Fracking, the questionable practice of horizontal drilling for shale gas, may occur in Virginia's portion of the George Washington National Forest soon if the U.S. Forest Service gives the go-ahead. The jury is still out on whether this process and the millions of gallons of water used during the drilling contaminates nearby underground water. Or even worse, causes earthquakes.
And in this particular forest are the headwaters of the James and Potomac rivers. That brings this decision close to me. I live along the James and sail on the Potomac. Even more important, millions of folks get their drinking water from these waters. Just ask the folks in Pennsylvania who can light the water coming out of their faucets if methane is a nice additive to their water.
Half of this forest sits on top of the Marcellus shale deposit, so it is a likely target in the near future as our energy hungry country keeps up its appetite for natural gas. Wind turbines in this mountainous area would wreck havoc on these forests as well. So there is no easy answer.