Geologist: Samples show signs of shale gas in Walnut Cove

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A crew from Patterson Exploration Services prepares to drill a core hole project, Monday, June 8, 2015, on publicly owned land in Stokes County in order to assess the presence of shale gas resources in the Dan River basin. (Bertrand M. Gutierrez)

WALNUT COVE, N.C. — John Skvarla, the secretary of N.C. Commerce Department, pushed for more spending on shale-gas exploration during a state energy-panel meeting this week after state geologists said samples recently taken from Walnut Cove property indicated unconfirmed signs of shale gas, according to conservationists and commerce officials.

The meeting comes about a month after the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources paid drillers about $91,500 to dig a core hole 1,750 feet deep on property owned by Walnut Cove in the Walnut Tree community.

This week, State Geologist Ken Taylor said during the meeting that the samples include 323 feet of organic-rich material, according to Brooks Rainey Pearson, an associate attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The samples must still be analyzed — though DENR does not have money for the analysis, according to DENR officials.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal