Wilt Leased Land for Natural Gas Exploration

Brent Finnegan -- June 3rd, 2010

According to documents filed at the Rockingham County Courthouse in 2008, Tony Wilt, the Republican candidate for 26th district delegate, was one of many land owners in the Bergton area who leased land to gas and oil companies for natural gas exploration.

The 5-year lease agreement with R. L. Powell of Knoxville, TN (recorded by Infinity Oil & Gas of Denver, CO) for Wilt’s 40-acre parcel in Bergton states that the lessee pays $250 per year for each gas well on the property, as well as one-eighth of the net proceeds from the sale of the gas. The lease was signed November 8, 2007.

UPDATE: According to GIS records, Wilt has sold the property.

Wilt commented on the possibilities of drilling for gas earlier this week. His remarks in Wednesday’s DNR did not mention his lease agreement with Powell.

Wilt, who up until a year or so ago lived in Bergton, said after the debate that he was excited about the possibilities that natural gas could have for the region and state. Exploration would create jobs and revenue that could prevent tax increases, he said.

But his enthusiasm was tempered. “The process has to be studied,” he said. “The decision to do it has to be based on sound science.”

On Thursday’s call-in debate show on WSVA, caller Dave Briggman confronted Wilt about not disclosing the lease to Jeff Mellott, the DNR reporter. Wilt responded:

I’ve not hidden anything . . . We have to be very careful that we don’t step on the rights of private landowners. One that owns land has to have the freedom (within reason) to do with that piece of land as they see fit, that’s going to be profitable for them and their families . . .

To say that we were invested in the hydrofracking process is a stretch of the imagination to say the least. It was a nominal fee paid for those mineral rights. As the caller stated, there were a lot of folks in that area that signed the very same lease. It’s common practice throughout where ever companies come in to try to secure mineral rights . . .

The Board of Supervisors is working hard to determine if [hydrofracking is] going to be safe . . . Here’s a possible opportunity to create a new business that’s going to bring revenues into our area, and is going to help fund these things that we so badly need. It’s going to create jobs, it’s going to create revenues for the individuals that have the property. If done properly, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Audio of Thursday’s candidate forum is available on WSVA’s website.

The environmental and health concerns of natural gas drilling have been expressed to Harrisonburg City Council and the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors. From the DNR article about hydrofracking published February 26:

A half-dozen people – including conservationists and a retired environmental engineer – raised concerns about potential environmental impacts of the proposal at a public hearing during Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting . . . the board tabled a special-use permit application by Carrizo (Marcellus) LLC to perform exploratory drilling in Bergton . . .

Carrizo would use a technique called hydrofracking to break up the shale and release natural gas trapped inside. Hydrofracking involves high water pressure and a mixture of chemicals to break the rock apart.

In May, Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner “submitted a resolution to council addressing the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors that expressed concern and asked the board to deny the requested special use permit that would allow the drilling.” Degner said he is not opposed to drilling, but believes that we need to have proper guidelines in place before we do it.

According to court documents, dozens of parcels comprising thousands of acres in the Bergton area have been leased to oil and gas companies.

File photo by Holly Marcus. This story may be updated as more information becomes available.

Tags: , , ,

278 Responses to “Wilt Leased Land for Natural Gas Exploration”

  1. David Miller says:

    OK, lets just settle this little part of it

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_47/b4109000334640_page_2.htm

    by Business Week Magazine
    Evidence of Contaminated Wells

    Serious episodes of water contamination near drilling sites have been documented in seven states: Alabama, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, and Wyoming, according to public records and interviews with state and federal officials. Numerous incidents of contamination have occurred in western Colorado, where drilling has expanded swiftly. In 2004 a well casing shattered beneath a rig at Divide Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, which supplies water to seven states. Dangerous levels of benzene turned up in groundwater and stream samples, state records show. Benzene is a carcinogen, according to the EPA, and has been linked to aplastic anemia and leukemia.

    “The gas companies tell us it’s impossible for the water to become contaminated,” says Lisa Bracken, a resident of Silt, Colo., who draws her drinking water from Divide Creek. “But it’s increasingly common.…We have no idea what to protect ourselves from.”

       0 likes

  2. David Miller, or anyone else:

    What kind of material makes up a well casing?

       0 likes

  3. From the second to the last paragraph of the story at the link I provided:

    “If there’s a technology, like cementing, that can protect his water, then shouldn’t it be required in every case, he asks?”

       0 likes

  4. David Miller says:

    “We feel pretty alone on this, pretty frustrated,” Seymour said. “I assumed the DEP, EPA, the state — the government — would protect our land. We didn’t know that as a landowner the burden was on us.”

    Yep, glad so many Bergton residents have Wilt signs up, he’s promised not to help them either

       0 likes

  5. David Miller says:

    That wasn’t fair, sorry. What I mean is that Tony Wilt has promised not to vote on NG regulation if elected. Naturally this means that Bergton residents will not have an elected voice

       0 likes

  6. Why doesn’t everyone who is reading this “make friend” with Mr. Wilt on his “politician” page and start asking him questions in a respectful manner.

    I will tell you that the first time I asked such a question he modified my ability to post or comment any further on his website, but that’s the kind of delegate I believe this guy’s going to be anyhow.

       0 likes

  7. lowell fulk says:

    This is interesting, who do you think is going to be this candidate’s priority?

       0 likes

    • David Miller says:

      When Wilt says take our country back, who took it from them and how the hell did they carry it?

         0 likes

    • Brooke says:

      Last time I checked, this was not just the conservatives’ (or liberals’) country. It’s everyone’s country. So, no, Mr. Wilt, it is not time for you to “take” anything “back” anymore than Kai (or Carolyn) should be taking anything back. And Lowell’s right – that’s the kind of talk that makes you know he won’t be representing the district, but only a certain portion of the district – those that think and vote like him. Typical partisan politics. :-(

         0 likes

  8. Renee says:

    If anyone is curious about the possible dangers of the extraction process, you should watch GASLAND when it comes on HBO, or at least watch the PBS interview with the documentary maker (which is a basic summary of the story) that I linked to earlier:
    http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/613/index.html

       0 likes

  9. So, on the DNR the argument has come down to this:

    Either we have a candidate with a financial interest, or the voters of the 26th District will, if the elect Wilt, have no representation in the House of Delegates on the issue of hydrofracking.

       0 likes

  10. Yes, that is right Dave. And let’s be clear: Tony Wilt personally signed a legal agreement with the Oil and Gas companies allowing them to use whatever method they choose to extract gas on his land. He has endorsed hydrofracking and gas development in the county. He ceded his right to control what happens next.

       0 likes

    • Bill Fawcett says:

      Bubby,

      That’s a quantum leap to say that signing a lease in 2007 is endorsing hydrofracking. How many of his neighbors had leases – and wells- that were hydrofracked? If there were 30 wells in your neighborhood and none were hydrofracked, would you expect yours to be.

      And as I stated elsewhere, gas development in the county is nothing new, especialy in Bergton. And Rockingham county is even in the gas production business – piping methane (another pipeline, Joe) across populated areas to the new RMH.

         0 likes

      • lowell fulk says:

        Bill,

        The leases signed released the land to the gas companies to use whatever means deemed necessary to extract and move the gas to market. Hydraulic fracturing is the way one harvests methane or natural gas from Marcellus shale.

        To equate the methane produced in the landfill to intensive mining of Marcellus shale via hydraulic fracture technique in Bergton is a rather great leap, Bill, in an attempt on your part to take away from the serious nature of what is about to befall Bergton.

           0 likes

      • Renee says:

        “If there were 30 wells in your neighborhood and none were hydrofracked, would you expect yours to be.”

        That is a pretty poor argument – the energy companies are just looking for the best places in the area to extract. If you give them the rights to do it on your land, you have to assume they very well might.

           0 likes

  11. Bill Fawcett says:

    I just found out Wilt had an undisclosed interest in a concrete company. How could he possibly vote on any legislation involving construction? This is just awful.

       0 likes

  12. Hey Bill, that’s pretty damn ignorant of you…congratulations!

       0 likes

  13. Bill Fawcett says:

    Right Dave, my point being is that anyone who has any sort of life at all has potential conflict-of-interest situations. This one seems mighty tame, considering he doesn’t own the land, but even if he did, no big deal.

    And, at least righht now, it seems to be a COUNTY issue, not a state issue or even a Harrisonburg issue.

    Say, did you know Kai is directly involved in an application for a new public radio station in the area? Has he “disclosed” this?

       0 likes

    • nicklaus combs says:

      if you want to make a point… comparing interest in a public radio station to interest in a controversial and potentially dangerous drilling practice probably isn’t the best route.

         0 likes

      • What was the last time anyone saw huge profits coming out of public radio.

        Bill, although I consider myself far from being a treehugger, if you pee in a stream on your property, what’s in the water down stream?

        As I’ve written elsewhere, I believe all attorneys elected to state government should have to give up their law licenses during their tenure in the General Assembly.

        Take a look at most of Mark Obenshain’s legislation in 2009…modifications to the practice of law.

        I mean you do know that under Virginia Code, you can’t be licensed to practice law in Virginia unless you’re a member of the Virginia State Bar, right? And the Virginia State Bar’s an agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia — the judicial branch.

        Thus, if you’re a lawyer and in the General Assembly, you’re serving two braches of government…if you’re a Commonwealth Attorney or a Deputy, you’re also in the Executive Branch so every part of your livelihood depends on government….so while you’re representing all three branches of government, who represents your constituents?

           0 likes

      • Bill Fawcett says:

        Oh, I didn’t know that Wilt had signed a lease with Carrizo LLC. My bad.

           0 likes

  14. Tony Wilt let everyone know that he was the small businessman running the concrete company his daddy gave him. He just forgot to tell us that he bought into gas drilling in Rockingham County 3 years ago.

       0 likes

  15. Bill Fawcett says:

    Bubby, is this proposal the first well in the Bergton area, or are there plenty of well sites even in the national forest?

       0 likes

  16. lowell fulk says:

    Mr. Fawcett,

    I believe this is the precedent setter, right here.

       0 likes

  17. Bill Fawcett says:

    Lowell,

    You can call me Bill. You should visit Bergton sometime.

    From a 1981 state publication:

    -begin quote-

    Drilling began in the
    Bergton area in the 1930′s and between 1951 and
    1956 five gas wells were completed at depths of
    about 2985 to 3800 feet. Although some gas was used
    for local purposes, commercial production was not
    established until 1980 when a small-diameter pipeline
    was built by James F. Scott Oil and Gas to
    deliver gas from two of the wells to a major transmission
    line in West Virginia. New wells drilled in
    the Bergton field in 1980 have found additional gas
    and a second local line has been built by Merrill
    Natural Resources, Inc., to connect with the West
    Virginia pipeline.

    -end quote-

    http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/dmr3/dmrpdfs/vamin/vamin_vol27_no01.pdf

    There are well sites in the GW, and there even well sites within feet of Crab Run Road. See topo.

    http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=38.78286,-78.94896&z=15&t=T&marker0=38.75106%2C-79.00646%2CCriders%5C%2C%20VA

    Those who know the area know about these wells. Many people have sold unrestricted mineral rights over the years.

    Joe,

    A little late to be closing that barn door. Those pipelines have been there for many years. Far smaller than that monster pipeline going by Endless Caverns. In fact, I’d wager there is less gas coming out of Bergton than gas going into Harrisonburg. What is your position on Natural gas pipelines within the city limits?

       0 likes

    • JGFitzgerald says:

      Natural gas is a dirty, dangerous, and, in hydraulic fracturing, a destructive business. But whether we should have gas pipelines in Harrisonburg is a distraction from the real point of the Wilt story. He took a public stand in contradiction of his own documented business actions. Kai’s involvement in a radio station might be an issue if he’d taken a public stance about investigating the safety of radio. He didn’t. That’s another distraction. Granted, distraction is a valid rhetorical technique, and I don’t question the honesty of its use. But to give Tony the benefit of the doubt, maybe he wasn’t committing a sin of omission. Maybe he just didn’t know he’d sold the rights to hydraulic fracturing in Bergton.

         0 likes

      • Bill Fawcett says:

        So you are saying that Kai, if elected, should abstain from voting on state grants for public radio funding? Distraction? Naw, I just thought it was funny.

        Actually, Joe- my point is twofold-

        1) Just about anyone has some potential conflicts. Its hard enough to deal with those that are current. If he sold the property, it is not really a problem. Does the fact that he leased the rights before selling make it a problem? What if his brother had entered the lease after buying the property? How fas can we take this?

        2) As I just stated to Bubby, its a big leap to state that leasing land equals an endorsement of hydrofracking. If Powell now states that they are going to use nuclear detonations to free the gas, would you conclude that Wilt endorses nukey-fracking?

           0 likes

        • seth says:

          “Just about anyone has some potential conflicts…”

          this seems to be your point, but with all your talk of nukular fracking and the pernicious pursuit of community radio stations (that would have been an awesome resource where even you could have discussed fission fracking in a free and open fm transmission and it’s just another one of the things that make me think kai has better vision than the other candidates), i kind of get distracted. tell me again, which legitimate conflicts of interest, that just about anyone might have, did you mention?

             0 likes

        • Renee says:

          “its a big leap to state that leasing land equals an endorsement of hydrofracking”

          Isn’t inviting someone to do something on land you own exactly an endorsement?

             0 likes

        • Bill Fawcett wrote:

          As I just stated to Bubby, its a big leap to state that leasing land equals an endorsement of hydrofracking.

          Sure it does, Bill. Why would people allow their land (in the Wilts’ case we’re talking 670 acres) to be used if they lacked a clear understanding of how their land was going to be used.

          Are you implying that the Wilts lacked such an understanding? That a man who runs Superior Concrete either didn’t read his contract, or just because the contract doesn’t say hydrofracking, that he wasn’t able to understand the process of injecting water and chemicals into grounds?

             0 likes

    • lowell fulk says:

      Aren’t those wells conventional horizontal wells?

         0 likes

      • Bill Fawcett says:

        Lowell,

        AFAIK they were not hydrofracked. Which would be a good reason to guess that anyone who signed a lease back in 2007 wasn’t even aware of the possibility.

        So while you are correct in statng that the proposed Carrizo well would a precedent-setting, my question to Bubby was “is this proposal the first (gas) well in the Bergton area, or are there plenty of well sites even in the national forest?”

        Obviously I knew the answer before asking the question.

           0 likes

        • lowell fulk says:

          I knew you did Bill. I’ve been here for a little while, and my family came off of the mountain.

          The wells you’re speaking of harvested the gas from sandstone.

          But Bill, you’re parsing here. The issue before us is the potential industrialization of mining for natural gas in the Marcellus field via hydraulic fracture process. “Back in 2007″ was three years ago.

          Someone who wishes to represent the area should be capable of enough awareness to be cautious and willing to do some rudimentary research before signing on the dotted line. If they weren’t, then perhaps they’re not capable of leadership or of representing. And if they were, and signed on knowingly, then perhaps they aren’t worthy of being trusted. Which might it be? Either possibility isn’t good for the area…

          Marcellus shale was being mined when the leases in question were signed.

             0 likes

        • Renee says:

          “guess that anyone who signed a lease back in 2007 wasn’t even aware of the possibility”

          Not educating oneself on the details and possibilities involved in leasing one’s land to a gas company is not very becoming of someone that wants to make decisions on behalf of all of us.

             0 likes

        • If they weren’t aware of the possibility of hydrofracking, then they didn’t read their lease, since their leases appear to describe the hydrofracking process to me.

             0 likes

  18. David Miller says:

    And, at least righht now, it seems to be a COUNTY issue, not a state issue or even a Harrisonburg issue.”

    Our watershed is everyone’s, just ask the Chesapeake Bay.

    My big problem is that Wilt states that he won’t vote on regulating this industry if elected. Why bother having a Delegate for the 26th District. Might as well write in McDonnell for Delegate.

       0 likes

    • lowell fulk says:

      A thought folks might contemplate: How much difference is there between the assertion that one would abstain from taking a position or voting on an THE issue of dire importance to the area one is seeking election to represent,
      and Pilot washing his hands of any responsibility?

      I don’t see much difference myself…

         0 likes

      • Bill Fawcett says:

        I love it when people who don’t read the bible enough to know how to spell Pilate like to try to use the bible to make a point. You made my day.

           0 likes

        • seth says:

          lowell’s piety is not in question here. whether or not you think it’s a good idea to have a delegate who has to abstain from taking a position/voting on something that could have a huge impact (positive or negative, whatever you think) in our district is.

             0 likes

          • lowell fulk says:

            I appreciate your correction of my mis-spelling Bill, me being a country boy and all, now address the analogy if you would.

               0 likes

        • I love it when someone who doesn’t know the difference between a sandstone gas well and a hydrofractured horizontal shale gas well try to use one to draw equivalency to the other.

             0 likes

        • Brooke says:

          What does spelling Pilate’s name wrong have to do with anything? Misspelling a name from the Bible doesn’t indicate anything about how often one reads the Bible. People misspell words they read every day. Should we infer that you don’t read the Bible very often since you, yourself, forgot to capitalize “the Bible” twice in the same sentence? See how silly that is?

          Let’s stick to the debate and facts instead of engaging in silly nitpicking.

             0 likes

    • Renee says:

      I agree, David. Responding to this controversy by stating that he’ll abstain from voting on the issue is really backwards to me.

         0 likes

  19. The old gas wells near Bergton were conventional vertical gas wells completed into the Oriskany sandstone. Anyone in Bergton who believes that the coming horizontal well hydrofracturing of the Marcellus gas-shale will be like the previous gas play is seriously out of touch.
    Key Differences;
    -Horizontal wells extend across property lines.
    -Bedrock will be exploded with high pressure and polymers.
    -Fractured bedrock will release natural gas in unknown directions.
    -2 to 6 million gallons of water will be used to fracture the rock.
    -2 to 6 million gallons of contaminated water will be stored on site in ponds.
    -Mud, polymer and radioactive shale cuttings will stored on site.
    -All of this water and waste will be trucked in and out of sleepy Bergton’s roads.

       0 likes

    • Renee says:

      Thanks for outlining the process, Bubby.

      “-2 to 6 million gallons of water* will be used to fracture the rock.
      -2 to 6 million gallons of contaminated water* will be stored on site in ponds.”

      I would like to add:
      *which may seep into groundwater during the process or in later storage
      and also note that the entire process is largely unregulated, including (as far as I know) no rules about meeting EPA standards regarding protection of groundwater

         0 likes

  20. A young lady named Katie Hoover, has this question posted on Wilt’s “politician” Facebook page, which hasn’t been answered since it was posted four hours ago:

    Mr. Wilt, I’ve been hearing a lot about hydrofracking in the news as well as a lot about natural gas well explosions. I was wondering what your stand is on these issues; do you support hydrofracking and drilling for natural gas? If so, would you consider and propose new regulations and legislation to help protect the e…nvironment and protect our drinking water, not only for us, but for future generations?

    Anybody betting she doesn’t get an answer? Or, she gets no answer and blocked for having asked the question?

       0 likes

    • Renee says:

      “If so, would you consider and propose new regulations and legislation to help protect the environment and protect our drinking water, not only for us, but for future generations”

      -not if he keeps his (ridiculous, to me) word about abstaining from voting on the issue at all

         0 likes

    • Christa says:

      Well, someone posted something on Kai’s page about running a negative campaign and Brooke and I agreed with it and he deleted it.

         0 likes

      • Emmy says:

        I was looking for Brooke’s comment today and couldn’t find it. I was hoping I was just overlooking it. Guess all politicians really are the same.

           0 likes

        • City Dweller says:

          It would be great to believe that everyone could just stick to their own platforms, but it will be impossible for a Democrat to win in this election without also telling voters why they shouldn’t vote for the other candidate. It’s simple and it’s been done in every political race I’ve ever seen, read about or followed.

             0 likes

        • Lowell Fulk says:

          “Guess all politicians really are the same.”

          I suppose it depends upon what one is looking for Emmy.

          I for one don’t care to back a boxer who simply stands in the ring taking punch after punch just so his fans can feel like they’re supporting a nice guy.

          I want someone who I know will get in the match and fight. When they get to the legislature they’ve got to fight to fully represent their area, no consideration is given to someone who doesn’t.

          It’s hard enough to be a candidate and deal with what your opponent’s campaign is throwing at you, without getting hit in the back of the head with rocks thrown by folks you thought were supporters because something put them in a snit.

          I strongly disagree that all politicians are all the same but again, it depends on what one is looking for.

             0 likes

          • City Dweller says:

            Amen! I could not have said it better myself!

            I’m not questioning how kind, compassionate, or nice any of the candidates are, that has nothing to do with this. Being nice isn’t going to get the 26th district the strong representation that we need in Richmond. It will be a fight to get the funds our schools need and defend us against outside oil companies trying to come take advantage of trusting people and ruin our water supply and wild life. Hearing people say these things and questioning integrity makes me so irritated.

            If we end up with representation in this district that continues us in the path we’ve been set on by the current administration, we will have no one blame but ourselves. I, for one, am tired of Virginia being in the National news for things like changing the state seal, trying to restrict discrimination against university employees and not relating slavery to the Civil War.

               0 likes

          • Emmy says:

            When a potential voter asks a question of you or makes a statement that should warrant a response, and you delete it without answer, then that makes you the same as the other person who does it.

            Their job is to represent us, and if they can’t handle uncomfortable questions, then how are they going to handle uncomfortable decisions?

               0 likes

          • Lowell Fulk says:

            I’m at a disadvantage in not knowing the question or statement you felt deserved a response.

               0 likes

          • City Dweller says:

            I visited Kai’s facebook page and I noticed most of his posts are signed from staff. I’m going to make the assumption that he’s very busy and not spending a lot of time on facebook right now. I know he’s knocked on my door twice already.

            I would reccomend emailing or calling him directly before publicly accusing him of ignoring issues. Anyone who remotely knows Kai, on either end politically, knows he is always more than willing to address people’s issues in person, no matter how uncomfortable or pressing they may be. Don’t let a facebook wall post overwrite your entire view of him before you know if he even knew it existed.

               0 likes

      • Brooke says:

        Actually, I’m the one who made the comment. :-)

        I didn’t know it got deleted, but Kai did come by my house to explain his view on the two mailers. I didn’t necessarily agree with him, but he did answer the question. So, if he deleted it (as opposed to a staffer making the call) it wasn’t to duck the question. I know on some of the Facebook business pages I maintain that after I answer a person’s inquiry, I sometimes delete the post to make room for other posts. So I’m not offended or upset that it was deleted.

        Sorry I didn’t see this sooner and weigh in, but that’s my take.

           0 likes

  21. Hey, has anybody seen Ken Cuccinelli’s newly-designed badge (seriously)?

    http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/cuccinelli/100616/

       0 likes

    • mtnsailor says:

      Our Va. attorney general needs to hear feedback, especially from Va. voters disgusted with Ken’s showboating, contracting out the key AG work-loads and anti-science posturing. Check out this webinar site and (after laughing at his “badge”) sign up!

         0 likes

      • Sorry, I support Ken in his suit against Obamacare and the climate change issues at UVA…but I did try to warn people about certain people when they are elected to office…Ken was one of those people.

           0 likes

  22. Holy cow…I see oil prices beginning to spike soon…another oil platform is leaking.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/08/fickle-bp-oil-slick-scatters-threats-unevenly-gulf-coast/

       0 likes

  23. Dave Briggman says:

    Someone has followed up the question on Wilt’s Facebook page about hydrofracking and posed his own question about Obenshain’s 2009 miscarriage legislation.

    You people may finally be starting to get the hang of this!

       0 likes

  24. Concerned Citizen says:

    It isn’t difficult to get educated pretty quickly on this issue. Google hydrofracture, or hydrofracking or fracking fluids.

    Or see this:

    http://www.riverkeeper.org/campaigns/safeguard/gas-drilling/

    Other states are calling for banning the practice, and yet Rockingham seems about to allow it any day now, with almost no regulation, for the first time in Virginia.

    Millions of gallons of polluted water are involved. No sewage treatment plants are capable of removing the chemicals and radiation involved. Thousands of incidents of pollution, cattle kills, fish kills, contaminated wells, explosions, aquifer contamination, etc., etc. have occurred.

    That’s why respected Rockingham farmer Carl Luebben is against this and made this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anz8oxUZe2w

    Hydrofracture drilling is very, very bad news. It is a terribly destructive method of extraction. When the drillers are gone, their profits in the bank, it is the local citizens who will be left to clean up the mess. And a mess it is…

    Here are two physicians and two PhD’s on the subject of health risks to the community of hydrofracture fluids: (Very much worth watching.)

    http://ccetompkins.org/energy/natural-gas/health-risks-hydro-fracking-chemicals

    This will destroy Bergton, and pollute the water and air of the rest of the County.

    Everyone interested had better weigh in right now with the Board of Supervisors before they vote on the special use permit. That is all that stands between the citizens and hydrofracture drilling.

    Here they are, convenient to email:

    http://www.rockinghamcountyva.gov/showpage.aspx?PageID=95

       0 likes

    • Sheila says:

      Thank you, Concerned Citizen. There is a monster at our door and Wilt says, “Come on in!” I can’t believe it would be considered when there is so much evidence against it throughout the country. I’m also wondering why if would be possible in the National Forest when the process involves clear cutting. ??? This is from an article in New York, where people stood up for their water supply, “Hydrofracking, Lawitts explained, “requires clear-cutting of forest, construction of new roads and well pads, the storage and use of chemicals that can include benzene and other carcinogens, and surface impoundments or tanks to store those chemicals.” In addition, drilling into and fracturing the shale formation 3,000 feet to 7,000 feet below the surface can damage aqueduct tunnels and other water-system infrastructure and contaminate groundwater, he added.” http://www.thevillager.com/villager_339/morewaterworries.html — We seem to be less conservative on this than the New York liberals. I’m shocked! …that reminds me, http://www.shaleshock.org/

         0 likes

  25. David Miller says:

    CC, amen!

       0 likes

  26. From a second email from Wilt’s campaign, last night:

    Dear Friend,

    Thanks to all of your generous responses to our e-mail on Saturday, we’re closer than ever to meeting our fundraising needs. However, we still need to raise another $10,000 in the next week, so that’s why I need to write to you and ask for your help again.

    You may have seen the newspaper article this morning about my opponents’ and my campaign finance disclosure statements. If you did, you know that outside liberal interest groups are pouring money in to elect one of their own to represent us in the House of Delegates. We can not allow that to happen.

    Please click on this link to send me your most generous contribution possible. With only seven days left, we need to make sure now more than ever that our mail gets sent out on time, our radio ads stay on the air, and we have enough signs and literature to get us through Election Day.

    As always, I remain deeply grateful for all you have done for me. Together, we will win this election and continue the solid conservative representation we’ve grown accustomed to. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the years ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Tony Wilt

       0 likes

  27. Here is a link to an EPA study to determine what is in these hydrofracturing fluids.
    Diesel fuel
    ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
    Benzene…

    But who knows, they don’t have to tell Virginia what is in their fracturing fluids.

    I can not believe that there is no regulatory requirement to disclose what the drillers will inject into Rockingham County.

       0 likes

    • Sheila says:

      I couldn’t help but notice that Haliburton kept appearing in that document. Do you think there’s any connection between fracking fluids being exempt from the Clean Water Act (making them unregulated) and Dick Cheney being VP at the time. hmmmmm. I just wonder…

         0 likes

      • If you remember, one of the first things that VP Cheney did when he was in office was to convene an energy policy panel made up of industry insiders. The findings were kept secret and recent disclosures show that there was a big push to open up deep water drilling and generally downplay the need to regulate our strategy to Drill Baby Drill. That greenlight led BP and other O&G companies to self-insure, and state regulatory agencies to ignore the need to update regulatory safeguards. Now we face socialization of the risks of Oil and Gas development. The profits remain privatized.

        The bond on the Ennis property gas well in Bergton is $25,000. You do the math on one spill…

           0 likes

  28. Concerned Citizen says:

    Bubby-

    You are correct. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts drillers from the requirements of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Superfund, and a number of other protections. Here is a partial list of some of the chemicals that have been found in hydrofracture fluids, though:

    http://www.endocrinedisruption.com/chemicals.fracturing.php

    A number of them are known carcinogens and others have serious deleterious health effects on people and animals.

       0 likes

  29. Emmy says:

    I cannot respond to the threaded comment anymore. It wasn’t my comment that was deleted, so I don’t feel comfortable stating it here. But, it wasn’t something that could be seen as an attack that’s for sure. Also, I’m pretty sure it was on his personal page and not his delegate page.

    I like Kai. I think he’s doing a fine job as mayor. I have not been pleased with some of the campaign tactics he’s used and I’m not totally sold that he can do this job.

    That said, I in no way want Wilt to win this seat and I think Carolyn has only entered to take votes from Kai. You don’t have to spend tons of money to show you care about votes and she doesn’t seem to care one bit. I think if she truly cared, she would have tried to get the Republican nomination from the beginning.

       0 likes

    • Deb SF says:

      In terms of experience and doing the job as delegate, one thing that matters is the ability to process and evaluate large amounts of new, complex information very quickly, and to develop competencies about matters you’ve never seen before in a hurry. To be effective, you have to be a really quick study. I think you can make the case that Kai and Carolyn have those competencies, Carolyn from a number of years on council, and Kai with an MBA, his work on the Arts Council/City Council, and his job at the Fairfield center. Tony – I’m not so sure, and maybe the hydrofracking leases are some indication of this. I think this is one objective competency that really does differentiate the candidates.

         0 likes

    • republitarian says:

      Emmy, Carolyn entered this race to win. She finds it difficult to ask people for money in one of the worst economic times we’ve ever seen. She was kept out of the republican party when she first ran for council….just ask your old boss. Ask Ted Byrd…he’ll tell you what they do.

         0 likes

      • David Miller says:

        Myron, you can’t really believe that, can you? Can Carolyn?

           0 likes

        • David Miller says:

          sorry, the in it to win it part not the rest of your statement

             0 likes

          • Emmy says:

            I think Myron and Carolyn would be some of the only people to believe it if it’s true. It doesn’t cost anything to walk door to door and introduce yourself. It doesn’t cost anything to set up a Facebook page or Twitter account. There are plenty of free ways to get your name out there and give the undecideds a chance to learn who you are if you truly care about their vote.

            If she can’t ask for money, or doesn’t want to then she either needs to quit running for this seat, or take advantage of the free ways of getting exposure.

               0 likes

      • City Dweller says:

        I get that economic times are hard, but that logic doesn’t make any sense to me. The people who are solicited to give $1,000 or even $100, to a political campaign are doing so regularly and can afford it. None of Degner’s or Wilt’s supporters are giving up anything in order to give. They are wealthy people who will give their money to political candidates they support when asked, regardless of any other possible charities or causes they may also contribute to.

        I also agree that there are countless free ways to get out to voters what you stand for. It’s nice to ask people to give to charities, but why not ask them to volunteer as well knocking doors? I talk to so many people who know who Carolyn is, but won’t vote for her because they are constantly hearing conflicting ideas of her principles.

           0 likes

  30. David Miller says:

    I just don’t think that Carolyn has ever believed that she could beat Wilt or Degner.

       0 likes

  31. BANDIT says:

    Carolyn isn’t running a campaign like she did against the golf course issue…where did that “Gun Ho Spirit” go? People are scratching their heads trying to figure her out. Some think she is washed up and her Political Career is over…I have to agree.

       0 likes

  32. republitarian says:

    Maybe you all are over thinking her motives.

    Maybe she thought she would offer herself as a choice to people that are truly for limited government?

    Maybe she thought she had more experience and was more qualified than the other two?

    Maybe she sees herself as a moderate who approaches things without a hardcore republican or democratic bent?

    Maybe she thought voters would appreciate someone who isn’t beholden to party politics and big money PACS?

    Maybe she thought voters would cut through all the rhetoric and vote for who they thought was the best candidate?

    Maybe she thought voters would elect someone who has always put them first.

    What was she thinking, that’s not what elections are about…..silly her……

       0 likes

    • Emmy says:

      Yeah that’s a whole lot of maybes. Of course, if that is true then there is no way any of us would ever know that.

         0 likes

  33. BANDIT says:

    Maybe she better think of campaigning to get that message out there … how else would anyone know … read her mind.

    Maybe she is out to see if she can land this job without putting any effort in to it. If not, settle for the one she “thinks” she can fall back on.

    Maybe, maybe, maybe …

       0 likes

  34. Brooke says:

    With the seeming lack of effort and conviction I’ve seen from Carolyn in this campaign, I have to question how bad she really wants this. It seems like she doesn’t really want the position. Could it be she’s merely aiming to pull votes away from Kai?

       0 likes

    • David Miller says:

      Precisely Brooke, any assertions to the contrary are either foolish or intentionally misleading

         0 likes

  35. I received this message. ostensibly from Tony Wilt to the person who forwarded the message to me…since I didn’t receive it, I cannot verify the positions are accurate, but I also have no reason to doubt it:

    QUESTION SIX should let us all know that Mr. Wilt intends NOT TO ABSTAIN on issues relating to hydrofracking.

    BTW, I can personally attest that I’ve been blocked from posting any questions on Mr. Wilt’s blog since before the nomination.

    ————————–

    John,
    I’ll try to answer as many of your questions as I can.
    1.Laws I will introduce- My sole purpose if elected is to represent the folks of the 26th district. I do not have an axe to grind, and my personal agenda is to listen to my constituency, introduce/support legislation that is favorable and vote against legislation that is not.
    2.Gov’t cuts I’d make- At the state level, gov’t needs to be out of business better suited for the private sector. There is redundancy and overlap of duties within agencies. The Governor has formed a commission to seek out these areas of waste and get rid of them. Too bad it took a financial crunch to bring this about. At the local level, that needs to be the job of our elected officials, school boards, board of supervisors, city council, and the citizens. John, we’ve got to re-connect and hold these folks responsible for what they do with our taxes. Before you accuse me of being non-committal, my opponents and I have all answered the same way. It would be foolish for anyone to speak without knowing all the details.
    3. Property in Bergton- I no longer own property in Bergton, nor mineral rights. John, if I were the greedy so-and-so some try to make me out to be, why would I have sold that property? Our decision to sell and move was based on needs for our family. Honestly, the possibilities of the gas thing never crossed our minds. Some things are greater than money.
    4.Concrete in the gas well process- Water well drillers use grout to pour around well casings, and this would be the same principle. I would assume the company that does this would get competitive bids on grout, as well any other materials they use.
    5. Do I support hydrofracking and does my family stand to gain from it- I support it only if it is done in a manner that is safe for humans and the environment. My family has leased their property (as has most of Bergton). If drilling were ever to occur near that property, the would receive royalties, based on formulas that determine whose land what percentage of gas came out from under (if that makes sense).
    6.Did I say I would abstain- I was making reference to if I still had property and it was crucial to a decision, I could abstain. John, this is done in decision making all the time. Yet, I have no intention of abstaining. In Richmond, I will push for our county and state officials to work with local, state, and federal agencies to develop and enforce needed regulations. To say now what legislation I would pursue is pre-mature and the very type of overreaching government I’m against. If the time comes for legislation, I’ll be there to carry it. Till then, I trust those in charge to do due diligence.
    7. Sen. Obenshain’s miscarriage bill- I have not spoken with the Senator about this bill. It went away, probably because it was deemed to far reaching.
    8.Do I block people- I don’t know of anyone that is blocked. John, my goal is to hear from the good folks in the 26th district. I try to give honest, forthright dialog. I expect the same. We may not agree on some things, but we can discuss them like adults.

    John, I hope these answers have been helpful, and that this is part of a meaningful dialog. I responded back to you personally because you deserve it. I trust you will follow your heart in how you use my responses. If you have more questions, or need further clarification, please contact me.

    Tony Wilt

       0 likes

    • If Tony Wilt had done his due diligence he would KNOW that an independent review of Virginia’s Oil and Gas regulations have already outline nededed changes to our regulations. And he would know that our state regulators are severely overwhelmed by the volume of permit requests while being underfunded and poorly armed to protect Virginia’s natural resources.

      Come on Tony, take a stand man! We don’t need a bump on the log down in Richmond. Stand up for Rockingham! You need to demonstrate some independence from the good ‘ol boys who put you in the game son.

         0 likes

      • David Miller says:

        Tony can no more take a stand “from the good ‘ol boys” than he can change his very nature. He is against any governmental regulation of industry; government is the all powerful boogey man! Forget about all of the things government does that we take for granted and forget about what industry does without the regulatory power of the government on its ankles.

        “I have always been a vocal advocate for the free market. I strongly support limited government, low taxes, fewer regulations, and policies that create jobs and help small businesses flourish” The quote is the first thing you see when you visit his website. He will further de-regulate industry and bring further harm to us with it. BP, Enron, Goldman-Sachs, Haliburton… lets just go ahead and add R. L. Powell (Bergton’s proposed hydrofracker) to the list and expect ruined aquifers, still born babies and devastated natural beauty that will never return to Bergton in our lifetime. Be not worried though, Tony’s family will eventually let their wealth trickle down to the rest of us so that we can afford bottled water from Walmart to bathe.

           0 likes

  36. David Miller says:

    So Wilt is still supporting his across the board spending cuts. When Degner and the City Council were faced with similar critical decisions they worked together and found a way to not lay off teachers. I guess that’s the difference between real world experience and Tea Party lip service.

       0 likes

  37. Another hydrofracking explosion in Pennsylvania:

    http://www.wicz.com/news2005/viewarticle.asp?a=15098

       0 likes

Leave a Reply

Follow the golden rule. No anonymous, libelous, or mean-spirited comments. Please limit yourself to a single screen name and a legitimate email address. Thank you.

Reader Tweets

Add yours by including the #hburgnews hashtag

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. with Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Matt Lohr, Harrisonburg Mayor […]

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide. NCGA helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately […]

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month. Out of the 45 new applicants that the program received, 21 communities received awards. Harrisonburg was given a bronze‐level Bicycle Friendly Community designation. […]