On May 10th, the city of Wellsburg WV passed an ordinance that prohibits the process of hydraulic fracturing within one mile of the city limits--the first city in West Virginia to adopt such an ordinance.
Yesterday, the Wellsburg city council met with representatives from Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest gas drilling companies, and the WV Department of Environmental Protection, to discuss the new law.
Despite the often-heard siren song of future economic benefits the Chesapeake rep sang, at the end of the meeting, the council decided to keep its ordinance on the books.
The reason for sticking with the ordinance was stated quite succinctly by City Manager Mark Henne: "The thing that's most important to us, that would affect us in the most adverse way, would be if something went awry and contaminated our water."
As more evidence about fracking comes in, that threat seems more and more real. We can only hope that other elected officials in this state will take courage from the Wellsburg model, and keep their priorities straight.