Acting W.V. Gov Orders Emergency Marcellus Rules

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia regulators will take the lead on regulating Marcellus shale natural gas drilling, while lawmakers prepare for a possible special session on the topic.

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced an executive order Tuesday that directs the Department of Environmental Protection to issue emergency rules.

Drilling this rich natural gas reserve can involve hydraulic fracturing. That's when drillers pump large amounts of water mixed with chemicals into wells to crack the shale and release the gas.

Tomblin wants drillers to detail this process, known as fracking. Large-scale wells will need water management plans. DEP must approve disposing of frackwater in public wastewater treatment plants.

Other rules cover well design, call for public notice before drilling within municipalities and require certified construction and sediment control plans in some cases.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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