December 18, 2008

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Fracking topic of educational program

PIKE COUNTY - Chesapeake Energy, with its foreign-owned partner StatoilHydro, and several other national energy companies, have deployed landmen to our region to sign natural gas leases with Pike County property owners. Currently, thousands of acres of Pike County land are under lease.

Next, these national energy companies will apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) for permits to drill for natural gas using a new technology called hydraulic fracturing—commonly called “fracking”—which allows gas to be extracted from shale deep under the ground using millions of gallons of water per well combined with chemicals. Permit applications will also be filed with the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to draw the necessary high volumes of water from regional sources to accomplish the fracking process.  Permits have already been requested on the New York side of the river, requesting approval from the DRBC for withdrawal of one million gallons of water from the Delaware River per day.

Pike County Citizens for Clean Water will sponsor “What is Fracking?”, a free community educational program to explore the potential health and environmental effects of natural gas extraction on Saturday, January 17th at 1:30 pm. at the Delaware Valley High School.

Presentations will include "Upper Delaware, Lower Delaware: One River" by Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of Delaware Riverkeeper; "Overview of the Process of Mining for Natural Gas" by Barbara Arrindell; and "The Legacy of our Watershed to Our Children" by Pat Carullo, both of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability. A speaker from the PA DEP is also expected.  Media presentations that document the process of hydraulic fracturing and its impact on communities that have been “fracked” will be shown.  Printed materials will be available and a town hall question and answer forum will follow.  Visit and click ‘Fracking’ for more information.

Local water safety concerns seem even more pressing in light of the November 5, rupture of a natural gas line near the Milford, PA exit of I-84, closing the highway for a brief time.  The 60-year-old pipeline burst with enough force to remove the tops of surrounding trees during pressure testing under a wetlands area that feeds into Sloat Brook.

“What is Fracking?” is presented free of charge to the public by Pike County Citizens for Clean Water and Twin and Walker Creeks Watershed Conservancy, with co-sponsors: Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition, Lackawaxen River Conservancy, PA State Rep. John Siptroth, Pike County Commissioner Karl Wagner, Delaware Twp Supervisors Ileana Hernandez and Ted Parsell, Walker Lake Landowners Assoc., Shohola Twp Supervisors, Delaware Twp Envionmental Council, Milford Magazine and other local community groups to explore the health and environmental repercussions of gas drilling in our communities.


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