Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant today approved the filing of a Department of Environmental Protection emergency rule temporarily regulating Marcellus shale natural gas extraction.
The approved emergency rule can be seen here
on the Secretary of State’s website.
Under West Virginia code, Tennant could have taken up to 42 days to approve or deny the filing. However, Tennant signed the emergency rule less than a week after it was filed with her office, believing there could be no further delay in specific regulation or delay in the opportunity to responsibly develop the industry and improve West Virginia’s economy.
Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant signs the DEP
emergency Marcellus shale rule. Joining Tennant is
Judy Cooper, the Administrative Law Division
Before approving an emergency rule the Secretary of State must determine if an emergency exists, if the agency submitting the rule has authority over the subject matter, and that the public interest is affected.
“The regulation that existed prior to the filing of this temporary rule legally justified the filing of an emergency rule,” Tennant said. “I recognize there will be differing opinions about this rule, but I remind all those concerned that I can legally only approve the filing of the emergency rule or leave the process regulated in its current manner.
“I am disappointed this matter took so long to resolve. This is a huge development opportunity that would diversify West Virginia’s economy that has to be done promptly and responsibly.”
Secretary Tennant pointed out that the DEP intends to file a proposed permanent rule on September 8, 2011. All concerned parties will be provided an opportunity to file comments with the DEP before it may adopt an agency approved rule.
“The DEP has to file those public comments and the agency’s response with my office when the agency approved rule is filed after the 30 day comment period. Those comments and responses will be provided on the Secretary of State’s website once they are filed with us,” Tennant said.
Emergency rules expire 15 months from the date of approval by the Secretary of State. If the legislature does not approve a permanent rule within 15 months there will be no rules specifically designed for Marcellus shale development.
After signing the DEP emergency rule, Secretary Tennant urged lawmakers to act quickly and not allow West Virginia to lose an opportunity for economic growth.