Chambers of Commerce and County Commissioners Generally Promote Jobs But Not Environmental Protection

by Duane Nichols on February 17, 2012

On February 3rd the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution supporting appropriate efforts by the natural gas industry to explore and develop the resources located within the county to promote economic development through job creation and investment.

The resolution states that:

Whereas, WCCC represents over 150 businesses located in Wetzel County and surrounding counties as well as partners with city, county, and state government; and, Whereas, being concerned citizens, business owners and community leaders; and, etc.,

Whereas, the Chamber is alarmed by the unemployment rate in the county which has climbed to 11.4 in December.

Be it further resolved, that the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce:

1. Is encouraged by the political, community, and business leaders as well as county residents who are supporting the local oil and gas entities in the county which promote economic development and create jobs,

2. Is encouraged by those oil and gas companies who hire locally when possible and provide a safe work zone for both employee and residents of Wetzel County, etc. …

The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce Is therefore committed to providing  whatever support and services possible to area oil and gas workers and companies.

The resolution is signed by  Board officers of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce.


The Marshall County Commission in August of 2011 adopted the following: 


 WHEREAS, the Marcellus Shale natural gas resource is the largest natural resource find of the Century and Marshall County Workers, Citizens and Businesses should benefit from the natural resources of their county and their state; and etc., etc.,

 THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Marshall County Commission supports the employment of local workers and contractors to the maximum extent possible for the construction of facilities utilized in the drilling, transporting and processing of the gas from wells using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling and calls on all companies to hire local workers for the construction of their facilities; and

 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Marshall County Commission requests that companies engaged in the above mentioned activities notify the Commission should a lack of qualified contractors or workers exist and give us the opportunity to assist in providing a skilled labor force to the fullest extent possible.

 Signed:  County Commissioners of Marshall County, WV. (Moundsville, WV).


A careful reading of both of the resolutions above, as well as essentially all of the positions of the local or state-wide Chambers of Commerce show an absence of stated concern for the health and welfare of the landowners and/or residents exposed to health risks, adverse environmental impacts, or road damages.  The State Legislature via the Joint Marcellus Committee was able to identify many of these problems and incorporate protection into a draft (proposed) Marcellus bill in the fall of 2011.  However, the Governor’s Office removed much of this protection after numerous meetings with the oil and gas industry.  These considerations have been documented by the WV Surface Owners Rights Organization and are presented on their web-site.

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