Folks, this morning there were several news reports that the George Washington National Forest was open for fracking. This is not the case. Read this press release from the Southern Environmental Law Center to get the real scoop. This is a victory for public comment and local communities. The GW will not be fracked. Here’s also a link to SELC.
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Bobby – the local press stated that the area of the GWNF that is available for gas extraction is partly in Highland County and partly in West Virginia. If even 5,000 acres in Highland is available for fracking – it will change that county forever – and I’m not just talking about the environment. Do we KNOW where that 10,000 acres is? Is there a map of the other places where the mineral rights are available?
Laura, according to the Southern En. Law Center, the areas that the Forest Service will allow fracking are the areas they had no control over because the FS owned the land surface and other private entities owned the mineral rights. There was nothing they could do. There are 10,000 acres in Highland where private interests owned the mineral rights. SELC is totally aware of the area and I can’t recall the area at this writing but it’s steep, and not likely to be used.
Thanks for the updates, Bobby. There does seem to be some confusion today.
Thanks, Bobby. That’s how I understand the USFS plan for the GWNF, and I’m so GLAD the plan is out now, at last. There are other things to learn about it, of course, hydrofracking is not the only issue. Cheers, Anne
So true Anne! There is so much more in the plan and I have not had a chance to look at the whole document. Let’s dig deeper.
Bobby, if I understood the PBS Newshour correctly, just now. It looks like fracking is indeed headed to the GWNF.
Doug, maybe on the 16% of the GW with private mineral rights. The FS could not do anything to stop fracking on these lands anyway. According to SELC, both vertical and horizontal drilling is banned on the remaining 84% of the Forest.
By the way, this week’s Economist is reporting that Dominion’s Cove Point facility has been approved as an “export” facility for LNG. You can find the article in Economist’s Special Report on “The Pacific Age” in the Nov 15-21 magazine, on page 12and 13.
The leased area is Shaws Ridge. If you are standing on the top of the Shenandoah Mt at the Breastworks and look west you are looking at Shaws Ridge. It’s right there..all of it!
The plan didn’t exclude fracking but that is the way the Marcellus Shale is being extracted in Penn and WV so I imagine that’s the same type of drilling that would need to be done here as well.
I don’t feel any better about the fact that they only designated those certain areas because for drilling because should the drilling companies discover a lot of natural gas then it won’t take much more of their money to get the 10 yr plan changed to reflect their interests. I think the plan in NC was changed from no fracking to fracking within 6 months of it being released. May have been less. I’m not happy and this is just my opinion.
But it does allow fracking on 167,000 other acres with private mining rights. Is this land appealing to companies? And where is it located?
I don’t know where the private mining rights are located or how appealing they are to Oil & Gas Companies. I have read where the Company said they believe the Marcellus Shale in Virginia could have more natural gas than PA and WV combined. I have read where they say just the opposite. I do know they have been proven time and time again to be untrustworthy. The first article I read could have been when they were looking for investors and the second to pacify another group of people. I guess the truth is they won’t know until they sink an exploratory well and find out.
The new plan allows for drilling and it does not specify what type of drilling can be done. Obviously without an outright ban on horizontal drilling than yes, it will be allowed. It seems to be the only way to reach the natural gas pocket in the Marcellus Shale formation.
I am not a scientist, lawyer, or politician. My information comes from what I have read which unfortunately isn’t necessarily accurate either. I believe all fracking should be flat banned everywhere until it can be proven to be safe. That’s not how America works, we like immediate gratification.
Henri, thank you for your comments. I trust the folks at the Southern Environmental Law Center. It was their press release you saw and I have a link to their website.