EQT Files Lawsuit Against Doddridge County

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plaguey

Washington, DC

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#1
May 22, 2012
 
Taken from WDTV's web site:
http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm...

This all comes after the county's floodplain director granted a permit that would've allowed EQT to drill 12 natural gas wells all within acres of each other. But, that permit was revoked after the floodplain manager realized homes and livestock would be in danger if EQT got their way.

The Lawsuit was filed on Friday. EQT says they applied for a permit authorizing the drilling of wells on a floodplain. Both the County Commission and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection granted EQT's necessary permits. EQT says the previous floodplain manager who is also a member of commission, had no authority to then take back the permit.

EQT says they have already spent almost $300,000 as part of the entire permitting process. They say the rescinding of the permit is only delaying them from moving forward with operations. The woman who owns that property says that EQT is not telling the truth. Joye Huff says the lawsuit is a total misrepresentation of the facts and their actions are rude, stubborn, and bullying. In her eyes, FEMA is the one who brought matters to the attention of commission, and then the floodplain manager had no choice but to take back the permit.

Joye Huff had this to add, "The lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate the commission. EQT can not force the county to be in non-compliance with it's own ordinance. The county's first responsibility is the protection of the floodplains. That is mandated by the state, by FEMA."

County commission members declined to comment on the issue. There is a hearing Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at the county courthouse.

According to EQT's website, they own 3.5 million acres, more than 14,000 productive wells and 5.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
Just THINKING

Salem, WV

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#2
May 22, 2012
 
Yep -- it happened ---- and will be happening --- The approved Flood Plain Ordinance is a piece of crap gives the surface owner 30 days to respond -- they didn't ---(IMO)-- Jerry didn't know what he was doing --- Commission is taking action and making things worse --- EQT did what they had to do and they could have made it VERY BAD on the county -- so far only has sued for court costs and Attorney's fees ----

Lawsuit best thing b/c it is in the Judge's hands and away from the pressure of the public --- MAYBRE he can get the technical/engineering evidence and base his decisions on what is really happening and not on emotions and fear ----

(BTW --- I am NOT a supporter of the rippin, tearing -- It's our way or the highway attitude that I believe this O & G company has --- But the LAW is the LAW and the County Commission is NOT in the position to enforce this law --- Let the judge handle it and place it into the State's hands ---)
Citizen

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#3
May 22, 2012
 

Judged:

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I see it differently.....

1. EQT went to flood plain coordinator (Jerry) back in November to get his signature on their application to drill on a floodplain/flood way.

2. Jerry signed off on the permit in Nov. 2011 stating it was NOT in a flood plain/flood way. He never visited the site and also admitted during a taped commission meeting later, that he didn't even know how to read flood plain maps. In other words, he screwed up

3. EQT went ahead with planning for drilling the meadow.

4. Landowner and neighbors in direct path of the floodway from that meadow, went to commission on April 17th to show commissioners pictures of that flooded meadow in the past, as well as the flood plain maps explained. Commission realized Jerry made a mistake.

5. Jerry rescinded the permit within days, through his capacity as flood plain coordinator. EQT was notified (and no doubt also watched the youtube vids of the commission meeting on Doddridge News site.)

6. EQT sent letter to commission demanding permit back and pointing out that the commission did not give them "due process," so to speak, when Jerry made the move to rescind their permit.(i.e. they should have been notified in advance about the permit needing to be rescinded, so that they could make their claims as to why it shouldn't be rescinded.) Thus a PROCESS error was committed by commission in the manner they went about rescinding.

7. EQT is using this "process" error to demand the permit back and thus filed suit.

8. If the permit was allowed IT WOULD BE A VIOLATION OF THE COUNTY FLOOD PLAIN ORDINANCE ....thus Jerry did the right thing in rescinding, but the county screwed up in the manner they went about rescinding it.

9. Big hearing today, May 22, 4 pm at courthouse where commission will hear both sides argued.

10. End result of this mess....if commission agrees to give back permit...every citizen in this county ought to sue BECAUSE the FEMA guidelines state that they will only give federal funding for disaster relief of flooding IF....IF... the county is in compliance with their flood plain ordinance. And issuing a permit in a known flood way would put them in violation! The ordinance states that the only time construction should take place on a floodway/flood plain is IF there are no other alternate locations. And this gal has 640 ares of alternative location to offer them with their lease underneat! They just want her only meadow...a primo spot with road frontage of 2 football fields length and she farms it and will lose the whole meadow if they drill.

11. Ultimately the permit should end up revoked (and done so with due process to appease EQT) and of course EQT will sue, but the best and only thing they should be entitled to is "damages" meaning whatever expense they inccurred in prepping the site. And settling THAT lawsuit would be a whole lot less effect on the county then caving to the "bully boy" techniques of EQT and giving back the permit...because they would have broken the law of the flood plain ordinance if they do...invalidated FEMA coverage for the county, and face the wrath of every citizen in this county whom their decision would have compromised.

Time to stand up to these big drilling companies who try to throw their weight around with their legal war chest of attornies and money. The permit if allowed would be ILLEGAL in that it violates existing flood plain ordinances AND invalidates our FEMA protection. The law is on the commission's side if they just have the b*lls to stand up to EQT...and the most they will have to pay is their costs incurred by Jerry Okaying the permit in the first place.

This abuse and intimidation by drillers has to stop! They can drill elsewhere on her property, they just want to make a point that they are in charge. If they backdown on this it is a sign of weakness from their usual "bully boy" tactics against landowners.
Very Concerned

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#4
May 22, 2012
 

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WV needs to be more like Vermont. All Fracking banned in Vermont! I know for a fact (personal experience) that some of the people coming from Texas wanting to put pipeline on peoples property do use a bully tactic. Who wants pipeline that can erupt or explode on their property? Who wants the wells and frac ponds on their property? The by product of marcellus drilling is toxic waste, heavy metals. How safe are those frac ponds which contain the by product of the toxic cocktails used in drilling? Can there be over flows from these toxic ponds? Where does this toxic waste go? How safe is our groundwater? What about all the water taken from our streams and rivers for the process, thousands of gallons at a time. Are any toxic chemicals being put back into our streams? Why have some doctors said that they feel that more research needs to be done regarding people getting sick that live near these well sites? What about people being able to light their drinking water with a match after drilling has taken place? Why is the toxic cocktail secretive? What about the destruction done to the roads and highways from all the massive equipment coming into these sites? Have our officials jumped the gun by issuing all these permits. Many sites are being inspected by out of state workers with no involvement of WV inspectors. Who is monitoring these frac ponds full of toxic waste? How safe are we, really? Are these well sites really making jobs for West Virginians? All the makeshift campsites are for out of state workers and they are popping up everywhere. Are our officials too greedy to see the whole picture, the future of our state and its natural resources?
plaguey

Washington, DC

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#5
May 22, 2012
 
Very Concerned wrote:
WV needs to be more like Vermont. All Fracking banned in Vermont! I know for a fact (personal experience) that some of the people coming from Texas wanting to put pipeline on peoples property do use a bully tactic. Who wants pipeline that can erupt or explode on their property? Who wants the wells and frac ponds on their property? The by product of marcellus drilling is toxic waste, heavy metals. How safe are those frac ponds which contain the by product of the toxic cocktails used in drilling? Can there be over flows from these toxic ponds? Where does this toxic waste go? How safe is our groundwater? What about all the water taken from our streams and rivers for the process, thousands of gallons at a time. Are any toxic chemicals being put back into our streams? Why have some doctors said that they feel that more research needs to be done regarding people getting sick that live near these well sites? What about people being able to light their drinking water with a match after drilling has taken place? Why is the toxic cocktail secretive? What about the destruction done to the roads and highways from all the massive equipment coming into these sites? Have our officials jumped the gun by issuing all these permits. Many sites are being inspected by out of state workers with no involvement of WV inspectors. Who is monitoring these frac ponds full of toxic waste? How safe are we, really? Are these well sites really making jobs for West Virginians? All the makeshift campsites are for out of state workers and they are popping up everywhere. Are our officials too greedy to see the whole picture, the future of our state and its natural resources?
If all of these waste products are safe, as they claim. I suggest we offer to "dispose" of some of them at the homes of the politicians and executives that ARE allowing them to be dumped on us?

Seems reasonable?

After all, if they are truly safe for our children to be exposed to, then these people shouldn't mind at all if we get rid of a bunch of it where their families will be exposed to it?

It's safe, correct? So, I'm betting they will give us permission to dispose of as much of it as we like?

Let's ask?
Very Concerned

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#6
May 22, 2012
 
Good idea. Our officials would never want these frac ponds and toxic waste near their homes. If fracking is so safe, why has Vermont banned it? Why are doctors wanting more research? I think that our state will be ruined by greed and the lack of officials being prepared.
Also concerned

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#7
May 22, 2012
 
I, myself, is also concerned, but worry why our county has not been concerned.
Very Concerned

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#8
May 22, 2012
 
Write, call, email your elected officials. Do research, there is toxic waste, very little research and not enough West Virginians involved in the process.
lemon

Clarksburg, WV

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#9
May 22, 2012
 

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in my opinion
what chance does doddridge county stand with brooke defending us against a big corperate lawyer?
she never even has the things her bosses, the commisoners request on time for the comission meetings
when it comes to court cases,she prefers to plea charges down ,instead of going to trial

just my opinion
Diane

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#10
May 22, 2012
 

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You all have good reason to be concerned. Please check out this site ... www.wvhostfarms.org

Look at all the pages on the site....browse the photo gallery of pics & youtube vids taken from Doddridge, Harrison, Wetzel, and Marshall counties as well as view the longer videos of presentations given by researchers. Many, many more links will be posted on the site in coming weeks, so check back often.

People need to know what is now coming out about the post fracking impacts in these other states who are ahead of us in the drilling frenzy.
I am in touch with people in all these other states and we are networked to get this info out to the public, so they know the risks to people's health and environment who are living next to or near these Marcellus sites!

What has happened in Washington Co., PA with the Marcellus drilling frenzy there and Wetzel, is on its way to Doddridge and surrounding counties. More than 300 wells proposed in this area!
People want to see responsible drilling, local jobs, and also want to know that research has been done to ensure that the practice of fracking Marcellus wells is a safe one in the first place!!! If done safely it should create MORE jobs not less!

This www.wvhostfarms.org web site is not a secret site nor a conspiracy against the drilling industry.

What the site IS ....is a legitimate, credible initiative to promote educational outreach and research opportunities for the scientific research community to come to our counties in WV, and for once, be able to get in on the FRONT END of drilling in order to conduct those critical baselines of water quality of streams, well water, air quality, and land....BEFORE those drill bits hit the ground! And the host farms initiative is helping them have access into WV. We already have a big university on the way this summer!

There are too many "unknowns" about this new fracking technology. Don't let the industry tell you that it is still the typical type of fracking we are used to. It is not. Please.... take the time to look at the site and read some of the web links on there. Spend the time to know what Marcellus fracking is all about. It's worth it to educate and prepare yourself of what is coming down the pike in Doddridge!

So the outreach and the response in getting these universities here is already started and with New Milton sites going in from Erwin's properties he leased, as well as EQT's activities on the Huff property (the EQT vs. Co. Commission lawsuite) as well as proposed and active drilling in McClellan district.... we have lots of front end ops for these university researchers!

Take the time to look up all those "recommended resources" on the www.wvhostfarms.org web page. Read through the links posted there! Many, many more will be posted up there in the coming weeks. I have hundreds of articles that tell of cattle illness and deaths in Washington PA, stream and well water contamination, people with unexplained skin lesions and rashes, respiratory illnesses, etc. all who are living close to these frack sites.

Just google "Washington Co. PA, fracking impacts" or "Ron Gulla" and start reading. He was the 2nd marcellus well ever drilled 7 years ago and is heavily networked with landowners up there, and I am working with him and many others like him in PA, OH, and NY, as well as people from 12 different WV counties participating in the effort to bring researchers to their WV farms.

If you want to volunteer or help out with the effort, use the contact form on the website. This effort is growing quickly. Jamie Stover of WBOY did a story last week and the web site got 402, and 978 'hits" to it in those 2 days! And other states and researchers have spread the word and are contacting us!

We are seeing the "industrialization" of our rural communities and we must be prepared!
WOW

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#11
May 22, 2012
 
I just watched the 11:00 news and looks like DC will possibly sued one way or the other. I may be wrong, but looks almost like a counter-suit(or however it is spelled)
Did Jerry stay awake for the whole meeting?
Our county does show a lack of leadership from at least two commissioners. IMO
david

Harrisville, WV

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#12
May 22, 2012
 
Joye huff did not appeal the permit because the county failed to provide her notice of both the application and the the issuance of the permit How could she appeal within 30 days to protect her property rights if the powers that be don't tell her they've just given those rights away for $25 after a cursory maybe 15 minute review by Mr. Evans? She found out months later.

Worst part is her elderly neighbors. If eqt gets its permit backand builds those 12 wells., and there is a flood, and there will be one sooner than later, those poor old folks lives will be ruined. How can they rebuild without federal ins when they are too old to work??? Whole situation is heartbreaking.
Citizen

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#13
May 22, 2012
 
WOW wrote:
I just watched the 11:00 news and looks like DC will possibly sued one way or the other. I may be wrong, but looks almost like a counter-suit(or however it is spelled)
Did Jerry stay awake for the whole meeting?
Our county does show a lack of leadership from at least two commissioners. IMO
If the county handles this right, the worst they should encounter is EQT suing for "damages" meaning the expenses they incurred between the time the permit was signed Nov. 21, giving them the go ahead, and up until the rescinding of the permit. They are claiming $300,000 in costs to the site so far! Ha! No way. Bully tactics to intimidate in my opinion.

If they hadn't been sloppy, the pre-drilling site evaluations, etc. would have been done BEFORE coming to Jerry and if he had turned them down back then, as he should have ...those expenses would be unrecoverable anyway. So, it's bull sh*t that they are claiming $300,000 in incurred costs after he gave them the "go ahead"

No way, all that expensive engineering stuff, site surveys, and other evaluations would have been needed to be done before seeking the permit from Jerry.

And the commission need only stand firm on refusing to reinstate the permit (and thus upholding the law and protecting their citizens) instead of catering to this damn driller who came in here with their lawsuit trying to "cloud" the issue by b*tching about "process" not being followed. Yes, the county screwed up in how they went about rescinding the permit. And they have to be accountable for that.

But it was an illegally issued permit and EQT knows that damn well. They were just counting on a bunch of county hicks and commissioners (that's how they see us) caving to their unsubstantiated intimidation tactics and their team of lawyers in suits, with their big warchest. But the law is the law, and even these guys should realize that eventually their scare tactics won't always work.

The county should settle out of court to reimburse EQT what was their ACTUAL... not inflated to intimidate.....expenses were since the time Jerry issued the permit. And the county should examine carefully what expenses are associated with a PRE-application assessment and deduct that from their ridiculous $300,000 claim! LOL

Tell them they have the right to re-apply ...and do it by the book, which means demand they have those evaluations to show before applying and then apply the current Horizontal Well Act passed on Dec. 14th. And, also study their own flood plain ordinance because THAT is what shuts the drillers down from drilling this woman's meadow.

Companies like this will fight to the death rather than do the right thing as that would suggest a weakness on their part and would embolden more landowners like Joye to NOT be intimidated by their "bully boy" tactics!
Joe

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#14
May 23, 2012
 
i do believe that the Texans that are doing the work for EQT thinks that wv folks are a bunch of hillbillies and they can get what they want. this is my opinion only. i have heard stories about righ of ways or leases purchased from one family for a few hundred dollars and other folks that did some research and did not fall victim to the b.s. ended up getting thousands.

wv is going to end up a toxic wasteland.
Frankly Speaking

Fairmont, WV

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#15
May 23, 2012
 

Judged:

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I think these "cowboys" are so used to dealing with absentee land owners that they don't know WHAT TO THINK about us in WV!!!

Out West -- the Surface owners eoither own their minerals or they get paid an equal 1/8 of the royalty

THEN there is the fact that many of the acres that are drilled on are public lands that theUS GOV owns, lying in remote areas -- so the coyboys don't have to deal with the surface owners --

But for EQT -- there is NO EXCUSE --- they have been in WV for years with many of citizens working for them -- QT doesn't realize how much of WV land ownership has passed to new owners -- from different states who just doesn't understand the concept of being afraid when they are threatened with a lawsuite ---

I really believe EQT is used to greasing the skids with their $$$$$ or threateneing a lawsuit and people running from them.

And I also don't believe that a one of their Admin types have any idea what a surface owner in WV is going through!
Quiet Observer

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#16
May 23, 2012
 
Joe wrote:
i do believe that the Texans that are doing the work for EQT thinks that wv folks are a bunch of hillbillies and they can get what they want. this is my opinion only.....wv is going to end up a toxic wasteland.
I had a landowner in Wetzel County tell me something I found very disturbing. Sometime last year he was in an office awaiting his turn to give deposition during litigation against a driller that he is involved in.(water contamination issues after they put in several marcellus wells around his farm.)

He said that among all the nicely dressed "suits" from the law firm milling in and out of the room, was a young man sitting next to him that worked for the drilling company. The young man struck up a conversation with him as he was waiting his turn to give his statement. The young man, apparently sympathetic to this landowner's plight, leaned over and quietly said to him.....
"when my company and others are finished with Wetzel and Doddridge County, they will both be uninhabitable."

Another incident... after the guy from the "Just Beneath the Surface" Alliance ....a lobby/public relations effort of the WV Oil and Gas association spoke at our commission meeting last month, one of the landowners attending followed him out as he was leaving...wanting to ask just one more question. He commented to the O&G representative ...."you know these people who are claiming sickness and health issues from drilling exposure aren't lying." To which the lobby guy quietly responded.... "I know it." Just like that.

hmmmmm I am reminded of this quote:
'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.'-- Upton Sinclair, author of "The Jungle."
Also concerned

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#17
May 23, 2012
 
I am concerned with these issues when the oil and gas companies come and go as they please. Then when a person questions on of them, they get all huffy. TOO BAD!
disgusted with drillers

Littlestown, PA

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#18
May 23, 2012
 

Judged:

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they have a serious public relations problem and no amount of stupid commercials insulting our intelligence (example - we use chemicals found in ice cream) or "just beneath the surface" are going to convince any surface owner that what they are doing isn't thuggery and a violation of human rights

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