Fracking News Hot Off the Presses!
Write-up from Chris Bolgino about our recent outing in West Virginia:
Frack-Finding in WV 4-17-13
Great article about our trip published in the Charlottesville Hook:
What the Frack 4-18-13
New Fact Sheet about Fracking in our National Forests from the SELC: Read More
Please tell the Bureau of Land Management to dramatically strengthen the existing regulations for fracking on federally owned lands. EcoWatch and the Natural Resources Defense Council have created an online petition that we encourage you to sign. Please send a message to the BLM today!
Forest Plan for GWNF is Delayed
Release of the Final Land and Resource Management Plan for the George Washington National Forest has been pushed back to 2013. The draft plan was released in May 2011, and the formal comment period ended in October 2011. The draft plan, draft Environmental Impact Statement, and other documents are available on the GWNF website. We will provide more information as it becomes available. Read more about forest planning for the GWNF.
The Celebration of Wilderness events in September 2012 were both fun and successful. Approximately 100 people attended the Blacksburg event while 175 people attended the Harrisonburg evening.
Featured speakers Bill Meadows, former President of The Wilderness Society, and local nature writer Chris Bolgiano made outstanding presentations in celebration of wilderness areas in Virginia. Many thanks go to our partners in hosting the events, Virginia Wilderness Committee and U.S. Forest Service.
Click here to review and send a message to the Secretary of Agriculture. The draft Forest Plan for the GWNF prohibits horizontal drilling, which eliminates the worst cases of hydraulic fracturing. The final Forest Plan must also contain this prohibition. Please send this message to Secretary Tom Vilsack!
Public Opinion is Clear – No Horizontal Drilling in the George Washington NF
More than 53,000 comments from across the country were submitted in 2011 on the draft management plan for the GWNF. Analysis of the comments by Shenandoah Valley Network and the Land, Air, Water Stewardship Action Group is striking. More than 95 percent of the comments expressed support for the ban on horizontal drilling, which would prevent the worst examples of natural gas hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Of the almost 6,700 comments from Virginia residents, 70 percent supported the ban. Read articles about the analysis in the Richmond Times Dispatch and Augusta Free Press. For more about the topic of fracking, and why it should not be permitted in our national forests, click here.
Management Plan for George Washington National Forest
Many thanks to those of you who submitted comments on the draft plan to the U.S. Forest Service prior to the October 17, 2011 deadline. Our Forest Plan Comments page has the comments that Wild Virginia submitted on the draft plan, as well as comments submitted earlier in the planning process. The final management plan for the GWNF could be released as early as July, 2012. Please visit this site to stay informed. Read more . . .
Leadership Change at George Washington National Forest
Tom Speaks has been selected as the new Forest Supervisor for the GWNF. He has been the Forest Supervisor for the Cherokee NF in Tennessee since 2004, and begins work on the GWNF on May 21, 2012. (read more). He replaces Maureen Hyzer, who served as Forest Supervisor for the GWNF since 2005. In February 2012, she began a new position as Deputy Regional Forester in Portland, Oregon. (read more)
New Planning Rule for National Forests
On January 26, 2012, the new regulations for developing management plans on the 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands were released. They will replace the 1982 planning rules when they are finalized in the next few months. The Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, along with other relevant information, is viewable on the Forest Service website. The text of the regulation can be found here.
The new planning rule has received mixed reviews from the conservation community. A New York Times article offers some perspective. Read reactions from the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, and Sierra Club.
Protection of Roadless Areas
On October 21, 2011, a federal Court of Appeals overturned an earlier court decision that limited legal protection of Inventoried Roadless Areas in our national forests. This decision makes the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule the law of land in all states except Idaho – and is tremendous news! Read the New York Times article about the court decision, or visit the Earthjustice website.Earthjustice has performed much of the legal work on this issue for more than a decade now.
In the long term, legislation is needed to permanently protect our roadless areas and put a halt to the never-ending legal battles. A terrible piece of legislation, the Wilderness and Roadless Release Act of 2011 (HR 1581), was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. Read our letter to Rep. Robert Hurt opposing this bill.
Report Released on Non-native Invasive Plants in Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness Area
July 2011 – Wild Virginia has just released its report on NNIP in Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness Area. Read more . . .
Newspaper Coverage of Forest Planning
The Charlottesville Daily Progress and Lynchburg News and Advance ran an op-ed article by Wild Virginia’s Conservation Director, David Hannah, on May 29, 2011, just after the draft forest plan was released. Click here to see the article. A follow-up Letter to the Editor from Wild Virginia Board member Ernie Reed was published on June 21.
The September 3, 2011 edition of the Staunton News Leader included an article about the draft forest plan. Click here to view it. Earlier this year, on February 24, the Daily Progress published a Letter to the Editor from David about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Wild Virginia Joins 1% For The Planet
We are excited about becoming a non-profit member of this great organization, working for positive steps to improve the global environment. Click on the logo below to view the website.
All Greenhouse Gas Emissions Must be Regulated
In the national clamor to find renewable sources of energy, biomass is being promoted in many corners. The use of biomass to generate electricity, heat, and other types of energy certainly has much potential. There are many factors to consider though, as not all biomass production and use is truly sustainable and should not be assumed to be renewable. Just as with fossil fuels and other organic materials, the burning of biomass emits carbon dioxide. Analysis of all energy sources, including all forms of biomass, should take into account carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. (read more)
Support for Drinking Water Protection Continues to Grow
Through March of 2010, 16 localities and numerous other organizations have adopted resolutions calling for improved management of drinking water resources in the George Washington National Forest. Information forming the basis for the resolutions comes from the recently released report by Wild Virginia, The State of Our Water: Managing and Protecting the Drinking Water Resources of the George Washington National Forest. Click here to learn more about the study and report. The list of organizations that have submitted resolutions, and some of the resolutions, are viewable here. The Shenandoah Valley Network and other partners have been instrumental in making many communities aware of the critical link between the GWNF and local drinking water.
New Wilderness Areas in Virginia!
The long-awaited Virginia Ridge and Valley Act has finally come to fruition. It was part of a large, public lands bill signed into law in March 2009, permanently protecting an additional 53,000 acres in the Jefferson National Forest in southwest Virginia. We should celebrate the many years of hard work it took to make this happen. Click here to read more.
Newspaper Coverage of Forest Planning
The cover story of the Feb. 15, 2009 Charlottesville Daily Progress was an interesting and informative article about forest planning on the George Washington National Forest, with an emphasis on wilderness areas. Media coverage on this process has been lacking to date. Wild Virginia and others are mentioned as being active participants. Click here to see the article. The article was also carried in the Waynesboro News Virginian.
The Roadless Areas in our National Forests remain at risk from logging and mining.