Press Release | November 10, 2017

First county in Tidewater bans fracking

Another county in Taylorsville Basin says no to oil and gas drilling

 Charlottesville, VA— Richmond County’s unanimous vote to ban oil and gas drilling and fracking sends a clear message that counties have a strong interest in protecting their land and water from risky industry ventures. The decision last night in Richmond County, located in the Taylorsville Basin, was based on scientific evidence of the risks posed to communities from industrial gas development.

“More and more science is confirming that gas drilling and fracking pose serious health and safety risks to communities,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Attorney Kristin Davis. “We applaud the Board of Supervisors for making its own decision on the best way to protect its residents and rural communities, drinking water, and environment.”

Richmond County now joins Augusta as the second county in Virginia to ban fracking outright. And its vote last night also follows the actions of nearby King George County, which in August of 2016 voted to protect 91% of the county from fracking-related activity.

“Increasingly we are seeing that counties across Virginia are taking a hard look at the science of oil and gas extraction and choosing to protect their waters. The thoughtful decisions by these counties are essential to protecting our precious drinking water,” said Kathleen Harrigan, Executive Director of Friends of the Rappahannock. “The Rappahannock River is a vital resource in Virginia and its watershed includes nearly all of our counties from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay.”

The Rappahannock River was listed as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers in 2017 because of industry’s threat of expanding fracking operations in the Taylorsville Basin, which would require drilling through the Potomac Aquifer.

SELC and Friends of the Rappahannock filed comments with the Richmond County Board of Supervisors in support of this change to the zoning ordinance.


About the Southern Environmental Law Center:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With nine offices across the region (Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA), SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect the South’s natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.


About Friends of the Rappahannock:

Friends of the Rappahannock is a nonprofit, grassroots conservation organization whose goal is to maintain the water quality, living resources and scenic beauty of the Rappahannock River and its tributaries. The organization works with a wide variety of stakeholders to educate about the river and to advocate for actions and policies that will protect and restore the values that make the river so special.

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

Kristin Davis

Senior Attorney