Monday, June 27, 2011

Gas industry hype

In its Sunday edition, the New York Times carried a story, based on a review of thousands of internal gas industry documents, which reports that some industry insiders think of the Marcellus boom as a "Ponzi scheme," similar to the Enron bubble. The report notes that many gas wells aren't producing, nor are they as profitable, as expected.

Her's a link to some of the industry documents:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Morgantown bans fracking

A little after midnight last night, the Morgantown WV city council passed an ordinance that bans the practice of fracking for Marcellus shale gas within the city, and within a one-mile radius of the city limits, making it the second city in the state to put the health of its citizens over industry profits. Wellsburg, in the northern panhandle, passed a similar ordinance last month.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More fracking news

The Charleston Gazette had a pretty good synopsis by AP writer Larry Messina of the status of the Marcellus gas issue in the legislature, now that a joint committee has been formed to come up with a bill.

Also, Pro Publica, the investigative group that has in many respects led the way in reporting on this issue, has a new article, with some good links, about gaps in state laws requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals (West Virginia, lacking any such law, isn't mentioned).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Marcellus committees bloom

This past week saw the creation of two new committees established in West Virginia to investigate the effects of Marcellus shale gas drilling.

On Thursday, the Morgan County Commission adopted a resolution creating a subcommittee within the county planning commission to research the Marcellus gas issue. The resolution was modeled on the one passed by the Hampshire County Commission in February.

Yesterday, acting Senate President Jeff Kessler announced the formation of a committee in the West Virginia legislature, made up of five members from the Senate and five from the House of Delegates, to come up with some compromise legislation on Marcellus shale drilling that can be passed in a special session of the legislature that he hopes will be held later this year. Here's a link to the brief story at WV Metro News:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Negotiating drilling

Monroe County WV has taken an innovative path to dealing with the problem of fracking by making a deal with a gas company that wants to drill there.

The county commission has negotiated a Memorandom of Understanding with Gordy Oil, under the authority of Chapter 8 of the State Code, that creates a kind of partnership between the county and the company, involving training for county workers, special consideration for water testing in sensitive areas, and landowner rights to have a say in where the drilling is done.

The full story is at

Monroe County citizens also have a website dealing with fracking:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Morgantown vs. fracking

A crowd so large it spilled out the door at the meeting last night heard the Morgantown WV City Council discuss a possible fracking ban, along the lines of what Wellsburg WV did a few weeks ago.