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§22-21-3. Application of article; exclusions; application of chapter twenty-two-b to coalbed methane wells.

(a) The provisions of this article apply to: (1) All lands in this state under which a coalbed is located, including any lands owned or administered by the state or any agency or subdivision thereof; and (2) any coalbed methane well.

(b) This article does not apply to or affect: (1) Any well otherwise permitted, approved or regulated under articles six, seven, eight, nine or ten of this chapter or article eight, chapter twenty-two-c of this code; (2) any ventilation fan, vent hole, mining apparatus, or other facility utilized solely for the purpose of venting any mine or mine area; or (3) the ventilation of any mine or mine area or degasification of any coal seam for the mining of coal.

(c) This article does not apply to or affect subsurface boreholes drilled from the mine face of an underground mine, except that the provisions of sections fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen and nineteen shall apply.

(d) To the extent that coalbed methane wells are similar to wells, as defined in section one, article six of this chapter, and the production of coalbed methane is similar to the production of natural gas, coalbed methane wells shall be treated as wells and coalbed methane treated as natural gas and subject to the following sections of article six of this chapter:

(1) The provisions of section three pertaining to the findings and orders of inspectors concerning violations, determination of reasonable time for abatement, extensions of time for abatement, special inspections, notice of findings and orders;

(2) The provisions of section four providing for the review of findings and orders by the chief, special inspection, annulment, revision of order and notice;

(3) The provisions of section five providing for the requirements of findings, orders and notices; posting of findings and orders; and judicial review of final orders of the chief;

(4) The provisions of section twenty-one providing for protective devices--installation of freshwater casings;

(5) The provisions of section twenty-two providing for a well log to be filed, contents, and authority to promulgate regulations. In addition to the requirements of such section, the operator shall certify that the well was drilled and completed as shown on the well plat required for a coalbed methane well, or in the alternative, file a revised well plat showing the actual location of the well and the coal seams in which the well is completed for production. Such log and certificate shall be served on all coal owners and operators who must be named in the permit application under section six of this article;

(6) The provisions of section twenty-eight providing for supervision by the chief over drilling and reclamation operations, complaints, hearings and appeals;

(7) The provisions of section twenty-nine providing for special reclamation funds and fees;

(8) The provisions of section thirty providing for reclamation requirements;

(9) The provisions of section thirty-one providing for preventing waste of gas, plan of operation required for wasting gas in process of producing oil and rejection thereof;

(10) The provisions of section thirty-two providing for the right of adjacent owner or operator to prevent waste of gas and recovery of costs;

(11) The provisions of section thirty-three providing for restraining waste;

(12) The provisions of section thirty-four providing for offenses and penalties;

(13) The provisions of section thirty-five providing for civil action for contamination or deprivation of freshwater source or supply and presumption;

(14) The provisions of section thirty-six providing for declaration of notice by owners and lessees of coal seams and setting out the form of such declaration; and

(15) The provisions of section thirty-nine providing for injunctive relief.

In addition to the foregoing and subject to the same qualifications, the provisions of article ten of this chapter shall apply to coalbed methane wells. Any well which is abandoned or presumed to be abandoned under the provisions of this article shall be treated as an abandoned well under said article ten. In addition, the provisions of article seven of this chapter shall apply to permits issued pursuant to this article.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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