A group of Anson citizens who are opposed to the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” for natural gas, appeared before the Anson County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, March 6.
Jennifer Lee of Ansonville, a member of Anson County’s W.A.L.L. (Protecting Water, Air, Land and Lives), spoke first, explaining the purpose behind the W.A.L.L. group. “We are a group that helps protect Anson County’s water, land and air,” she said. “Our group has been really busy. We’ve been going door-to-door to raise awareness, handing out flyers, we’ve taken out an ad in the paper and done interviews.”
The group is primarily opposed to fracking, which is a way to release previously unavailable gas deposits from deep within the ground. This is done by drilling hundreds or thousands of feet down into the earth and injecting thousands of gallons of water to release the gas.
The North Carolina General Assembly is currently awaiting the results of a study by DENR (the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) on the practice of fracking and may consider overturning a ban on the practice in the state. Anson County could be one of the sites gas companies would be interested in fracking, since a shale basin runs directly through a large portion of the county.
Therese Vick of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) also spoke to the commissioners Tuesday night about the dangers of fracking. “From infrastructure damage to water quality to water service damage, it runs the gamut of environmental issues,” she said.
She said a report released last week showed that North Carolina is not ready for fracking to be done here. “There are no regulations in place to protect public health,” Vick said.
She explained that in addition to the environmental harm fracking can do, it can also cause damage to roadways in the form of as many as 1,000 trucks in and out of well sites within one day. Many communities in other states that have allowed fracking have also experienced what Vick called the “boomtown mentality,” which brings in more criminal and drug activity.
Vick also pointed out that it can take as much as 10,000 gallons of water to frack one well, and once that water is used for fracking, it can never be used for drinking again because of the chemicals it contains. There are loopholes that prevent gas companies from disclosing exactly what those chemicals are, she added.
County Commission Chair Anna Baucom asked the county attorney and staff to look at other municipalities and counties who have passed resolutions against fracking and report back to the board next month.