Appalachian Basin

Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop Contaminated by Hydraulic Fracturing

As I mentioned in a post last week, I am a new member of the EID Northeast Marcellus team.  Previously I worked in the water sector, first as a consultant for municipal governments interacting with the Federal government on water issues followed by a tour as the Legislative Manager for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).  In both these capacities, I gained first hand experience of  the many challenges facing our nation’s freshwater resources.  Not only did I learn of these challenges, but I also assisted in moving forward some of the most innovative environmental restoration projects throughout the Country.

It was this experience that compelled me to join the EID team.  Why? Because having been involved in issues affecting this precious resource (water) I could not sit idly by while a group of enraged activists distorted facts and sensationalized reliable and sound technological practices in an attempt to block the production of clean burning and affordable natural gas.  The stakes were simply too high to let misinformation rule the day.

That being said, I am not writing this to simply provide you a glimpse of my background, rather I am writing to show you the plethora of credible experts throughout the nation that are all saying the same thing.  Hydraulic fracturing has not been shown to have negative impacts on water resources.  Even Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s handpicked Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is in agreement there are no proven cases of hydraulic fracturing affecting water supplies.  The idea that all of these senior level officials are wrong just doesn’t pass any test of common sense.

This week Scott Perry, Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management,  and Jim Richenderfer, Director, Technical Programs, Susquehanna River Basin Commission joined this growing list of regulatory officials with comments they made at the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners. In a panel presentation entitled “Marcellus Shale: Water and Environmental Issues” they said the following.

Yet after a “million experiments across the country, I’ve yet to see a single impact of fracking actually directly communicating with freshwater resources. Again and again and again, I never see a single incidence of fracking causing this direct communication that we keep hearing about” – Scott Perry

Dr. Richenderfer had similiar remarks although his were focused on the near hysteria some groups portend hydraulic fracturing will cause on the amount of freshwater available to support aquatic ecosystems and potable water supplies.

The amount of water being reported to be used by this industry is out of whack. On average the Susquehanna River sends to the bay 26 billion gal/day. Non-gas energy production resources use about 190 million gal/day and recreation–comprised mostly of golf courses and ski resorts–use about 50 million gal/day.  Yet, at its peak use, natural gas play is expected to use up to 30 million. Right now gas production uses between 4 and 5 million gal/day. – Jim Richenderfer

These are two more senior officials in a growing list of voices bringing reason and perspective to some of the outlandish claims being generated in a futile attempt to block the production of this needed resource.  On this eve of our nation’s independence I ask each of you to arm yourselves with this knowledge and share it with others.  Our future very much depends on the outcome of this critical debate.


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