Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 7:57 pm

By Sarah Plummer REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

A federal judge has granted an emergency injunction to prevent Fayette County from enforcing a countywide ban on the storage and disposal of oil and gas waste.

Judge John Copenhaver Jr. granted the injunction Tuesday to put a hold on the ban until a Feb. 11 hearing for injunctive relief.

 Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Harrah said the county expected the emergency injunction to be granted because such orders have few criteria that must be met.

The emergency injunction prevents the county from serving a cease and desist order to two injection disposal well operators in Fayette County.

The litigation filed last week on behalf of EQT Protection Company, a Pittsburgh-based firm with oil production and injection disposal wells in Kingston, claims the county ordinance violates the state Oil and Gas Act as well as property rights outlined in the Fifth Amendment.

The court documents assert the Oil and Gas Act does not allow local government to regulate the production and storage of oil and gas. The suit states banning these wells contravenes provisions and regulations set down by state and federal agencies.

Fayette County’s ordinance is the first of its kind in West Virginia. It is rooted in state code allowing county commissions to pass ordinances to protect public health and safety and eliminate public nuisances.

The ordinance asserts no state or federal permit will be allowed to violate the county ban.

Mount Hope City Council has passed a citywide ordinance based on the county’s, and Oak Hill Council has passed a non-binding resolution in support of the countywide ban.