The possibility of fracking in Stokes County was not a topic of discussion on this week’s Board of Commissioner’s agenda, but that did not stop those opposed to fracking from making sure the board knew the issue was not going to go away.
Four speakers, fewer than the close to 30 speakers who showed up at the last meeting, continued their request for the county to consider ordinances that would limit the impact of fracking and a moratorium that would prevent it until such ordinances could be put in place.
“Fracking in the same zone as your groundwater, on or near a fault line and near a coal ash dam is felony stupid,” said Peggy Wert. “I understand the wheels of government don’t move quickly, but understand this, we are not going away until protections are put in place.”
Micheal Kerly, a Pine Hall resident, said the speakers at the previous meeting had spoken from their hearts, not from any political agenda.
“Politics need to be set aside in this matter and you need to do what is best for this community,” he noted. “When our days are done, we will be asked to explain if we did everything possible to protect God’s children and his creation. I can truthfully say I did my best. What will you say to your creator? What will he say to you?”
Tracey Edwards, a Walnut Cove resident, asked if the county had plans for dealing with any disasters that could be caused by fracking.
“The shale layer in Walnut Cove is at 98 feet,” Edwards said. “The shale is in the aquifer. What kind of plan does this board have to provide emergency water if the aquifer is poisoned by fracking? What funds and procedures are in place to test the wells for fracking chemicals? How will the community be informed of the evacuation of the area if an emergency arises from the fracking? Is this county prepared to take on the cost of clean up and not pass the costs down to the citizens because of a bad decision?”
Matthew Poston told commissioners that he had started worrying about fracking after talking to students in his science class. He explained how one student expressed concerns that the sun would expand and burn Earth, to which he replied that the human race would destroy the planet well before that happened.
“I just want to ask you to educate yourselves and continue to be good citizens of the earth without being partisan or pushing any agenda,” he said. “If you fail to educate yourselves you will be held accountable. Today each Stokes County citizen is staring down the end of a loaded gun that the fracking companies have aimed at Stokes County. I ask you for a moratorium because this is my safe place.”
A number of commissioners have said they would consider looking at ordinances that could help limit the impact of fracking, but no date for an official discussion of the possibility has been set at this point.
Fracking opposition also speaks at Walnut Cove meeting
Concerned citizens also voiced their opposition to fracking at the monthly Walnut Cove meeting on Tuesday night, asking the Walnut Cove Board of Commissioners if they had a plan to deal with issues caused by fracking.
“Is the Walnut Cove Volunteer Fire Department trained and equipped to handle an accident at a fracking site or a truck accident,” asked Susan Gonzales, a Walnut Cove resident. “These trucks can carry hazardous materials with not posed hazmat signs. This means our firefighters could come up to a spill and have no idea what they are up against.”
She also asked about the town’s water supply.
“Walnut Cove’s six wells sit at an average of 300 to 600 feet,” she said. “Essentially they would be drilling in Walnut Cove in our water supply. How will you, the town board, protect the good people of Walnut Cove?”
Tracey Edwards and David Harriston asked the board to address the issue during the meeting despite the fact that it was not on the agenda, a request the board declined.
“We would like to know what type of plans would the commissioners put in place in the event of a disaster or contamination of the water in Walnut Tree and Walnut Cove,” asked Edwards. “Would you provide water? Would you pass the cost on to the community?
“Are you prepared to take on these costs?” she added. “Are you prepared to allow our county to become a disaster area? We need answers.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.