Four million of us drink treated Potomac and James River water, so let us be mindful of activities that can affect this water. Michelle's Earth Foundation is sponsoring a public meeting Monday night, January 27th, from 7 - 8:30 pm at the Arlington Central Library to consider the matter of horizontal drilling and fracturing for natural gas in the George Washington National Forest where the headwaters of these two major rivers begin. Please join us in reviewing this process and its possible consequences.
Drilling and Fracking Risks to Drinking Water for Arlington, Fairfax, DC Metro Area
Public Meeting January 27 on Potential Shale Gas Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing in George Washington National Forest
Major D.C. area water providers, local governments and conservation organizations have warned that an impending U.S. Forest Service decision on whether to allow horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the George Washington National Forest could threaten a range of resources -- including the D.C. area's water supply. The Forest Service could make a decision to allow the practice this year.
Michelle's Earth Foundation and Earthworks are hosting a public meeting to inform citizens and policymakers about this impending decision. The meeting will be held Monday, January 27, 2014, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium at Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St., three blocks from the Ballston Metro station.
The 1.1-million acre George Washington National Forest is located in western Virginia and West Virginia, and is the closest National Forest to Washington D.C. It contains the headwaters of the Potomac River that provides drinking water to more than 4 million people in the Washington area and the headwaters of the James River that provides drinking water for Richmond. About half of the forest sits atop the Marcellus shale, a vast natural gas-bearing formation that stretches from upstate New York to Kentucky.
Extracting the gas from the shale would require horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, a process that is expected to involve up to five million gallons of fluid injected into each well including toxic and unknown chemicals, up to 4,400 truck trips to service each well pad and millions of gallons of wastewater that may be contaminated with significant levels of radioactive pollutants from the naturally radioactive Marcellus shale.
Three local water providers including Fairfax Water, DC Water and the Washington Aqueduct have urged the Forest Service to prohibit horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the forest. In April 2011, as part of a draft update for the forest's 10 to 15-year management plan, the Forest Service recommended against horizontal drilling in the forest citing water quality concerns as one of the reasons. However, after lobbying by more than a dozen drilling companies and trade associations including the American Petroleum Institute, Halliburton Energy Services Inc., and XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp., the Forest Service is reconsidering its position.
For more information, please contact Gail Fendley, President, Michelle's Earth Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dusty Horwitt, Senior Analyst, Earthworks at 202-887-1872 email@example.com. Arlington-based Michelle's Earth Foundation and Earthworks, a national nonprofit, work to protect communities from the negative impacts of oil and natural gas drilling.