>There were a few very good editorials posted today on the Star-Ledger’s website NJ.com. This first one should be of interest to many environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Riverkeepers and Waterkeeper Alliance and anyone else that thinks clean drinking water is more important than drilling for natural gas along the Delaware river as new Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett wishes to do, should be concerned about this.
The process of drilling for natural gas along the Delware river would entail using a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”. This process injects chemical fluids and other materials into boreholes to fracture bedrock for the purpose off releasing oil or natural gas. Fracking could lead to ground water contamination and air quality issues :
The Delaware River Basin is downstream from planned drillings for natural gas. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has instructed his economic development officer to fast-track permits for drilling. About 10,000 wells are expected to be green-lighted, creating jobs, producing clean fuel and lessening our dependence on foreign oil for several decades.
But there’s a dark side: The process of drilling, known as hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — has the potential to contaminate the Delaware, which provides drinking water for 15 million people, including 3 million in New Jersey. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the threat, but won’t be done until next year. Pennsylvania should not be allowed to proceed until we know it’s safe.
New York already has a moratorium and New Jersey should follow suit. Two bills before the state Assembly tomorrow recognize the urgency of the situation: One would put the brakes on drilling until the feds complete their study, and the other asks Congress to no longer exempt fracking from safe water regulations, as it has since 2005, and to require drilling companies to reveal all chemicals used in fracking. “We’re asking for transparency,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), the bills’ sponsor. Both bills are key to protecting our water supply.
Fracking shatters rock formations to release the gas through high-powered drilling using sand, chemicals and billions of gallons of water. Along with the gas, the chemically contaminated water also is released. The earth’s naturally occurring radioactive radium also is disturbed by fracking. Wastewater treatment plants can’t scrub clean all the pollutants in Pennsylvania’s drilling waste water which, by one account, totaled more than a billion gallons in the past three years.
Preliminary reports by EPA consultants and regulators found it highly likely that toxic water unleashed in Pennsylvania would endanger the Delaware River, and evidence exists that the drilling wastewater also corrodes treatment plants, undermining their ability to break down regular sewage.
The Delaware River Basin Commission, which represents the watershed interests of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, is proposing its own regulations for fracking. But the commission should take the advice of 39 New Jersey state legislators, who have asked it to wait until the federal study is complete. Jeff Tittel, of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter, says the commission’s proposals are deficient because they don’t explore the vast clear-cutting of forests and construction of roads that accompany fracking….
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