News Advisory: Media Tour of George Washington National Forest as Forest Service Weighs Opening Area to Fracking

What: A tour of the George Washington National Forest with some of the region’s most knowledgeable experts about this special area, in advance of the expected Forest Service decision in early June on whether to open up these lands to horizontal natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

When: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, April 25, 2013 (Lunch will be provided)

Where: Meet in Bridgewater, VA, where transportation will take you to/from the forest

RSVP: By April 23 to Erin Malec

The U.S. Forest Service is expected to announce its decision in early June on whether to open up Virginia’s George Washington National Forest (GW) – the largest national forest in the east – to horizontal natural gas drilling and the riskiest, most destructive form of fracking.

The tour for media will highlight the potential impacts of this risky form of drilling on the GW’s recreational opportunities, public water supplies, and fish and wildlife habitat. The GW plays an important role in providing water to much of our region, as it is a direct source of drinking water for over 260,000 people living in and around Virginia’s historic Shenandoah Valley, and it contains many headwaters of the James and Potomac Rivers, which ultimately supply drinking water to more than 4.5 million people in Richmond, northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The outing will include a visit to Reddish Knob, a scenic landmark on Shenandoah Mountain and one of the highest points in Virginia, and some easy, short hiking along the forest’s beautiful trails. Leading the tour will be local and regional experts on the unique features of the GW and the potential impacts of fracking here:  

• Sarah Francisco, Senior Attorney and National Forests and Parks Program Leader, Southern Environmental Law Center
• Kate Wofford, Executive Director, Shenandoah Valley Network
• Kim Sandum, Executive Director, Community Alliance for Preservation
• Lynn Cameron, Co-Chair, Friends of Shenandoah Mountain

For an overview on potential fracking in the GW, please visit
www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/pages/file/gwnf/fracking_gw_handout_0413.pdf

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