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Virginia: Hydraulic Fracturing Approved in George Washington National Forest

Upstream Conventional & Unconventional Onshore Development

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The federal government reversed its ban on hydraulic fracturing within the 1.1 million-acre span of the George Washington National Forest. Although Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) was an outspoken opponent to any hydraulic fracturing within the forest, the U. S. Forest Service has permitted drilling on 167,000 acres with existing private mineral rights and on 10,000 acres already leased to oil and gas companies. Forestry officials noted that the gas beneath the national forest represents less than 1 percent of the Marcellus Shale formation and is not likely to be commercially attractive. Development of existing leases in the forest will require further environmental approvals.