Decision on fracking in GWNF expected soon

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Forest Service should make a decision on whether to allow Marcellus Shale exploration, aka fracking, in the George Washington National Forest by the end of the month.

The Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited is concerned that opening up the forest to fracking could threaten some of the state’s best trout streams. Not only does fracking bring the usual new roads and pipelines associated with gas and oil drilling, but this particular technique uses large volumes of water from the surrounding aquifer, which could have profound effects on natural stream flows. Also, water quality is put at risk both through the injection of chemicals into the deep drill sites and through the discharge of wastewater.

“The waters need to be quite clean for trout to survive,” Tom Benzing, vice president of conservation for VCTU and a James Madison University science and technology professor, told the Post.

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The Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited is made up of representatives of the state’s 16 TU chapters.