Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National Fores

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Joe

Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National Fores

Post by Joe » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:29 am

http://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/ci_26959839/

NORFOLK, VA. >> Over the objection of environmental groups and Virginia's governor, a federal management plan released Tuesday will allow a form of natural gas drilling known as fracking to occur in parts of the largest national forest on the East Coast. The U.S. Forest Service originally planned to ban fracking in the 1.1 million-acre George Washington National Forest, but energy companies cried foul after a draft of the plan was released in 2011. It would have been the first outright ban on the practice in a national forest.

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dbhguru
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by dbhguru » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:50 pm

Joe,

The conservation role of our Federal lands is going to be progressively compromised regardless of who is in the White House.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Don
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by Don » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:30 am

Now here's an example of an activity that must be stopped on OUR national forests. Unbelievable!
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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Josh Kelly
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by Josh Kelly » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:46 pm

Hey Folks,

I agree that it's a shame that any fracking occurs on Eastern National Forests. The Allegheny NF being the poster child for how bad that can be. The outcome on the George Washington was hard won and much better than it could have been. Check out the press release from the Southern Enviromental Law Center:

"The U.S. Forest Service Forest Plan was released this morning. We feel the agency made a good decision to make the GW unavailable for all types of oil and gas drilling (not just horizontal drilling as originally proposed) except for a small portion that was already under gas lease or subject to private mineral rights."

See our press release below.

Local Conservation Groups Support U.S. Forest Service Decision to Keep GW National Forest Lands Off Limits to Gas Drilling and Fracking

Charlottesville, VA – Local conservation and community groups expressed support for today’s decision from the U.S. Forest Service to make the George Washington National Forest (GW) unavailable for oil and gas drilling, except for a small portion of the forest already under gas lease or subject to private mineral rights.

The long-term forest management plan, released today, makes clear that no additional GW lands will be opened up to leasing and drilling, while existing gas development rights remain unaddressed by the plan. On this 1.1-million acre forest, only around 10,000 acres are currently under gas lease and 167,000 acres are subject to private mineral rights. There is no gas drilling on the GW currently.

“This decision protects the existing uses and values of the special George Washington National Forest,” said Sarah Francisco, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “As a native Virginian who grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, I’m pleased that the U.S. Forest Service has done the right thing and recognized that the George Washington National Forest—a beloved place for our entire region—deserves protection.”

As the largest national forest in the East, over a million people per year visit the GW and its headwaters ultimately provide drinking water supplies for more than 4.5 million people. The threat of it being opened to large-scale gas drilling had caused widespread concerns about converting popular national forest lands to industrial sites.

Three years ago the Forest Service released a draft GW plan which would have prohibited horizontal gas drilling but made most of the forest available for vertical drilling. Since then, dozens of public interest organizations, eleven local governments surrounding the forest, Governor McAuliffe, several public water suppliers, and over 75,000 public comments weighed in to support the Forest Service’s proposal, as did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Park Service. U.S. Senators Warner and Kaine also urged the Forest Service to heed Virginians' clear wishes. The final forest plan takes a different protective approach, preventing any form of oil or gas drilling on the majority of the GW lands.

“The federal government has rightly heeded local wishes and chosen to protect the unspoiled lands of the GW,” said Megan Gallagher, interim director of the Shenandoah Valley Network. “There is no history of major oil and gas development in the Shenandoah Valley and not one county has embraced industrial gas development as a priority for public or private lands. This decision preserves the Valley’s recreation and agriculture-driven economy.”

As the home to popular destinations such as Shenandoah Mountain and the Great Eastern Trail, the GW provides abundant recreational opportunities to the approximately 10 million people who live within a couple hours’ drive, and it is a major economic contributor to the region. Visitors to the GW contribute substantially to the $13.6 billion in consumer spending, $923 million in tax revenue, and 138,000 jobs generated annually by outdoor recreation in Virginia.

Local and regional governments and businesses have expressed widespread concern that opening the lands to gas drilling and fracking would negatively affect local economies, particularly adjacent farms, which provide the economic backbone of the area. Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry, and the GW region provides more than two-thirds of the value of the Commonwealth’s agricultural production.

Because fracking uses huge quantities of water and often undisclosed chemicals to break up shale formations deep underground to release natural gas, this decision will ensure that high-quality drinking water continues to flow from the GW. The GW is a direct source of local drinking water to more than 329,000 people living in and around the Shenandoah Valley , and it lies in the watersheds of the James, Shenandoah, and Potomac Rivers—which ultimately provide water to over 4.5 million people downstream in cities such as Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA. Map of local drinking water supplies: https://www.southernenvironment.org/upl ... ze-map.pdf

“Communities in the GW region recognize the risks fracking poses to our water, our economy, and our quality of life,” said Kim Sandum, Executive Director of Community Alliance for Preservation in Rockingham County. “This decision protects and preserves the forest itself and also the communities that value and depend on it.”

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dbhguru
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by dbhguru » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:24 pm

Joe, Don, et. al.,

A victory to celebrate, but the would-be exploiters will return. They always do.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by Joe » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:23 am

Not getting out that energy means it's still there, and if it was a matter of national survival, it could be gotten out- but it's not likely national survival would ever depend on it. Maybe in the future that energy could be used, with better technology, without adding carbon to the atmosphere and it could be retrieved without poisoning water and causing earth quakes- so, it doesn't hurt the nation to leave it for the future.

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Don
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by Don » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:46 am

Joe-
Maybe...
Maybe we'll get shed of our SUVs, BMWs, etc., and our dependence on fossil fuels.
Maybe the price will go up so high, few will be able to afford them.
With fracking's current seemingly free regulatory atmosphere and declining oil prices, maybe not.
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:56 pm

I hate to say it, but if there is oil & gas under the ground in any given location, it will be accessed and developed someway, somehow…eventually. Global energy demands only continue to increase, and oil & gas is a finite resource. The pressure to develop will only continue to grow, until it requires more energy and money to develop (what will become) the scarce resource than is provided by the recovered resource. Once the profit margin by and large evaporates, the drilling will stop. Perhaps directional drilling and the like can be used to minimize surface impacts for important natural areas.
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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Don
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by Don » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:27 am

It is interesting watching the 'changing of the guard' here in Alaska, with a Republican governor directly from ConocoPhillips losing to an 'odd couple' forming the "Unity Party" (one was a Republican, the other a Democrat). The incoming team (Walker, Mallot) are faced with low royalties coming in at oil's current less than $80's a barrel value...gas drilling off shore has stopped, and expensive drilling rigs are off now to far off corners of the earth. With the current fracking boom giving us relative independence, the OPEC movers and shakers are in a bit of a quandary (Venezuela for one is hurting).
Still want cheap gas prices at the pump?
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Rand
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Re: Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National F

Post by Rand » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:45 pm

PAwildernessadvocate wrote:The pressure to develop will only continue to grow, until it requires more energy and money to develop (what will become) the scarce resource than is provided by the recovered resource. Once the profit margin by and large evaporates, the drilling will stop.
What really bothers me is the low interest rates & QE at the fed make it quite likely that we won't realize we can't afford it as a society until after the money is spent. And then we wake up one day and realize everybody's retirement is suddenly gone.

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