Pocahontas County Commission Proposal For A Marcellus Resolution
Marlinton, WV –
This is a draft ONLY of a proposed resolution on hydro fracturing (Marcellus) drilling practices in the county. This will be discussed by the Pocahontas County Commission at their meeting on November 17th at 5:30pm at the courthouse in Marlinton.
Thanks to Pocahontas County Commission President David Fleming for providing this document. This is an updated version of the draft created by Commissioner Fleming as of 10pm on 11/16/11.
Draft #2 David Fleming 11/16/11 POCAHONTAS COUNTY COMMISSION RESOLUTION Whereas the County Commission of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, pursuant to Article IX 11 of the West Virginia Constitution has the legal authority to administer the internal police and fiscal affairs of Pocahontas County, including regulation of roads, ways, and bridges, and by authority of Chapter 7 of the Code of West Virginia has the authority and obligation of superintendence and administration of internal police and fiscal affairs, and elimination of hazards to public health. The Pocahontas County Commission finds that the geography and environment of Pocahontas County is unique. The Commission further finds that the long-term economic wellbeing of Pocahontas County depends on farming, timber, and tourism, and that these activities are especially reliant upon abundant clean water and the enduring character and continuity of the landscape. The Commission further finds:
1. Water quality must be safeguarded. Potable groundwater (water that supplies wells and springs) is essential to life in Pocahontas County. The majority of County residents depend on clean, drinkable groundwater to sustain their families. The quality of both groundwater and surface water (streams, lakes, and rivers) in Pocahontas County is superior to many water resources in the State and Nation. The County’s abundant clean water is an economic resource for the future as well as an essential quality-of-life commodity today.
2. The impact of hydraulic fracturing on water resources is unknown. Pocahontas County’s karst geology is comprised of limestone caves, sinkholes, and fissures through which the movement of groundwater is indeterminate and unpredictable. The short- and long-term impact of hydraulic fracturing (i.e. “fracking”) on water resources within karst geology cannot be calculated beforehand.
3. Wastewater from fracking cannot be safely disposed. Horizontal drilling and fracking in the Marcellus Shale requires vast amounts of water mixed with hazardous chemical additives. The resultant fracking fluid becomes further contaminated with oils, salts, and radioactive elements. Present methods for management and disposal of this wastewater do not eliminate hazards to public safety and health. Existing water treatment facilities are not designed to treat this kind and quantity of wastewater. The environmental impact of road-spreading of this wastewater cannot be predicted. Potential accidents resulting from the bulk transport of this wastewater impose an indefinable burden on our emergency management teams.
4. The character of our landscape is essential to the prosperity of our community. The Commission recognizes the right of a landowner to realize the value of his or her surface and mineral assets. The Commission also recognizes the rights of our community to safeguard those assets essential to our collective economic prosperity. Hydraulic fracturing poses an unacceptable risk to our water resources and the continuity of our natural landscape. As such, the Commission finds that fracking, while financially beneficial to some in the short-term, would result in decreased property values and economic opportunities for all in the long-term, by undermining our greatest strength, the unique natural resources upon which our enduring industries depend.
UPON ALL OF WHICH, the Pocahontas County Commission, by its COUNCIL, does hereby RESOLVE that it opposes the use of hydraulic fracturing in horizontal drilling operations which might occur in Pocahontas County and declares the same to represent a danger to our water resources, and our public safety and health.
POCAHONTAS COUNTY COMMISSION ENTERED THIS ____ DAY OF ______________________, 2011. __________________________________ David M. Fleming, President ___________________________________ Martin V. Saffer, Commissioner ___________________________________ Jamie C. Walker, Commissioner