[ exact phrase in "" • ~10 sec • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]



LOCATION/TYPE

News Home
Archive
RSS

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links

Alerts

Press Releases

FAQs

Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics

Videos

Allied Groups

Forest plan limits Virginia drilling, considers wind  

The plan, which is developed every 10 to 15 years, also would allow the development of wind energy but exclude 450,000 acres identified as sensitive, such as areas with rare species and along the Appalachian Trail.

Credit:  By STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press, www.forbes.com 19 May 2011 ~~

RICHMOND, Va. – A draft management plan for the George Washington National Forest would limit the type of natural gas drilling that occurs in its 1.1 million acres and open the door to the development of wind power outside of areas deemed environmentally sensitive.

The plan released Wednesday would outlaw horizontal drilling, an approach often used in hydraulic fracturing to separate natural gas from rock. The forest is mainly located in Virginia.

The technique involves pumping huge amounts of water, chemicals and sand underground, and has been criticized as an environmental threat to water supplies.

Approximately half of the George Washington sits atop the Marcellus shale formation, which contains a vast deposit of natural gas running from upstate New York to the Virginias. No drilling currently occurs in the national forest, which is along Virginia’s western frontier. Including the Jefferson National Forest, the two parks run nearly the entire length of the state.

Ken Landgraf, planning staff officer at the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, said the environmental concerns about that type of drilling were key to the decision to propose the ban.

Environmental groups had expressed concern that the park would be vulnerable to horizontal drilling because the Marcellus shale formation, which has sparked a gold rush in other states. The Southern Environmental Law Center had listed the park on its most-endangered places in the Southeast because of the prospect of drilling.

“The proposal to not allow horizontal drilling is very positive,” said Sarah Francisco, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Almost 1 million acres of the forest is available for conventional gas drilling under the plan. Hydraulic fracturing can also be used in conventional drilling.

Francisco said she wanted to study the thick plan further before commenting on that aspect of the plan. “We want to look a little bit closer,” she said.

The plan, which is developed every 10 to 15 years, also would allow the development of wind energy but exclude 450,000 acres identified as sensitive, such as areas with rare species and along the Appalachian Trail.

Landgraf said a developer had proposed developing more than 100 turbines along near the Virginia-West Virginia line.

A key concern would be bats, which have a high mortality rate near wind turbines and whose numbers have already been depleted by about a 1 million by a mysterious disease.

Other key elements of the plan would:

_ Maintain 80 percent of the most remote settings in the forest by limiting timber harvest and road construction.

_ Decommission about 160 miles of the forest’s 1,800-mile road system.

_ Restore habitats for species that require grassy openings and open woodlands, which are currently lacking.

The plan was developed after working with a variety of groups, ranging from environmental to off-road and trail-riding enthusiasts. Now it returns to the public for a review and public comment period.

“Here’s what we came up with,” Landgraf said. “Let us know where we got it right, let us know where we got it wrong.”

The U.S. Forest Service will likely consider a final plan in January, he said.

Source:  By STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press, www.forbes.com 19 May 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate

Share:


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook

Share

CONTACT DONATE PRIVACY ABOUT SEARCH
© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.
Share

 Follow: