West Virginia has a new regulatory program for horizontal drilling and production activities. Yesterday, lawmakers passed H.B. 401, the Horizontal Well Act. The act, which was proposed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, "provides clear rules to the natural gas industry, protects our communities, surface owners and waterways while sending a clear message – West Virginia wants jobs and we will protect our rights and our environment,” according to a press release from the Governor's office.
The Governor's statement notes that the new law "provides distinct permitting and regulatory rules so that the natural gas industry can develop job opportunities and invest in West Virginia. The Act also provides the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection with sufficient funding and regulatory authority, ensuring the safety and protection of our communities, waterways and surface owner rights. Through provisions pertaining to the repair and maintenance of roads, notice of drilling activity to surface owners and reporting of water and frack fluid usage, the Act will generate responsible Marcellus Shale development throughout West Virginia."
For more information about the new law and its provisions, please contact Nick Casey at Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins.