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West Virginia Gas Drilling Opponents Call For Halt To New Development

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia environmental groups are calling for a moratorium on new drilling for natural gas.

The 10 groups are chiefly targeting development of the Marcellus shale deposit. But they say their concerns extend to any natural gas drilling.

They outlined their concerns Tuesday at a state Capitol press conference.

Their objections mostly involve hydraulic fracturing or fracking. This method frees up gas trapped deep underground with a high-pressure mix of water and chemicals.

These groups previously called for a Marcellus moratorium last year, citing the lack of shale drilling regulations. West Virginia has since enacted an array of rules, but the groups said Tuesday that those fail to protect public health and the environment.

The groups include the Sierra Club and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

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