Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Industrialization of Doddridge County, WV

Fracking in Doddridge County, WV
Doddridge County, WV
Doddridge County, West Virginia once had a scenic rural landscape but today, the bright lights, incredibly loud noise of 24-hour fracking operations and heavy trucks barreling down rural roads (1,000 truck trips per well) are common. Gas wells (the traditional vertical wells dotting yards and hillsides) have been a fixture in Doddridge for years but we were never an industrial county.You never saw entire forested hills being clear-cut, burned, and bulldozed into five to ten acre flat well pads.

 The three largest companies drilling in Doddridge County include Chesapeake Energy, Equitable Resources and Antero Resources. According to the State Journal, Doddrige County ranked third in 2011 (after Harrison and Wetzel Counties) in produced gas in West Virginia from horizontally drilled Marcellus wells. Gas extraction has accelerated dramatically in Doddridge since 2007 and it is showing no signs of slowing down.

While industry, and the jobs it brings, is welcomed, the fracking industry squeezes out other industries which are a part Doddridge County's history. Fracking has a heavy industrial footprint on the landscape: In addition to well pads, there are compressor plants and pipelines There is also housing for workers, typically trailer lots, hastily formed to take advantage of the situation. All of these things drive out other kinds of industry such as farming, the leasing of lands to hunters and tourism.