RCC hosts Pollard for Fracking 101

Former Virginia delegate Albert Pollard spoke at RCC on April 6 about the fracking operations proposed for the Taylorsville Basin.

Former Virginia delegate Albert Pollard spoke at RCC on April 6 about the fracking operations proposed for the Taylorsville Basin.

“Is this an appropriate activity to take place near churches and homes?” asked Albert Pollard during his April 6 presentation at Rappahannock Community College about the fracking operations proposed for the Taylorsville Basin.

Pollard, who represented Virginia’s 99th District in the House of Delegates for five terms, went on to express his specific concerns as to how using high-pressure gas extraction methods will affect area residents. The list included a huge increase in water use that many fear could severely deplete and potentially pollute groundwater resources.

“The amount of gas available creates economic interest in development,” noted Pollard; not only because of the uses to be made of the gas itself, but also in the number of jobs that would be created. “What fracking does is remarkable. But there are risks.”

Another concern is heavy truck traffic in this peaceful rural area. Numerous vehicles would be needed, first to bring in the materials needed for fracking — 25 rail cars worth of sand to frack one well — and then, as the wells begin to produce, to take the gas to processing and export centers. In addition, said Pollard, “to get the materials moving, you need generators to move it through the pipes.” The noise level, he warned, is comparable to living next to an airport.

“These leases use standard language — 200 feet from homes. It is not really enough to stop noise pollution. Most standard contracts do not do enough to protect the local environment.”

“I don’t think that we will see anything done here in the next three to five years,” Pollard concluded. “But if the price of gas rises, I anticipate that something will start up.”