EARTHblog

Arlington County, VA Opposes Fracking in National Forest

June 19, 2014 • Dusty Horwitt

Arlington County, Virginia joined a growing number of local governments, elected officials and major water providers in unanimously passing a resolution opposing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the George Washington National Forest.

By passing the resolution June 17, Arlington became the first jurisdiction in politically powerful Northern Virginia to oppose horizontal drilling in the forest, though several elected officials from the region have already taken the same stance including U.S. Reps. Jim Moran and Gerald E. Connolly and State Delegate Patrick Hope.  Former Virginia Lieutenant Governor, Don Beyer, who recently won the Democratic primary to replace Moran, who is retiring, has also opposed horizontal drilling and fracking in the forest.

EARTHblog

Public Meeting: Fracking Risks to Drinking Water for Fairfax County & DC Metro Area

February 12, 2014 • Dusty Horwitt

Learn about the proposal to frack in the George Washington National Forest, the source of drinking water for Fairfax and the rest of the DC metropolitan area, from Dusty Horwitt of Earthworks. Dusty has used his experience in journalism, law, and politics to conduct investigative research and advocacy on metal mining, oil and natural gas drilling, and hydraulic fracturing. His work has helped protect the Grand Canyon and Colorado River from uranium mining and the state of New York from unsafe shale gas drilling.

EARTHblog

The Fracking Fight Goes to Washington

September 10, 2013 • Dusty Horwitt

New York City is not the only major metro area whose drinking water supply could be threatened by shale gas drilling.  The Washington, DC area has joined the club.

That’s because the U.S. Forest Service could decide as early as October 2013 to allow horizontal drilling for shale gas in the George Washington National Forest, a 1.1. million-acre tract located in western Virginia and West Virginia that is the closest National Forest to Washington D.C. and contains the headwaters of the Potomac River that provides drinking water to more than 4 million people in the Washington area.

Stories

George Washington National Forest

Local governments, major D.C. area water providers, and conservation organizations have warned that a U.S. Forest Service decision to allow fracking in the George Washington National Forest could threaten a range of resources -- including the D.C. area’s water supply. The Forest Service release their decision to allow fracking in parts of the forest in November 2014.

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Media Releases

Independent test results show fracking flowback emissions are dangerous toxics, not *steam*

April 24, 2012 • Earthworks

Texas town ignores own test results to allow fracking to continue in violation of city ordinances, endangering local residents

Colleyville, TX, April 24 -- Today Colleyville and Southlake residents, and Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released results from local residents’ privately-funded air testing of Titan Operations’ “mini-frack” on the border of both communities. The tests, performed by GD Air Testing Inc. of Richardson, TX, prove emissions released during fracking and flowback contain dangerous levels of toxic chemicals.

“We paid for tests because we can’t depend on the city or the fracking industry,” said Colleyville resident [NAME REMOVED FOR FEAR OF RETALIATION].  She continued, “The tests confirmed our worst fears, while Colleyville ignored their own tests to let fracking continue. Apparently the city represents Titan and the gas industry instead of local residents.”

Media Releases

Arlington residents challenge Chesapeake Energy to prove they are releasing nothing but hot water

March 12, 2012 • Earthworks

Arlington citizens sickened by fumes from Chesapeake hydraulic fracturing flowback demand independent analysis of company's claims

Arlington, TX, Mar 12th – Today Arlington residents, and Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project challenged Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) to provide independent verification of the company’s claim that fumes released from Chesapeake facilities in the Fish Creek, Norwood, and Oaks and Interlochen residential neighborhoods were simply steam – and therefore could not have caused harm to area residents.

“Chesapeake tells us to disbelieve our lying eyes, burning noses and heart palpitations, and trust them when they claim the company is not releasing anything but steam,” said Fish Creek resident Jane Lynn.  “Well, I don’t believe them. If Chesapeake’s assurances are worth anything, they’ll stand up to independent testing.”

EARTHblog

Gov. McDonnell Embraces Uranium Mining Moratorium

January 25, 2012 • Aaron Mintzes

Deep underground the rolling foothills of Appalachia in Southwest Virginia lies a trove of uranium deposits.  These deposits have remained untouched for a few billion years, but high metal prices and high unemployment rates have renewed interest in the possibility of mining the uranium for use in area nuclear power plants.  The Commonwealth of Virginia has had a moratorium on uranium mining for 30 years.  But in 2007, two families living near Virginia’s only economically viable uranium deposit in Coles Hill formed Virginia Uranium, Inc. to begin exploring the possibility of exploiting this resource.

The moratorium has left a dearth of hard rock mining technical expertise in the Commonwealth.  For this reason, Virginia called in the National Research Council to report on scientific, environmental, public health, and regulatory aspects of uranium mining to help inform the Virginia legislature. 
 

Stories

Sandra DenBraber

Sandra DenBraber lives in Arlington 600 feet from University of Texas, Arlington's Carrizo natural gas extraction operations. She has the following chemicals in her blood:

  • Ethylbenzene
  • m,p-Xylene
  • Hexane
  • 2-Methylpentane
  • 3-Methylpentane
EARTHblog

Protecting our forests, public lands from drilling

July 11, 2011 • Lauren Pagel

Today, a joint subcommittee oversight hearing entitled "Challenges facing Domestic Oil and Gas Development: Review of Bureau of Land Management/U.S. Forest Service Ban on Horizontal Drilling on Federal Lands" was held in the House of Representatives. Republican members challenged a proposed draft management plan for the George Washington National Forest to ban horizontal oil and gas drilling, as well as Bureau of Land Management efforts to regulate drilling on public lands. 

A recent study by the Forest Service details the serious impact that drilling can have forests including the destruction of trees and other fauna.  The report concludes: "Unexpected impacts, however, were perhaps more important, and because they could not be carefully controlled or planned for, are less likely to be mitigated successfully. It is obvious that unexpected, unpredicted events will occur during such activities, and therefore land managers should consider a wide range of possible effects when analyzing impacts on natural resources."