He urged his fellow legislators to increase the bonds companies post before they begin drilling to guarantee the state will have enough money "to fix the land if they abandon it. We need a single well bond for every well in West Virginia."
Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, said support from Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee "was critical" to strong legislation her committee approved earlier this year.
"It is ridiculous that we only have 15 [Division of Environmental Protection] inspectors for thousands of wells today," she said. "The only logical thing we can do is have a moratorium."
Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, did not attend the rally, but said, "We support reasonable regulations that provide certainty for the industry so we can move forward and produce the natural gas using horizontal drilling and hydrofracking, which is paramount to being able to drill in these shale formations."
Gas producers have drilled vertically through Marcellus Shale deposits for years, DeMarco said, but have been unable to produce enough gas to market.
He also said chemical additives put into water injected into the underground wells are similar to chemical additives found in cleaning products under home kitchen sinks.
"This formation is probably 300 million years old," he said. "In order to be able to produce gas from these formations, you will have to put some additives in there."
The Sierra Club believes a wide variety of regulations should be enacted, including:
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-3348-5164.