The Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia has seen an increase in drilling and pipeline building which is expected to continue as the gas industry pushes its way further into the forest, according to the Public News Service of West Virginia.
Observers are concerned because the forest area protects headwaters that provide drinking water for millions of people, a resource that would be irreplaceable if mismanaged by encroaching industry. In addition, the industry has a poor record of minimizing air and water pollution. It also encounters few repercussions by the government when incidents occur.
Concerned citizens have also pointed out that if fracking occurs there are currently no laws on the books to regulate it in Monongahela, since the laws regulating the forest’s use have not been updated in many years.
Top image: Natural-gas pipelines in national forests are a cause for concern among many in the area. (Credit: Appalachian Mountain Advocates)