April 23, 2020 | by
The Rev. Brad Bennett walks through the cemetery on his family's farm, just yards from the service pad for a hydraulically fractured gas well near Jane Lew, W.Va. Photo by Mike DuBose.
The Rev. Brad Bennett points to a patch on the snow-covered ground and says, “My spot’s right there.”
The “spot” is Bennett’s plot in a tiny cemetery on family farmland near Jane Lew, West Virginia, where he plans one day to rest in peace next to his grandparents, two uncles and an aunt. Of course, since the cemetery lies next to a fracking well pad, the interred may be the only ones getting any peace.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pumps millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to free natural gas from shale deposits. In addition to the commotion from the initial drilling, a steady stream of trucks travel to and from the well site, carrying pipes for the pipeline as well as all the materials used in the process.
West Virginia sits on the Marcellus Shale, a vast rock formation stretching from New York to Virginia and estimated to be the second-largest natural gas find in the world. The type of wells made to drill into the shale can have up to six lines running horizontally out of each one.