DEP proposed the new drilling rules to implement the bill passed by lawmakers during last December's special session as an effort to respond to growing citizen concerns about the Marcellus Shale drilling boom.
But Beth Little, another Sierra Club representative, noted that a legislative committee's proposal for a bill was a compromise that was then further weakened by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
"There are many protections beyond what the Legislature gave us that we would like to see," Little said.
Julie Archer of the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization urged DEP to add language that would require inspectors to provide reports to citizens who file complaints about problems with drilling or production sites.
"We don't feel like this is too much to ask," Archer said. "It would give the public some confidence that DEP is actually taking some action in response to their concerns."
Dave McMahon, a lawyer who represents surface landowners in drilling cases, said DEP needs to make it easier for surface owners to understand their right to comment on permits proposed for drilling on their land.
McMahon held up a thick copy of the packet surface owners currently get to notify them of drilling proposals, and said that the part explaining their rights to comment doesn't show up until page 42.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.