Stop Fracking in Vulnerable Watersheds

Oil Pollution - FECONACO - Global Voices Online

Target: Mr. Charles H. Seilheimer, Jr., Chairman of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Goal: Prevent fracking for oil and gas on conservation easements that protect watersheds

Changes in the rules protecting conservation easements have put 550,000 acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed at risk of pollution from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and endangered the drinking water for 900,000 people. Demand that the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) protect this vital resource and ban fracking in watersheds.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation manages over 750,000 acres of conservation easements designed to protect land and vital water supplies from development. In exchange for tax credits, land owners agree not to build on the land or open it for other development and to create and implement land management plans. This setup has been very successful in saving land from development and pollution.

But changes to the rules for easements put much of this land at risk of destruction from fracking. Fracking injects water into the ground to force oil and gas out. Fracking pollutes nearby water supplies, takes massive amounts of water from local farmers, and creates huge pools of fracking chemicals that further pollute the environment.

About two years ago oil and gas companies successfully pressured the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to allow fracking on conservation easements that protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These unacceptable changes put the drinking water for over 900,000 people at risk from fracking pollution. Demand the Virginia Outdoors Foundation ban fracking on easements that protect vital water supplies.


Dear Mr. Seilheimer,

Changes in conservation easement rules have put 900,000 people at risk by opening up over 550,000 acres of protected Chesapeake Bay watershed for hydraulic fracturing. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is charged with protecting these resources from exactly this type of destructive development.

For 50 years the VOF has done a fantastic job of establishing and protecting conservation easements, but two years ago your organization caved to pressure from oil and gas industries and the Virginia government to make fracking operations possible on conservation easements. That change is in direct conflict with the mission of your organization and puts the people of Virginia at risk.

Fracking has been known to pollute nearby water supplies, use up massive amounts of fresh water needed by local farms and people, and leave behind pools of chemicals that further pollute the environment. In addition fracking booms can take over and destroy local towns and industries, then move on leaving dead towns where before there were thriving communities.

Mr. Seilheimer, you must ban fracking and other oil and gas development on conservation easements that protect vital watersheds. You cannot gamble with the lives of the 900,000 people that could be impacted by this destructive development.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: FECONACO via Global Voices Online

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