Potential fracking in the Taylorsville Basin has the region abuzz as Westmoreland representatives were among the local officials who sought to better understand the issue through a workshop held by the Virginia Association of Counties in Hanover County on Thursday.
Westmoreland is among the localities with landowners who have leased their property to Shore Oil and Exploration for fracking purposes. The county government was represented at the workshop by Planning Director Bob Fink and Dist. 2 Supervisor Rosemary Mahan.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the horizontal drilling process for obtaining oil, natural gas and other resources trapped in beds of underground rock known as shale formations.
Concerns that have been expressed about the fracking process include citizens not having full disclosure of the chemicals involved, as well as aquifer and groundwater contamination either from fracking fluids or contaminants that are stored aboveground until they are hauled away.
According to the attendees of the fracking workshop, presentations were given by the Virginia Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), which is the permitting agency for the fracking process, the Virginia Dept. of Equality (DEQ), which performs an environmental assessment when the fracking procedure is around bodies of water. Also featured were the Southern Environmental Law Center and county officials from King George and Rockingham counties.