Whose Boom, Whose Bust? Shale Gas Fracking
The gas industry has rushed into Central Appalachia at a pace that is overwhelming informed citizen decision-making. The discovery that slickwater horizontal hydraulic fracturing of the deep Marcellus Shale can bring trillions of cubic feet of natural gas to harvest has brought in a drilling industry stampede that is overwhelming certain areas in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, with parts of Ohio, New York, and Maryland lining up. This new phenomenon is highly controversial in ways not dissimilar to the controversies revolving around coal. Arguments rage over jobs vs. environment; domestic energy vs. imported energy; private property rights vs. community rights.
Eight Rivers Council birthed during the 2009 Marcellus Shale leasing frenzy in Pocahontas County. Many landowners accepted leasing arrangements in the hundreds of dollars per acre. Neighbors not wanting drilling rigs next door were disgruntled. The Pocahontas County Commission brought in experts and held hearings. Eight Rivers Council gathered over 700 signatures in opposition to fracking to the commission. A counter-group of supporters then gathered several hundred petitions. The West Virginia legislature made local control moot when it passed legislation trumping local restrictions on fracking.
As it has turned out, so far, Pocahontas County has not had any uncoventional gas (fracking) drilling. Several factors are involved. First, the gas concentration appears to be much lower in Pocahontas County than in counties further away. Second, expensive infrastructure including pipeline is currently not in place for the drilling and transport.
Dominion’s proposed ACP pipeline is a child of the shale gas “fracking” industry. Basic economics is at play: Surplus commodity seeks demand market. Transport is the vehicle. That is, to get lots of available gas in northern West Virginia to markets in eastern Virginia and North Carolina requires pipeline transport.
There is simply too much information on fracking to hardly know where to begin listing resources. Eight Rivers Council, desiring to protect clean water as a fundamental human right, will continue to oppose shale gas exploitation in favor of clean renewable energy.
Unconventional Shale Gas operations are dotting much of West Virginia’s landscape. Eight Rivers Council will push back at any attempts to bring these into Pocahontas County.
What jobs? Wetzel County often leads our state in unemployment. Skilled workers come from out of the area and are transient.
COMPENDIUM OF SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL, AND MEDIA FINDINGS DEMONSTRATING RISKS AND HARMS OF FRACKING (UNCONVENTIONAL GAS AND OIL EXTRACTION) December 2014 [ pdf file is 1.5 mb]