The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Friends of Blackwater, and former West Virginia State Park Chief Cordie Hudkins have taken the fight over the proposed drilling for natural gas in Chief Logan State Park to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. There they have been joined by the West Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club as well as the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the West Virginia Department of Energy who also oppose the drilling.
The controversy is over a proposal by Cabot Oil and Gas to drill several gas wells inside Chief Logan State Park. The Department of Environmental Protection had originally denied the permit to drill based upon a statute which it believed prohibited drilling for gas in a state park. Cabot Oil and Gas (the driller) appealed to the Circuit Court of Logan County which reversed the Department of Environmental Protection and ordered that the permit be issued.
The case also has the potential to interfere with an important source of funding for West Virginia’s parks and recreation. West Virginia receives extensive funding for its parks from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. A condition of that funding is that the land dedicated for park use remain so and not be converted for non-recreational use. If West Virginia allows part of Chief Logan to be converted from recreational use to minerals extraction, this would interfere with funding under this program.