Tomblin Weakened WV's Executive Order on Drilling

  • Scott Detrow

Checking in on our neighbors to the southwest…
Acting West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin imposed a set of emergency orders  last month covering natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
The guidelines are meant to regulate the industry, as lawmakers debate a more permanent set of rules.
The Charleston Gazette has taken a closer look at the order’s initial draft, and reports Tomblin weakened its language before signing the document:

Language in the order was rewritten to limit a new requirement for public notice for drilling permit applications and to reduce the oversight of oil and gas operations by registered engineers, the records show.
The changes are reflected in drafts of the executive order released in response to a Gazette FOIA request and a draft posted online by the industry group Energize West Virginia.
Details of why the changes were made are not fully available, in part because the governor’s office has refused to make public its correspondence with industry lobbyists who were helping craft state drilling policies.
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, acting as governor, issued the executive order to require new rules from the state Department of Environmental Protection, in response to growing public pressure following the failure of any Marcellus legislation to win approval earlier this year.

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