The Monongalia County Commission is warning Morgantown against trying to ban natural gas drilling beyond its municipal borders.
The city council is considering an ordinance to ban horizontal, deep wells within city limits and up to 1 mile beyond them. Conventional drilling would be allowed only under a city permit.
Commissioner Eldon Callen tells the Dominion Post that's unconstitutional because municipalities can't pass laws affecting land outside their borders. He says the county would take legal action to prevent enforcement of such an ordinance.
Mayor Bill Byrne contends the city is within its rights. He says city officials have a responsibility to protect their water and their citizens.
The city aims to shut down a Marcellus shale drilling operation along the Monongahela River, within a mile of its water supply.
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