Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia DEP Files Emergency Rule For Horizontal Drilling

By Armando F. Benincasa

Pursuant to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's July 12, 2011 Executive Order, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection late yesterday filed an emergency rule that will apply to horizontal wells in West Virginia, as well as pad sites in excess of three acres in size and certain water withdrawals. The new rule incorporates requirements related to the development and submittal of erosion and sediment control plans and well safety plans, and it requires the submittal of water use management plans for operators intending to use more than 210,000 gallons of water per month.  In addition, the new rule imposes substantial record-keeping requirements for both water use and wastewater handling.  

The rule further addresses the manner in which cuttings will be managed, and it sets forth cementing and casing standards for horizontal wells.  Finally, the rule also includes new public notice requirements and specifies that permits may not be issued unless and until a 30-day public notice period has been completed. 

The rule will become effective after approval by the Secretary of State and will be effective for 15 months.  Click here to view the rule.

About The Author

Armando F. Benincasa

MEMBER

Armando Benincasa concentrates his practice in the areas of energy law, environmental law, environmental litigation, and administrative law. His practice consists of cases involving permitting and regulatory requirements for solid waste, water resources, underground storage tanks, and voluntary remediation, and the drafting of rules and statutes related to the environment.


Charleston, West Virginia
304.353.8147 | email