American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2018 - 103

complying," he notes.
HB 4270 requires operators and producers to relay information, including
contact information of the producer of
the oil or natural gas, price received per
unit of oil or natural gas and gross value
of the total proceeds from the oil or natural
gas to royalty owners, the state legislative
website says. During debate in the Senate
Judiciary Committee, the bill was amended
to require the West Virginia Department
of Environmental Protection to post the
information it collects on its website in
an agreed-on amount of time, instead of
a specific time frame. The amendment
passed unanimously.
"You would think the session was
quiet, but those three pieces of legislation
kept the association busy," Burd describes.
A Matter Of Timing
Not all of the legislation favored by
industry made it to the governor's desk,
Burd notes. HB 4563, sponsored by delegates Roger Hanshaw, R-Wallback, and
Timothy Miley, D-Bridgeport, would have
increased the marginal well exemption
from 5 Mcf a day to 15 Mcf/d on natural
gas wells, and 0.5 barrels a day to 2.5
bbl/d on low-volume oil wells. A slightly
amended version passed the House but
failed to advance, he says.
IOGAWV maneuvered to sidetrack

the bill, Burd says, pointing to the state
having to deal with public education finances this session. Legislators were considering increasing severance taxes to
cover teacher salaries and escalating PEIA
costs. "IOGAWV decided that because
of the optics, having a bill that would
have reduced severance taxes on some
wells was not a fight worth pursuing this
year," he says.
"The association will bring HB 4563
back in 2019," he adds. "The bill's purpose
was not only to reduce severance taxes;
it was to keep wells in service in areas of
the state that have not seen drilling activity
in several years, and which could be in
need of an influx of natural gas to keep
distribution systems pressurized."
Legislators approved a $4.5 billion
state budget without significant debate,
Burd says. He points out the governor
and legislative leaders are convinced West
Virginia has balanced its revenues and
expenses.
"Some question the accuracy of the
revenue numbers, but the budget was not
a problem this year. The budget included
the teachers' 5 percent pay increase, and
also some concessions on increases for
the PEIA insurance program for teachers,"
he says. "Everyone walked away with a
little something, and no one walked away
empty-handed. It was a good session." r

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Georgia's Legislators Approve
Hydraulic Fracture Regulations
ATLANTA-Georgia legislators have
passed a bill establishing a regulatory
regime for hydraulic fracturing and sent
it to Governor Nathan Deal. If he signs
it, or doesn't veto it within 40 days of the
session's March 29 adjournment, it becomes effective on July 1.
According to the state legislative website, HB 205, introduced by House Rules
Committee chairman John Meadows, RCalhoun, amends the mining and drilling
portion of the Official Code of Georgia
Annotated to:
* Require promulgating regulations
related to drilling and extraction;
* Amend provisions relating to drilling
permits;
* Increase the amount of bond security
for drilling operations;
* Impose severance taxes on extracted
oil and gas; and
* Provide authority to create a state
oil and gas board, under certain circumstances.
The U.S. Energy Information Ad-

ministration points out that as of May
2017, there were no reported oil or
natural gas reserves in Georgia, but
media reports indicate HB 205 was written in response to interest in gas drilling
in the northwest counties of the state
from the Conasauga Shale.
"Northwest Georgia-I won't say we
are abundant in water, but we have a lot
of wonderful sources of water. The intent
of this bill is to protect those water
sources," Meadows is quoted. News reports
indicate landowners in those counties
have been approached about their mineral
rights during the past decade.
One provision of HB 205 requires
companies planning fracturing activities
to provide public notice as part of the
permit process, while another section
mandates a 30-day public comment period
before the state can issue a permit. Operators would be required to provide information on well location as well as the
origin of the water needed to fracture the
well, identify adjacent groundwater

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APRIL 2018 103


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American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2018

Contents
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