(a) It is unlawful for any person to commence any well work, including site preparation work which involves any disturbance of land, without first securing from the director a well work permit. An application may propose and a permit may approve two or more activities defined as well work.
(b) The application for a well work permit shall be accompanied by applicable bond as prescribed by section twelve, fourteen or twenty-three of this article, and the applicable plat required by section twelve or fourteen of this article.
(c) Every permit application filed under this section shall be verified and shall contain the following:
(1) The names and addresses of (i) the well operator, (ii) the agent required to be designated under subsection (e) of this section, and (iii) every person whom the applicant must notify under any section of this article together with a certification and evidence that a copy of the application and all other required documentation has been delivered to all such persons;
(2) The name and address of every coal operator operating coal seams under the tract of land on which the well is or may be located, and the coal seam owner of record and lessee of record required to be given notice by section twelve, if any, if said owner or lessee is not yet operating said coal seams;
(3) The number of the well or such other identification as the director may require;
(4) The type of well;
(5) The well work for which a permit is requested;
(6) The approximate depth to which the well is to be drilled or deepened, or the actual depth if the well has been drilled;
(7) Any permit application fee required by law;
(8) If the proposed well work will require casing or tubing to be set, the entire casing program for the well, including the size of each string of pipe, the starting point and depth to which each string is to be set, and the extent to which each such string is to be cemented;
(9) If the proposed well work is to convert an oil well or a combination well or to drill a new well for the purpose of introducing pressure for the recovery of oil as provided in section twenty-five of this article, specifications in accordance with the data requirements of section fourteen of this article;
(10) If the proposed well work is to plug or replug the well, (i) specifications in accordance with the data requirements of section twenty-three of this article, (ii) a copy of all logs in the operator's possession as the director may require, and (iii) a work order showing in detail the proposed manner of plugging or unplugging the well, in order that a representative of the director and any interested persons may be present when the work is done. In the event of an application to drill, redrill or deepen a well, if the well work is unsuccessful so that the well must be plugged and abandoned, and if the well is one on which the well work has been continuously progressing pursuant to a permit, the operator may proceed to plug the well as soon as the operator has obtained the verbal permission of the director or the director's designated representative to plug and abandon the well, except that the operator shall make reasonable effort to notify as soon as practicable the surface owner and the coal owner, if any, of the land at the well location, and shall also timely file the plugging affidavit required by section twenty-three of this article;
(11) If the proposed well work is to stimulate an oil or gas well, specifications in accordance with the data requirements of section thirteen of this article;
(12) The erosion and sediment control plan required under subsection (d) of this section for applications for permits to drill; and
(13) Any other relevant information which the director may require by rule.
(d) An erosion and sediment control plan shall accompany each application for a well work permit except for a well work permit to plug or replug any well. Such plan shall contain methods of stabilization and drainage, including a map of the project area indicating the amount of acreage disturbed. The erosion and sediment control plan shall meet the minimum requirements of the West Virginia erosion and sediment control manual as adopted and from time to time amended by the division, in consultation with the several soil conservation districts pursuant to the control program established in this state through section 208 of the federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (33 U.S.C.1288). The erosion and sediment control plan shall become part of the terms and conditions of a well work permit, except for a well work permit to plug or replug any well, which is issued and the provisions of the plan shall be carried out where applicable in the operation. The erosion and sediment control plan shall set out the proposed method of reclamation which shall comply with the requirements of section thirty of this article.
(e) The well operator named in such application shall designate the name and address of an agent for such operator who shall be the attorney-in-fact for the operator and who shall be a resident of the state of West Virginia upon whom notices, orders or other communications issued pursuant to this article or article eleven, chapter twenty-two, may be served, and upon whom process may be served. Every well operator required to designate an agent under this section shall within five days after the termination of such designation notify the director of such termination and designate a new agent.
(f) The well owner or operator shall install the permit number as issued by the director in a legible and permanent manner to the well upon completion of any permitted work. The dimensions, specifications and manner of installation shall be in accordance with the rules of the director.
(g) The director may waive the requirements of this section and sections nine, ten and eleven of this article in any emergency situation, if the director deems such action necessary. In such case the director may issue an emergency permit which would be effective for not more than thirty days, but which would be subject to reissuance by the director.
(h) The director shall deny the issuance of a permit if the director determines that the applicant has committed a substantial violation of a previously issued permit, including the erosion and sediment control plan, or a substantial violation of one or more of the rules promulgated hereunder, and has failed to abate or seek review of the violation within the time prescribed by the director pursuant to the provisions of sections three and four of this article and the rules promulgated hereunder, which time may not be unreasonable: Provided, That in the event that the director does find that a substantial violation has occurred and that the operator has failed to abate or seek review of the violation in the time prescribed, the director may suspend the permit on which said violation exists, after which suspension the operator shall forthwith cease all well work being conducted under the permit: Provided, however, That the director may reinstate the permit without further notice, at which time the well work may be continued. The director shall make written findings of any such determination and may enforce the same in the circuit courts of this state and the operator may appeal such suspension pursuant to the provisions of section forty of this article. The director shall make a written finding of any such determination.
(i) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than twelve months, or both fined and imprisoned.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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