Morgantown, WV Passes New Marcellus Drilling Ban

The Morgantown, WV City Council is at it again. You may recall they tried to ban hydraulic fracturing last year both inside and up to one mile outside of the city limits. A judge struck down the law (see this MDN story). Council members aren’t about to give up though. On Tuesday, they passed six new ordinances that will “limit” drilling to areas immediately surrounding the Morgantown Municipal Airport.

The Morgantown City Council has voted to limit gas drilling to 600 acres surrounding the city’s airport.

According to media reports, the council on Tuesday unanimously approved six zoning ordinances restricting all mining and drilling to designated industrial zones around the Morgantown Municipal Airport.

With the zoning restrictions now on the books, the council voted Tuesday night to repeal the 2011 law [which was overturned by the courts anyway].

According to Morgantown’s new zoning laws, drilling sites must be 100 feet from the floodplain, 1,000 feet from the public water supply intake and 1,000 feet from the floodplain of the Monongahela River south or upstream of the Morgantown Lock and Dam.

The West Virginia Sierra Club supported the ordinances, but industry spokesman Corky DeMarco has said they might be challenged in court.*

Morgantown is trying to pitch this as a zoning “restriction” on drilling, but make no mistake, it’s a new ban.

*Marietta (OH) The Marietta Times (Jul 5, 2012) – Morgantown council votes to restrict drilling