Editorial: Is fracking here worth the risks?

Editorial: Is fracking here worth the risks?

Posted: Sunday, November 13, 2016 12:00 am

Editorial: Is fracking here worth the risks? BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF THE FREE LANCE-STAR 

FOR COUNTIES south and east of Fredericksburg, it’s time to come to grips with fracking.

Do residents want it, and if they do, do they want to put any restrictions on it? Do the pluses outweigh the minuses of hydraulic fracturing (injecting water and chemicals deep into the earth to release and utilize trapped oil and gas)?

The Taylorsville basin runs from near Richmond to the eastern suburbs of Washington, D.C., and includes all or parts of Caroline, Essex, King & Queen, King George and Westmoreland counties. Most people would have no idea there was such a thing as the Taylorsville basin if it weren’t for fracking. It turns out that this section of Tidewater Virginia has sizable deposits of natural gas and oil lying deep beneath the surface. To get to it requires some industrial-style rigs, heavy trucks, chemicals and water.

Landowners and others in those counties have a chance to get in on the natural gas boom that has put a major dent in fuel prices in the United States and given economies a boost in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, North Dakota and elsewhere.

In August, the King George Board of Supervisors took a stand, amending zoning laws to stipulate that no drilling can be done within 750 feet of protected areas such as rivers and creeks, as well as roads, buildings and schools. That was important, because in a business-friendly state such as ours, Supervisors Chairwoman Ruby Brabo probably is correct in saying, that when it comes to fracking, it’s a not a matter of “if” but of “when.” If the counties don’t take steps to control their own destinies, the state will.

In King George, at the August meeting in which zoning restrictions were passed, 18 people stepped up to comment. Ten of them were county residents, all of whom either supported the restrictions or wanted stricter ones. Five people spoke against the supervisors’ actions; all of them were from the gas and oil industry. Three representatives of environmental groups also spoke in favor of the restrictions.

Westmoreland has a public hearing set for early December on its proposed fracking ordinance.

Obviously, there is big money to be made from fracking, although a gas glut and subsequent drop in prices has at least temporarily softened demand. How much of the fracking boon is enjoyed by residents of the Taylorsville basin’s counties remains to be seen. Some 84,000 acres there has been leased by a Texas company with energy interests.

Residents should weigh the perceived economic bonanza against possible ecological and quality-of-life issues in one of Virginia’s most beautiful regions, an area whose rivers and creeks feed the stressed Chesapeake Bay. (And then there’s the prospect of earthquakes: Oklahoma, a state relatively earthquake-free until fracking began, had 1,010 quakes of greater than magnitude-3.0 last year. On Nov. 6, a magnitude-5.0 quake struck the state. Scientists say this is more than coincidence.)

Whatever residents or their county officials in the Taylorsville basin decide, it is important to know this:

There is an estimated 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the basin that could be extracted. That sounds like a lot—a million millions. However, natural gas output from fracking in this country right now is more than 40 billion cubic feet per day. So, all the natural gas said to be trapped underground in the Taylorsville basin would equal what is now supplied by existing sources every 25 days.

Is fracking worth it for 25 days of natural gas? That’s the question counties in the Fredericksburg region should be asking. If the county supervisors aren’t asking it, the residents should be asking them, “Why not?”

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Comments:

Der Arzt

Good point! IS 25 days of gas worth the risk? I’ve been reading about self-driving cars. What happens to the need for fossil fuels IF/WHEN technology makes electric cars safe, cheap & easy to manufacture? Will the fossil fuel industry keep the US from developing them, ’cause I bet the Germans & Japanese will. But the chemicals (& does anyone know what they are?) & dirty water will still be in the ground. When it comes down to it, we all want clean safe water, and you can’t drink oil.

Like · Reply ·  3 · Nov 13, 2016 6:48am

Stephen Mcdermott

Electric cars have batteries to charge from electricity. Reliable Electric power to charge them comes from power plants using carbon based fuels.

Electric prices for homes are going up the environmental left wants the poor to live in the dark and cold.

The water and trace chemical additives are injected far below the water table so don’t impact drinking water.

Until the left proves you can run an electric car on pixie dust carbon based fuels are required.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 8:19am

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott Charging electric vehicles can be done with any power source. It’s unfortunate that power companies, like Dominion, prefer natural gas instead of environmentally friendly renewables. I suspect power companies do it because they receive a rate of return of over 14% for capital investments, from their captive ratepayers, because of their monopoly.

We want the poor to live in the dark and cold? Hmmm. Given that renewable energy, like solar and wind, is cheaper to generate than fossil fuel-based energy, AND given that fossil fuel plants are usually situated in, or down-wind from…See More

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 13, 2016 10:57am

Stephen Mcdermott

Bill Johnson Read what happened in Australia by their use of renewables. Part of their power grid failed because they depended to much on “renewables.”

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 12:42pm

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott Baloney. Again, provide the link. Look at Scandinavia, who is able to get most of their electricity from renewables.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 2:53pm

Stephen Mcdermott

The very biased towards environmentalism EPA investigated fracking and found it to be safe.

The hypocrisy of the left using nature’s beauty as an argument is astounding because the left believes in saving trees, as long as it meets their environmental voters needs, while supporting abortion.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 8:13am

Bill Johnson

A very biased-towards-the-fossil-fuel-industry-part of EPA issued the report as a draft; it was not-peer-reviewed. Their own Science Advisory Board told them to rescind the report because there were no facts in the report to support their statement. That’s a fact, and no matter how often you say that EPA has found it safe, saying it doesn’t make it true.

Interesting new direction – linking environmentalists to abortion. Trying to change the subject?

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 10:39am

Stephen Mcdermott

Bill Johnson, Envirmentalist are against population growth and have been for controling the population for decades.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 12:44pm

Stephen Mcdermott

Bill Johnson, You should read other reporting regarding the EPA report.

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 13, 2016 12:44pm

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott You should provide the citation instead of making stuff up.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 2:40pm

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott Sounds like population control is a good idea, given that the population of the world will soon exceed its ability to feed itself. The impact of climate change will have a really bad impact on world food production. It has already. Why not do some research and see for yourself? Think about Bangladesh and all the people there who will have to move as the oceans flood their lands. Think of the impact on the world food supply when there is not enough water in California to grow crops. This is happening everywhere, and burying your head in the sand won’t do anything about it. We need to do something to stop the really bad effects of climate change, and we need to do it now.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 2:48pm

Martin Work ·

Works at Spotsylvania County Circuit Court

After navigating through these PROS and CONS and what is currently on the table, has it occured to anyone what will be bid for the last drop of clean water.

In the FRACKING process, the Gas/Oil industry has yet to identify the chemicals and carcinogens are used in the FRACKING process. That’s just the first red flag.

The next flag goes up when the Gas/Oil industry can’t account for human error that has constantly followed man and his inherient ability to screw things up. When INCHES are included in the equation for drilling, who’s to say that an entire aquifier can’t be polluted with just a…See More

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 13, 2016 4:24pm

Stephen Mcdermott

There are no risks!

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 6:38pm

Bill Johnson

Der Arzt

Good point! IS 25 days of gas worth the risk? I’ve been reading about self-driving cars. What happens to the need for fossil fuels IF/WHEN technology makes electric cars safe, cheap & easy to manufacture? Will the fossil fuel industry keep the US from developing them, ’cause I bet the Germans & Japanese will. But the chemicals (& does anyone know what they are?) & dirty water will still be in the ground. When it comes down to it, we all want clean safe water, and you can’t drink oil.

Like · Reply ·  3 · Nov 13, 2016 6:48am

Stephen Mcdermott

Electric cars have batteries to charge from electricity. Reliable Electric power to charge them comes from power plants using carbon based fuels.

Electric prices for homes are going up the environmental left wants the poor to live in the dark and cold.

The water and trace chemical additives are injected far below the water table so don’t impact drinking water.

Until the left proves you can run an electric car on pixie dust carbon based fuels are required.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 8:19am

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott Charging electric vehicles can be done with any power source. It’s unfortunate that power companies, like Dominion, prefer natural gas instead of environmentally friendly renewables. I suspect power companies do it because they receive a rate of return of over 14% for capital investments, from their captive ratepayers, because of their monopoly.

We want the poor to live in the dark and cold? Hmmm. Given that renewable energy, like solar and wind, is cheaper to generate than fossil fuel-based energy, AND given that fossil fuel plants are usually situated in, or down-wind from sections of citys, towns, and counties where mostly poor people live, that can’t be true. The poor get double-whammied by a continued reliance on fossil fuels – higher prices and a their homes plagued by bad air, water, and land.

Chemicals can migrate back up, through the well or be released through cracks in the shale caused by settling after fracking. So putting them below the water table is a big gamble. It opens up the possibility of irreparable contamination to a drinking water aquifer. What will you drink then? How will farms be irrigated? And injecting them underground could help us become the next Oklahoma. What was that? Another 5.0 magnitude earthquake a few days ago.

Woah! I’ll bet they were glad that they didn’t have 2 nuclear power plants only 50 miles away.

Uh oh. We do, to the West, with the prevailing winds blowing towards us.

The last chance we have to stop the destruction of our environment is the Commonwealth of Virginia. We need to stop listening to deniers and make our environment great again. It’s time to do so.

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 13, 2016 10:57am

Stephen Mcdermott

Bill Johnson Read what happened in Australia by their use of renewables. Part of their power grid failed because they depended to much on “renewables.”

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 12:42pm

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott Baloney. Again, provide the link. Look at Scandinavia, who is able to get most of their electricity from renewables.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 2:53pm

Stephen Mcdermott

The very biased towards environmentalism EPA investigated fracking and found it to be safe.

The hypocrisy of the left using nature’s beauty as an argument is astounding because the left believes in saving trees, as long as it meets their environmental voters needs, while supporting abortion.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 8:13am

Bill Johnson

A very biased-towards-the-fossil-fuel-industry-part of EPA issued the report as a draft; it was not-peer-reviewed. Their own Science Advisory Board told them to rescind the report because there were no facts in the report to support their statement. That’s a fact, and no matter how often you say that EPA has found it safe, saying it doesn’t make it true.

Interesting new direction – linking environmentalists to abortion. Trying to change the subject?

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 10:39am

Stephen Mcdermott

Bill Johnson, Envirmentalist are against population growth and have been for controling the population for decades.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 12:44pm

Stephen Mcdermott

Bill Johnson, You should read other reporting regarding the EPA report.

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 13, 2016 12:44pm

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott You should provide the citation instead of making stuff up.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 2:40pm

Bill Johnson

Stephen Mcdermott Sounds like population control is a good idea, given that the population of the world will soon exceed its ability to feed itself. The impact of climate change will have a really bad impact on world food production. It has already. Why not do some research and see for yourself? Think about Bangladesh and all the people there who will have to move as the oceans flood their lands. Think of the impact on the world food supply when there is not enough water in California to grow crops. This is happening everywhere, and burying your head in the sand won’t do anything about it. We need to do something to stop the really bad effects of climate change, and we need to do it now.

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 2:48pm

Martin Work ·

Works at Spotsylvania County Circuit Court

After navigating through these PROS and CONS and what is currently on the table, has it occured to anyone what will be bid for the last drop of clean water.

In the FRACKING process, the Gas/Oil industry has yet to identify the chemicals and carcinogens are used in the FRACKING process. That’s just the first red flag.

The next flag goes up when the Gas/Oil industry can’t account for human error that has constantly followed man and his inherient ability to screw things up. When INCHES are included in the equation for drilling, who’s to say that an entire aquifier can’t be polluted with just a slip of the drill bit and a drop of carcinogens.

How many times has Gas/Oil come back, over the years and said OOPS, WE’LL TRY TO DO BETTER NEXT TIME? What is it about Flint Michigan don’t you get? It hasn’t been resolved and that population still has to bring in bottled water just to make do with the rest of their lives and their children’s lives.

We can dance with the devil all we want, but to what end?

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 13, 2016 4:24pm

Stephen Mcdermott

There are no risks!

Like · Reply · Nov 13, 2016 6:38pm

Bill Johnson

Mcd: No risks, eh? Check out: Dimrock, PA for destruction of drinking water aquifer and the 2013 Duke University study that found dissolved methane in the drinking water of 82% of homes near shale gas wells; Oklahoma, for earthquakes; the USGS website where they state that fracking (not just injection wells) causes earthquakes; the proximity to Taylorsville Basin and the Lake Anna nuclear power plants which the NRC rated as the 7th riskiest US nuclear plants for core damage from earthquakes; the inability of DMME or EPA to monitor abandoned wells described in the Wall Street Journal story“How ‘Orphan’ Wells Leave States Holding the Cleanup Bag”; the laughable bond requirements (e.g., if you have 51 or more wells, you post a $100,000 bond); the leak rate of wells (5% leak immediately, 50% after 15 years, and 60% after 30 years); and on and on.

There are innumerable peer-reviewed health studies linking fracking to health problems: the 2015 Compendium of the Concerned Health Professionals of NY; Yale School of Public Health – confirming that many of the chemicals involved and released by fracking can be linked to cancer; Colorado State University in Fort Collins on air-pollutant emissions from oil and gas operations; Johns Hopkins Medical Center study revealing the associations between fracking and various health symptoms; In Denver, the O&G boom has been linked to 750,000 cases of childhood asthma; in Florida, research suggests chemicals used in fracking and other gas and oil operations increase the risk of miscarriages, reduced male fertility, prostate cancer, birth defects and preterm birth by disrupting hormones; John Hopkins University researchers found that fracking in Pennsylvania may be associated with migraines, fatigue, and sinusitis; Endocrine Society – prenatal exposure to chemicals used in fracking may threaten fertility in female mice.

Oh yeah, no risk at all!

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 14, 2016 8:57am

Frank Papcin ·

Norwalk State Technical College

maybe some of you should be considering the FATE OF SO MANY PEOPLE IN
Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico & Arkansas, all with fracking they have in their area.
” by including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.”
said the U.S.G.S. National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project ”
but no liberal wants any part of that report.

Like · Reply · Nov 14, 2016 12:02pm

Stephen Cussen ·

Lead Painter at The Boeing Company

Aside from the usual groundwater risk hydraulic fracking poses, comes a myriad of problems with the industry. None of which any of you are bringing up.

Truck Traffic: For starters each well site needs 100-150 truck deliveries every day to supply materials. 365 days a year. There will be a constant source of road degredation that likely won’t be fixed by the well owners.

Water Source: If water is not on site (pond, stream, or river) it has to either be trucked in, or miles of water lines are placed in the ditch line to be pumped out of streams at a rate of no less than a million of gallons a day.

Workers will be staged and brought in to live in temporary living quarters from Texas, Louisiana, and other Midsouthern states. Very little if any local jobs will be created for this gas exploration.

With out of state well workers brings crime, drugs, prostitution, gang affiliation and other problems from their home turf. You will be intimidated by these workers with thug mentalities for even stopping on the side of the road to look at the frack wells being drilled.

Before you go to critique any of what I have written, go and experience Washington, PA. or any other southwestern Pennsylvania county.

Research other localities fracking industry and see how many violations each well brings from EPA and DEQ inspectors.

Good luck.

Like · Reply ·  1 · Nov 14, 2016 8:57am

Frank Papcin ·

Norwalk State Technical College

maybe some of you should be considering the FATE OF SO MANY PEOPLE IN
Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico & Arkansas, all with frackingthey have in their area.
” by including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantltly increased in parts of the U.S.”
said the U.S.G.S. National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project ”
but no liberal wants any part of that report.

Like · Reply · Nov 14, 2016 12:02pm

Stephen Cussen ·

Lead Painter at The Boeing Company

Aside from the usual groundwater risk hydraulic fracking poses, comes a myriad of problems with the industry. None of which any of you are bringing up.

Truck Traffic: For starters each well site needs 100-150 truck deliveries every day to supply materials. 365 days a year. There will be a constant source of road degredation that likely won’t be fixed by the well owners.

Water Source: If water is not on site (pond, stream, or river) it has to either be trucked in, or miles of water lines are placed in the ditch line to be pumped out of streams at a rate of no less than a million of gallons a day.

Workers will be staged and brought in to live in temporary living quarters from Texas, Louisiana, and other Midsouthern states. Very little if any local jobs will be created for this gas exploration.

With out of state well workers brings crime, drugs, prostitution, gang affiliation and other problems from their home turf. You will be intimidated by these workers with thug mentalities for even stopping on the side of the road to look at the frack wells being drilled.

Before you go to critique any of what I have written, go and experience Washington, PA. or any other southwestern Pennsylvania county.

Research other localities fracking industry and see how many violations each well brings from EPA and DEQ inspectors.

Good luck.

http://www.fredericksburg.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-is-fracking-here-worth-the-risks/article_e9595d86-2cc2-57cb-a77f-8f5f6e3bc2d2.html

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