Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Doddridge County WV Fracking: Who Is Getting Rich?

The fracking of West Virginia was supposed to provide and eonomic boom to the state, with jobs for citizens and lots of tax money for the state. In Doddridge County, hopes were high but have we seen any of these promised benefits? At Fracking West Virginia, we want to know who is getting rich from fracking our county?

Job Creation In Doddridge County

Most people in areas where there is lots of fracking activity, such as Doddridge Couty, know at least one friend or family member who has a good-paying new job thanks to fracking but it dosen't look like many Doddridge County residents are permenantly employed in the fracking industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The unemployment rate in Doddridge County is 6.2 percent (July 2013) with 3,160 people employed in the county, a mere .03 percent less than July 2012's rate of 6.5 percent. As you can see from the chart below. Doddridge County's employment rate peaked in the early 1990's, long before the fracking started.

Unemployment Rate in Doddridge County, WV

Doddridge County Oil & Gas Companies Benefiting From Fracking 

Maybe it's the Doddride County oil and gas company owners who are getting rich from fracking our county. CEO's paying property taxes on big estates, exectutives spending big at local businesses - these situations add economic benefits to the county. Wait... EQT is a Pennsylvania company, Antero Resources is a Colorado company and Chesapeake Energy is based in Oklahaoma.

Land Owners In Doddrige County 

Maybe it's Doddridge County's land owners and mineral rights owners who are reaping the benefits of the fracking activity by leasing their land for well pad sites or right-of-ways or seeing monthly checks for their mineral rights. According to The West Virginia Encylopedia  "A large majority of West Virginia’s privately held land is owned by relatively few individuals or firms, many of them from outside the state. The largest private landowners are coal, timber, natural gas companies and electric utilities, and railroads". The fracking of our land is largely for the benefit of people outside the state.

Doddridge County mineral rights owners are seeing ther checks get smaller and smaller as the price of natural gas drops. More natural gas has been stockpiled than forcasted so the prices are tumbling along with mineral rights owner's royalty checks. Unless we as a nation can find a cost-ffective way to start exporting natural gas or buiding cars that run on natural gas, the price will continue to drop.

Doddridge County Must Be Benefitting From All This Fracking

The amount of taxes collected are based on gas production and the price of gas. Increased production is offset by decreasing prices. West Virginia and Doddridge County is not collecting anywhere near the tax money that was expected. This quote from says it all.

""There is absolutely a natural gas production boom going on here. But we have no extra money for nothing. Zero," said Doddridge County Commissioner Ralph Sandora.

There had been hopes that increased oil and gas severance tax revenues would help the county's budget, Sandora said. And severance tax revenues did increase, from around $250,000 in 2006 to nearly $400,000 in 2009 - then fell to $250,000 in 2011, a cut of 5 percent to the county's $3 million budget in just two years.

"I'm a firm believer in 4-H," Sandora said. "We can't contribute hardly any money toward 4-H because we don't have it"

Who Is Getting Rich?

Booming Main St. in West Union?
Some Doddridge County residents are renting apartents, houses and trailer lots to gas well workers. These people are seeing an economic benefit but they are not getting rich. Well workers have to eat and buy gasoline so some businesses are seeing added revenues as well.

Is The Destruction To Our County Worth It? 

It's up to every resident to decide for himself or herself if Doddridge County is seeing enough economic benefits to justify the negative impacts of fracking.


Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (

The West Virginia Encylopedia (

InsuranceNewsNet ([state-journal-the-charleston-]-a-281767.html?newswires#.UiauEdKOBKo