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Monroe County Residents Have Reservations Over Gas ‘Fracking’

By Kate Coil for The Register-Herald : Mon Jan 17, 2011, 12:02 AM EST

UNION — Though acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has announced he intends to utilize the natural gas of the Marcellus shale, residents of Monroe County, who live above the shale, say drilling into the area will decimate their culture, safety and even endangered species in the area.

Jill Fischer, co-president of the Save the Water Table organization, said drilling on the Marcellus shale puts citizens at risk.

“It sounds to me like Gov. Tomblin wants to exploit West Virginia,” Fischer said. “The state has been a supplier of the nation’s coal and supplies power and industry. Though we supply all of these corporations, if you look around at our income, health and other factors, we are at the bottom when compared to every other state.

“What has been exploited in West Virginia is not our natural resources but our people. We are facing a pretty hard thing. When it comes to them prospecting for drilling sites, Monroe County’s prospects aren’t good.”

Fischer said county residents are working to prevent hydrofracture drilling or “fracking” in their area. Fracking is a process in which a well is drilled several thousand feet into the ground. From that one well, several other well holes are then created in a variety of directions with multiple horizontal bores, covering a wide area underground.

Next, Fischer said around 1 million to 2 million gallons of water are injected into the well holes, augmented with various chemicals to release natural gas within the shale. Each drilling site requires 4 to 5 acres of land and are in constant operation.

Fischer said Save the Water Table has been working to energize the rural communities in Monroe County about the issue.

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