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Ohio Utica Shale

West Virginia groups issue new call for moratorium

By Bob Downing Published: October 16, 2012

Eleven environmental/conservation groups in West Virginia are calling for a drilling moratorium in that state's Marcellus shale.

Here is the statement:

We, the undersigned, call for a moratorium on new permits for natural gas wells until the following minimum requirements are met:

1. No new permits should be issued until DEP inspections of drilling operations and gas wells become mandatory. The WV DEP must determine the number of active wells that an inspector can effectively oversee and limit the number of permits issued to the corresponding number of inspectors on staff.

2. No new permits should be granted until tracers are added to the hydraulic fracturing fluids so groundwater contamination from drilling operations can be identified.

3. No new permits should be issued until a closed-loop process is mandated for drilling and hydraulic fracturing. In order to protect the state’s surface and groundwater, no waste or flowback, solid or liquid, should be applied to or buried on the land.

4. No new permits should be granted until all hazardous materials are disposed of in hazardous waste facilities.

5. No new permits should be issued until Home Rule is honored. Local towns and counties must be allowed to control whether, where and when hydraulic fracturing is done in their communities, including control of the roads and hours where trucks hauling drilling equipment and supplies are allowed to operate.

6. No new permits should be issued until air pollution emissions are monitored and regulated and pollution controls are required on all gas facilities.

7. No new permits should be issued until West Virginia citizens are guaranteed a permanent replacement if their source of clean water becomes contaminated at any time within 1 mile of a natural gas drilling operation unless another source of pollution can be proven.

We know that the legislation adopted in December, 2011 was grossly inadequate, and does not provide the basic protections needed by West Virginia citizens. Yet permits for new wells continue to be issued, leaving landowners and local citizens helpless to stop the dangers in their neighborhood. Natural gas development can be done right, but today, it is being done wrong, and that needs to stop. Right Now!

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To: Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor of West Virginia; Jeff Kessler, President, WV State Senate & Richard Thompson, Speaker, WV House of Delegates. Date: September 11, 2012.

The undersigned groups call upon you to enact a moratorium on the issuance of new permits for drilling of natural gas wells until minimum legal protections are instituted for local communities and all West Virginia citizens. We hope you will agree that our water and the very air we breathe deserve better protection than is now available. Too many permits have been issued without adequate safeguards, and the safety of our citizens must be the top priority of the State of West Virginia.

Sierra Club — West Virginia Chapter, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Environmental Council, Friends of the Cacapon River, Christians for the Mountains, Eight Rivers Council, Greenbrier River Water Association, SaveTheWaterTable.org, West Virginians For A Moratorium On Marcellus (WV4MoM), Coal River Mountain Watch

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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.