§5B-2H-2. Legislative findings; declaration of public policy.

     (a) The Legislature finds that:

     (1) The advent and advancement of new and existing technologies and drilling practices have created the opportunity for the efficient development of natural gas contained in underground shales and other geological formations.

     (2) With development of the Marcellus shale comes the opportunity for economic development in related areas of the economy including, but not limited to, manufacturing, transmission of natural gas and related products and the transportation of manufactured products.

     (3) It is in the interest of national security to encourage post-production uses of natural gas and its various components as a replacement for oil imported from other countries.

     (4) Producers of natural gas, transporters of natural gas and manufacturers of products using natural gas face a significant number of regulatory requirements, some of which may be redundant, inconsistent, or overlapping. Agencies should work together, where practical, to avoid duplication, promote better coordination and reduce these requirements, thus reducing costs, simplifying and harmonizing rules and streamlining regulatory oversight.

     (5) In developing regulatory actions and identifying appropriate approaches, agencies should attempt to promote coordination, simplification, and harmonization.

     (6) Agencies should also seek to identify, as appropriate, means to achieve regulatory goals that are designed to promote innovation.

     (7) Agencies should review their existing significant legislative, interpretive and procedural rules to determine whether any such rules should be modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed so as to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.

     (8) The West Virginia Economic Development Authority established in article fifteen, chapter thirty-one of this code and the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council created in article fifteen-a, chapter thirty-one of this code, should, where appropriate, provide assistance that grows or sustains this segment of the economy.

     (b) The Legislature declares that facilitating the development of business activity directly and indirectly related to development of the Marcellus shale serves the public interest of the citizens of this state by promoting economic development and improving economic opportunities for the citizens of this state.