§64-3-4. Directing further study of 35CSR3.
(a) Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Oil and Gas's Legislative Rule 35CSR3, [Coalbed Methane Wells] authorized pursuant to section one of this article, addresses the new technology of horizontal drilling of coalbed methane, the process of drilling along coal seams to increase production of a single coalbed methane well. However, the Legislature finds, because of the newness of the technology and drilling methods, further review and study is required to consider and address any potential adverse environmental impacts from coalbed methane wells. The Office of Oil and Gas is directed to conduct a study of this new process as follows:

(1) Conduct an analysis of literature and seek input from experts in hydrology, geology and engineering, to develop a thorough understanding of coalbed methane drilling, how the drilling is physically done, the type of equipment utilized, fluids used or encountered, and pressures induced or encountered in the drilling process;

(2) Review the regulatory scheme of other states in the Appalachian basin to determine if innovative regulatory approaches would be instructive and should be incorporated into West Virginia's regulatory scheme;

(3) Review the potential effect of drilling coalbed methane wells in areas where abandoned or active gas or oil wells are located; and

(4) Assess whether special requirements should be adopted providing protections for groundwater and water wells, to prevent contamination and other adverse impacts.

(b) The Office of Oil and Gas shall call upon other divisions of the Department of Environmental Protection as needed to assist in this review, and report to the Legislature by the first of January, two thousand seven, and propose further legislative rule amendments to the rule as are necessary and appropriate.