Hydraulic fracturing advocates will tell you that fracking, as it has come to be known in the parlance of our times, is completely safe, that thousands upon thousands of wells have been “fracked” in the United States and not one has contributed to contaminated drinking water.
Fracking, of course, is the process by which millions of gallons of water, laced with a toxic brew of chemicals, solvents and other materials, are injected deep into the ground to break up shale formations and free the natural gas trapped therein.
The veracity of these arguments aside, the fact is, accidents happen, and fracking fluid spills are a routine occurrence. Exhibit A: the recent spill at a well owned and operated by Chesapeake Energy, where tens of thousands of gallons of noxious fracking fluid coursed over fertile Pennsylvania farmland and into a nearby creek.
So news that the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, the authority that oversees the watershed in that part of Pennsylvania, has leased land to natural gas drillers within a stone’s throw of the drinking water supply they are supposed to protect, was greeted with surprise and concern by more than a few people who live and work in the area.
SolveClimateNews broke this story, and reporter Anthony Brino has done a solid and well-researched piece documenting the nature and extent of the hydraulic fracturing that is ongoing in the watershed, as well as the push by drilling interests to increase their activity in watersheds throughout Pennsylvania.