Introduced Version House Bill 2990 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

WEST virginia Legislature

2017 regular session


House Bill 2990

By Delegates Sypolt, Ward, Paynter and Lewis

[Introduced March 14, 2017; Referred
to the Committee on Energy then the Judiciary]

A BILL to amend and reenact §22-6A-12 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §22-6A-12a, all relating to requiring continuous monitoring of air, noise, dust and particulates; requiring the operator to undertake the best available control technology if standards for air, noise, dust or particulates are exceeded; and changing the set back from horizontal well work activity to a residence to fifteen hundred feet from the limit of well work disturbance.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §22-6A-12 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §22-6A-12a, all to read as follows:


§22-6A-12. Well location restrictions.

(a) Wells may not be drilled within two hundred fifty feet measured horizontally from any existing water well or developed spring used for human or domestic animal consumption. The center of well pads may not be located within  The limit of disturbance of a well site may not be closer than fifteen hundred six hundred twenty-five feet of an occupied dwelling structure, or a building two thousand five hundred square feet or larger used to house or shelter dairy cattle or poultry husbandry unless in the operators permit application an estimate certified by a registered professional engineer provides that the well work activity will avoid exceeding limits for specified parameters set out in section twelve-a of this article. This limitation is applicable to those wells, developed springs, dwellings or agricultural buildings that existed on the date a notice to the surface owner of planned entry for surveying or staking as provided in section ten of this article or a notice of intent to drill a horizontal well as provided in subsection (b), section sixteen of this article was provided, whichever occurs first, and to any dwelling under construction prior to that date.  This limitation may be waived by written consent of the surface owner transmitted to the department and recorded in the real property records maintained by the clerk of the county commission for the county in which such property is located. Furthermore, the well operator may be granted a variance by the secretary from these distance restrictions upon submission of a plan which identifies the sufficient measures, facilities or practices to be employed during well site construction, drilling and operations.  The variance, if granted, shall include terms and conditions the department requires to ensure the safety and protection of affected persons and property.  The terms and conditions may include insurance, bonding and indemnification, as well as technical requirements.

(b) No well pad may be prepared or well drilled within one hundred feet measured horizontally from any perennial stream, natural or artificial lake, pond or reservoir, or a wetland, or within three hundred feet of a naturally reproducing trout stream. No wellpad may be located within one thousand feet of a surface or ground water intake of a public water supply. The distance from the public water supply as identified by the department shall be measured as follows:

(1) For a surface water intake on a lake or reservoir, the distance shall be measured from the boundary of the lake or reservoir.

(2) For a surface water intake on a flowing stream, the distance shall be measured from a semicircular radius extending upstream of the surface water intake.

(3) For a groundwater source, the distance shall be measured from the wellhead or spring. The department may, in its discretion, waive these distance restrictions upon submission of a plan identifying sufficient measures, facilities or practices to be employed during well site construction, drilling and operations to protect the waters of the state. A waiver, if granted, shall impose any permit conditions as the secretary considers necessary.

(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, nothing contained in this section prevents an operator from conducting the activities permitted or authorized by a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit or other approval from the United States Army Corps of Engineers within any waters of the state or within the restricted areas referenced in this section.

(d) The well location restrictions set forth in this section shall not apply to any well on a multiple well pad if at least one of the wells was permitted or has an application pending prior to the effective date of this article.

(e) The secretary shall, by December 31, 2012, report to the Legislature on the noise, light, dust and volatile organic compounds generated by the drilling of horizontal wells as they relate to the well location restrictions regarding occupied dwelling structures pursuant to this section. Upon a finding, if any, by the secretary that the well location restrictions regarding occupied dwelling structures are inadequate or otherwise require alteration to address the items examined in the study required by this subsection, the secretary shall have the authority to propose for promulgation legislative rules establishing guidelines and procedures regarding reasonable levels of noise, light, dust and volatile organic compounds relating to drilling horizontal wells, including reasonable means of mitigating such factors, if necessary.

§22-6A-12a. Air, noise, light, dust.

(a) This section does not apply to or affect any well work permitted for a horizontal well prior to the enactment of this section, or to permit applications pending prior to the effective date of this section: Provided, That if actual monitoring of a residence near a well to which this section is otherwise inapplicable shows that parameters of this section are exceeded, the secretary shall require the implementation of technologies up to the maximum available control technology so that the parameters do not continue to be exceeded.

(b) At each site, the operator shall set up continuous real-time monitoring of air, noise, light and dust and particulates at the residence or other point or points of impact that are closest or most likely to be impacted by the well work, including traffic associated with the site. The operator shall continuously monitor those parameters in real time. If the monitored levels exceed any of the required parameters as determined by continuous process control analysis more than five percent of the time during any running twenty-four hour averaging period, the operator shall implement the maximum available control technology available to limit the levels.  The monitored levels need to be continuously available by wireless or other transmission to those persons or entities within fifteen hundred feet of the limit of disturbance who request it. When levels exceed parameters, alerts shall be sent to those persons or entities. The data shall be available to the public for study.  Unless altered by legislative rule, the parameters shall be:

(1) For noise during site construction, 70 dBA average an hour.

(2) For noise at all other times, 55 dBA at any time.

(3) For dust, the national ambient air quality standard level for a twenty-four hour period and no visible dust on residences or crops.

(4) For air, the Minimal Risk Levels for chronic (365 days or more) exposure of organic compounds set by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

(c) No light from artificial illumination, flares or other sources shall shine directly on any residence or livestock or structure containing livestock.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section if, after completion of well work, production or production facilities cause a violation of the standards set out in subsection (b) at a residence, then the operator shall implement the maximum available control technology available to limit the levels that violate the standards.


NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to implement the recommendations arising out of the studies required by the passage of sections twelve, twenty-two and twenty-three of the Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act passed by the Legislature December 14, 2011. 

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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