On August 17, 2011, the Oil & Gas Law Brief reported that a West Virginia judge had entered an order striking down a ban on hydraulic fracturing enacted by the City of Morgantown. The judge ruled that West Virginia statutes make oil and gas regulation exclusively a matter of state law, and that local governments do not have authority to enact additional regulations. That judgment is now final.
The City of Morgantown apparently had planned to appeal, but media reports indicate that the City inadvertently missed the 30-day deadline to file a notice of appeal. The 30-day deadline is found in West Virginia Rule of Civil Procedure 73, which was amended in December 2010 to add a subsection (c) that requires a party to file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the judgment being appealed. Previously, parties "perfected" an appeal by taking certain steps within four months of a judgment. One report quoted the City Manager as saying that he thought the City had four months to appeal, and quoted the City's lead counsel for the litigation as saying, "[W]e overlooked the recent amendment, and I take responsibility for that."