Jeffco Commission votes for easier coalbed methane well drilling

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Commission voted on Tuesday to make it easier to drill coalbed methane wells.  The commission removed the step to require a zoning variance to drill a coalbed methane well, which are already zoned for strip mining.

The Executive Director of the Coalbed Methane Assoc. of Alabama says there is no threat to public safety and landowners can still negotiate drilling conditions with methane operators. Still, one landowner is worried about the noise and impact on land values.

"At least it's going to be a nuisance, " Guy Moore said.

"The issue here is property rights of the owner of the minerals have the same rights as the owner of the surface." Dennis Lathem Executive Dir. of the Coalbed Methane Assoc. of Alabama said.
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins voted against the change. Collins believes it would be giving up the public's right to contest drilling operations.

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