Tyler County Commissioners welcomed Joe Eddy of Just Beneath the Surface Alliance at last Tuesday's meeting at the courthouse. Eddy presented an informational power point talk about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of wells.
Eddy explained the fracking process and noted that the oil and natural gas industry already supports well over 30,000 jobs in West Virginia. Over 7,000 new jobs can be created through the Marcellus Shale develpment, he added.
The United States is the top producer of natural gas in the world, 72 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, said Eddy.
"We are here to debunk some of the misinformation you may have heard about the process," said Eddy. "While horizontal fracking leaves a big footprint initially, (each site may take up 3-4 acres or more), when the process is complete the footprint is much smaller, and reclamation renews the property for use by the owner."
Eddy also noted that jobs and business opportunities are not just in exploring, producing, refining, transporting and marketing oil and natural gas. The industry also drives employment in many other sectors, such as wholesale and retail trade, real estate and rentals, banking, professional and technical services, and many others.
Eddy noted that claims of water contamination were not supported by facts. "There has never been one documented instance of water contamination (by horizontal fracking)," he said.
On average, 99.5 per cent of fracturing fluids are comprised of freshwater. Additives used in a typical hydraulic fracturing system include acids, sodium chloride, n-dimethyl formamide, borate salts, polyacrylamide, petroleum distillates, guar gum, potassium chloride, ammonium bifurcate, sodium or potassium chloride, proppant, ethylene glycol, and isoproponol, which may up 49 hundredths of a per cent of the composition.
Just Beneath the Surface Alliance is supported by the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia and the West Virginia Petroleum Council.
"This initiative was started to provide the public with factual information about the natural gas industry of West Virginia," concluded Eddy. "The industry supports local jobs contributes to local economy, and works to protect and improve the business and natural environments of our state."
Eddy spoke with commissioners and answered questions after the presentation. "We thank you for coming and speaking with us," said Commission President Charles "Pork" Smith. "This is new information to me, and it is useful information."
Minutes of the previous two commission meetings were approved, as well as exonerations and the clerk's fiduciary report, which was given by County Clerk Teresea Hamilton. Budget revisions were also approved by commission.
Sheriff Earl P. "Bob" Kendle, Jr., requested permission from commissioners to begin the interview process in order to hire for the position of dispatcher. "Eldon (Pratt) is retiring, and I need someone to begin training for the position as soon as possible. I would like for this to be a seamless transition."
Commissioners agreed that Kendle should begin looking at candidates for the position. Sheriff Kendle hopes to have the hiring done by June.
In John Stender's report to commission, he noted there were issues concerning conditions at the county 4-H camp, calling it "a mess." He told commissioners there had been a work day held at the camp to try to address problems, which included a leaking roof in the boys' dorm and problems with the boys' showers.
"There's a foundation meeting Thursday at the camp," Stender said. "I'll know more about the situation then."
"There seems to be a issue," he added. "People who used to do work on the camp gratis are saying no - I don't know if there's a conflict of some sort."
County Commissioner Eric Vincent said he had attended the 911 committee meeting and the "major update" was about Eldon Pratt's upcoming retirement. Vincent also noted the mapping system currently being designed was coming along well, saying it was going to be a great benefit to the county. The MOVRC meeting had been rescheduled for next week, Vincent added.
Commissioner Pork Smith discussed the Summer Youth Work Program in his report, explaining that DHHR, who contributes part of the funding for the program, had not released any funds to date.WorkForce WV also funds part of the project, but Smith said that if funds were not forthcoming from DHHR, the program would not be able to hire more than 70 youth this coming summer.
Smith voiced his approval of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's order to begin drug testing for all WorkForce WV trainees in the near future. "I think it's a great thing," he said.
After a motion was passed for payment of bills, the commission meeting adjourned. Those present included Eric Vincent, Charles Smith, John Stender, Teresea Hamilton, Bob Kendle, Joe Eddy and assistant, and Deputy Clerk Amy Glover.