In Sunday’s Gazette-Mail, our political staff asked the Democratic candidates for governor of West Virginia this question:
Do you believe West Virginia needs new regulations for oil and gas drilling? If so, what specific requirements should be in the legislation?
Here are their answers:
Jeff Kessler —
Yes. More DEP inspectors and regulations that include protection of our water resources; protection of landowner surface rights; repair of our roads and highways; fair distribution of the production royalties to mineral right owners; that West Virginia residents are employed in the industry and that adequate severance dollars are collected.
John Perdue –
Before we start drilling in the Marcellus Shale, we should first set regulations that will allow us to extract the gas in an environmentally safe way, provide protections for our water supply and establish landowner’s rights.
Natalie Tennant –
Responsible development of our natural resources will allow West Virginia to create thousands of new jobs and strategic investment in education, research and technology. We must, however, ensure we protect our environment, our roads and our communities. We must also ensure companies hire West Virginians for West Virginia work.
Rick Thompson –
Yes, and that’s why I proposed a special session to deal with the issue. Producers need a process that is understandable, attainable and reasonable. Communities need to be assured that their groundwater and infrastructure are protected and surface owners need assurance their rights are protected.
Earl Ray Tomblin –
Yes. The Marcellus Shale presents an enormous economic opportunity, and I support drilling in a responsible and reasonable manner. I proposed additional funding for inspectors to ensure compliance with regulations, and I will continue pushing the Legislature to provide that money and adopt reasonable regulations.