WVDEP wants to double oil and gas staff

January 6, 2011 by Ken Ward Jr.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has what amounts to a final draft of its proposed new oil and gas drilling legislation, and I’m told that Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed off on the package.

The bill won’t be a governor’s bill, but Tomblin has given WVDEP the OK to seek its own sponsor and to work toward passage when lawmakers come to town next week for the start of the session. (See previous posts about the upcoming debate on oil and gas drilling legislation here, here and here).

Chief among the WVDEP’s hopes for the bill — which I’ve posted here — is approval of a new special fee on horizontal wells that would provide enough money for the agency to double the size of its oil and gas office staff.

DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said yesterday:

We’ve got to have these people and to do that we’ve got to have money.

Some readers may recall that WVDEP’s small inspection staff for drilling operations — just 18 inspectors statewide — drew the attention last year of the ongoing investigation of oil and gas issues by ProPublica.

Under Huffman’s proposal, WVDEP would add 34 people to its oil and gas office’s current staff of 32, including doubling the number of inspectors to 36.

3 Responses to “WVDEP wants to double oil and gas staff”

  1. johnny jones says:

    The inspector for Doddridge and Wetzel county, told the land owners on Buckeye creek (remember the “what caused fracking fluid spill in Doddridge County”) some remarks such as, “we’ve got boys dying overseas because of our dependence on foreign oil” and “we’ve gotta have gas for our cars don’t we”? Would the new inspectors be of this caliber? We’re sure the O&G industry would be doubly upset – that means more money out of their pockets for bribery.


  2. johnny jones says:

    Everyone does understand, that with the glut of natural gas, the big companies are gearing up for export to China? A country we have strained relations with will be even better able to fire up their factories and produce weapons, off the backs of the appalachian people?

  3. B shingleton says:

    If you just make law say all leases must be gross leases and minimum royalty if you live in West Virginia must be 14 % Gross, outlaw net leases.

    70 % of employees of any foreign companies that is non domestic companies drilling horizontal wells must pay one (1) % additional severance taxes that is dedicated to WVDEP. All the payroll taxesand tax flowing from sales taxes, at grocery stores, gas stations and state income tax on payroll; plus a paycheck rolls out 4 times in the local economy and local workers will most likely buy a home here, send heir kids to scvhool here all makinmg our economy boom. If we allow these companies from out west just poke holes in the ground and suck the money out of here we will be robbed like the coal barrons robbed us. It is discriminatory that the workers , who have a hard time getting these jobs should be trained at our technical schools across the state in simulators for horizontal drilling. At Robert C. Byrd center you still learn to twist a wrench on an aeleron of a jet secretary gates and obama said their get to get rid of. We should give all our citizens the training they need and put them into the horizontal well drilling jobs. We should fund that schooling and not worry about tax tax tax so some legislatures have more money to decide where to spend it , but get it to our workers and them disseminate that money thru

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