Little Gives Pocahontas Commission Update On Gas Drilling In WV

Marlinton, WV – Ever since gas companies began talking to Pocahontas residents about leasing the mineral rights on their properties, Pocahontas resident Beth Little has taken a special interest in the practice of drilling in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia. She brought a presentation about it to the Pocahontas County Commission meeting on Tuesday.

Drilling in the Marcellus Shale is a practice that came about in just the last few years with the development of horizontal drilling, enabling companies to access the natural gas trapped deep in the rock formation. Little’s presentation focused primarily on information from Doddridge and Whetzel counties, located just under the northern panhandle of WV. Her slides showed large trucks trying to maneuver around on narrow mountain roads without success and often disastrous consequences.

Most of the Marcellus wells lie in the central and northwestern part of the state. According to a DEO geologist consulted by Little, drilling may not be economically feasible in the eastern part of the state, including Pocahontas, because the shale here is folded and fractured in such a way that a good bit of the gas may have already escaped.

Nevertheless, Little says all West Virginians should be concerned because there is still so much that is unknown about the consequences of this kind of drilling – how it affects water tables, what’s in the chemical cocktail used to fracture the rock, and just how those fluids left over are disposed of, among other concerns. The West Virginia Dept of Environmental Protections’ Office of Oil and Gas will hold a meeting on July 28th in Charleston to discuss the rules governing Marcellus Shale drilling.

In other business, Ann Michael, Co-director of the Child and Youth Advocacy Center appeared before the Pocahontas County Commission to ask for two contributions. The Commission has made a $5000.00 annual contribution to the CYAC for the last three years, and agreed to the same for this year.

The other request is for two thousand dollars, to purchase equipment to conduct forensic interviews with children suspected of being abused. The cost is actually three thousand, but Jerry Ramos has already made a one thousand dollar in-kind contribution through his business. The Commissioners initially balked at providing more money for equipment on top of the 5000.00 they’d already committed too.

But after further discussion, they agreed to provide $600.00 towards the remaining balance. The rest will come from the Prosecuting Attorneys office – 800.00 and the Sheriffs Dept – 600.00.

The Commission also took the following actions Tuesday:

Approved a bid from Mitchell Chevrolet for a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu for the Sheriffs Dept for 18,900.00 – it was the only bid submitted
Approved a contract with Elaine Diller as a planning assistant for the One Room University program
Designated the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation as the Lead Economic Agency for the County
Approved a motion to send a letter and check for $43,707.00 to Manno Construction for their work on the East Fork Industrial Park Remediation project. Once the letter is signed and returned the County will release Manno’s bond on the project. This will allow current project engineer Bill Swecker to complete the last stage of the remediation project.

The next meeting of the Pocahontas County Commission is Tuesday, August 3rd.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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