Gas well concerns

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Regarding the Aug. 25 editorial "Drilling Zone: Parks Must Be Considered on an Individual Basis": The fact that there are already 41,311 gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania should be alarming, especially in light of a Scientific American article. It reported that according to the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA" in July, the closer you live to a well used to hydraulically fracture underground shale for natural gas, the more likely it is that your drinking water is contaminated with methane.

According to the Scientific American article, Robert Jackson, a chemical engineer at Duke University, found methane in 115 of 141 shallow residential drinking water wells, and "the methane concentration in homes less than one mile from a fracking well was six times higher than the concentration in homes farther away." He found isotopes and traces of ethane in the methane indicating that the gas "was not created by microorganisms living in the groundwater but by heat and pressure thousands of feet down in the Marcellus Shale, which is where companies fracture rock to release gas that rises up a well shaft." The article also stated that most groundwater supplies are only a few hundred feet deep, but if the protective metal casing and concrete around a fracking well are leaking, methane can escape into them.

The magazine reported that Anthony Ingraffea, a fracking expert at Cornell University, is reviewing inspection reports for most drilled gas wells since 2000. He says it appears that a higher percentage of Marcellus Shale fracking wells are leaking than conventional oil and gas wells.

I say no more drilling at or near our county parks until these and many other issues are resolved.

LAURA LEETE
Whitehall


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