The West Virginia Legislature has begun consideration of a legislative proposal in response to last week’s chemical spill emergency in Charleston. The new legislation, the Water Resources Protection and Management Act (SB 373), would amend and establish new storage tank regulations. The bill, as drafted, contains several provisions that should be noted by horizontal producers:
1. Applies to ALL aboveground storage tanks that hold ANY fluid except water. This technically includes your gas grill’s propane tank and would apply to the vehicle LNG and Propane filling stations if the storage tanks are maintained aboveground – i.e. there is no size restriction.
2. No specific provision regarding oil and gas operators but statute would most definitely apply to tanks installed on well pads to collect and separate the constituents of wet gas as well as your old-school condensate tanks.
3. Although the connotation of aboveground storage tank envisages a fixed tank at one location, there is no separation between a tank fixed in one location or a mobile tank. This could have enormous implications for hydraulic fracturing tankers delivering fracturing fluids to the well site.
4. No specific amount of civil penalty is mentioned and leaves administrative penalty amounts up to WVDEP. Fees are left up to WVDEP as well.
5. In addition to leaving administrative penalty amounts and fees up to WVDEP, most of the statute intends to pass along the substance of the regulatory program to WVDEP to develop via rulemaking.
Bills introduced to regulate storage tanks
It has been reported that the Governor plans to introduce his own bill on this matter.
LGCR and its government relations affiliate, LGCR Government Solutions, are monitoring this bill and will provide additional updates. Please call Joe Jenkins, LGCR’s environmental regulatory attorney, or me if you have any questions.