Rich­mond County joins King Ge­orge and votes to ban frack­ing

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - OBITUARIES - BY CATHY DYSON

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.

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