- Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 10:57
- Published on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 11:06
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An informational meeting from conservationists on the topic of hydraulic fracturing, called fracking, is scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 6 p.m. in Fredericksburg at the England Run Branch Library, 806 Lyons Boulevard.
Oil companies did aggressive mineral rights leasing and some core hole drilling in this area beginning in the mid-1980s with more than 250,000 acres leased at the time in King George and Westmoreland, as reported in The Journal this past January.
In April 1992, test drilling was suspended after failing to find oil in commercial quantities on three farms in King George, according to archived news reports from the Baltimore Sun.
An oil company spokesman told the Sun at the time that if the Taylorsville Basin contains hydrocarbons “they probably will be in the form of natural gas instead of oil.”
Most of King George and the adjacent area overlays the Taylorsville Basin, an underground fault rift that extends about 100 miles from Richmond north to near Clinton Md. It is about 25 miles wide at its broadest point.
In addition to King George, it overlays large sections of Westmoreland and Caroline, along with parts of Essex and King & Queen in Virginia, as well as sections of Southern Maryland.
In the meantime, new technology, including hydraulic fracturing, has provided the ability for drillers to recover natural gas more economically if it is available in commercial quantities.
Fracking is a process whereby chemicals and water are forced deep into the ground to fracture the shale rock strata to release natural gas. Environmentalists say the process consumes huge amounts of water and that the chemicals used can pollute aquifers.
As The Journal reported in January, during the last year Shore Exploration & Production Corp. secured mineral rights leases for more than 80,000 acres in King George, Westmoreland, Caroline, Essex and King and Queen Counties and was looking to secure more.
It also opened an office in Bowling Green and began working with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (VDMME). A Shore Exploration official said earlier this year that the state has strict laws to protect the environment and that the company was working with it to develop a plan.
The meeting next Tuesday is sponsored by the Virginia Conservation Network and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund to discuss issues related to hydraulic fracturing to provide information about this type of drilling and its potential impacts on communities. The Virginia Conservation Network is a coalition of 150 environmental nonprofits and community groups.
Albert Pollard, former member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing King George and adjacent counties, is helping to spread the word about the upcoming meeting. In an email to a local group, Pollard noted, “There are a lot of gas leases in King George and Westmoreland right now and I think this is a good time to start a community discussion.”
Pollard added, “I don’t think this has to be a ‘Hell No,’ but I do think that it is far better to err on the side of caution in these matters as there are several aspects to hydraulic fracturing for oil in this region that make it a more delicate operation.”
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