Four bids are in and the Department of Natural Resources is reviewing them to see who will be fracking in the Ohio River.
People appear to be split on Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan. While some believe that it could be damaging to the environment, others think it’ll be great for the economy.
Governor Tomblin believes West Virginia should continue to capitalize on the benefits of its natural resources, even if that means drilling in the river. According to the West Virginia Department of Commerce, frackers will give the state at least 20 percent worth of production royalties.
“This is step one of a much larger process, obviously; we own the mineral rights, we manage those mineral rights. This isn’t even the first drill, mineral, along the Ohio River, under the Ohio River,” West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said.
The plan would affect 22 miles under the Ohio River, going through Marshall, Wetzel and Pleasants Counties.
Burdette said they’re not at the permitting process just yet. “We do not issue permits, so this is not the permitting process. This will be regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection as they do all other drilling; they’ll have to make sure that the permit meets all the safety requirements of the law.”
They hope to come to a decision on the winning bid within the next week or two.