- Associated Press - Thursday, September 25, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A deadline to bid on the right to drill for oil and natural gas under parts of the Ohio River is approaching.

Sealed bids are due Thursday afternoon for drilling rights on state-owned land under 22 miles of the river. The sections are in Pleasants, Marshall and Wetzel counties.

Eight West Virginia and Ohio groups have sent Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin a letter opposing the idea. Some include the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Concerned Citizens Ohio, West Virginia Sierra Club chapter and FreshWater Accountability Project.

They are concerned the state won’t sufficiently safeguard against releases that could harm water supplies.

The state will require a minimum 20 percent or one-fifth of oil and gas drilling royalties.

The state Department of Commerce will open the bids publicly Friday in Charleston.

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