Northeast Natural Energy, a company operating two Marcellus gas wells in the Morgantown area, filed a complaint in Monongalia County Circuit Court Friday asking for a temporary injunction to block the ordinance.
Also included in the lawsuit is Enrout Properties, LLC, the company that owns the mineral rights for the land Northeast is drilling on.
Monongalia County Circuit Judge Russell Clawges denied the injunction request, upholding the ban until further legal action is taken. No new hearing dates have been set, said a court clerk Tuesday.
"There will be a more complete hearing sometime in the near future," said Bill Byrne, Morgantown Mayor. "We will present evidence and defend the position we took."
The ban, which was passed during the June 21 regular City Council meeting, prohibits any operations using horizontal drilling and fracking to operate within the city limits or within one mile of the city limits.
Northeast's drilling sites, located in the Morgantown Industrial Park, are within one mile of the city limits.
The fracking process uses fluids pumped into a well deep underground to create fractures in the rock, allowing for the extraction of natural gas.
Critics of the process have expressed concerns about its possible environmental impact, while its advocates say the process is well-regulated and carries little risk.
Byrne said he and members of the council were concerned about the proximity of drilling operations to the city's water intake. He said he felt the ban was necessary since state legislators had not enacted any laws regulating the process.
"We just didn't think this was an appropriate site for such a well," he said.
In their complaint, Northeast says the city's ban is an "unlawful attempt to ban lawful activity outside of its border".
The complaint goes on to state fracking has safely been used in most major drilling operations since the 1940s and all oil and gas drilling within the state is closely regulated by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin weighed in on the matter in a letter he sent to Byrne, which was reading during the June 21 meeting.
In the letter, Tomblin focuses on the potential economic growth brought to the area if the drilling were allowed to take place. He also elaborates on the laws and regulations in place to oversee such drilling operations.
"I respectfully request that the City of Morgantown confine its governance to its city limits," Tomblin said.