Marcellus Drilling Hearings set for Wheeling, Morgantown and Clarksburg

by Duane Nichols on July 19, 2011

Public hearings sponsored by the House members of the legislature’s Select Committee on Marcellus Shale begin this week. You can tell the Legislature in person what you would like to see in a bill regulating natural gas drilling in West Virginia!  The first hearing is this Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at West Virginia Northern Community College’s B&O Building, 1704 Market St., Wheeling. The second hearing is Monday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Morgantown at the West Virginia University College of Law. The final hearing is Wednesday, July 27 in Clarksburg. The time and location for the Clarksburg meeting have not yet been set.  These public hearings are scheduled to last only 90 minutes, and the amount of time allotted to individual speakers will be allocated according to how many citizens want to speak.

On July 12th the Governor issued Executive Order 4-11 which outlines several requirements for natural gas companies including but not limited to:  Surface land use that will disturb 3 or more acres must be certified by and constructed in accordance with plans certified by a registered professional engineer.  Companies withdrawing over 210,000 gallons of water a month must file a water management plan with the DEP and adhere to certain specified standards. Before fracking begins, such companies must also provide a list of additives that will be used in the frack fluid, and after fracking is complete, the additives actually used. When using water from a public stream, a company must identify the designated and existing uses of that stream.

However, the Executive Order does not address protection for surface land owners or for road repairs and traffic issues.  Further, the air pollution issues of leaks, vents and uncontrolled releases are not considered. Flares, fires and explosions are not that uncommon.  The Westover (Monongalia County) City Council has tabled their ban on Marcellus drilling as a result of the Executive Order which calls for public notice before drilling takes place within a municipality. Click here to read Executive Order No. 4-11

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