"No one's going to get everything they want. We feel this is a very middle-of-the-road bill," the Braxton County Democrat said. "If you talk to the oil and gas people, they're going to give you things they don't like about the bill."
Corky DeMarco of West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association complained that the industry has not had enough input as the House looks to revise the bill.
"At this late date, we have multiple issues, all of which may be resolved," DeMarco said Tuesday evening, after the House Judiciary Committee announced that it would not consider the bill that night. "But the clock's running out, and we don't have a lot of time."
Meanwhile, legislators are pushing ahead with proposals to give tax incentives to the gas industry.
"It would be a real shame if all they passed this session was tax breaks [for the industry] and didn't do anything to address the problems associated with it," said Julie Archer, lobbyist for the surface owners group and West Virginia Citizen Action Group.
Leslee McCarty of the West Virginia Environmental Council said she has similar concerns.
"What kind of a place do we live if we're going to give [the industry] tax breaks and we're not going to regulate them?" she said.
Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, said there is "a lot of political will" to follow through on the proposed Marcellus regulations.
"It may not be everything we want, but we definitely have to have a foundation to start building off of," he said. "We're somewhat behind right now in trying to address that industry, so waiting another year would be detrimental, I think, to our state's economy, and would open us up to exploitation from out-of-state corporations."
He added, "Coal's an excellent industry, but for years there wasn't reinvestment back into those communities [where coal is mined], and today we see the poverty and the depression. We can't make that mistake with natural gas."
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.