On January 9, 2013, in otherwise quiet Highland Township in Elk County, Pennsylvania, officials signed a community rights bill into law stopping the deposit of fracking waste within the township. Seneca Resources, the drilling and fracking arm of National Fuel Gas of Williamsville, N.Y., had planned to inject its “production fluids” (oil and gas drilling and fracking waste) into an injection well about 2,200 feet from Crystal Springs — a main source of water for James City — according to the Kane Republican. Injection wells have a history, both long and recent, of failing to contain waste and increasing the risk of exposure to drinking water supplies. So, residents of Highland Township asked their municipal officials to say “No.” A Community & Environmental Rights Movement Highland Township is the latest on a list of over 140 other communities that have said ‘no’ to factory farms, waste incinerators, corporate water withdrawals, and now fracking by passing rights-based ordinances. Marsha Buhl, president of the Highland Township Recreation Association, collected signatures from more than 230 township residents in order to ban the injection well.
In 2006 — according to a ProPublica report — a residential drinking water well in Garfield County, Colo., spewed gas and polluted water into the air after a nearby gas well was hydraulically fractured. Tests detected a chemical called 2-butoxyethanol (2-BE), commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, in the drinking water well. The EPA never studied the case, and Colorado officials did not pursue an in-depth investigation before the gas company reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the homeowner that included nondisclosure agreements.
An environment vs. energy debate has been heating up over the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus shale in Western Pennsylvania. Eventually, we expect the debate to arrive in eastern Ohio. The debate is mostly about a practice called “hydrofracking,” or just “fracking.” Fracking involves injecting water (“hydro”) into the […]
On May 12, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Michael Krancer a letter asking “Pennsylvania to do a better job sampling, monitoring and regulating Marcellus Shale wastewater discharges near public drinking water sources.” Specific requests from the EPA included using “stricter public drinking water standards” and enacting “legally enforceable wastewater disposal regulations instead of relying on voluntary actions.” Brine Treatment Corporation in Franklin County, Pa. has not stopped receiving Marcellus waste altogether but is now limiting the amount of Marcellus wastewater it accepts, treats, and discharges into waterways.