Fracking water concerns— - Opinion


Fracking water concerns—

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Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 12:00 am

To the editor:

Attempts to discuss gas well fracking at a recent Tioga County Commissioners meeting met with blank stares and suggestions from the Commissioners to contact the DEP. Either the Commissioners do not care or cannot comprehend the potential dangers to our water resources.

Some of the chemicals used in the Slickwater hydrofracking process are poisonous, extremely corrosive, carcinogenic, tetragenic or mutagenic. The chemicals listed on the DEP Web site under Marcellus Shale include kerosene, hydrochloric acid, biocides and antifreeze among other industrial compounds.

Seventy percent of these compounds will remain in the ground after hydrofracking. Fracking companies like to tell you these chemicals will not enter the water table because they are far below the surface and well isolated by concrete casings. However, as seen by the recent well leak in McNett Township, Lycoming County, well casings do fail and allow gas to enter the water table. Likewise, the citizens of Mainesburg can attest that natural gas frequently works its way into their well water. If gas can find its way into the water so can fracking fluids.

The Slickwater method of hydrofracking was developed for the Barnett Shale formation in Texas. It is considered to be the most cost-effective way of fracking these types of formations. Unfortunately there are numerous reports in Texas of water contamination resulting from Slickwater hydrofracking.

In 2005, at the urging of Dick Cheney, former Halliburton CEO, Congress exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that is allowed by EPA to inject known hazardous material – unchecked – directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies.

Pennsylvania has valuable water resources. We must not let the rush to develop natural gas destroy our water for future generations. Waiting until cancer clusters or birth defects start to show up will be too late.

Allowing the destruction of Armenia Mountain by AES or the expansion of a landfill next to the Brownlee Wellsboro water wells pales in comparison to the potential hazards associated with Slickwater hydrofracking. Will the Commissioners take an interest in our health and safety or continue to support development for the sake of growth?

Ronald Kamzelski


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