W.Va. Legislative Update

by Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

In continuing our commitment to best serve our clients, we have been closely monitoring legislative changes in West Virginia that may affect the shale gas industry in the state. This update covers a new rule affecting horizontal drilling and the results of a recent pit and impoundment study.

Rule Governing Horizontal Well Development

Senate Bill 245 provides for legislative approval of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (“DEP”) proposed Rule Governing Horizontal Well Development designated as 35 C.S.R. 8 (“Rule”). The Bill was considered by the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining (“EIM”) Committee on March 13, 2013, during which the Committee amended the Rule to limit public disclosure of the hydraulic fracturing fluid formula(s). The precise detail of the formula would still be available to the DEP in response to an investigation initiated by the DEP or by request from health care providers for patient diagnosis and care.

The EIM Committee reported the Bill, as amended. The Bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it was bundled with other DEP proposed legislative rules under Senate Bill 243 which was considered as a committee substitute bill and reported on March 22 to the full Senate. On March 27, the Senate passed SB 243 and reported it to the House of Delegates. The Bill was then referred to the House Judiciary Committee on March 28, 2013 for consideration and action.

Pit and Impoundment Study

The first of the two legislatively mandated studies required to be completed by January 1, 2013, has been published by the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas (“OOG”). The full report, which was performed by staff at West Virginia University’s Water Research Institute and faculty and students of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is available here

In reporting the study to the Legislature, OOG states that “[b]ased on the results of this study, OOG finds that no additional rules are immediately necessary for the design and construction of these large pits and impoundments. . . . The study confirmed that ‘future construction, if done in accordance with the WVDEP guidelines, should pose minimal risk.’” DEP’s conclusions from the study include

  1. no leakage was detected from the examined structures;
  2. sites designed and constructed to current OOG standards scored higher than those built prior to the Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act; and
  3. radiological exposure from material both on the well pads and at the centralized structures is within acceptable limits.

OOG noted that it has “specific authority to condition the issuance of certificate of approvals and individual permits.” OOG summarizes that the current “framework ensures adequate controls are in place for these large pits and impoundments (W. Va. Code 22-6A-9), and no greater monitoring, safety or design requirements or other specialized permit conditions are necessary at this time to effectively regulate the construction operation, and maintenance of centralized and large capacity pits and impoundments.”

OOG also reported to the Legislature that the study required by W. Va. Code 22-6A-12(e) on the noise, light, dust and volatile organic compounds generated by the drilling of horizontal natural gas wells as they relate to the well location restrictions regarding occupied dwelling structures is still underway. The field component of this study has been completed, and WVU is currently compiling and analyzing the data. Thus, we can expect a report on a second study in the coming weeks.

A final study required by the Act on “the need, if any, for further regulation of air pollution occurring from well sites” at 22-6A-22 is due by July 1, 2013. We will continue to provide updates on these studies as more information becomes available.

For more information, please contact:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.