50 Gather Downtown for Gas Drilling Rally

Morgantown Dominion Post
26 May 2011
By David Beard

About 50 people gathered at noon Wednesday at Monongalia County Courthouse Square to sound off about the Marcellus gas well operation under way at the Morgantown Industrial Park.

This was the second rally organized by a fledgling concerned citizens group — tentatively calling itself Morgantown Area Concerned Citizens Group until it picks a name, an organizer said.

“Our goal is to stop the drilling,” co-organizer Kathy Hash said. “Our goal is to protect people.” Rallies will continue at noon every Wednesday at the Courthouse Square.

Attendees carried signs: “Honk to ban fracking” (and many cars honked); “Tomblin, we demand action and protection, not exploitation.”

Last week’s rally had about twice as many protesters.

Other viewpoints also were represented. The WV/PA Monongahela Area Watersheds Compact seeks regulation to limit the impact of Marcellus gas development in the region.

Duane Nichols, a member of several watershed groups, speaking on his own behalf, said he and others are considering legal action to try to stop or limit the activities at the industrial park. He wants the Department of Environmental Protection to establish risk assessments and a public notice and comment period before issuing drilling permits.

Citizens group member Candace Jordan has created a Facebook page, “Stop the Fracking in Morgantown Industrial Park.” Posted May 18, the page has 470 members.

The Watersheds Compact and the League of Women Voters are co-sponsoring a public meeting on “the adverse impacts” of Marcellus operations in general at 6:15 p.m. June 2 at Skyview Elementary.