IMPACT: Deadly side effect to fracking boom -

Charleston Gazette: Deaths increase in West Virginia oil, gas industry -

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

West Virginia's Utica Shale Resource -- The Next Boom?

Two articles have been published recently that highlight growing interest in the Utica shale formation in West Virginia. Typically, northern and northcentral West Virginia have been attractive because of the prolific Marcellus formation.  Now, drillers are moving quickly to develop the state's lower Utica shale resources:
Utica Shale Rush Comes to W.Va.
The Wheeling Intelligencer, April 13, 2014

Utica's Next Frontier Moving To West Virginia, Pennsylvania
NGI Shale Daily, March 26, 2014