— Editor’s Note: Through May 4, The Register-Herald will publish a daily story featuring in-depth interviews we conducted with candidates seeking the office of Governor of West Virginia. Each of the 16 people who filed were issued an invitation to appear before our editorial board, and 14 of those came to Beckley to meet with us and discuss some of the key issues in West Virginia. The stories will appear in the order in which the candidates were interviewed. Today’s story focuses on Republican candidate Mitch Carmichael, of Ripley.
1 — It certainly appears that Marcellus shale regulation will remain a major topic of interest for the next several years. What are the key features that you see need to be included in West Virginia law in order to best serve the interests of all the parties involved?
I take a little bit different view of Marcellus shale regulations as opposed to some of the competitors in the race. My view is what West Virginia does way too often is mess up a good opportunity. This is an opportunity, the Marcellus shale, for tremendous economic development, and there’s all this clamoring for additional regulation and so forth in that area. We have good regulations in place. Our issue is that we do not have a sufficient number of inspectors to go out and monitor the well sites and the material that is coming from the well and so forth. If we fund the additional inspectors to the degree that will provide enough inspectors to go out and do their work, then I think we have the regulations in place. I haven’t seen anything to the contrary. It is imperative that we protect our water resources and ensure that our surface owners are protected from undue harm to our land and so forth. We have those regulations in place, so to the extent that I have heard some of my fellow delegates talking about moratoriums on Marcellus shale until we can get additional regulations. I don’t feel that’s needed. I think we need to encourage this development and move forward and let West Virginia prosper with this great economic opportunity.