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Emergency Marcellus Shale gas well rules approved

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Emergency regulations for West Virginia's Marcellus Shale field are in effect.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant on Monday approved the temporary rule filed last week by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Tennant's duties include making sure that such rules are properly filed.

The massive Marcellus Shale formation stretches deep beneath several states. It's considered one of the world's richest natural gas reserves.

Among other topics, the emergency regulations require drillers to detail how they will protect area land, manage the large volumes of water involved, and respond to accidents.

It lasts 15 months. DEP will propose a permanent rule by Sept. 8, triggering a 30-day public comment period. Environmental and landowner groups say the rule has several shortcomings. A special legislative committee is attempting to draft more wide-ranging regulations.


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