In 2012, West Virginia introduced the Horizontal Well Act. The law applies to any horizontal well other than coal bed methane that disturbs three acres or more of surface land or exceeds use of 10,000 gallons of water in any 30-day period.
Under this law, operators are obliged to:
- Publish a legal advertisement prior to applying for a permit
- Pay $10,000 for an initial well and $5,000 for each additional well on the same site and
- Develop a water management plan
- Locate wells at least 100 feet from any lake or perennial stream, 250 feet from an existing water well, 650 feet from an occupied dwelling, and 1,000 feet from any public water supply intake
West Virginia is among five states requiring operators to disclose chemical composition of the fracking fluid prior to the process. It is the only state beside Colorado that ensures the landowners are notified before hydraulic fracturing takes place and the only state to require notice to owners of nearby water wells. Companies have also a duty to report on how the flowback water is disposed. After the operations are completed, operators have to reclaim the well site.