Appalachian Basin

“Farming” for Facts in PennEnvironment’s Latest Video Series

PennEnvironment has been on a tear lately putting out videos slamming the responsible development of natural gas, notwithstanding the group’s putative status as a supporter of clean energy.  We watched just a few of these videos and evaluated some of the claims and assertions made therein.  The first up is “Farming,” the story of Mary and Adron Dell’Osa, “sustainable farmers” trying to make a living in Meshoppen, Pennsylvania.  Here it is:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRR-Qslagww&w=425&h=349]

Let’s be clear.  The Dell’Osa’s are delightful people and who could not wish them well?   But let’s also be clear there is not one shred of evidence, in this entire video, of anyimpact from natural gas development on their farm.  The filmmaker attempts to create the illusion of impacts by placing random shots of drilling rigs throughout without explaining how these relate to the farm.  The Dell’Osa’s tell us how close the development activities are getting and note they have done baseline water testing on their property. They do not tell us the results of their tests, and there’s probably a good reason for that.

Here are the facts: In more than 60 years of commercial use, the practice of completing a well via the hydraulic fracturing process has never been found to adversely affect underground sources of drinking water – even though more than 1.1 million wells have been fractured in that span.  It’s a fact that’s been corroborated by more than a dozen top environmental regulators from states all across the country – regulators from Democratic administrations as well as Republican ones, each of them sending notarized letters to the Ground Water Protection Council testifying to their experience (click here for just a couple of those letters).

No one doubts whether the Dell’Osa family’s concerns are sincere – certainly they are. But sincerity alone – especially if it’s uninformed by the facts – shouldn’t be a sufficient reason to stop altogether the development of abundant, clean-burning natural gas resources from the Marcellus. Should it? We know where 99.9 percent of the population of rural PA comes down on that question. But as for PennEnvironment? That’s anyone’s guess.

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