MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A coalition of mineral and property owners and environmental advocates is asking Gov. Jim Justice to add a bill providing funding for more oil and gas well inspectors to the special session call planned for the last week of April.
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas has only nine inspectors for 75,000 wells, said West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization co-founder David McMahon during a Tuesday Zoom press conference. That’s just one inspector for every 8,000 wells.
He once again sited a Princeton and McGill universities study of 79 active conventional wells in 13 West Virginia counties that showed 53% were leaking methane. Those leaks deprive the royalty owners and the producers of revenue, he said, and put more greenhouse gas into the air.
OOG had 18 inspectors at the time of that study, McMahon said, and that wasn’t enough. Gov. Jim Justice trimmed the OOG budget in Fiscal Years 2021 and 2022, necessitating the halving of the already short staff…