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. All 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 Democratic candidate Rick Thompson, of Lavalette.
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 that need to be included in West Virginia law to order to best serve the interests of all the parties involved?
First thing, I think it’s too big an issue to try to deal with it in general session. We need to have a special session just dealing with Marcellus shale regulations. You have so many different impacts that this could have on West Virginia. Obviously, you have the amount of jobs it could create, the amount of income to the state of West Virginia, but you also have concerns with this type of operation, such as environmental concerns as it relates to our water, surface rights owners concerns as it relates to protecting the surface rights. You need inspectors to make sure they’re complying with whatever rules and regulation that you put in place. So what you need to do, I think, is to get a big group together and develop legislation that balances this between the industry and the environmental and surface owners and then call a special session, because there’s so much at stake. So you’re not distracted by doing budgets and all the other issues that you’re doing. So the first thing I would do as governor is get this together, get regulations in place, call a special session and ask the Legislature to adopt my proposal.