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Industry applauds ruling on city gas drilling ban

  Business  -   POSTED: 2011/08/16 14:28

A court ruling that invalidates Morgantown's ban on Marcellus shale gas drilling gives West Virginia's oil and gas producers the certainty they need to keep expanding operations, an industry leader said Monday.

"We all along believed the city of Morgantown and some other communities in the state don't have the right to pre-empt the regulatory powers of the Department of Environmental Protection," said Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.

"It would be very, very difficult for the DEP to do any oversight with the potential of 100 different sets of rules to comply with," he said.

On Friday, Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge Susan Tucker delivered a victory to Charleston-based Northeast Natural Energy in its legal battle with the city of Morgantown.

Northeast is drilling wells above the Monongahela River about a mile from a city drinking water intake. Citing concern over its water supply and the lack of tough state regulations, the City Council passed an ordinance in June to ban deep horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing within city limits and up to a mile beyond.


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