SEPTEMBER 22, 2010

1. West Virginia and Pennsylvania rivers and streams frequently experience very low flows because of reduced rainfall. At these critically low flows, water withdrawals for Marcellus Shale gas well activities threaten aquatic life in many streams. And, more generally, the waters of both States must be shared among the diverse uses from agriculture to industry to recreation to domestic use. This includes both surface and sub-surface water resources. Therefore, the withdrawal of water from any source for high volume applications as Marcellus Shale drilling, fracking or other operations must be regulated and require permits from an appropriate State agency.

2. The Program Review in the Office of Oil and Gas of the WV DEP is clearly useful with a projected Final Report date of December 2010. However, this Review of oil and gas exploration and production activities in West Virginia is inadequate in and of itself. The issues and problems of this industry sector are huge and diverse and they directly involve many other agencies of State government; and, these problems are interrelated to the other extractive industries. A State-wide review is urgently needed, one that is directed from the Office of the Governor. And, a Special Session of the WV Legislature would appear to be called for to address these problems and issues which include the protection of our water, air and land as well as our roads, our scenic values and quality of life. Each extractive activity should be responsible for the cost of all the environmental and socio-economic impacts resulting from its activities, taking into account both short and long-term impacts.

3. The issues and problems affecting WV and PA as a result of the current and projected levels of activity for coal mining and natural gas production are of an inter-state or national character. Here in northern WV and southwestern PA we have many such operations that cross state lines. One major issue is the drinking water for approximately one million people in southwestern Pennsylvania that comes from the Monongahela River, which drains most of northcentral WV. This and the other streams will likely increase in their total loads of pollutants. Therefore, the US Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Geological Survey and other federal agencies should prepare a "guidance document" and respond quickly to the water and aqueous waste problems of the extractive industries now affecting New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other States.

4. An Interagency Task Force study within the United States government is needed to examine the existing problems posed by the extractive industries in the United States. This would aim to establish a viable long range Planning Office that can anticipate many of the problems such as those posed by Marcellus Shale gas exploration and production. The focus would be on environment impacts and socio-economic dislocations such as public infrastructure damages and domestic disturbance problems.

NOTE: The above Resolutions were adopted by consensus at the Second WV-PA Watershed Group Meeting on September 22, 2010 at the Morgantown Airport. This meeting was organized and conducted by the Watershed Steering Committee as an activity of the Upper Monongahela River Association (