Marcellus Shale

Marcellus Shale Not Being Reported Accurately

Bill Wilson
Leader, Wyoming County Landowners Group

I just submitted a version of the following letter to the editor of The Pocono Record expressing my disappointment with the continued misrepresentations concerning the development of the area’s natural gas resources, primarily consisting of the Marcellus Shale. I think it was Mark Twain who said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed.  If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”  I guess it’s not a new phenomenon.

It is the lack of research effort by your writers and an editorial staff that apparently does not fact check their material, that compels me to write this letter.   In the Monday, April 23, 2012, article, “Still no drilling rules in sight,” (on-line version now revised as a result of complaints like this one) staff writer Michael Sadowski stated, ”After the drill site uses the water, the water is treated and put back into the stream.”  This was blatantly false, since the treating and discharging of flowback water from hydraulicly fractured Marcellus Shale wells, has not been allowed since May of 2011.

In 2011, The Pocono Record published Associated Press articles by David B. Caruso, on April 25, 2011, and Marc Levy, on May 17, 2011, touting the end of the practice of river discharge.  Following are excerpts from those articles:

Even before the initiative to end river discharges was announced publicly, it had received the support of drillers. By Wednesday evening, a leading industry group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, had announced that its members were committed to halting the practice by the state’s stated goal of May 19.

Basically, I see this as a huge success story,” said Michael Krancer, acting secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. “This will be a vestige of the past very quickly.”  After May 19 almost all drillers will either be sending the waste to deep disposal wells — mostly in Ohio — or recycling it in new well projects, he said.

While the movement to end the wastewater discharges followed years of environmentalists’ criticism, the most influential push may have come from within the industry itself.

In Monday’s article, Mr. Sadowski further stated, “Residents of Susquehanna County have complained that nearby drilling sites have tainted their water supply.”  While it is true some have complained, both the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency have both pronounced those wells safe.

It is obvious to all that The Pocono Record editorial board is averse to shale drilling.  That is your right and I support that right.  However, you still owe it to us, your subscribers, to get the facts right so that the public can make decisions based on facts, not editorial opinions.

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