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State Regulators Order WV Company to Hold Off on Drilling

State regulators have ordered a Charleston-based company to postpone natural gas drilling operations in Morgantown until negotiations with the city are concluded.

The State Journal reports the state Department of Environmental Protection directed Northeast Natural Energy to put off drilling that was supposed to start Wednesday. The company plans to sink wells along the Monongahela River and near Morgantown's drinking water treatment plant.

DEP Secretary Randy Huffman has said his agency is working with Northeast and the Morgantown Utility Board on more stringent requirements to address residents' concerns. The DEP now wants the company to postpone drilling until the negotiations are over.

The wells are part of the rapidly growing exploration of the Marcellus shale field, a gas reserve underlying much of Appalachia.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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