Fracking bill needs to be enacted into law

SB 106 has been introduced by Sen. Scott Surovell to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area. This bill was passed by a nonpartisan 26–13 margin. It deserves to be enacted into law.

It would prohibit fracking through groundwater in what is known as the Taylorsville Basin, an area that runs from southeast of Richmond to Clinton, Md.

Fracking causes significant health and environmental problems. That is the conclusion of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group Physicians for Social Responsibility, as documented in their 6th annual Compendium. That report was the result of doctors and scientists who reviewed more than 1,775 studies on fracking.

“Our examination … uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health,” they concluded.

In addition to health problems, fracking poses a threat to our air, our water and our climate. A recent study by a group of Canadian physicians found that birth defects, cancer and a host of other diseases accompany fracking.

Residents of King George, Caroline, Westmoreland, Essex, and King and Queen counties rely on the Potomac aquifer for drinking water. Fracking there requires that wells be dug through the Potomac aquifer to extract the natural gas.

Halliburton, a major fracking company, reports that 5 percent of all fracking wells fail in the first year of operation, with 50 percent failing within 30 years. That means that cement failures, pipe joint separation or other well failures allow poisonous fracking fluids, methane and heavy metals to leak into the ground and groundwater surrounding the wells.

Last, pipelines connect fracking wells, and the oil and gas industry uses eminent domain to force landowners to allow pipelines to be built across their land, regardless of whether landowners want it.

A fracking ban must be approved by our legislature.

Bill Johnson

Co-Chair, Rappahannock Group Sierra Club Fracking Issues


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