"Maybe for right now we don't address pooling, just get the environmental concerns, the public safety concerns and maybe the roads," Maloney said.
The forced pooling provision that lawmakers considered was too advantageous for gas companies and "was pretty one-sided," he said, meaning companies would have had a strong upper hand in negotiations with mineral rights owners.
Maloney said he liked a pooling model used in Oklahoma that he said was more akin to "optional pooling."
But he added, "I don't pretend to be an oil and gas lawyer."
As far as finding demand for the huge volumes of gas that are expected to come out of the earth, Maloney said he's followed the plan laid out by Texas oil and gasman T. Boone Pickens to use American natural gas to replace imported oil as the chief fuel for vehicles.
Maloney praised state lawmakers for passing a law this year to reinstate an expired tax credit for vehicles that run on natural gas and to provide credits for natural gas fueling stations.
"Some might be a little too generous - but we're at the forefront at that," Maloney said.
But Maloney predicted the market also would begin to shift from coal and oil to gas on its own.
"The whole demand side, I think, will take care of itself," he said. "Gas is pretty cheap right now, and I don't think you'll see it going down any further."
If gas prices were to sink, that could create a gas bust instead of boom if companies couldn't get a return on their investments. But gas has the double advantage, Maloney said, of being abundant as well as cheaper than coal or oil.
"If anybody were to build a power plant right now, it would be natural gas, not coal, based on the economics," he said.
Maloney said he supports higher permit fees on Marcellus well sites to help the state hire more gas inspectors and because Marcellus wells are more complex to permit than traditional gas wells.
However, he opposes increasing West Virginia's severance tax on gas.
He said West Virginia might see more drilling activity as Pennsylvania lawmakers move to add permit fees and possibly, for the first time in its history, add a severance tax there.
"Pennsylvania can't keep zero severance tax forever," Maloney said.
He also said he might support giving a greater share of severance tax revenue to areas where drilling is taking place. Right now, some coalfields lawmakers complain they should get to keep a larger share of the severance tax on coal coming out of their communities so they can invest in economic development and infrastructure projects.
Maloney used the example of McDowell County, where the coal industry boomed and then went bust. The county's economy was decimated and most of its people left.
"Go to McDowell County today and there is still sewage going into the creek, and they never got the infrastructure they need," he said.
"We can't let that happen again," Maloney said. "We need to take care of the communities the gas is taken out of - you make sure they fix their roads and make sure they get utilities they need and everything as (gas is) developed."
Contact writer Ry Rivard at ry.riv...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796.