Thursday, April 12, 2012


Nettie PSD will hold another meeting to discuss this issue at the Nettie Fire House on April 24 at 7 p.m. so be there and bring a friend! 

At the meeting, which was extremely well-attended by around 80 people, BRC employee Sam Sweatt referred to a single well, 5-H. In fact, the site is post-marked through 8-H! Yep.. we have the photos guys!

I would like to add that ALL of Bluescape's activity in Nicholas County is within the Upper Gauley River watershed and that, whether through water extraction for drilling and fracking, or by pollution consequential to this industrial process, ALL water users in our area will be inpacted one way or the other. With Acid Mine Discharge leading to aquifer/well contamination already causing ongoing long-term problems here, we hardly need the additional prospect of water poisoning by fracking activities....

12th April 2012
by C.V. Moore, Beckley Register Herald Reporter
Residents Voice Concern at Nettie Meeting

NETTIE — Concerned about a proposed horizontal gas well near their water supply, the Nettie Public Service District turned out about 80 residents to an “emergency” meeting Tuesday evening.

The group has elected to present an ordinance to the Nicholas County Commission to ban drilling in the county.

Tuesday’s was the second such meeting held in Nettie since the community noticed an ad in the paper on March 8 stating that Bluescape Resources Co. (BRC) would be proposing a well in the Panther Creek watershed.

PSD Chair David McMillion says the well would be located above the headwaters of Panther Creek — where the PSD gets its public drinking water — and “could affect or contaminate” the water supply.

“Even if there’s only a 1 percent chance of that happening, it’s too much,” said attendee Ralph Kelly, who made the motion to create the county ordinance. “We can’t afford to move if our water is polluted, even temporarily.

“That would be a tremendous burden on us and that’s why we need to take an action to protect ourselves. It’s not because we’re being radical, but because we have investments here.”

But county- and city-wide bans on drilling have so far been ineffectual in West Virginia, since state and federal law regulate the practice.

“The county government cannot interfere with any state law,” says Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris. “On the county level, there is very little they can do.”

“We’re going to take it as far as we can and see what happens,” says McMillion.

The PSD has approached Appalachian Mountain Advocates about potential litigation and McMillion says they have responded positively.

The PSD also sent letters to various personnel at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Environmental Protection Agency, Nicholas County Commission, corporate owners of land and mineral rights in the area, politicians and a lawyer.

A petition opposing the well has been signed by hundreds of area residents so far.

“The primary issue is not are you going to stop drilling,” Sen. Ron Miller told those gathered at the Nettie Fire Hall. “The primary issue is your watershed, and that’s where the DEP needs to be very active.”

PSD Secretary Bill Fox says the utility provides water to 1,375 homes. A planned extension will serve approximately 100 more in Carl and Green Valley.

Fox says a deep mine destroyed the water table in Green Valley years ago.

“People lost their wells,” he says. “They’ve been hauling water for 25 years.”

McMillion estimates that the well would be 1.5 miles as the crow flies from the dam where the PSD collects its water.

A representative from BRC, Sam Sweatt, attended the meeting.

“My reason for being here is to listen to your concerns and see if we can do anything to fall in line,” he told those gathered.

Local residents and members of the group Stand Up Now (STUN) — which has been protesting and watch-dogging BRC’s operations since last autumn — hammered Sweatt with questions about earthquakes, fracking chemicals, jobs, water usage and the company’s flare near Richwood.

Caroline Snyder, who has worked with STUN in the past, countered and contradicted some of Sweatt’s information during the meeting.

“The long term job creation is minimal,” she said. “The environmental devastation could be catastrophic.”

As for the particular well under discussion, Sweatt says it will be an “extended period of time” before it is drilled, if at all.

“We’ll submit a lot of permits that won’t go to fruition,” he says. “We’re looking now at determining the viability of the field. That one is close to some others we already have data on.”

BRC has drilled seven wells in Nicholas County so far, four of which have been fracked.

Mark Spencer’s farm borders the site of the proposed well. He has three springs and a well where he sources his drinking water.

“The way I feel about it is a person has enough to worry about without having to worry about losing your water or getting water contaminated,” he says. “They will be drilling through the water table where I get my water.”

Spencer has had some encounters with men he says are doing geophysical research and surveying the drill pad site near his property.

A member of the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, he complains that they offered no proof of their right to be on the property. When he told them to leave, he says they did, but came back when he wasn’t there.

“They were doing things at dusk out there, kind of sneaky it seemed to me,” he says. “And they left lunch trash on the farm.

“They were very disrespectful to landowners in my opinion.”

On April 23, a representative from the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization will give a presentation at the Richwood Public Library at 7 p.m.

The PSD will hold another meeting to discuss this issue at the Nettie Fire House on April 24 at 7 p.m.

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Gas company says well drilling won’t begin anytime soon

NETTIE — Some Nettie residents may have their hackles raised over a potential horizontal gas well near the community’s water source, but the gas company says it won’t be drilling the well anytime soon.

An ad announcing Bluescape Resources Co.’s (BRC) intention to apply for drilling permit 5-5H ran in a local paper on March 8, but the permit application for this particular well has not yet been completed.

More importantly, BRC’s Completion/Production Manager Chad Touchet says of six potential data-gathering wells the company may drill, the 5-5H well is ranked pretty low in terms of viability.

“It’s not on our radar right now to drill,” says Touchet. “We don’t really need this data right now.”

The wells BRC is considering drilling are not typical production wells. Rather, they would help the company form a picture of the economic viability of further drilling in the area.

Touchet says the company would like to drill one — perhaps two — more wells this year, beginning in July or August.

Though he would not disclose their specific location at this time, he says they are “nowhere near” Nettie.

The water management plan for the well or wells is currently being hashed out by BRC, says Touchet.

Geology, operational feasibility and economics all played into the ranking of the six potential wells.

Despite these limited plans, the company will likely apply for permits for all six potential wells.

“Because it such a lengthy process for permitting, we wanted to have all of our possible potential drills submitted,” says Touchet.

That doesn’t mean the company will drill them immediately, or at all.

“We can let the permits expire and that’s fine with us, just as long as we have them,” Touchet says.

He says with gas prices so low right now, BRC is being “picky” about where they drill.

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