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WEST VIRGINIA CODE

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CHAPTER 22. ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES.

ARTICLE 10. ABANDONED WELL ACT.

§22-10-6. Establishment of priorities for plugging expenditures.

(a) The director shall promulgate legislative rules establishing a priority system by which available funds from the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund, established pursuant to §22-6-29 of this code, will be expended to plug abandoned wells. The rules shall, at a minimum, establish three primary classifications to be as follows:

(1) Wells which are an immediate threat to the environment or which may hinder or impede the development of mineral resources of this state so as to require immediate plugging;

(2) Wells which are not an immediate threat to the environment or which do not hinder or impede the development of mineral resources of this state, but which should be plugged consistent with available resources; and

(3) Wells which are not a threat to the environment and which do not hinder or impede the development of mineral resources of this state and for which plugging may be deferred for an indefinite period.

(b) The classifications shall, among other things, take into consideration the following factors, as appropriate:

(1) The age of the well;

(2) The length of time the well has been abandoned;

(3) The casing remaining in the well;

(4) The presence of any leaks either at the surface or underground;

(5) The possibility or existence of groundwater contamination;

(6) Whether the well is located in an area to be developed for enhanced recovery;

(7) Whether the well hinders or impedes mineral development; and

(8) Whether the well is located in close proximity to population.

(c) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, the bond posted for the well shall first be used to plug the well and mitigate environmental issues related to oil and gas development on the land where the well is located if:

(1) The bond is forfeited as a result of failure to plug the abandoned well, repair the well that is causing immediate threat to the environment, or which hinders or impedes the development of mineral resources of this state; or

(2) The well operator was cited for and then failed to correct an immediate threat to the environment or hinderance or impediment to the development of mineral resources of this state; or

(3) The operator failed to reclaim the surface disturbance causing immediate threat to the environment or which hinders or impedes the development of mineral resources of this state.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2020 Regular Session
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