Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wyalusing to lease public land for gas well

Chesapeake Energy has informed the Wyalusing (PA) Borough Council that the company plans to locate a gas well on the borough's land in Wyalusing Township. This 400+ acres of land was purchased years ago for the purpose of protecting the watershed of a now closed reservoir that served the borough. Rather than sell the land, the Council decided to sell timber and open it up for hunting.

The well will be located on a steep mountainside overlooking the Wyalusing Creek. Drilling is expected to begin later this year or early in 2010. There will be approximately 4,000 wells drilled in Bradford County before all is said and done.

A gas well drilled on a mountainside with a creek nearby may pose serious problems. The many toxic chemicals which are added to fracking fluid during the initial drilling phase have found their way into aquifers in other areas of the country. While one hopes that a well is self-contained, perfection is sometimes not achieved, and fracking fluid escapes in the ground. The pulverized shale deep in the earth causes cracks which are unpredictable and undetectable. Methane gas and other gasses are released, sometimes finding their way to the surface. Chesapeake Energy, like all gas companies, are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and other regulations that every other industry is required to follow. A citizen putting a pool in the backyard has to satisfy more standards than a gas company. And as has been shown in Dimock, PA, once a problem with water and wells occurs, a gas company first denies culpability, and it takes a long time to get the problem resolved. And, in the end, no amount of money can make up for a ruined well. Even hunters may find the area less desirable since deforestation, environmental damage, noise pollution, bright lights, and habitat disruption can often interfere with the animals in a significant way.

The citizens of Wyalusing may be optimistic about this new well, but time will tell. It may be the worst thing that ever happened to them.

Read the Rocket Courier article by David Keeler here.


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