As the state of West Virginia considers the place of natural gas in its future, the governor is issuing emergency rules that would allow the state more of a say in how natural gas is removed through hydraulic fracturing.

The technique, known as “fracking,” uses millions of gallons of freshwater and small amounts of sand and additives to drill gas wells in the Marcellus Shale. The Shale is one of the nation’s largest reservoirs of natural gas, and the American Petroleum Institute estimates that it contains gas reserves worth $2 trillion.

West Virginia Water Research Institute Director Paul Ziemkiewicz, an expert on water quality at West Virginia University, is available to comment on West Virginia’s new fracking rules issued Tuesday (July 12). His expertise centers around the use and disposal of water in natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

He also focuses on acid mine drainage research, watershed restoration and technology transfer programs relating to coal mining. He has served in a regulatory capacity with government agencies, developed regulatory and research and development policy and serves on state and federal policy advisory committees focusing on mine reclamation and mine drainage.

He can be reached at 304-282-5093 or by e-mail at


CONTACT: University Relations/News

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