Wellsburg, WV City Council Votes to Repeal Two-Month-Old Marcellus Drilling Ban

The Wellsburg (WV) City Council voted in May of this year to institute a ban on hydraulic fracturing within the City and up to one mile outside of the City. On Tuesday, Council members voted to repeal the two-month old ban:

Wellsburg City Council moved by a 5-2 vote Tuesday to repeal an ordinance banning drilling for natural gas in the city or within a mile of it, citing a call by acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for more state regulation of Marcellus Shale activity.

The vote came following an executive session called to discuss possible litigation spurred by the ordinance. No one has filed suit against the city at this time.

When the ordinance was approved earlier this year, officials with Chesapeake Energy, which has signed leases to drill near the city, warned it could be challenged legally because it infringes on the rights of the property owners.

The repeal is set to undergo a second reading at council’s next meeting, to be held Aug. 9.*

No doubt Wellsburg City Council members cast their eye on the quagmire that Morgantown, WV is now in—being sued by Northeast Energy for $42 million for lost investment and lost future revenues because of the ban Morgantown just imposed outside of their city limits (see this MDN article).

*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Jul 20, 2011) – Drilling Ban May Not Last Long For Wellsburg