Although gas drilling companies are not knocking on Pocahontas County’s borders to explore for natural gas in the Marcellus shale formation, the county commission Tuesday bolstered local environmental groups’ call for a moratorium on permits for Marcellus gas wells.
Beth Little represented 8 Rivers Council. Little said the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection does not have enough inspectors to handle statewide drilling sites, or abandonment of gas wells. 8 Rivers Council, as well as the Sierra Club, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Christians for the Mountains and the Greenbrier River Water Association and others, developed seven points they use as evidence that a moratorium should be in place:
•No new permits should be issued until DEP inspections of drilling operations and gas wells become mandatory. The WVDEP must determine the number of active wells that an inspector can effectively oversee and limit the number of permits issued to the corresponding number of inspectors on staff.