"We requested to meet twice during this special session. They're not available,'' Manchin said, referring to the follow-up redistricting session that ended Sunday. "We requested that we meet three times during September interims. I've been told that they're willing to meet twice.''
Manchin said the committee has around 13 proposed changes to the draft bill left to consider.
"You have to have time to work those amendments,'' he said. "I can't get anywhere without meeting time.''
Manchin's Senate counterpart, Co-Chairman Doug Facemire, said the two September meetings might be enough to finish the draft bill. But he also believes the emergency rules will provide some breathing room just in case.
"Quite honestly, if we don't have anything done before October, you're only two months before the regular session starts. I don't know that it would be wise after that to have a special session just for Marcellus,'' said Facemire, D-Braxton.
Facemire also noted that while he and other senators on the committee generally support the amendments approved so far, the panel must still find sufficient approval for a final draft among both chambers. The Legislature failed to pass a regulatory bill during the year's regular session, after a Senate-passed measure was amended and then idled in the House.
"I hope the people aren't thinking that this will be the last piece of legislation governing Marcellus, because it won't be,'' Facemire said, explaining that "as this industry evolves, we need to be able to evolve with it.''Online:
Marcellus draft bill, abstract and summary: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/index.cfm
Lawrence Messina covers the statehouse for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://twitter.com/lmessina