August 23, 2011
Members of Morgantown City Council
Dear Members of City Council:
The League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County would like you to Appeal the recent ruling by Judge Tucker against the Ban on Marcellus Shale Fracking in and around Morgantown.
In her ruling the Judge states that the environmental issues are being addressed by Governor Tomblin’s executive order of July 5. The DEP has now issued their emergency rules requested by the Governor regarding Marcellus drilling. They are not at all adequate to protect the City of Morgantown from the nearby Marcellus drilling. As you know, Northeast has said they want to drill six wells on the pad across from Morgantown. They have permits for two. The public notice procedure in the new rules calls for a notice of application for a permit “within the boundaries of any municipality”. Northeast’s wells are outside the boundaries. We would not have notice of an application for the next four wells. Even if the City did have notice, there is no mention of public comment, let alone public influence on any permitting decision.
The Select Legislative Committee which is charged with developing Marcellus regulations seems to be divided between proceeding this fall and waiting to let the full Legislature create and pass regulations in January. If they wait, there would probably be no regulations in effect until next July at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the DEP is giving out permits that will only be subject to the DEP rules. These rules do not protect surface owners, do not fund more inspectors for DEP, or control air emissions, or develop adequate bonding , or permit water withdrawals , or monitor stream levels, or create adequate distances from populations, homes, schools, hospitals and other sensitive places, or provide for the cumulative impact of multiple wells in a community including truck traffic, road destruction and noise pollution.
The League of Women Voters requests that City Council appeal the judgment handed down by Judge Susan Tucker on August 12, 2011, regarding the City’s right to pass an Ordinance banning fracking in and around Morgantown.
The State of West Virginia still does not have adequate regulations to protect Morgantown from the negative effects of Marcellus Shale drilling and fracking.
The League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County