The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working on a set of draft rules that would require natural gas producers to submit comprehensive water management plans when they apply to drill horizontal wells in the Marcellus Shale.
A 100-page draft of the legislation, which still is incomplete, would require producers to identify when, where and how much water they withdraw for drilling operations. In addition the proposed rules would require producers to inform DEP of the hydraulic fracturing chemicals used, the amount of wastewater produced and where the waste would be disposed.
"It's very rare that we release proposed legislation in such a rough and raw format, but we didn't want there to be an appearance of secrecy or lack of access," DEP Secretary Randy Huffman told the Associated Press (AP), which obtained a rough draft of the rules.
A more complete and polished draft is scheduled to be issued in mid-December, a DEP spokesman told NGI's Shale Daily. DEP staff and a nine-member task force appointed by Huffman continue to review the legislation, which followed public hearings and some private meetings held last summer with stakeholders.
Still to be completed by DEP staff are proposals on well spacing, noise control, road protection, bonding requirements and split estate issues. In addition the costs for permits to drill is being formulated.
Fees for horizontal drilling permits for deep drilling in the Marcellus Shale are expected to be "significantly higher" than conventional shallow well permits, Huffman told AP.