Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013
Fracking Draws Concerns in Johnson County
JOHNSON COUNTY-- Fracking could soon be a reality in the area, even if people haven't signed a deal to lease their land.
Johnson County leaders supported a moratorium on fracking in May, after residents voiced strong opposition to the drilling method. In July, the governor signed a new measure to regulate the process, trumping local initiatives.
"They could come in here and destroy every one of those plans. I'm
left here with a shell once all this is over. Then what do i do? That's
what I pass on to my boys," Richard Craig said.
Three hundred acres in Vienna have been in the Craig family for three generations. It's more than land to this family.
"To let it go would be dishonoring our parents who gave all," explained Belinda Craig-Halversen .
Richard and Belinda Craig grew up with their siblings here.
When they learned fracking could come to the area, Richard did his research.
"There's no way they can say there's no damage. It's impossible. This
was put together by nature and when you fool with nature it will let you know," Richard added.
Woolsey Energy has 51 percent of mineral rights in the area, which means they can require some landowners like the Craigs to give up their land, under what's called forced pooling.
Johnson County Commissioner Ernie Henshaw is on the fence about fracking in the area. It could mean more jobs, which would help the high unemployment rate, but he's leery.
"There's a lot of things to look at. We don't want to jump into anything without doing our homework...want to see if it's an opportunity worth while or something we don't wanna do," said Henshaw .
Fracking hasn't started in Johnson county, but many think it'll happen soon if companies find success in nearby areas.
Wind: 14 MPH
Humidity: 59 %