CITY OF MORGANTOWN, Part 3 ~ Should the ‘Science Facility’ Permit be Appealed?

by Duane Nichols on March 27, 2022

Drilling & fracking occurred as part of the Marcellus Shale Energy & Environment Laboratory project (2014 — 2021)

So-called ‘Science Center’ Planned for Morgantown Industrial Park Should be Cancelled

Presentation to Morgantown City Council by Duane Nichols, Tuesday, March 22, 2022

1. The Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition (MVCAC) is concerned about the ‘Science Facility’ proposed for the Morgantown Industrial Park (MIP). Marion Energy Partners, LLC, apparently owned by Northeast Natural Energy was granted an Air Pollution Permit on March 7th. We believe this project should be cancelled, or this permit should be withdrawn or the City Council should appeal the permit to the WV Air Quality Board (AQB).

2. I asked NNE to delay their permit application at least until the final report of the Marcellus Shale Energy & Environment Laboratory (MSEEL) project is issued and can be understood, but Mike John said he wasn’t going to do that. One finding of this 7 year and $25 million dollar project in the MIP was that pollutants could be detected for 5 miles downstream in the Mon River Valley from this project area. (Reference below).

3. Our MVCAC would appeal the Air Permit to the AQB, if we had a lawyer to make this appeal. I approached four different lawyers as candidates, but no luck. This Air Quality Board has not had a case for four years, has as least two open positions of seven and is already biased, as two members are natural gas company executives. (So an appeal would probably involve making a motion at the start that two members be recused.) So, an appeal to the WV Air Quality Board would not likely succeed.

4. When I met with Harold Ward, the Secretary of the WV DEP in Charleston last month, he described the position of the City of Morgantown as one of seeking to understand the purpose of this ‘Science Facility.’ I can safely say that the City generally feels more strongly. For me, whatever the purpose of this so-called ‘data center’, it is “inappropriate at this location.”

5. I believe that a letter expressing the degree of concern here in the City might still be effective if sent to Mike John, CEO of Northeast Natural Energy, to Glenn Adrian, Manager of the Morgantown Industrial Park, to the Monongalia County Commission, and to Harold Ward, Secretary of DEP. Any one of these has the power or influence to delay or cancel this project at that location.

6. The Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition also opposed a natural gas fired power plant sometimes called Longview 2, and it has also been granted an air pollution permit. It is farther from the City, higher in altitude and will have a taller stack. It will be polluting the northern area of Monongalia County, if it secures adequate funding even with a substantial tax break from the County government.

>> Duane Nichols, Coordinator, Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition


REFERENCE ~ “Use of Tracer Elements for Estimating Community Exposure to Marcellus Shale Development Operations,” International Journal of Environmental Research in Public Health, March 12, 2020. (Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1837; doi:10.3390/ijerph17061837).

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