PART 1 | The NERO Awards (see below)
PART 2 | The HERO Awards (to come)
SUGGEST new Hero and Nero Awards and Citations
So, we were going to write a tut-tut screed about the West Virginia Legislature’s punt on regulation of Marcellus Shale drilling in the state, while at the same time passing tax breaks for the industry – too little time for such complex regulations, said acting-governor Earl Ray Tomblin. (While one commentator to a Gazette blog notes: ‘There was no problem in the legislature passing the tax break for drillers, but the passing of any laws protecting the rights of citizens was too complicated??!!”)
Yet other of my colleagues do that thing better than I ever could. But then after saying there was just too little time to get regulation underway for this new era in energy extraction in the state – Marcellus drilling will likely be as impactful on local homesteads and as hugely problematic environmentally as mountaintop removal mining – Tomblin said he would not call a special session to pass new regulations. Wait – not enough time to get the regulations right? A special session equals more time, correct? Which would enable you to do what you said couldn’t be done? Which is, like a syllogism, isn’t it?
So what’s the beta version of a West Virginia-centric multimedia blogazine to do? Awards! We need some regular awards to point out people, groups and institutions acting heroically in the public interest – a Hero Award (or a lesser Hero Citation). And a Nero Award (and lesser Nero Citation) for people who are, on the other hand, acting Nero-istically. Fiddling around, as it were, while things are burning and pressing action is needed, but you, institutionally or personally, would rather play “Devil in the Haystack” after another fine plate of langostino shrimp at the Tidewater, where a very friendly guy in a great suit magically picks up the bill. Again! How cool is that? First, the Nero Awards.
The NERO Award for March 2011 goes to: Earl Ray Tomblin and certain legislators of the W.Va. Legislators for inability to pass Marcellus Shale drilling regulation while passing tax breaks for Marcellus drilling. But not these 19 delegates who have proposed a moratorium in Marcellus drilling until the state gets its regulatory act in order.
MORE DETAILS: If you, like us, are still getting up to speed on the magnitude of what Marcellus Shale drilling means in West Virginia and the region, you might well start by reading some of the New York Times recent eye-opening series on issues raised by this kind of drilling. Deep wells are plunged into the earth through water tables, and then fan out horizontally, injecting an unknown brew of chemicals, brine and other substances into the Marcellus Shale formation that underlies much of the state. The drilling fractures the rocks (where the word ‘fracking’ comes from), frees the gas and returns to the surface the brew of chemicals. Stay tuned to the Charleston Gazette’s Sustained Outage and Squawk Box blogs for the latest developments on the regulation front, as well Lawrence Messina’s coverage by the Associated Press.
~ New York Times Marcellus Shale Series
~ The Times’ animated illustration on the process and hazards of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking.’
~ 19 W.Va. Delegates call for moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling (Squawk Box blog)
~ Enough inspectors for Marcellus oversight? Ken Ward talks to W.Va. DEP’s Randy Huffman
~ Did legislators really not have enough time to work this issue? This ‘Sustained Outrage’ post suggests otherwise.
~ Something to say to state legislators on this issue? Contact them here.
~ Douglas Imbrogno