The Onslaught of Shale
West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has worked on gas drilling issues since the 1980s. We participated with allies in Legislative hearings and negotiations aimed toward enacting the Surface Owners Rights Bill; served on Committees such as the former DNR Water Quality Advisory Committee in formulating ways to deal with pit waste generated by conventional gas drilling.
WV Highlands Conservancy partners with local, state and regional groups to actively work to oppose and/or to rein in the harmful practices associated with the more recent unconventional shale gas drilling that utilizes horizontal or directional drilling complete with high volume hydraulic fracturing. Known colloquially as “fracking” this method of drilling has taken West Virginia and neighboring states by storm both economically and environmentally. Some communities have benefited at least in the short term from the influx of money; while others have been devastated by the huge impact to land and water resources required for the new drilling techniques.
And it’s not just the drilling itself that causes harm. From the excessive and dangerous traffic on rural roads, to the imposition of huge well pads for multiple bore holes, to leaks of poison waste water, to air pollution, and disruptive and debilitating noise, neighbors and surface owners have suffered unwanted intrusion on their property and to their lives. Those who have benefited financially have a different perspective and have been able to adapt, but for many – and for the environment as a whole, recent shale gas drilling and the ancillary facilities such as processing plants, compressor stations, and pipelines have brought more problems than solutions.