Chapel Hill: Opinion

Your letters, Aug. 17

Beware predatory drilling

Recent articles in the Indy and News Observer have reported Pittsburgh-based Crimson Holding Corp.’s attempt to lease mineral rights (natural gas in this case) in the western portion of the Durham Triassic Basin. This could include the area just east of Meadowmont, and other areas in and around Durham city.

Should the corporation apply for a drilling permit for fracking for natural gas next spring , it should be turned down due to the secretive approach it has made to acquire leases. Basically, it has not received permission by the state to conduct this business.

Should the corporation obtain permits, the state needs to apply all of the 120 items presented by the Mining and Energy Commission, even with the watered-down changes made already, and others to be made when the final report in completed in either October or January and turned into the Legislature.

The state really needs to discourage the predatory drilling for drilling and hydraulic fracturing which could easily become common, especially by the fly-by-night companies. Note, that no major and responsible companies have opted to get leases. Natural gas is cheap, the geology is complex in the Sanford Basin where the gas does exist, and the potential volume is tiny, especially compared with the thick and extensive black shales in other states already producing. And, the State has no infrastructure to handle the transportation and refining of the gas if produced.

I understand that the Attorney General's Office and the Mining and Energy Commission are on top of this.

If drilling does occur in Durham County, which I doubt will ever happen, the only natural gas encountered will be if the drill cuts into an existing gas pipeline!

Daniel A. Textoris

Emeritus professor of geology, UNC

Chapel Hill