Massive Fracking Increases Planned
WV Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) says, “We have a moral imperative to provide low-cost energy, not only to West Virginia, but to the world.” Clearly, the same moral imperative does not apply to protecting the health of West Virginia’s people.
Extensive fracking increases here would be necessary to make Cancer Alley Two, along with the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub, a reality.
Fracking has begun in the very deep Rogersville Shale which underlies Wayne County, WV and adjoining eastern KY, here in the Huntington Tri-State area. The Rogersville extends into other WV counties as well. Marathon Petroleum and MarkWest have already committed a billion dollars to develop Rogersville Shale infrastructure. Dozens of oil and gas companies have leased land in the Rogersville Shale. For more detail, see OVEC’s Renew WV newspaper.)
A couple of years ago the oil and gas fracking industry went through an economic downturn. The industry’s biggest priorities during the downturn seemed to be finding new export markets and developing cheaper, untested ways to operate. Since our region’s state governments are so beholden to fossil-fuel corporations, companies feel free to experiment, knowing they won’t be bothered too much by government pollution enforcement, or by strict penalties for the inevitable spills and explosions.
We’ve already got terrible health issues in WV! This is the region where “our” politicians are still trying to get more mountaintop removal coal mining, even after dozens of peer-reviewed studies have shown exceptionally high illness and early death rates in people who live near the blown up mountains, buried streams and obliterated communities.
Now fracking activities are steeply on the rise in WV, PA, OH, and KY. Some of the newer, cheaper, but untried methods are apparently in use. Some wells in the Rogersville Shale have been permitted to 15,000 feet deep. Some wells feature lateral (sideways) fracking which extends much further than in “regular” deep shale fracking. The world record for the longest lateral fracking pipe is said to be at One Utica Shale well in OH which is more than five miles deep, and the lateral is more than three and a half miles long!
Is it possible to safely frack at this extreme depth and length? Even at 5,000 to 7,000 feet (the typical depth of a Marcellus Shale well in WV), fracking neighbors have problems with contaminated water, toxic air, and scores of massive trucks taking over the roads and making them much more dangerous.
Hundreds of West Virginians living close to Marcellus drilling operations have already sued fracking companies as a result of how miserable it is to live near these sites that make other people rich. Many have had to resort to having water trucked in after their well water is contaminated. And in Pennsylvania, even the DEP has said that more than 200 private wells have been contaminated as a result of fracking operations. Nevertheless, we’ve been told repeatedly that fracking activities are safe and do not contaminate the groundwater.
Read Part 5 here.
Want to join OVEC’s efforts on the issue of the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-522-0246.