MONTESANO, Wash. -- One might have expected folks in Montesano to be all amped up about plans to drill for natural gas just a few miles from town. But when we asked diners at the Beehive restaurant about it, those who had heard about it seemed a little underwhelmed.

I say go for it, said 88-year-old John Malinowski, as he finished his lunch. You don't find anything if you don't look for it.

One must remember, big energy dreams are nothing new to these people. The never-used cooling towers of a failed nuclear plant still loom in the distance. Old timers even remember when a company struck oil out here back in the 1960s. It wasn't enough to pursue a field, so the well was abandoned.

So here we go again. A subsidiary of a Colorado company has already selected a site on Weyerhaeuser land northwest of Montesano, acquired all the necessary permits and will begin drilling early next month.

State Department of Natural Resources officials say nobody challenged the permits but add, if the company does strike a viable natural gas field, it will have to start the permitting process all over again, along with public comment.

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