WV City Votes to Ban Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling, Court Challenge Coming from Chesapeake Energy

City council members from Wellsburg, West Virginia, located in the panhandle area of the state (in Brooke County), on Tuesday voted to ban natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing both inside the city limits and outside city limits within a mile.

The ban has already taken effect in Wellsburg after a 4-3 vote from Wellsburg’s City Council earlier this week.

Wellsburg Mayor Sue Simonetti cast the deciding vote Tuesday night since two Council members were absent because of illnesses.  "Once the water source is gone, it is done, so we have to protect the residents and our water supply," the mayor said of the decision.

Officials with Chesapeake Energy had objected to the proposed ban and are expected to challenge it.*

*West Virginia MetroNews Network (May 11, 2011) – West Virginia City Bans Gas Drilling And Fracking

  • randy tray

    What legal authority does Wellsburg have outside city limits to ban drilling?

  • Believe it or not there is a law in WV that allows city governments to enact laws that reach beyond their borders–by up to a mile–in order to protect the city in cases where activities just outside the border may infringe or cause harm to the citizens of the city. Something like that anyway (I don’t have the exact language of the law). So there is something on the books that allows this in WV. Question is, does Marcellus drilling “rise to the level” or qualify as something that meets the standard written in the law. The lawyers will have to figure that one out. Morgantown is being sued for $42M and you can bet the legal fees for that case will be hefty.