Here’s something you can do to help leave the forests better than you found them. In this case, “better” would mean allowing the U.S. Forest Service to follow through on its proposal to protect the George Washington National Forest from toxic activity. In a situation like this, “better” may also mean our being better informed, more aware, more interested (hey, even more interesting!).
From the article Taking Action for George Washington in the blog of American Forests (AmericanForests.org), “the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country:”
Last year, the U.S. Forest Service proposed a ban against horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — commonly called “fracking” — in George Washington National Forest, deeming that those actions proposed a significant risk to the forest’s health and the health of those that rely on the forest, including the 260,000 local residents whose drinking water is supplied by George Washington National Forest. Now, though, the Forest Service is under pressure from the oil and gas industries to rescind that proposed ban, and this is something that we do not support … To show the U.S. Forest Service that it has our support, and that of our members, we’ve developed a pre-written letter that is just waiting in our Action Center for electronic signatures from our concerned members.
Some people say that form letters and pre-written emails and online petitions don’t have the effect of a personal letter sent in the postal mail. Maybe. I don’t know. But there’s nothing saying you can’t USE a pre-written letter to create your own, even in your own handwriting, to create a postal letter. Or you could send an email of your own making to your legislators, or call them on the phone. I guess it depends on what it’s worth to you, and your style of approaching such things.
The Forest Service made a determination deeming that horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing “proposed a significant risk to the forest’s health and the health of those that rely on the forest.“
- What do you think?
- Were they wrong in that determination?
- Why would they come to such a conclusion? Did they have some motivation other than protecting the forest and the water flowing from it downstream to millions of people?
- Which do you think will prevail? Economic interest in natural gas, or health and safety of forests and people? Why?
Please let us know here if you took any action to support the Forest Service’s proposal to protect against toxic impact risks of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
Having not researched it enough, at this time Sylvabiota™ does not have a definitive policy position on the actual impact of these practices, but we do find it abundantly clear that there are significant risks involved, worthy of concentrated and strong attention by regulators.
We do not accept the typically American litigated-rather-than-regulated approach to risk factors, which says, in essence, go ahead until the body count rises “too high.”
We should determine for certain what the impacts truly are, and the risks they pose, BEFORE authorizing a practice, not after somebody drags a case all the way to the Supreme Court to get a practice stopped many years after the damage was done, and has continued being done, and will leave permanent damage, including deaths of people and habitats.
Your thoughts on this? What do you prefer? The cautious, preventive, regulated approach that says, “prove it’s safe BEFORE?” Or the litigious, profit-centered approach that says, “prove it’s dangerous AFTER?” (i.e., after the damage has gone too far but the profits have gone high enough)
Please reply here or in private email.
- On the Frontlines in Virginia (catherinescannon.wordpress.com) – A great piece of journalism from the front lines of the fracking issue in the GW National Forest. Includes a comprehensive set of photos. Excerpt:
Forest Service officials expect a decision on the drilling ban after June 1. At stake is the drilling that is already occurring on other national forests, because a ban by forest managers in Virginia could be repeated on federal lands across the country. If the ban is not approved, Virginia could become a new frontier for fracking and natural gas exploration.
“We felt the risks outweighed the benefits because of the newness of the technology,” said Karen Overcash, a planner for the U.S. Forest Service based in Roanoke, when asked why the agency felt the ban was needed. “There is just far too much uncertainty about the environmental impacts.”
About the author: “Catherine Cannon is a graduate student in the MPS Journalism program at Georgetown University. Her piece and photo slideshow on the potential for fracking in Virginia is her final capstone project for her degree. She completed her undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Catherine lives in Arlington, Virginia and works full-time as an associate producer for CBS Newspath in Washington, D.C.”
Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this issue. Thanks again.