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Questions About West Virginia's Horizontal Well Act Remain

The West Virginia State Journal recently observed that the effect of the Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act, passed by the West Virginia Legislature in December 2011, remains unclear.  The Act provided a statutory and regulatory framework for natural gas producers, but significant questions remain regarding the true impact of the Act in West Virginia.  Although natural gas production and midstream services job opportunities have grown in West Virginia, some question whether West Virginians are filling newly created jobs.    The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has been critical of the Act’s treatment of damages to surface owners, as seen in Martin v. Hamblet (November 2012).  Consequently, it is likely that the West Virginia State Legislature will be forced to face further oil and gas issues in the 2013 sessions.