Energy

Fear of Fracking

Jul 28, 2015

With the dangers of nuclear power playing out in Japan, fighting in Libya pushing oil prices up, and climate scientists pointing an accusing finger at coal, America is desperate for some energy alternatives.  One that seemed promising is natural gas - a relatively clean burning fuel.  But critics now say the process of getting gas from the ground may be risky.    If you saw the documentary, Gasland, there’s one scene you’ll never forget.  A guy from Weld County, Colorado - where gas wells are common - turns on his tap, flicks his lighter and jumps back as the water bursts into flame.

New Study Finds Climate Change Means Risky Business

Jul 28, 2015

It took two years for scientists and economists to crunch the numbers based on 40 different climate models, but they’re out this week with a new report called Risky Business – an analysis of what a warmer planet will mean for Virginia. 

Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices/Creative Commons

Burning coal to make electricity isn’t its only impact on the environment. The mining process has also been shown to pollute nearby waterways.

New rules proposed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to protect that water, will be debated over the next several months. Some see them as a potential threat to dwindling coal jobs and others, as not strong enough to protect the environment.

REDIT HARALD HOYER / CREATIVE COMMONS

The ultimate routes of natural gas pipelines that would run through Virginia have yet to be determined.  Among the concerns that raises, is; what effect could pipeline construction have on people’s well water? 

File Photo

For years the use of hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—has been exclusive to Southwest Virginia, but some organizations and communities are vehemently opposed to it. Now, as companies are exploring more energy sources throughout the state, such as natural gas and shale, officials are feeling more pressure to amend regulations that govern the practice. 

State Water Commission Chair and Delegate Thomas Wright says he's in favor of offshore drilling and whatever the state can do to produce more energy—but he also advocates environmental stewardship.

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