Virginia Governor says “No Fracking in Geo. Wash. National Forest”

by Duane Nichols on September 14, 2014

Monongahela & Geo. Wash. National Forests

Gov. McAuliffe: No fracking in George Washington National Forest

From an Article by Steve Szkotak, Associated Press, September 10, 2014

RICHMOND — Citing assurances from federal officials, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday fracking for natural gas will not be allowed in the George Washington National Forest.

“I won’t allow it as long as I’m governor,” McAuliffe told the inaugural meeting of a climate change panel he created this summer. “We made it clear to everyone we will not allow fracking in our national forest. I’m not going to allow it.”

“I don’t support it as governor of the commonwealth and I think we’re in mutual agreement with that,” he said of the officials.

U.S. Forest Service officials, who are considering fracking among other uses in the forest as part of a new management plan for the 1.1 million-acre preserve, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The decision rests with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service.

Environmental and conservation groups have rallied against any fracking in the forest, which lies primarily in Virginia but also includes a sliver of West Virginia. They are fearful of polluting the headwaters of a primary water source for the region and the industrial footprint drilling would bring.

A senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center welcomed McAuliffe’s opposition to energy exploration “in this special forest.” “We hope the Forest Service issues a final management plan soon that makes the forest off-limits to gas drilling and fracking,” Sarah Francisco said in an email to The Associated Press.

The decision on fracking is expected to be contained in a new management plan for the forest, the largest federal forest on the East Coast. The Forest Service initially proposed a ban on fracking in the forest, but it was met with opposition by the energy industry. Opponents fear the USDA will bow to the industry pressure. The Forest Service said this week it had not reached a decision on fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique using water, abrasives and chemicals to extract natural gas laced through shale deposits. Much of the drilling is occurring in the Marcellus Shale formation stretching from upstate New York to West Virginia. A sliver of the Marcellus deposit extends into northwest Virginia.

The science on the impact of fracking has not been conclusive.

[NOTE: This last statement is incorrect. The scientific studies on impacts have shown excessive noise, diesel fumes, gaseous and liquid leaks, toxic chemicals, extremely hazardous working conditions, public health impacts, land damages, road damages, accidents, fires, explosions, lawsuits for damages, victim pay-outs, and wasteful practices for the natural resources of our States and Nation.]

NOTE: However, the Virginia Governor has announced his support of the 42 inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline to run thru the Monongahela and Geo. Wash. National Forests. Have you made your voice(s) known to any of these: The President, your representatives in government, your  Governor, the US EPA, US Department of Energy, the US Department of Agriculture, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?

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