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Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at cdyson@freelancestar.com.

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Almost 100 people turn out for Shore presentation

Almost 100 people showed up at Supervisor Ruby Brabo’s town-hall meeting Monday night, and many wanted to know more about a company’s plan to drill for natural gas in the region.

Officials with Shore Exploration and Production tried to allay fears about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process that injects high volumes of water, chemicals and sand deep into the ground to fracture rock and release trapped gas.

Edmund DeJarnette Jr., chairman of Shore’s board, stressed several times that he doesn’t favor using water during the fracking process. He prefers nitrogen because it eliminates the need to haul thousands of gallons of water to the site and then truck the wastewater away.

He’s been to several meetings where people have said that hydraulic fracturing is dangerous, and he pointed out those concerns are irrelevant because that method of fracking is not part of the company’s plans.

“Everybody clear about that?” he asked.

But DeJarnette acknowledged that his company may not have the final say-so in what kind of drilling is done. Shore has leased more than 84,000 acres in five counties south and east of Fredericksburg—and the company plans to sell part or all of the leases to a larger company that would run the drilling operations.

Several residents asked if Shore could guarantee that nitrogen or some kind of gas fracking would be used in this region and not hydrofracking. Not as long as Shore controlled the matter, DeJarnette said, but then he admitted he doesn’t have much time left.

“I’m five months into a six- to eight-month life expectancy,” he told the crowd. “I can tell you I have no intention of using anything but a gas frack.”

John Perkins, one of several residents with questions for Shore, said the crowd “wasn’t ganging up on” the gas company, just looking for answers.

“It doesn’t seem like anybody is really forthcoming or saying, ‘Hey we’re going to be responsible for what’s happening,’ ” Perkins said. “You’re really not giving us many guarantees, not any. When we’re trying to find out answers, we’re not getting any.”

Shore officials passed out brochures containing their contact information and comments about jobs and financial benefits. They said they plan to schedule more town-hall meetings that will include their geologists and other company officials in the future.

More about the Shore presentation will be presented online and in Wednesday’s Free Lance–Star.

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