- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Environmental and citizen groups are urging Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to rethink leasing land under the Ohio River for oil and natural gas drilling.

In a letter Wednesday, Ohio and West Virginia groups expressed concerns that the state won’t sufficiently safeguard against releases that could harm water supplies.

Groups said more than 5 million people use the Ohio for drinking water.

Until Sept. 25, the state is taking bids on the rights to the reserves below 22 miles of the river. The sections are in Pleasants, Marshall and Wetzel counties.

Eight groups signed the letter. Some include the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Concerned Citizens Ohio, West Virginia Sierra Club chapter and FreshWater Accountability Project.

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

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