Despite rally, Washington Co., VA BOS votes in favor of draft or - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Despite rally, Washington Co., VA BOS votes in favor of draft ordinance

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ABINGDON, VA (WJHL) - Protestors packed a meeting Tuesday to fight fracking in Washington County, Virginia. They fear the controversial method of drilling for natural gas will hurt the environment.

That protest happened outside a meeting of the Washington County, Virginia Board of Supervisors, with a group that's wrangled over the issue of fracking for months.

Tuesday, the board had a decision to make, whether to change county code to allow fracking through a permitting process and on certain types of county land.

Despite the call from protestors not to allow fracking in Washington County, Virginia, the board voted in favor of a draft ordinance that would change county code and allow gas drilling if you can get a permit.

First, some background. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of taking natural gas from rock deep in the earth. It's gas that once was unreachable, but new techniques using fluid and drilling allows the gas to be extract.

There's debate over the environmental impact and that's why plenty of people showed up before Tuesday's Washington County, Virginia Board of Supervisors.

Plenty wanted the board to know they fear fracking will forever pollute their beloved home.

Others say fracking is the future as the coal industry suffers, the economy needs an alternative.

"Looks an awful lot like a lot of short term gain, at long term costs. Our big concern is all the chemicals that they are putting down into the ground. I mean fracking is talking about cracking up the rocks, if you crack up the rocks, it's definitely going to contaminate the water supply," said Tom McCullen of Abingdon.

James Alligood of Washington County, Virginia disagrees, "our constitutional rights says that if a person has the opportunity and wants to drill a well, whether it be for gas, oil, coal, that should be their right."

In the end, the board gave the green light to the change which will allow fracking on sites zoned for certain agricultural uses.

The vote was 6-1 with Chairman Phillip McCall voting 'no'.

The measure now goes to the Washington County, Virginia Planning Commission where the draft ordinance will face another review.

A defeat for the protestors, but they're not giving up. They've planned another rally this Saturday at 10:00 AM at the Federal Court Building in Abingdon.


Copyright 2014 WJHL. All rights reserved.

 
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