Court Upholds Permits To Drill In W.Va. State Park

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- The State Supreme Court has cleared the way for oil and gas drilling in a southern West Virginia state park.

Wednesday's decision rejects the Division of Natural Resources' appeal of a June 2009 ruling that ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection to issue five permits to Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.

Cabot sought to tap natural gas reserves under the park that are owned by Lawson Heirs Inc. The Lawson family sold the land in 1960 to create the park, but kept ownership of the oil and gas reserves.

DNR and DEP argued that a 1961 law prohibited mineral extraction in public parks.

The court said the agencies could not rely on the law because it was enacted after the 1960 agreement.

Justice Brent Benjamin did not hear the case.

(Copyright 2010 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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