Fracking in Virginia has a stellar safety record

I am writing in response to The Free Lance–Star’s Jan. 8 editorial against fracking [“No need for fracking in eastern Virginia”]. Unfortunately, it grounds its argument in fear, not history.

Worse yet, the average reader could come away believing that fracking doesn’t exist in Virginia or that fracking in the commonwealth would be dangerous.

But the natural gas and oil industry has been fracking in Virginia since the 1950s without a single instance of permanent groundwater degradation, according to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. That’s a stellar record by any measure.

Citing potential environmental impacts, the editorial attempts to say we don’t need to explore and produce energy resources since we currently have a domestic surplus. That’s simply short-sighted. If you want shade tomorrow, plant a tree today.

Most recent studies on fracking confirm it’s not a source of widespread groundwater contamination. Proper drilling and cementing and steel casing protect aquifers, which are usually in the first 1,000 feet below ground. Natural gas and oil deposits are frequently 5,000 to 15,000 feet down, so fracking occurs one to three miles away from drinking water—with solid rock sandwiched in the middle.

It’s not just basic geology that makes fracking safe. Robust state laws are designed to effectively ensure the protection of groundwater.

Rather than a one-size-fits all approach, states are best positioned to tailor laws precisely for local geology and hydrology, while also addressing and preventing surface impacts. These laws and regulations address and effectively manage the potential environmental vulnerabilities and impacts raised in the editorial.

Rather than hyperbole and fear-mongering, FLS readers should know Virginia’s long history with fracking and the realities of the process.

Miles Morin

Executive Director,

Virginia Petroleum Council


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