Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DEP Opposes Marcellus Moratorium, But May Explore Emergency Rules

West Virginia DEP Secretary Randy Huffman says he is opposed to calls to place a moratorium on Marcellus drilling permits, which is a position being advocated by a small number of liberal legislators. Calls for the drilling moratorium have arisen following the failure of the state Legislature to enact a DEP bill that would have increased drilling fees and imposed additional regulations on the state’s natural gas industry. Huffman, in an article in today’s The Register-Herald, says he does not think the current situation justifies a moratorium. “If I ever felt the industry was so far out in front of our ability to properly regulate it, then I would consider such a thing,” Huffman is quoted in the article. “I just don’t think we are there at this point.” He noted that he thinks his agency “can regulate the industry well enough — not perfectly, but well enough to get by in the near term.” The Secretary said, however, that he is exploring possible emergency rules now that the Legislature has adjourned for the year.

Click to read article.