Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some PA Drill Sites Release Gas Into Air, Not Dangerous Levels

A Department of Environmental Protection survey finds elevated gas levels at northeastern Pennsylvania drilling sites but are not at a point where they’d be a health concern.
The study monitored air at four natural gas drilling sites in Susquehanna County from August to October.
DEP Community Relations Coordinator Mark Carmon says the study found elevated levels of methane, propane, butane and other gasses in the air, but nothing surpassing the warning levels for “air-related health issues.”

"We really didn’t see anything in a short-term way that would be a health concern. But again, I think the best quote here is, the report notes the sampling effort was not meant to address potential cumulative impacts, which would be a more long-term situation."

Carmon says the department isn’t drawing any long-term conclusions from the study.

"The report takes some pains to note it is not a long-term, cumulative study. It really is a short-term snapshot of air quality in locations where there is Marcellus activity."

The report comes a few months after a similar survey of drilling sites in southwestern Pennsylvania, which also found higher-than-usual amounts of certain gasses, but nothing triggering alarm bells. Carmon says a third study is wrapping up in north-central Pennsylvania, and that further studies of long-term drilling impacts will begin soon.

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