Boycott Threat Worked: New Martinsville (WV) City Council will Overturn Recent Marcellus Drilling Ban

boycottJust last week, MDN wrote about New Martinsville, WV enacting a Marcellus drilling ban (see MDN story). Because of the ban, the West Virginia Independent Oil & Gas Association hinted that their members would boycott New Martinsville businesses in retaliation—unless the ban is lifted. Looks like that threat worked:

Natural gas drilling activity may not be considered a public nuisance in New Martinsville for much longer because City Council is holding a special meeting to overturn its recently passed ordinance.

The special session – set for 3 p.m. Friday in the council conference room of the City Building, 191 Main St. – comes after council took public comments about the law members passed in July that declares drilling and its associated activities a public nuisance.

"I really took exception to having our industry called a nuisance," Michael McCown, president of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia, said.

Last week McCown called New Martinsville’s law "ill-conceived" and asked drillers to question whether they should do business in a city in which their activities are banned. He said Wednesday his industry would "embrace" New Martinsville if council lifts the drilling ban.

Councilwoman Holly Grandstaff plans on voting to overturn the ban and believes most of her fellow members will follow suit.

"It seems like it will be rescinded, and I will certainly vote to rescind it," she said. "All of the drilling companies have been very nice to us. As long as our water is going to be safe, I don’t see any reason for that ordinance to read like that."*

*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Aug 4, 2011) – New Martinsville Likely to Overturn Ban