Gainesville, GA –Environment Georgia will deliver over 1,300 signatures opposed to fracking in the Chattahoochee National Forest today to Supervisor Betty Mathews, the new Forest Supervisor of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The group started gathering signatures after newspapers reported test wells were being drilled near Dalton, GA, close to the Chattahoochee National Forest.
“Fracking means pollution and industrial infrastructure that destroys wilderness,” said Jennette Gayer, Policy Advocate with Environment Georgia. “The hundreds of Georgians who signed our petition agree that the Chattahoochee National Forest should be off limits when it comes to the dangers of fracking.”
The oil and gas industry uses fracking to access reserves of gas that are trapped within rock formations underground. Drilling operators drill vertical wells down into gas-bearing rock and then cut horizontal shafts through the rock formation. With each horizontal shaft, operators pump about a million gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to crack open the rock and release the gas. Chemicals used can include carcinogens like benzene and formaldehyde.
“The Chattahoochee National Forest is the headwaters for many of the rivers that supply drinking water to our state,” said Gayer. “Fracking in our National Forest could have serious implications for communities downstream.”
In March of this year the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that speculators had drilled two test wells. At the time, a separate company was considering drilling a deeper well near Cave Springs, Georgia. The Conasauga gas field, which spans Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama, has been examined by at least five separate companies