West Virginia and fracking
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This map shows the number of Marcellus Shale permits granted by county in West Virginia from 2006 - 2011.
Environmental and health impacts
In February 2011, the NY Times reported that a never-released study by the EPA and a confidential study by the drilling industry concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways, yet federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity. In West Virginia, a plant in Wheeling discharged gas-drilling wastewater into the Ohio River. Pennsylvania has sent some of its fracking waste to West Virginia for disposal.
The Times also reported that "a 1987 report to Congress by the Environmental Protection Agency that deals with waste from the exploration, development and production of oil, natural gas and geothermal energy ... states that hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, can cause groundwater contamination. It cites as an example a case in which hydraulic fracturing fluids contaminated a water well in West Virginia. The report also describes the difficulties that sealed court settlements created for investigators." The report concluded that hydraulic fracturing fluids or gel used by Kaiser Exploration and Mining Company contaminated a well roughly 600 feet away on the property of James Parsons in Jackson County, West Virginia. The report contradicts prior statements by the oil and gas industry that there had never been a documented case of contamination, helping the industry avoid federal regulations.
In April 2013 a judge recognized that a company could be trespassing on one's property by hydraulic fracturing. In West Virginia, U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey denied a motion summary judgment filed by oil and gas producer defendants Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, Statoil USA Onshore Properties, Inc. and Jamestown Resources, Inc. It was reported that in the case, "Chesapeake Appalachia drilled a horizontal Marcellus Shale well with a vertical well bore within 200 feet of the plaintiffs’ property and a horizontal well bore within “tens of feet” of the plaintiffs’ property. Although Chesapeake Appalachia maintains a lease for the oil and gas underlying the plaintiffs’ property, plaintiffs’ lease does not authorize pooling or unitization of the Marcellus formation."<.ref>"West Virginia judge recognizes trespass by hydraulic fracturing" ACC, April 23, 2013.</ref>
Legislative issues and regulations
On March 1, 2012, the Department of Justice said it was investigating possible environmental violations by Chesapeake Energy at three of its well sites in West Virginia, including possibile criminal violations and other liabilities under the Clean Water Act. Penalties under the Clean Water Act could be as high as $37,500 per day, per violation, Chesapeake said. Criminal penalties could range from $2,500 to $25,000 per day, per misdemeanor, and between $5,000 and $50,000 per day for a felony.
Also, Chesapeake's March 1, 2012 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection had issued orders for compliance related to alleged violations of the state's Dam Control and Safety Act at four structures constructed for Chesapeake.
- West Virginia Citizen Action Group
- West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization
- Wetzel County Action Group
- Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
- Liberty and Justice West Virginia
- West Virginia Rivers Coalition
2012 study compares West Virginia vs Wyoming coal and gas tax rate
The 2012 West Virginia Center for Budget Policy report, "Major Tax Responsibilities of Coal and Natural Gas Producers in Wyoming and West Virginia," compared the coal and natural gas state tax policies of Wyoming and West Virginia in 2008 and found that:
- Wyoming collected approximately $2.1 billion in taxes from coal and natural gas producers, compared to $787 million in West Virginia.
- Wyoming’s average effective tax rate on coal producers was 10.6 percent, compared to 6.5 percent in West Virginia.
- The average effective tax rate on natural gas producers was 10.2 percent in Wyoming and 8.2 percent in West Virginia.
- The average property tax rate for coal and natural producers in Wyoming was 4.8 percent for each industry, while the average property tax rate for natural gas was three percent and one percent for coal in West Virginia.
- If West Virginia replaced its real and personal property tax scheme with Wyoming’s county gross production tax, it would have raised an additional $115 million in 2008.
- ↑ Ian Urbina, "Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers," NY Times, February 26, 2011.
- ↑ Ian Urbina, "A Tainted Water Well, and Concern There May Be More," NY Times, Aug. 3, 2011.
- ↑ "Chesapeake Energy facing DOJ investigation," AP, March 1, 2012.
Related SourceWatch articles
Click on the map below for state-by-state information on fracking:
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