As drilling for Marcellus shale gas in Marshall County continues to increase, members of the Marshall County Commission said more companies are being proactive in making contact with and hearing the concerns of county residents.
During a special commission session Tuesday, Commissioner Brian Schambach said events such as a recent open house held by Gastar Exploration are examples of drilling companies becoming part of the community. More than 100 residents attended that open house.
"They wanted to get everything out in the open about what they plan to do with drilling and the roads," said Commissioner Jason "Jake" Padlow. "They've been a good neighbor."
Schambach said other companies are also beginning to answer questions and concerns, including Caiman Energy and TransEnergy, both of which have meetings scheduled this week with representatives from the county and the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Padlow said most companies are on board with the county's mission of increasing the dialogue between county officials and drilling companies, though some detractors remain.
"A couple of companies are making others look bad," he said.
However, Padlow said he was pleased with the turnout by both companies and applicants at the recent Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia job fair in Moundsville. Nearly 1,200 people came to the fair seeking jobs from 40 production and service companies.
Padlow said he knows of at least one local resident who already has been offered a job stemming from the fair, something he hopes becomes a trend.
"I hope they will hire a couple hundred local people," he said, adding a number of applicants came from Ohio and Pennsylvania seeking work.
"The industry is opening up regionally, but we want to see them hire locally."