The DEP Office of Oil and Gas (OOG) has been forced to severely reduce its staff due to budget shortfalls. Currently, OOG only has 10 inspectors overseeing approximately 75,000 wells and over 20,000 tanks across the state. That’s 1 inspector for every 7,500 wells.
The problem is that OOG is primarily funded through a one-time well work permit fee, though routine oversight and emergency response is needed beyond the initial drilling phase to help prevent environmental harms and threats to public safety.
HB 3110, coming up for a floor vote, begins to address this problem but still does not go far enough. It expects DEP to only be able to add another 10 inspectors, which still leaves WV far behind surrounding gas-producing states in its oversight capacity. Please contact members of the House and ask them to fully fund DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas.
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