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Ohio Utica Shale

NRDC visits West Virginia Marcellus shale drilling sites

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2013

From the blog FrackCheckWV:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a large, well established environmental group with offices in five major U. S. cities. On Wednesday the 29th of January and Thursday the 30th, they sent a group to tour Marcellus trouble areas in West Virginia. The group included three lawyers, an established photographer with a press video camera and the writer Amy Mall.

The trip began at Morgantown with Evan Hansen of Downstream Strategies, an environmental consulting firm. First they visited Casey and Stacie Griffith’s house in Marion County, because the operations are so close to the residence.

Mr. Hansen then took the group to a site in Northwest Harrison county where 2100 gallons of a drilling fluid had been pumped into a wetland and then flowed downstream. Several families have been impacted by loosing their well water.

The next stop was the Sherwood Station processing facility on Route 50 near West Union, followed by a visit to the Powell compressor site on County Route 11. The compressor station lies very low in the flood plain of a local stream and was invaded by high water later in the evening.

Wednesday ended with a community meeting and dinner in West Union, attended by about 20 local residents and some visitors from surrounding counties, who were given a chance to describe their problems with shale gas development companies. One person said she had a paved road, but it was broken up shortly after drilling began, “and we lived in a dust cloud for three years with hundreds of trucks going by some days.”

Another complained that when he identified an old, unplugged gas well in his yard, the company representative said, “That’s not a concern.” The man knew full well it would increase the chance of losing his water well. Another complained about being surrounded by gas wells, all around her house. A number of other incidents around the county were discussed.

West Virgina Host Farms volunteers provided lodging and breakfast for the NRDC group. After breakfast on Thursday they went to see the Joye Huff property, where a drilling company has planned a drilling pad in the flood plain, causing great confusion in the county government and county court. Next they visited a site where condensate tanks are venting very close to a residence, and interviewed the home owners. They also visited the Pike Fork, Central Station and Straight Fork Road sites in Doddridge before going on to Ritchie County.

In Ritchie they met David McMahon of the WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WVSORO). He showed them a family’s pond that is filling up with mud and other runoff from a nearby well site. Afterward they headed north to Wetzel County. Bill Hughes of the Wetzel County Action Group led them on a tour of drilling sites in the Lewis Wetzel Wildlife Management Area. Before heading back to Washington, DC, they visited with a family near Jacksonburg whose water well is contaminated.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.