By Megan Gallagher
Megan Gallagher lives in The Plains, Va., and is an advisor to the Shenandoah Valley Network of conservation groups.

Friends of the Rappahannock and local partners co-sponsored two workshops recently for landowners considering leasing or who have already leased their land for gas or oil drilling. The events took place Dec. 11 in Bowling Green and Dec. 12 in Westmoreland County. Elected officials and members of the public were also invited to learn about landowner rights and the impacts of gas development.

As of July 2013, 84,000 acres had been leased in five counties in the Taylorsville Basin shale deposit just south of Fredericksburg:  Caroline (40,733 acres), Essex (13,338 acres), King & Queen (6,010 acres), King George (10,443 acres) and Westmoreland (13,864 acres).

The workshops featured experts in mineral leasing, corporate accountability and gas regulations.  It was an opportunity to learn about the leasing process, industry tactics and what gas or oil development means for you, your neighbors and community. The featured speaker was Gwen Lachelt, County Commissioner in La Plata County, Colorado, where there is significant hydrofracturing for shale gas.

Lachelt began her work on oil and gas issues in 1988 in La Plata County. She is the founder and director of Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project.


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