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Companies Listen To Residents’ Concerns

May 11, 2011
By J.W. JOHNSON JR. - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MOUNDSVILLE - Marshall County residents discussed their concerns about gas drilling Tuesday with representatives from various drilling companies and their subcontractors.

In April, the monthly meeting of the Marshall County Energy Exploration Task Force was held in the Dallas area of Marshall County. On Tuesday, officials involved with the task force shared the information they had learned and offered what they are doing to calm the concerns of Dallas residents.

"Going in, we didn't know what to expect," said Marshall County Commissioner Jason "Jake" Padlow. "Everyone was very cooperative, and we were there to listen."

Article Photos

Photo by J.W. Johnson Jr.
Marshall County Emergency Management Director Tom Hart and Deputy Director Mike Mucheck listen Tuesday during a meeting of the Marshall County Energy Exploration Task Force.

Padlow and Marshall County Sheriff John Gruzinskas said truck traffic and high speeds were the main concerns of residents in the area. A number of residents specifically cited Consol Energy Inc. as an offender and said workers going to and from mines in the area were not obeying posted speed limits. Since that time, however, Padlow said he has spoken with representatives from those mines, and the word has been passed along.

"I think it was a case of a few guys ruining it for everyone," he said.

Gruzinskas said since that meeting, he has stationed officers in the area, though they have found things to be quiet.

"It could be the case of 'when the cat is away, the mice will play,'" he said. "The true test will be to see if everyone still complies when we aren't there."

Also during Tuesday's meeting, West Virginia Department of Transportation Administrator James McCune said though much of the blame for deteriorating roads has been put on gas drilling trucks, the companies that own those trucks have been doing their part to help keep the roads passable. Specifically, McCune said CNX, a subsidiary of Consol, has done repair work on Fork Ridge and Chesapeake Energy has replaced a section of Walnut Grove Road. Additionally, work has been done to Oklahoma Road near Dallas, and Caiman Energy has fixed numerous slips in the county.

McCune said though companies are working hard to help keep the roads passable, more help is needed.

The DOT "just cannot keep up with all the work," he said. "We are doing the best we can, but we need the help of the companies to stay on top of things."

Padlow echoed McCune and added the county will continue to adapt to the influx of drilling.

"We have been an industrial county for hundreds of years," he said. "This is nothing new to us, but we need your help along the way."

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