Unhappy, With Good Reason

The West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVOGA) voiced their disappointment this week with a new bill passed by the West Virginia Legislature that regulates development of the Marcellus Shale play. The as yet unnamed bill was passed by the state legislature's Joint Select Committee on Marcellus Shale.

WVOGA President Robert Orndorff in a letter to Senate and House of Delegates leaders faulted the bill's requirements regarding casing and cementing standards and practices.

"Nothing has changed since we gave the legislature our letter Tuesday," Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Gas Association, said Thursday.

"Establishing a single statutory standard simply ignores the realities of drilling operations," he said. The legislature instead should let the state Department of Environmental Protection regulate casing standards because it would have the "flexibility to implement new and improved techniques that fulfill the policy."

West Virginia Governor Tomblin said Thursday his administration will work with legislative leaders to determine "what aspects of the proposed legislation can be agreed upon and what changes are needed." A spokeswoman said the governor has not set a date for a special session.

The unemployment rate in West Virginia follows the same dismal path that so much of the rest of the country is own. In a time when we need jobs and energy resources, it's frustrating to see a state's own government is ignoring the virtual gold mine that they sit upon.