Morgantown city officials have tried to ban any drilling inside municipal limits or within a mile of those boundaries after being caught off guard by a drilling operation just upstream from their public water intake. Currently, DEP does not require any public notice for drilling permits.
The final executive order signed by Tomblin requires DEP to establish public notice procedures for drilling permits within municipal borders, but drops the language about permits within a mile of those boundaries.
Also, the draft executive order would have required DEP's rules to mandate that erosion control and well-site construction plans be built "under the supervision of" a registered professional engineer, language that would have forced engineers to be present on site for at least part of the work.
The final order, though, requires only that DEP rules mandate that erosion control and construction work be performed "in accordance with plans certified" by a registered professional engineer.
Media outlets that were given the earlier, embargoed draft of the executive order were given an updated version, in some cases just an hour before Tomblin's scheduled press conference.
Earlier this week, the governor's office refused to release copies of its correspondence with oil and gas industry lobby groups and individual companies. The administration argues that industry officials were asked to act as "consultants or experts" and that any recommendations or opinions provided to the governor's office would therefore be exempt from public release.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.