League of Conservation Voters group forms in Winston-Salem

by Daniel Schere

How many fracking wells are in North Carolina?

How many miles of fracking wells are there inthe United States?

Those were some of the trivia questions askedat the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters’ Winston-Salem first publicchapter meeting Wednesday nightat Finnigan’s Wake. If you answered zero to the first and more than one millionto the second, you’d be correct.

After a brief round of trivia, the groupwatched the 2010 documentary Gasland, in which narrator and producer Josh Foxsheds light on the issue of hydraulic fracturing, known colloquially asfracking. The highly controversial process involves the high pressure injectionof water and chemicals into wells in order to retrieve natural gas. In thefilm, Fox visits a number of residents around the country who live neardrilling sites and have had their water severely polluted. Many of theresidents realized they could not drink the water after becoming sick. Somescenes show residents lighting their tap water on fire due to the nature of thechemicals in it.

Present at the meeting was Winston-Salemcouncilman Dan Besse, who educated the group on former Vice President DickCheney’s involvement in the oil company Halliburton, and how the relaxedregulations on the oil and gas industries have led to the pursuit of frackingin states like North Carolina.