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Controversial gas drilling may come to Washington County, Virginia

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: May 14 2014 10:59:32 PM CDT
Controversial gas drilling may come to Washington County, Virginia
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. -

Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial process of extracting natural gas from the ground and it may be coming to Washington County, Va.

We're told hydrofracking would bring revenue to both the county and land owners.

The County's planning commission is talking about allowing a gas drilling company to sign agreements with land owners to extract natural gas from below their properties.

The company would drill a hole into the ground and inject water laced with sand and chemicals. The fluid opens holes in the rock below, allowing natural gas to flow out.

We're told residents have voiced concerns that the process will cause water contamination and air pollution. County representatives said they'll consider those concerns before making a decision.

"It's going to be a hard decision but we'll have to weigh each and every decision," said Phillip McCall, chairman of the Washington County Va. Board of Supervisors. "We don't think we can stop fracking in the county but we can control where it will go and then say exactly where. We don't have any say so over what fluids will be used in it."

We're told the drilling would be done in the North Benhams area toward North Fork River.

The Planning Commission is still reviewing the process and are expected to make a decision in the next couple of months, then it will go to the Board of Supervisors.