I’ve read a couple pieces this week about the possibility of natural gas drilling in Eastern Virginia in the near future. A Texas company that leases oil and gas rights has acquired 84,000 acres in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, in the counties of Caroline, Essex, King George, King and Queen, and Westmoreland. The plans for oil drilling are not clear on the hydraulic fracking methods that will be used to extract the natural gas, according to a piece this week in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Fracking has been a major concern for water quality in the nearby states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio; chemicals from the extraction process can enter drinking water supplies, and impact human health.
An editorial from the Virginian-Pilot, a newspaper out of Hampton Roads says fracking for natural gas could occur in the region in a years time. The natural gas in question lies in a shale formation called the Taylorsville Basin. Aquifers above the basin lie in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and support over 900,000 people in the area. Although natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel than other fossil fuel sources, the extraction process, as it exists today, can have negative impacts on water supplies, and could be a great risk to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and to local residents, if fracking occurs as planned.
(Image from news.fredericksburg.com).
Related: To read more about the fracking process: EPA’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and It’s Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources