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West Virginia DEP Adds Oil and Gas Inspectors

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has hired nine new oil and gas inspectors to handle increased natural gas drilling activity in the state.  DEP initiated the hiring search for additional inspectors after the state legislature passed the Horizontal Well Act in December 2011.  Since that time, DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas (OOG) has increased its total staff from 28 to 49.  According to a DEP spokeswoman, there are still two open inspector positions, and the OOG enforcement section will expand to 30 staff when these vacancies are filled.  The DEP spokeswoman said that the agency’s gas well permitting process slowed down during the hiring search, as DEP staff were temporarily diverted from the permitting process to interview prospective inspectors.