Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DEP: Marcellus Drilling Contaminates PA Water

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger says polluted runoff water from natural gas drilling threatens Pennsylvania waterways.

The DEP Chief says water used in Marcellus Shale drilling contains dissolved minerals that can destroy aquatic wildlife and contaminate drinking water.

Natural gas drillers use chemically-treated water to fracture rocks. These fractures allow the trapped natural gas to be retrieved through the borehole created by the drill.

Hanger says as natural gas drilling grows, Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams must be protected. He says the administration wants a severance tax on drilling to help balance the benefits with the environmental costs.

Hanger pointed out an instance in September of 2009, when golden algae bloomed in Dunkard Creek of Greene County, destroying many aquatic wildlife species. The DEP says high levels of pollution led to that disaster, and if measures aren’t passed, it could happen again.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition says it is still reviewing Hanger’s assertions.

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