WV Seeks to Block ‘Nuisance’ Suits Against Oil & Gas

by Elizabeth Alford on February 23, 2016

Extraneous nuisances caused by oil and gas drilling may soon have to be tolerated in West Virginia.

Related: West Virginia Bill Seeks Transparency for Mineral Owners

Oil and gas drilling can be disruptive to those who live and work in close proximity to the activity. Over the last two years, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by surface owners in Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Pleasants, Ritchie and Kanawha Counties against companies they claimed were causing undue noise, air pollution and increased traffic around their property.

Earlier this month, West Virginia Senators introduced a new bill designed to take away the rights of surface owners to file these nuisance suits against oil and gas drillers. The language in the bill differentiates a nuisance as something more than a slight inconvenience and that no one can brig action against another unless the act in question involves an appreciable invasion of private use and enjoyment.

SB 508 states, “A private nuisance is defined as a substantial and unreasonable interference with the private use and enjoyment of another’s land which causes physical property damage or bodily injury. No person may bring an action for private nuisance unless proper evidence of physical property damage or bodily injury caused by the substantial and unreasonable interference exists.”

Read more at legis.state.wv.us

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