Carrizo Backs Out Of Bergton For Now

Brent Finnegan -- August 31st, 2010

The energy company that had applied to drill for natural gas in Rockingham County says it’s moving on, reports Jeremy Hunt in today’s Daily News-Record.

Representatives of Carrizo Oil and Gas Co. say the company is no longer “actively pursuing” a special-use permit to explore for natural gas in Bergton. Rather, Carrizo is focusing on sites in other states where it’s met less opposition . . .

According to the story, Brad Fisher, VP and CEO of Carrizo, said that the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors’ review of the process and impact of hydrofracking contributed to Carrizo’s decision. However, it’s unclear if that is a permanent decision. Fisher is also quoted, saying, “We’re going to have to take the time to sit down with the local officials and the concerned citizens and try to educate them on what we’re doing and explain how it’s not going to be an issue.”

On Monday, a coalition of Valley preservation groups warned of the negative environmental potential of drilling for gas in Bergton. The group included the findings of a report conducted by Mark Quarles of Global Environmental, citing the lack of a clean-up plan, “the well’s proposed location in a floodplain, and the risks posed by nearby abandoned wells as serious causes for concern.”

Carrizo told the DNR that they had decided to back off Bergton well before yesterday’s statements of concern.

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19 Responses to “Carrizo Backs Out Of Bergton For Now”

  1. Christa says:

    This is GREAT news!!!!

  2. Bruce Ritchie says:

    Exactly what does “backed off” mean in this context ? Does it mean their application. is withdrawn from DMME? Does it mean Carrizo’s army is no longer marching toward our county with their guns loaded? Personally, I don’t think they will give up those massive $10 lease fees without a fight. We have to get as many protections into place as possible, before they regroup! Bruce Ritchie

    • Lowell Fulk says:

      I’m with Bruce on this one. My thought is that the idea is to wait until things quiet down and people become distracted by other things in life. What we must do now is the opposite of relax, but instead we must keep the pressure on our elected representative to demand the necessary protections be written into regulation.

      • Christa says:

        Agreed Lowell. And how do we do that?

        • Write letters to your state representatives asking them to immediately update Virginia’s Oil and Gas law and related regulations to provide oversight for high pressure injection (hydrofracturing), include provisions for the proper oversight of drilling site storage of hazardous materials and wastes. Virginia has an environmental watchdog – the Dept. of Environmental Quality, use them. Institute higher bonding requirments for drillers and institute a gas severance tax on produced gas so that taxpayers don’t end up paying for the clean up and restoration of these drilling operations.

          If the state can’t immediately update the 20 year old laws and regulations, then institute a moratorium on hydrofract gas shale production until they can update the regs.

      • Bazrik says:

        I had carrizo on a sandwich once.

  3. Joe says:

    agreed, put the protections on paper, so they companies know what they need to do, and we can move forward with this project.

  4. @ Brent Finnegan; WRONG choice of words there buddy, (“Moving
    On”) does not jive with….”We shifted our focus elsewhere, and “WILL” take that permiting process “UP” at a later date.” (brad fisher, vp ceo)… by using wrong words you effectily distort communication.

  5. Nicklaus Combs says:

    thanks for the clarification “buddy”.

  6. David Miller says:

    effectily isn’t quite a CORRECT choice of words. That fun having been poked, whats the point exactly? That Corizzo is just biding their time?

    Joe, there is no safe way to do this. No amount of regulation can make it safe.

    • I hate to say no way, but at this point the application of hydrofracturing to extract shale gas is more of an “art” than a “science”, and as such should be treated as a hazardous technology. I encourage everyone with an interest in Rockingham shale gas extraction to read the geologist’s report, it is very readable and informative.

    • Joe says:

      sure there is, and we’ll continue to find safer ways.

  7. This is not the first time words distort the value of the communication and the impact it has for the readers. With examples of words such as:

    1. Small Amount vs. Small Percentage (from the DNR)

    When reffering to dangerous toxic chemicals on multiple occasions. Is 50,0000 gallons of toxic waste in our drinking water a small amount? Perhaps this is just a small percentage inside 6 millions gallons of water.

    2. informational meeting vs. opponents/critics of gas drilling meeting (also DNR)

    Jeremy Hunt’s description for the Q&A with the Mayor of Dish, Texas the Hon. Calvin Tillman who now has the quandry in his township due to hydrofracking. A great disservice to our community. By using these words it carelessly closed the doors on anyone who may be in favor/neutral of gas drilling but wants to (and should) have more information about REAL peoples dilema and experiences due to hydrofracking.

    3. And now Carrizo is “moving on.” This is hardly an accurate interpretation of ”We shifted our focus elsewhere, and WILL take that permiting process UP at a later date.”

    I believe in the responsibility to report truthful and acurate information. The replacement headline should read “The process will be taken up later”

    This issue is NOT dead. That is out of the mouth of Carrizo, LLC. based on his phone quote.

    Future informational meetings with people coming down from Dimock, Pa who’s well water have blown up and can light their faucet on fire due to the gas in their well water.

    The Screening of “GasLand” the movie with Josh Fox.

    I certainly would be disapointed with NO-SHOWS because people believe that it is over and done with, so what are “those people” fretting about beating a dead horse?

    I suggest a retraction of your words which are keen to distort the truth.

    • Brooke says:

      I think his title says it all “Backs out of Bergton for now.” For now. Meaning they could come back. I realize your problem with the phrase “moving on.” However, I think if you look at the piece as a whole it does indicate the “they might be back” idea. You seem to be indicating that Brent is somehow *trying* to mislead folks or “distort the truth” with that one phrase, but perhaps you should look at the piece as a whole before coming to that conclusion. I think also if you know Brent as a person, you would know he is looking to do nothing of the kind (“distort the truth”)

    • The “distortion” is a factor of the DNR reporting method – they take statements from the Permittee, and the embattled permitting agency and don’t ask hard questions or research the claims. It’s like the old Soviet media outlet – Pravda.

  8. James Herrick says:

    This is excellent news.

    I would like to help in any possible to keep this out of the Bergton area as that area doesn’t have a lot of water options (the North Fork and the aquifers are about it) and I have big questions not only about the “proprietary chemicals” added to the hydrofracking water, but also the water itself: where would they get the millions of gallons required? And where would it go when finished?

    James Herrick
    Assoc. Professor of Environmental Microbiology
    James Madison University

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