Morgantown City Council Studies Marcellus Impacts

by Duane Nichols on October 25, 2011

The Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition presented the following statement to the Morgantown City Council this evening regarding the two Marcellus wells at the Morgantown Industrial Park:

“In summary, continuous emission monitoring is needed at the site, and ambient monitors at upwind and downwind locations are needed to verify that off-site concentrations do not cause health or environmental impacts. Appropriate control technology is available to significantly reduce emissions, and regulations in some states already require these. But until the WV Legislature passes a Marcellus bill with stringent air pollution requirements, until WV-DEP adopts rules to implement that legislation, and until the needed inspectors and enforcement programs are in place to assure compliance, the air in Monongalia County remains at risk, and no one is watching.  City Council should retain the current ban and contact the Legislature and the Governor to support Marcellus regulations.”

The City Manager has prepared a draft letter to the WV Legislature containing 24 resolutions, seeking protection for drinking water, air quality, land, roads, etc. We expect to post the list here later this week. The Mayor has proposed removing the ban on fracking passed earlier this year and overturned by the Circuit Court, but some members of Council and a number of citizens wish to keep the ban on the books.

The City Planner is now at work, with the City Planning Commission, to develop zoning ordinance(s) that would limit and regulate drilling within the Morgantown city limits. These activities will extend into the new year.

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Duane Nichols October 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

At this Council meeting, the Morgantown City Manager Terrence Moore presented to City Council a draft list of 23 recommendations for the WV Legislature, as reported in today’s Morgantown Dominion Post. “The list included prohibiting drilling within 2500 feet of a public water intake, public notice with a 30-day comment period for any well drilled in a city or within 2500 feet of its limits, up to $5 million in bonding for environmental damages, prohibiting “burn-off” of gas if a well pad is within 500 feet of municipal limits and comprehensive water quality monitoring, which includes reimbursing any utility within 5 miles of a well for any related sampling.” These recommendations were prepared in cooperation with the Morgantown Utility Board (MUB). Mention was made of one or two additional recommendations to cover local infrastructure damages, road damages, and other issues due to large numbers of heavy trucks. The list is to be finalized as soon as possible and sent or taken to Charleston.


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