Will Marcellus Shale Drilling Come to a “Grinding Halt” in West Virginia?

MDN is not sure how much sway the editorial pages of local newspapers hold when it comes to policy-making in state government (we suspect not much). But it is noteworthy that the Register-Herald (Beckley, West Virginia) is urging a moratorium on any new Marcellus Shale drilling in the state until the legislature can reconvene in special session and pass laws addressing concerns over Marcellus drilling in the state.

The WV legislature recently ended their regular session without passing new regulations for Marcellus drilling, which prompted acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to instruct the state DEP to regulate drilling on their own (see here). The Register-Herald doesn’t like that idea and wants to see the legislature take another crack at passing new laws:

Emotions boiled over, finger-pointing was taking place over the failure to act and criticism has been leveled against many.

They’ve all had some time to cool off by now, so it is essential that they channel their collective energy into coming up with a workable solution.

And while they are doing that, Marcellus drilling needs to come to a grinding halt.

The gas is going to be there to extract whether its now or 10 years from now. Besides that, natural gas prices are down right now, so the timing couldn’t be any better for a moratorium.*

Will there be a moratorium in WV? MDN doubts it. But if the chorus grows louder in calling for action or a moratorium, it’s a safe bet there will be a special session and new legislation will pass in the not-too-distant future.

*Register-Herald (Mar 17, 2011) – Moratorium: West Virginia’s leaders should have no other choice on Marcellus