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Neighbors concerned about oil and gas exploration in Stokes County

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources plans to look for shale reserves for hydraulic fracturing on a one acre plot of land in the town of Walnut Cove.

The site in Stokes County sits on public land along Crestview Drive. A NCDENR spokesperson said the Walnut Cove town council unanimously approved drilling plans earlier this month.

However, people who live in the area say they were not notified about the testing.

"I knew absolutely nothing about it. Nobody has told us anything about this fracking in our neighborhood," said Walnut Cove resident Anthony Prysock. "It’s in our neighborhood, where we live. They don’t live over here. It does get frustrating. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it. I don’t know how it’s going to affect my grandkids."

Other Stokes County residents are also concerned about the potential for air and noise pollution as well as groundwater contamination if fracking comes to the area.

"We’re trying to protect our home against this monolith industry that will come in, extract natural resources and then get the heck out of dodge," said Mary Kerley, with NoFrackinginStokes.org.

Spokesperson Jamie Kritzer says NCDENR is acutely aware of residents' environmental concerns. He says the tests will only last for 10 days this summer.

"Part of the drilling process is that the state will require that the company chosen to do the drilling restores all property back to the way it was before drilling began," said Kritzer.

The General Assembly appropriated $250,000 of non-recurring funds for oil and gas exploration. N.C. Geological Survey will drill core holes in the Dan River Basin and Cumberland-Marlboro Basin to gather data for the first time since the 1980s.