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Fulbright & Jaworski: West Virginia DEP Issues Emergency Rules For Horizontal Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing

By Jeremy A. Mercer and Cecil C. Kuhne, IIIa On August 22, 2011, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ("WVDEP")-pursuant to Governor Ray Tomblin's Executive Order 4-11, issued July 12, 2011- promulgated emergency rules related to horizontal drilling and hydraulic...

Pennsylvania Would Let Counties Set Natural Gas Drilling Fees

PITTSBURGH - (AP) Gov. Tom Corbett released a plan for Pennsylvania's natural gas boom Monday that would allow the state's counties to impose a fee on drilling to help pay to regulate it and fix environmental damage in communities where it is happening. The fee, which could be as high as $160...

Steptoe & Johnson: West Virginia Governor Will Call Special Session to Address Marcellus Shale

At a meeting this morning in Wheeling, West Virginia, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin stated his intention to call state legislators to Charleston next week for a special session to deal with Marcellus Shale policy. Governor Tomblin made the announcement during a meeting with 400 state and local officials...

Steptoe & Johnson: West Virginia House of Delegates Passes Legislation to Lure an Ethane Cracker Facility

By L. Gil White In ongoing attempts to best position the state to attract an ethane cracker facility to the state, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 4086 yesterday which grants substantial tax incentives for large investments of capitol in West Virginia aimed at growing manufacturing...

West Virginia Senate Also Passes Bill To Lure Ethane Cracker Facility To The State

In ongoing attempts to best position the state to attract an ethane cracker facility to the state, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed House Bill 4086 which grants substantial tax incentives for large investments of capitol in West Virginia aimed at growing manufacturing. The West Virginia State...

Babst Calland: New Horizontal Well Location Restrictions and Setback Requirements in West Virginia

Oil and natural gas operators should be aware that new horizontal well location restrictions and setback requirements, that are included in the recently adopted Horizontal Well Act (the Act), may significantly affect well drilling plans in West Virginia. Any well work permit application filed with the...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia DEP Proposes Permit Regulating Stormwater For Oil and Gas Operations

By Armando F. Benincasa The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a draft State General Water Pollution Control Permit proposing to regulate the discharge of stormwater runoff associated with oil and gas construction activities. The proposed Permit would affect discharges...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia Ranked Globally in Petroleum Survey

By Kurt Krieger West Virginia ranked tenth, down from sixth in 2011; Ohio ranked 14th, down from second; and Pennsylvania ranked 34th, an improvement from 65th place in 2011 in the sixth annual Fraser Institute Global Petroleum Survey, published by the Canada-based think tank. Out of 147 jurisdictions...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia Issues Section 401 Water Quality Certification Conditions for Nationwide Permits

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has issued its Section 401 Water Quality Certification General and Special Conditions for the Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps) Nationwide Permits (NWPs) issued earlier this year pursuant to section 404 of the Clean Water Act for dredge and...

Babst Calland: West Virginia Office of Oil and Gas Proposes New Rule to Regulate Horizontal Wells

On June 28, 2012, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), Office of Oil and Gas (OOG), proposed a new rule, 35 CSR 8, to regulate horizontal well development. This action by the OOG is the latest in a series of measures taken by West Virginia lawmakers in response to the growing...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: W. Va. DEP Issues Modified Oil and Gas Horizontal Well Rule

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection filed a modified version of 35 CSR , Series 8, the agency's new oil and gas horizontal well legislative rule, with the Secretary of State on September 14, 2012. The modified rule includes a response to comments previously filed by various industry...

U.S. EPA Creates Uncertainty in Appalachia with Air Quality Permitting Memorandum

By Armando F. Benincasa In the face of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in late 2012 which struck down United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) use of "functional relatedness" in determining whether sources of air emissions should be aggregated for purposes...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Rules in Gas Utility Case

By Lori A. Dawkins and Allison J. Farrell The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals just issued an important decision for all natural gas utilities with operations in West Virginia with its Memorandum Decision No.11-1511 (Harrison County 10C391). In this decision, issued February 11, 2013, the state's...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia House Judiciary Amends Horizontal Well Legislative Rule

By Armando F. Benincasa and G. Kurt Dettinger On April 9, 2013, the House Judiciary Committee amended SB 243, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ("WVDEP") rules bill which includes the promulgation of permanent legislative rules, 35 Code of State Rules, Series 8, regarding...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Production 'Irrelevant' Under Flat-Rate Leases

By Bridget D. Furbee A good outcome for oil and gas operators in West Virginia was provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on May 7, 2013. Referencing "... longstanding West Virginia law," the Court affirmed the validity of a 1933 lease finding "... the quantity...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia Supreme Court Clarifies Meaning of 'Surface' Deeds

By Ryan J. Morgan Yesterday the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, in Faith United Methodist Church v. Morgan , No. 12-0080, 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 691 (June 13, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ] issued an important opinion for title practitioners clarifying the meaning...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Energy Employers Face Increased Enforcement Activities

By C. David Morrison and Rodney L. Bean Representatives of the West Virginia Department of Labor (WVDOL) have begun visiting drilling sites in the state to make sure that all people receiving 1099 income are registered to do business in West Virginia, as required by law. If not registered, businesses...

West Virginia State University Designs Energy Management Concentration to Support West Virginia’s Growing Natural Gas Industry

By Briana J. Marino West Virginia State University has developed a new academic program designed to educate the next generation of oil and gas employees, developers, and industrialists in the Appalachian region. WVSU now offers a Concentration in Energy Management associated with its Bachelor of Science...

Babst Calland: West Virginia Senate Passes Future Fund Bill

By Ben Milleville The West Virginia Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 461 , known as The Future Fund Bill, on February 21 st . The Bill, as described in an Associated Press story published in the Charleston Gazette, would create a new fund that would be financed by 25 percent of the severance...

Babst Calland: West Virginia Cracker Plant Could Have Multibillion Dollar Impact on State Economy

By W. Brian Nickerson As reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times , the proposed ethane cracker plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, could potentially have a multi-billion dollar positive effect on the state’s economy. Emeritus Professor of Economics Tom S. Witt of West Virginia University...

Babst Calland: Advocates From Pa., Ohio, West Virginia Urge Common Approach To Shale Gas Taxation

By Joshua F. Hall As reported by Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station, 90.5 WESA, three advocacy groups, Leaders of Policy Matters Ohio, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, and the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, sent a letter to the governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Court Ruling a Victory for Kentucky Pipeline Eminent Domain Opponents

By J. Kevin West On March 25, 2014, a Circuit Court in Kentucky ruled in favor of those opposed to an interstate natural gas liquids (“NGLs”) pipeline’s potential use of eminent domain under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The interstate pipeline is not subject to regulation...

Babst Calland: Natural Gas Fueled Powerplant Planned for Marshall County, West Virginia

By Morgan Condra Plans by Moundsville Power LLC to build a natural gas power plant were approved by members of the Marshall County Commission on April 22, 2014. The proposed 549 megawatt natural gas power plant is considered the first “downstream” project of its kind in West Virginia,...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Fayette County, W. Va., Commission Amends Code to Require Local Approval for UIC Wells

Operators of future underground injection wells in Fayette County, West Virginia will be required to obtain a permit from the county approving the placement of the well. The County Commission amended the development code to require permits for underground injection control (UIC) wells. A public hearing...

Babst Calland: Gov. Tomblin Forms The West Virginia Commission On Oil And Natural Gas Industry Safety

By Briana J. Marino On July 9, 2015, Governor Tomblin announced the formation and appointment of members to the West Virginia Commission on Oil and Natural Gas Industry Safety. Publicized during Governor Tomblin’s State of the State address in early 2015, the Commission is charged with “reviewing...