Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Surface Owner, Horizontal Drilling Environmental Matters Still Topic Of Legislative Discussion

The West Virginia Legislature is in Charleston this week for its monthly legislative interim meetings.  As part of these meetings, the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary held a meeting yesterday, and the committee’s agenda included two items related to the state’s oil and natural gas industry.  The agenda items were:
1. Dr. Alan Collins, Professor and Assistant Director, Division of Resource Management, West Virginia University: “Split Estates and Surface Owner Reported Problems with Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling”
2. “Response to WVDEP study – Air, Noise, and Light Monitoring Results for Assessing Environmental Impacts of Horizontal Gas Well Drilling Operations and Air Quality Impacts Occurring from Horizontal Well Drilling and Related Activities.”  Dave McMahon, Co-Founder, West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, was one of the presenters.

Dr. Collins presented the findings of a public opinion survey (which was not sourced as to who paid for it) indicating that split estate owners who had not benefited from the sale of the minerals, had a disproportionately higher number of complaints about oil and gas drilling activities than those owners who had received compensation directly for their property.

McMahon presented a lengthy rebuttal to DEP's presentation on oil and gas production activities and regulations that was presented at a previous meeting of the committee.  McMahon's remarks and recommendations focused on his notion that the minimum setback distance should be increased to 1500'; noise and light impacts of drilling activities on adjacent property owners should be more strictly regulated and; "radioactive" drill cuttings should be banned from disposal in public landfills.

Lewis Glasser and its government relations affiliate, LGCR Government Solutions, are available to share additional insights into either of these presentations.  We also will continue to monitor future meetings to see whether any legislative proposals are developed.


Citizen groups seek more drilling protections
The Charleston Gazette, Dec. 10, 2013