125 Gilmer residents hear Marcellus reports
from high-intensity drilling counties
By Bob Weaver
Photos by Drew Moody
Marcellus Shale drilling has made its way to Gilmer County with a boom,, some say with a shake, rattle and roll, with a number of Gilmer residents expressing their reactions at a public meeting Thursday to two minor earthquakes that struck the area in the past two weeks.
The quakes were in close proximity to several Marcellus drilling sites in the Normantown-Lockey area where fracking is currently going on or is scheduled.
At a meeting held at the Normantown Elementary School, about 125 residents heard presentations from people who live in other parts of the state who have had Marcellus drilling in their neighborhoods for some time.
Normantown woman near quake epicenter asks questions
Normantown resident Wilda Jenkins said her home was within a few hundred feet of the epicenter of the most recent quake.
"How is this going to affect me and my family and our water?" Jenkins asked, "I've started having a breathing problem since they started drilling."
Wayne Woods (left) of the Doddridge County Watershed Association said it is up to community citizens to be watchful and told them how to file complaints about environmental or road damage concerns.
Another Normantown woman said children on the school's playground are having upper respiratory problems, with Woods saying the air quality needs to be tested.
Normantown resident Rick Frame (right), who has
business interests with the gas industry, told the group,"These big companies make a big effort to do the right things."
"These sites are designed by professional engineers who want to get it right... The drilling will help our tax base and maybe we'll get some roads paved," Frame said.
Julie Archer, Project Manager West Virginia Owners Right Organization said, "The speakers who are here tonight, they've been dealing with this in their communities for a long time now, documenting it and so they're here to give folks a heads up, like here's what's coming and here's what you can do."
Dianne Pitcock of West Virginia Host Farms program presented a slide show "Fracking 101" to inform the public about the impact of the industry, saying "Landowners should be informed what to expect with their streams, water supplies, erosion, road damage and air quality.
Bill Hughes of the Wetzel County Action Group said, "My long-term goal has always been to try to make the gas guys just better neighbors in communities in which they're just temporarily working."
Responding to the first earthquake, Stacey Brodak, Manager of Community & Media Relations for Noble Energy Inc., the drilling company with operations in the Normantown-Lockney area, told the Hur Herald, "We believe this morning's seismic activity was not related to Noble Energy's routine completion activities for our well in Normantown, West Virginia."
"As in all our operations, we will monitor this activity to ensure that we continue to operate safely and responsibly," Brodak said.
In response to the second quake, MSC spokesperson Steve Forde said, " This very minor seismic event, to our knowledge, is unrelated to the region's natural gas development activities, specifically hydraulic fracturing."
Operators have said that ten minor earthquakes in Braxton County were not related to the injection of fracking fluids into old depository wells.
See ... www.wvhostfarms.org
And ... www.wcag-wv.org
Also ... UPDATE: GILMER SHAKEN BY SECOND EARTHQUAKE EARLY TUESDAY - Twelve Miles From Grantsville, Marcellus Well Sites Near Quake
UPDATE: EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER REPORTED SATURDAY MORNING NEAR STUMPTOWN-NORMANTOWN - No Significant Damage Reported, Marcellus Drilling Operater Says Not Related