Marcellus Shale Hearings Conclude in Clarksburg With Over 800 Attending

by Duane Nichols on July 28, 2011

First there was Wheeling last week where 150 attended, then Monday in Morgantown there were 300, and last night in Clarksburg over 800 people attended the public hearing at the Robert C. Bird High School Auditorium; it was full. Tim Miley, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, joined four other Delegates on the panel to take testimony. Some 115 people spoke to the Committee. One observer said that about 65 private citizens presented significant concerns and 50 presented a gas industry point-of-view.
Some members of the gas industry limited their comments to specific topics, as everyone was limited to only 90 seconds of time. Jeff Wilson, a sub-contract employee for Chesapeake Energy, said that Chesapeake works hard to keep track of all the water used and wastewater generated at its well pads. Sample well logging records were displayed by Adam Maloney. Others described the cementing process for well casings, as well as the pipes, values and trucking services. Morgan McCutcheon said that the fracking chemicals are well understood.
Tom Bond said that property values are depreciating and that loans are becoming much more difficult because of the proximity of drilling operations. John Lozier said that the aggregate impacts of multiple wells needs to be given major consideration as new regulations are developed. Numerous speakers insisted that notice of drilling permit applications need to be published and that a public comment period needs to take place.
“Metals such as barium, chromium, zinc and arsenic are present in shale and are “mobilized” and ride to the surface with frack water,” as reported by Charles Lothes who lives on a 75 acre farm near Salem, WV. Strontium and uranium occur in the shale in addition to the dozens of chemicals added to frack water by the drillers. He said that “frack water should be treated only by facilities equipped to process it, thereby protecting our ground water.” He referenced Discover Magazine, May 2011, pp. 62 – 66.
David Thompson, a tree farmer in Harrison county, said that his property is a “disaster” as a result of the land disturbances from three wells that have been drilled there. Ken Westfall of Waste Management said that at least two landfills, S & S south of Clarksburg and the Meadowfill landfill near the Mall north of Clarksburg are qualified and permitted to accept the solid wastes from drilling operations.
The Select Committee is aiming to have a revised draft Bill for consideration in September, according to Delegate Tim Manchin, who chaired the hearings.

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