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West Virginia Judge Strikes Down City’s Ban On Marcellus Shale Fracking

A circuit court judge recently overturned the ban on Marcellus shale gas drilling in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The Associated Press reports that Morgantown – which is the home of West Virginia University – enacted an ordinance in June that prohibited hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, from being conducted within one mile of the city limits.

The ordinance affected two fracking sites in Morgantown Industrial Park operated by Northeast Natural Energy, which filed the lawsuit, according to the State Journal.

Monongalia County Judge Susan Tucker ruled that restrictions regarding drilling are the authority of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and not the Morgantown City Council, which attempted to ban the practice because it had fears about the city's water supply.

A Duke University study found that the process of fracking does not pose any risks to water supplies, rather the risk occurs when there is poor well construction during drilling, reports the New York Times.

West Virginia MetroNews reports that the city council will meet on August 16 to discuss the ruling, including whether or not an appeal should be filed. 

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