Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marcellus bill dies

The bill being considered in the West Virginia legislature to regulate natural gas drilling in the state was not able to make it through a House/Senate conference committee in the final hours of the session last night.

There will be no new regulation of the gas industry this year, unless our acting governor calls a special session to come up with legislation.

The scenario played out exactly like it looked it would yesterday, with the Senate refusing to compromise on any of the changes the House made to the more industry-friendly Senate bill. The result confirmed the impression left by the head of the WV Oil and Natural Gas Association in yesterday's Charleston Gazette, that if the gas industry wouldn't "make a deal," that included industry's puppets in the Senate.

Of course, the legislature did manage to pass generous tax breaks for the gas industry--presumably to make sure everybody knows who's really pulling the strings in Charleston.

The failure to get any new gas drilling regulation through this year's regular session makes our effort to deal with the issue at the county level even more critical.

--Michael Hasty

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