COALBED METHANE BILL TO BE AMENDED TO ADD SAFEGUARDS Posted: February 26, 2004
HB 577, a bill establishing a regulatory framework for permitting the drilling of wells to recover methane gas from coal beds, will be amended to include public and environmental safeguards sought by KRC and other groups. After presenting testimony before the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee concerning the bill, KRC met with representatives of the coal, oil and gas industries for several hours, culminating in a consensus on amendments the bill to include these new safeguards:
* Notice to surface landowners and adjoining landowners of an application for a permit to drill or rework a coalbed methane well;
* Submittal of a reclamation plan in all cases, rather than just where there was a severance of the coal rights from surface rights;
* A requirement for notification of state and federal agencies when an application is filed, and provision for coordination of permit reviews to the extent possible; and
* A requirement for submittal of a groundwater protection plan where the proposed well is within 1/2 mile of any water well used for domestic or residential purposes.
The amendments will be folded into a new committee substitute and should be acted on by the House within a week.