CHAPTER 22. ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES.

§22-6-29a. Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund.

(a)(1) This section may be referred to as the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund Act. There is established within the Treasury of the State of West Virginia the special use fund known as the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund.

(2) The Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund shall be administered by the secretary solely for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this section.

(3) Any balance remaining in the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund at the end of any state fiscal year does not revert to the General Revenue Fund but shall remain in the special revenue account and may be used only as provided in this section. The revenues deposited in the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund may not be designated as nonaligned state special revenue funds under §11B-2-32 of this code.

(b)(1) Using funds from the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund and the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund, the secretary shall plug and reclaim abandoned oil and gas wells without a responsible operator in accordance with plans and specifications developed pursuant to the provisions of this article relating to the plugging and reclamation of wells, and the rules establishing well plugging standards adopted thereunder.

(2) Funds from the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund may only be used to plug abandoned oil and gas wells without a responsible operator and to reclaim the property disturbed from the plugging.

(3) On or before July 1 of each year, the secretary shall make an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature as to the use of the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund and the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund. The report shall include the balance in both funds on June 1 of each year. The secretary’s annual report shall set forth the number of wells reclaimed or plugged through the use of the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund and the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund in the previous year. The report shall identify each reclamation and plugging project, state the number of wells plugged thereby, show the county in which the wells are located, and make a detailed accounting of all expenditures from the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund and from the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund. The annual report shall also include a five-year plan detailing current and future projects and activities to plug and reclaim wells.

(4) Wells shall be plugged, and plugged wells reclaimed by contract entered into by the secretary on a competitive bid basis as provided for under the provisions of §5A-3-1 et seq. of this code and the rules promulgated thereunder.