More local government officials in Washington, DC have taken a stand against horizontal drilling and fracking for shale gas in the George Washington National Forest. Commissioners of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A, who represent the neighborhood that includes the White House, voted on December 18 to pass a resolution opposing the drilling practice in the forest. The commissioners joined three DC-area water providers, DC Water, Fairfax Water and the Army Corps of Engineers’ Washington Aqueduct, that have also opposed horizontal drilling and fracking in the forest. Earthworks provided testimony in support of the commission’s resolution.
The Associated Press reported that the Forest Service is expected to decide in 2014 whether to allow horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the George Washington National Forest. Among other resources, the forest contains the headwaters of the Potomac River that supplies drinking water to the Washington, DC area.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissions are official DC government entities composed of elected representatives. According to the DC government, they “are the body of government with the closest official ties to the people in a neighborhood” and are designed to ensure input from communities that are directly affected by government actions.
The commissioners’ resolution is the latest example of local government officials acting to prevent drilling impacts. Last month, in the heart of oil and gas country, the city council of Dallas, Texas passed some of the nation’s toughest drilling regulations due to pollution concerns. Drilling industry officials say the measures amount to ban on drilling within the city. In November, four Colorado communities voted to place bans or moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing or natural gas drilling.