Morgantown Not Ready to Admit Defeat on Fracking Ban

The next chapter for the Morgantown, WV ban on fracking seems to be an official rescinding of the ill-fated ban which included inside and up to one mile outside of the city lines. But Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla is not ready to throw the towel all the way in just yet. He wants to make another run at a ban, this time only within city limits by using existing zoning laws.

Morgantown City Council may soon rescind its doomed ban on Marcellus shale gas drilling, but Mayor Jim Manilla says the issue isn’t over.

Morgantown tried to ban deep horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing within municipal boundaries and up to a mile beyond.

In August, though, a circuit court judge ruled the city had overstepped its authority.

She [the judge] also said the Department of Environmental Protection has sole regulatory authority over oil and gas operations.

A measure to repeal Morgantown’s ordinance is on the agenda for introduction Tuesday night.

But Manilla says lawyers are also reworking current zoning laws to prevent drilling within city limits.

Northeast Natural Energy drilled two wells just outside city limits, about a mile from a drinking water intake. The site has been the target of multiple protests.*

*AP/The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Nov 1, 2011) – W.Va. city set to repeal Marcellus drilling ban