Sunday, November 13, 2011

Governor Restates Pledge For Permanent Rules, Certainty For State's Natural Gas Industry; Consensus Lacking Among Lawmakers

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin used his inaugural address this afternoon to reinforce his pledge to bring certainty to the state's natural gas industry. Tomblin told the audience on the steps of the state Capitol that "working with members of the Legislature, we will put permanent rules in place to provide certainty to the natural gas industry, while also protecting landowners and our environment." He also noted that this certainty will help aid the state's manufacturing sector, which is projected to be "rejuvenated by taking advantage of natural gas byproducts."

Tomblin, serving as Acting Governor for the past year, has called for balanced regulations. He also has been aggressively working to get an ethane cracker located in the state. "I look forward to, not just one, but hopefully two multi-billion-dollar [cracker] investments, so our children can stay home, secure good paying jobs and raise their families' right here in West Virginia," he said.

Click to read the entire inaugural address.

Uncertainty exists in West Virginia due to an ongoing effort by lawmakers to develop added regulations and fees on the state's horizontal producer community. A special legislative study group's proposed regulations have raised concerns and strong objections from horizontal producers and the state's two natural gas trade groups. The study group is nearing the end of its effort, but consensus seems ellusive even among lawmakers. According to a new Associated Press story, "the main players involved in the months-long quest for compromise appear as divided as ever." Click to read the article.