Judge overturns Morgantown drilling ban
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A judge has overturned Morgantown's ban on Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the city and within one mile of its borders.
Monongalia Circuit Judge Susan Tucker issued the ruling Friday in a lawsuit filed by Northeast Natural Energy. She ruled that the ordinance, enacted in June, is pre-empted by the state's regulatory scheme.
The ordinance applied only to deep, horizontal gas wells and a practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Traditional vertical drilling into shallower formations was still allowed with a permit. Northeast has two Marcellus Shale wells at a decades-old industrial site across the Monongahela River from Morgantown.