Richmond County joins King George and votes to ban fracking
FREDERICKSBURG — Richmond County has become the first locality in the Taylorsville basin to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of injecting water and chemicals deep into the ground to loosen trapped gas and oil.
Board of Supervisors Chairman F. Lee Sanders said that, after studying the issue for several years, the board voted unanimously Thursday not to allow any type of oil and gas drilling in the county.
“The major concern was our water supply,” Sanders said about the county 60 miles southeast of Fredericksburg and bordered by the Rappahannock River. “The river is so important to us, and we’re just trying to set an example for other people.”
In April, the Rappahannock River was ranked No. 5 on the 2017 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers because of the “threat fracking poses to clean drinking water.”
The report encouraged decision-makers to protect the Rappahannock, the only Virginia river on the list, saying: “The first line of defense lies with local government.”
The rural locality, with Warsaw as its county seat, is the second in the state to enact an outright ban on fracking. Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley became the first in February.
Before that, King George County voted in August 2016 to put restrictive measures in place. It prohibited oil and gas drilling within 750 feet of any waterways or roads, homes or public buildings — essentially eliminating the prospect of any frackingrelated activity in more than 90 percent of the county.