As noted in a recent Westmoreland News article, the residents of the Northern Neck are debating the impacts of potential natural gas extraction by fracking.
In the Taylorsville Basin, it’s more than just a political discussion. Over 80,000 acres have been leased by a company that assembles packages for sale to other companies that develop gas fields.
If geologists and economists judge that there is a valuable-enough natural resource to justify the costs of drilling and construction of a network of gathering lines, then landowners could receive significant revenue.
Cheap gas won’t stimulate many jobs in the area, once drilling is completed. The Northern Neck is not a center of manufacturing; lower energy costs will not cause companies to build factories with high-paying jobs in Colonial Beach or Warsaw. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will bring cheap Appalachian shale gas to Waynesboro, central Virginia, and Hampton Roads, where factories are more likely to grow.
The fear is that energy development could damage the existing economy in Westmoreland County, King George County, and the surrounding area. Extracting the natural resource from the subsurface could affect the natural resources on the surface.
Farming and fishing depend upon clean water. Tourism and the construction of second homes for vacations will be limited, if fracking fluids contaminate surface streams or if the landscape appears industrial.
Groundwater may be the most-affected resource. Continue reading