Bethany College, located in Bethany, WV (Brooke County), has just signed a lease agreement with Chesapeake Energy to allow drilling for Marcellus Shale gas on property owned by the college.
In hopes of enhancing its educational opportunities, Bethany College will allow Chesapeake Energy to drill for natural gas on some school-owned lands, but not on campus.
"We were extremely careful to make sure that environmental and safety concerns would be addressed up front," said Scott Miller, college president, emphasizing the recently signed contract ensures there will be minimal inconveniences for the institution and the town of Bethany.
"Like many of our West Virginia neighbors in Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties, we concluded that we should take advantage of this opportunity, which could contribute significantly to the college’s long-term growth and development," Miller noted. "In so doing, we recognize and embrace our responsibility as a prominent college and large land owner to be good stewards of our environment and ensure safety of our community. We have and will continue to work closely with Chesapeake Energy to protect the natural surroundings and the quality of life in the region."
Drilling will occur on college-owned lands along W.Va. 88, north of the college and town limits of Bethany. This land now serves as a "wide open hayfield," the president said.*
Miller declined to answer press questions about the terms of the lease—how much of a signing bonus the college will receive, and how many acres were leased.
*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Jul 1, 2011) – College Dives Into Drilling Pool