In Virginia, Tug of War Persists Over a National Forest Atop Shale Gas Reserves
Many states in the U.S. have grappled with how, or whether, to exploit newly accessible reserves of shale gas. In Virginia, the question is complicated by the fact that its shale lies beneath about half of a one-million-acre national forest; and what happens in that forest could have implications for federal lands across the country.
The George Washington National Forest, which runs vertically across the state along the western side, overlies part of the Marcellus shale, the vast formation that is already being developed in neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Virginia’s shale gas debate erupted three years ago, when Houston-based Carrizo Oil & Gas applied for a land-use permit to build the state’s first Marcellus shale well near Bergton, a