Citizens aired their concerns last Wednesday over the possibility of fracking taking place in a basin that stretches through parts of the Northern Neck and Essex County.
During a regular meeting of the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, Former 99th District Delegate Albert C. Pollard and Richard Moncure of the Friends of the Rappahannock gave a presentation on fracking, or the horizontal drilling process of injecting chemicals into beds of rock underground known as shale formations to release natural gas, oil and other resources trapped in the rock.
Local interest in the subject first amassed when it was discovered that Texas-based Shore Exploration and Production Corp. had secured 85,000 acres of land in leases for fracking in the Taylorsville Basin, which stretches across Eastern Virginia into parts of Maryland. Most of the acres were leased in Caroline County, followed by Westmoreland, King George, Essex and King and Queen Counties.
Moncure said the leases were for seven years and renewable, while Pollard noted that the landowners were getting $15 per acre each year. If the oil companies found something, Pollard added, then landowners would receive a higher amount.
Back in December, Shore Exploration President Stan Sherrill told the Northern Neck News that his company could practice nitrogen fracking in the basin, which, based on a conversation he said he had with a state inspector, produced very little environmental results as opposed to hydrofracking.