West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray decided that he’s ready to let fracking companies ravage the landscape and drill beneath 14 miles of the Ohio River, reported the Akron Beacon Journal. Several environmental groups are now urging Ray to reconsider citing past incidents and future projections.
The 14-mile section of the Ohio River up for bid lies along the northern part of West Virginia and is the natural border with the state of Ohio. Recently, West Virginia has been suffering from budgetary woes, and offering to lease land to fracking companies is the state’s quick fix to its money troubles.
The governor is too fixated on short-term monetary gains to think about long-term environmental consequences. Energy LLC Triad Hunter would pay $17.8 million cash-in-hand for a five-year lease.
Considering that the Ohio River is the main source of the state’s drinking water, environmental and citizen groups are appalled. Just in January, a chemical spill in the state placed West Virginia in a state of emergency. In its aftermath, there was a drinking water ban for 300,000 West Virginia residents because of the contamination resulting from the chemical spill.
“We need not remind you that another large-scale water contamination issue in our state and region could be devastating for West Virginia’s economy and reputation, not to mention the human health costs,” said the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and Concerned Citizens Ohio, along with other groups.
Alongside concerns about water contamination, the groups noted that there is a fault line near the proposed drilling sites. As of late, fracking has caused unusual seismic activity in Oklahoma due to drilling sites being near fault lines. Oklahoma is now more seismically active than California because of fracking.
Gov. Ray is putting the integrity of his state’s landscape and his people’s wellbeing on the chopping block by allowing companies to come and ravage the countryside and water supply with oil and gas drilling. He obviously has no regard for nature or his state’s residents.