H. B. 4511
(By Delegates Cann, M. Poling, Varner, Miley, Pethtel,
Ferns, Perry, Shaver, Barill, Skaff and Stowers)
(Originating in the Committee on Finance)
[February 23, 2012]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18B-12B-1, §18B-12B-2, §18B-12B-3, §18B-12B-4 and §18B-12B-5, all relating to the creation of the Shale Research, Education, Policy and Economic Development Center at West Virginia University.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §18B-12B-1, §18B-12B-2, §18B-12B-3, §18B-12B-4 and §18B-12B-5, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 12B. SHALE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, POLICY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CENTER AT WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY.
§18B-12B-1. Legislative findings and purpose.
(a) Findings. – The Legislature makes the following findings:
(1) Advancements in technology have resulted in the efficient development of abundant natural gas and oil resources contained in underground shales and other geologic formations in the State of West Virginia. These resources have the potential to generate jobs, stimulate economic activity, ensure energy security, reduce carbon and other emissions and provide significant revenues to the State of West Virginia;
(2) Development of the Shale Research, Education, Policy and Economic Development Center at West Virginia University is in furtherance of the university’s land grant status and allows the State of West Virginia to focus on the prudent development and regulation of natural gas and liquid hydrocarbon from the shale resources in West Virginia and throughout the world; and
(3) The center will provide an opportunity for West Virginia University to partner with industry and government bodies in the State of West Virginia, nationally and internationally to explore opportunities and engage in scientific research and development of shale resources.
(b) Purpose. – The purposes of this article are as follows:
(1) To create a center capable of pursuing independent, objective, research-driven analysis to achieve the following:
(A) Improve the efficient development of shale resources;
(B) Generate and document best practices covering environmental, safety, business and health practices;
(C) Advance environmental performance by garnering industry and regulatory commitment;
(D) Improve transparency of the data and process, and develop effective outreach to and engagement of affected communities;
(E) Protect the environment of the State of West Virginia and beyond by minimizing methane, carbon dioxide and any other potential emissions; and
(F) Structure legal frameworks and policies to promote prudent development of and access to the state’s resources; and
(2) To create a center with a flexible structure to accommodate the needs of the state, West Virginia University and its partners in government and industry, which will be achieved through:
(A) Investment by federal and private sources in strategic research;
(B) Focused, cofunded, research and development programs sponsored by West Virginia University, the federal government, industry and other private partners;
(C) Industry-funded applied research; and
(D) Specialized services for government and industry partners.
§18B-12B-2. Shale Research, Education, Policy and Economic Development Center at West Virginia University created.
(a) There is created the Shale Research, Education, Policy and Economic Development Center at West Virginia University, under the direction and authority of the West Virginia University Board of Governors.
(b) West Virginia University shall use its research capabilities to advance the purposes of the center established in section one of this article, which capabilities include, but are not limited to:
(1) Technologies for efficient resource assessment and efficient extraction, such as various improvements to extraction technologies, earth imaging and other technologies to map, evaluate, and assess resources and understand geoprocesses; models to predict and manipulate multiphase fluid flow including gas, liquid hydrocarbons, and hydraulic fracture fluids; and water life cycle analysis from source through staging, use, wastewater recycling and treatment;
(2) Environmental and economic impacts, such as fuel cycle analysis; construction of state-wide baselines for water and air quality; control of emissions and fuel waste in all cycles of energy production and delivery; policy analysis to facilitate cost effective permitting, industry management, regulation and acceptance, improved gathering, storage, analysis, transparency, and access of energy data to serve government, industry, and the public; and
(3) Human dimensions, such as workforce development via K-12 and college programming specializing in energy and environment fields; analysis of public health risks and promotion of best practices to protect public health and work-place health and safety; transparent and effective communication strategies to establish shared understandings of expectations and awareness of issues and facts; assisting state agencies including the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia State Tax Division, the West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey and the Legislature to develop a transparent, efficient, and effective environment to manage the state’s oil and natural gas resources for the benefit of all the state’s citizens, thus ensuring that development of these resources is tracked and followed accurately and further ensuring that appropriate revenue streams are captured by the state and that royalties to mineral lessors are appropriately protected; development of best business practices in aid and assistance of developing a robust and prudently positioned industry in the state and tracking and analyzing the economic impact and effect of the industry upon the state.
As used in this article:
(1) “Board” means the West Virginia University Board of Governors.
(2) “Center” means the Shale Research, Education, Policy and Economic Development Center at West Virginia University.
§18B-12B-4. Powers and duties.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, the board shall operate the center to further the purposes set forth in section one of this article, with powers and duties including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) Acquiring by purchase, lease, gift or otherwise, real property and appropriate industrial operations equipment;
(2) Constructing, expanding, remodeling, altering or equipping buildings as necessary;
(3) Executing contracts with any private entity;
(4) Providing for the equipment, expenses, personnel, operation and maintenance of any facility of an agency or institution used for the purposes of this article;
(5) Employing personnel; and
(6) Cooperating with other agencies of the state, county and federal governments.
(b) Expenditures by the center from sources other than private funding or federal funding are not authorized.
The board may promulgate rules in accordance with section six, article one of this chapter to implement the provisions and purposes of this article.