Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Your Government wants to hear your opinion, I shared mine.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack
1400 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20250
e-mail:     agsec@usda.gov

Dear Secretary Vilsack;

As a resident of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and property owner bordering on the George Washington National Forest, I strongly oppose horizontal drilling (AKA Fracking). I am against any future federal oil and gas leases in the Forest Plan. I understand that opposition to hydraulic fracturing, has been voiced by the great majority (95 percent) of more than 53,000 public comments already received, as well as by many local governments adjacent to the Forest. I personally don’t know of anyone who is in favor of it in our National Forests.

Although there is much talk about "multiple use" for the GWNF, I do not believe that fracking is at all compatible with any of the other George Washington National Forest uses, and should not be incorporated into the new plan. The draft forest plan also proposed to make nearly the entire GW Forest available for vertical gas drilling. The potential impacts of vertical gas drilling on the GW should be more thoroughly studied, with public input, before a decision is made. At a minimum, priority watersheds, and other sensitive natural, scenic and recreational areas should be made unavailable to drilling. Further, I have seen the effects on native species that extensive road building causes in areas of the Monongahela Nation Forest where this practice is allowed. The fragmentation of the forest and the invasive effects of traffic are unacceptable impacts, to say nothing about the industrial invasion of our last natural areas in the Eastern United States.

Finally, it is not as if there aren’t plenty of private lands available for fracking. In addition, the lease fees and royalties would go to private citizens. The Federal Government (which doesn’t have a good record of obtaining fair market value for it’s resources) should not be in the business of competing with its own tax payers. If we are to believe in free market forces and individual freedom of choice, then we need to reject a government give a way of the resources that belong to every American.

Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinions.

Sincerely, (and of course I signed it and supplied my address)