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Fracking company officials to visit K.G.

RELATED: Special report: ‘Almost heaven’ or fracking hell?

Representatives from the Texas-based company that wants to drill for natural gas in the region are scheduled to make their first formal presentation next week.

Ed DeJarnette, chairman of the board of Shore Exploration and Production Corp., and Kenneth Snow, an Essex County man who has worked with residents on leases for the company, are on the agenda for a town-hall meeting Monday in King George County.

The meeting will be conducted by King George Supervisor Ruby Brabo, at the University of Mary Washington’s Dahlgren campus.

It starts at 7 p.m., and the Shore presentation is the last item on the agenda.

Also included are unrelated reports from Rep. Rob Wittman and Capt. Peter Nette, commander of the Naval Support Activity South Potomac in Dahlgren.

Those attending will be able to ask questions to any of the presenters.

Except for brief remarks that Stan Sherrill, Shore’s president, made at an informational meeting in December, the company hasn’t talked publicly about its plan to drill for natural gas.

Shore has an office in Bowling Green and eventually plans to move all of its operations from Texas to Virginia, Sherrill told The Free Lance–Star in previous interviews.

Shore’s landmen have leased more than 84,000 acres in the Taylorsville basin, a region that stretches from the Northern Neck into the Middle Peninsula and runs along the U.S. 301 corridor.

Half of the leases are in Caroline County, with the rest in Westmoreland, King George, Essex and King and Queen counties.

Shore has said it would like to start drilling by the end of this year or mid-2015. Like other modern drillers, it would employ some type of fracturing process, or fracking, which injects water, chemicals and sand deep into the ground to release trapped gas.

Fracking has been a particular topic of interest in King George, which is experiencing a rash of town-hall meetings.

Brabo held one in February devoted exclusively to fracking and its impact.

Supervisor Jim Howard reminded residents at his town-hall meeting in March that the county plans an informational session, probably in May.

Representatives from the Virginia Department of Mines, Mineral and Energy, which regulates drilling in the state, would attend, along with those from the Department of Environmental Quality and Shore Exploration.

On Thursday, Supervisor Cedell Brooks Jr. held a town hall that included a presentation on fracking from former state delegate Albert Pollard.

“It’s a big issue that’s been brought up,” Brooks said, “and I think the Board of Supervisors is trying to be very proactive on it if it comes, if it even comes.”

Pollard made an interesting comment on why drillers may be interested in the Taylorsville basin, which contains a relatively small amount of gas compared with other regions.

Taylorsville has an estimated 1.06 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the Marcellus Shale region, under the surface of much of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. The Marcellus is estimated to have between 410 trillion and 500 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Even though there seems to be a gold mine of gas in the Marcellus region, there are a lot of transportation costs associated with getting that gas to market, Pollard said.

Meanwhile, in this region, a pipeline is being proposed an hour east of King George. Dominion Resources wants to build a $3.8 billion export terminal at Cove Point in the Lusby area of Calvert County, Md., according to the DeSmogBlog.

The plant would liquefy more than 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus region and ship it to India and Japan, according to the blog.

Pollard believes the proximity of the pipeline may be why the Taylorsville basin is attractive to drillers.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

 

BUDGET HEARING SET

The King George Board of Supervisors will not consider the rezoning of land near Bayberry Estates until its May 6 meeting.

A developer wants to rezone a 7-acre parcel from rural agricultural to general trade. However, James Jarrell of Walnut Hill hasn’t specified what kind of business might come to the property, and neighboring Bayberry Estates residents don’t want any part of it. For the past two meetings, several dozen residents have told the Board of Supervisors the rezoning would bring more traffic, noise and crime to an already congested area.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board will hear comments from residents about its proposed 3-cent increase in taxes. Real estate tax rates are proposed to go up 6 cents, but only half of that is a true increase; the remainder is to equalize the difference in rates after reassessments.

The public hearing to speak about the county’s proposed budget of $68.2 million starts at 6:30 p.m.

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