"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men." —Rachel Carson
Natural gas drilling by horizontal slickwater fracturing (often called fracking) is a monumental environmental issue PA is facing that impacts everyone’s future.
Often referred to as a “bridge to cleaner energy” our governor is supporting drilling any and everywhere possible in Pennsylvania to capitalize on the gas drilling boom. Since the Marcellus Shale does not underlie Montgomery County, I think many of us assume this is not our problem because it’s not in our neighborhood or 500 feet from our schools, but it could be coming our way.
As previously published in Patch, http://ambler.patch.com/articles/fracking-debate-comes-to-montgomery-bucks-counties, there is a natural gas reserve waiting to be explored in Montgomery and Bucks Counties called the South Newark Basin. Currently there is a ban on granting drilling permits in the 2 counties, but that is subject to expire in 2018 to give the state time to evaluate the potential of the reserves and the impact on the environment. This is precisely why if you are concerned about fracking you need to speak out now.
If Marcellus Shale Drilling is allowed to continue, it will make it easier for the South Newark Basin to be drilled. Not that fracking upsteam does not hurt us. We are not as island and we cannot keep the air from blowing or water from flowing, but having the actual drill rigs, well pads, extra trucks, noise pollution, air pollution, etc. in our Township would be significantly worse.
Some serious environmental and human health issues to consider are:
- methane gas leaks contributing to climate change
- greater asthma cases and costs due to increasing air pollution
- the lack of transparency of disclosure from the gas industry on actual chemicals utilized in the entire process of fracking
- forest fragmentation caused by well pad, road and pipeline construction that will hurt wildlife
- waste brine used on roads for de-icing; when ice melts or rain falls, the waste can run off roads and end up in the drinking supply
- disposal of drill cuttings and radioactive flowback waste in wastewater treatment plants and/or landfills
- and the fact that millions of gallons of fresh water is being used to frack wells, and each time fresh water is used it is completely removed from the water cycle.
Natural gas drilling is not a bridge to cleaner energy.
What can you do?
- Conserve energy at home. Get a home energy audit, add insulation, lower the thermostat on your heat. EnergyWorks is a good place to start.
- Contact your representatives. Demand more energy subsidies for renewable energy like solar and wind and have them make clean energy jobs a priority. If you don’t know who represents you, look here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/state/main/?state=GA&view=myofficials
- Get involved in a group. There are several local ones like The Delaware River Keeper or Protecting Our Waters.
- Install solar panels or switch to an energy supplier that focuses on renewable resources like solar and wind.
Erin Crump, Blue Bell