But four West Virginia communities concerned about possible water pollution decided to go it alone when wrangling state legislators failed to agree on new rules for the industry earlier this year.
Wellsburg rescinded its ordinance last week. City Manager Mark Henne said concern eased after acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered the DEP to draft new emergency rules.
New Martinsville is planning to repeal its ban, too, with a final vote set for Sept. 5.
But Lewisburg, the first city to attempt such a ban, is also the last to relent.
Mayor John Manchester, who learned of Tucker's ruling while traveling Monday, said it won't "automatically trigger our City Council's interest.''
"We are not reconsidering,'' he said, "and I believe that having the ordinance on the books still sends a message about the importance of this to our citizens.''
Lewisburg sits atop sensitive Karst limestone, known for sinkholes, caves and pristine streams that sink underground. The geologic formations are fragile environments for rare and threatened creatures, from salamanders to the endangered Indiana bat.
City officials say it's a place so special that it has to remain off limits.
Allowing the ban to stand tells legislators and the DEP "to proceed with all due speed'' in developing new regulations for the industry, Manchester said. "I think they get it.''
No one has challenged Lewisburg's ordinance in court because no one is drilling there yet.
DeMarco said gas companies appreciate the topographic differences in southern Greenbrier and Monroe counties, where high-quality water swirls through interconnected, underground caverns.
"If and when that area begins to be developed,'' he said, "certain conditions would have to be in place, and I think the DEP recognizes that.''