Slew of energy bills introduced in Legislature’s first two days - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Slew of energy bills introduced in Legislature’s first two days

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Industrious lawmakers introduced about 60 bills related to energy in the first two days of the 2013 regular West Virginia legislative session.

Fully 24 of them have to do with natural gas.

A bill introduced by Sen. Sam Cann, D-Harrison, takes another go at establishing a center for shale research at West Virginia University, and one introduced by Delegate Michael Ferro, D-Marshall, would divert a portion of oil and gas severance tax receipts to maintaining infrastructure in shale gas–producing counties.

The other 22 of those were introduced by Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor.

Manypenny's bills span issues of bonding, health effects, contamination of water and air, surface and mineral owner rights, zoning, injection-induced seismic activity, public availability of information about wells, well setbacks, landman credentials and more.

Sixteen of the bills address a broad range of coal-related issues.

Four introduced or supported by Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, relate primarily to safety. Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, introduced two bills that would ensure expeditious permitting and elevate the image of coal. Delegate Kevin Craig, D-Cabell, brought bills promoting drug-free mines and considering the penalty to be assessed on operators who fail to report mine accidents in a timely way. Manypenny was busy here, too, with bills regarding surface impoundments and underground injection of slurry.

The remaining 20 or so bills cover a range of other issues. Many would promote alternative and renewable sources of electricity, distributed generation and energy efficiency; some others would offer surface owners first refusal when underlying mineral rights become available and would closely monitor legal challenges to the energy-related extraction of natural resources in the state, submitting analysis of the cost of litigation to the governor and Legislature every 60 days.

Manypenny was active with this set of bills too, introducing or supporting nine of them; Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, had a hand in eight.