LETTER: Not in favor of fracking

Feb. 11, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

To encourage hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in our area, Mr. [Jim] Womack [N.C. Mining and Energy Commission chairman] is requesting that drilling companies be held liable for contamination only up to 2,500 feet from excavation sites, not the 5,000 feet in Senate Law 143. It appears that “excavation site” means the drill pad or well head. Conventional vertical drilling is not our issue; what concerns me is no mention of the horizontal drilling associated with fracking or the flow back waste disposal sites that are another critical component of the process.

Horizontal drilling has been up to 8,000 feet from the well pad in many areas, and in 2011 some wells were much more. Each pad can have several vertical wells with multiple horizontal legs from each one. I think when you say 2,500 feet, there is no clear explanation of what you are talking about. Are you speaking of 2,500 feet from the vertical well head, the drill pad, or are you speaking of 2,500 feet from all points of the horizontal borings?

I can envision a lawsuit where a property owner is told they have no recourse because the “rule” was written for only 2,500 feet from the vertical well bore and not the horizontal bore.

Frankly, I am not in favor of hydraulic fracking drilling anywhere in North Carolina at this time. Absolutely no one knows for sure what the outcome from fracking could be. We need to seriously look at what is happening all across the country and observe the damages that fracking has caused. I think that many people have become disenchanted with fracking because of the damage that has already been done to our environment, human and animal health, and our infrastructure in other places.

If, as Mr. Womack has claimed many times, there are no problems or dangers associated with fracking, then why do we need a shorter limit on the distance from the excavation site? Why do we have so much secrecy from the fracking industry? We own the land, we should make the rules.

At this time, there should be no horizontal drilling and no forced pooling. The rights of property owners and the health of our citizens should come before increasing the wealth of the oil and gas industry and those who are attempting to force fracking on us.

Jeanne Rhea