Action Alert: Fracking in the Cumberlands


By Erica Peterson (WFPL)

Speculation has begun in Eastern Kentucky about a potentially large reserve of oil and natural gas trapped about two miles underground. If the Rogersville Shale is proven productive, it would be the region’s first major oil and gas play. This has excited the industry, but some residents are worried about the toll large-scale oil and gas production would take on human health and the environment.

The Rogersville Shale is a Cambrian-age formation that lies under much of Eastern Kentucky and extends into West Virginia. Two test wells have already been drilled: one in Lawrence County, and another in Putnam County, West Virginia. But Dave Harris of the Kentucky Geological Survey said because the operators have drilled the wells under a special provision called a ‘stratographic test permit,’ the results are confidential.

“It is a potentially productive formation, we just don’t know how much oil and gas,” he said. “No results have been announced, we don’t have any flow rates or production data yet to indicate exactly how prolific this formation might be.”