I am writing in response to the letter by Joe Massaro ("Delaying Prosperity," Oct. 5) regarding gas drilling in our county parks. He refers to "study after study which comes out confirming the safety of developing our shale resources," but he does not identify one of these "studies." Peer-reviewed studies were published by geochemists from Duke University studying hydraulic fracturing in northeast Pennsylvania. One in 2011 titled "Methane Contamination of Drinking Water Accompanying Gas-Well Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing" studied 60 different wells in Bradford County, Pa., and concluded that there is "systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale gas extraction." They studied 81 additional wells and published a followup in July 2013 confirming their conclusions.
The same geochemists conducted another study of soil samples taken between 2010 and 2012 along Blacklick Creek near Indiana, Pa., where the Josephine Brine wastewater treatment plant treated and discharged millions of gallons of "frack" water into the creek prior to May 2011. The soil contained extremely high levels of radium and bromides linked to the frack water.
Why doesn't Mr. Massaro or the industry he works for ever cite these studies when touting the alleged safety of this highly industrial process? Our county politicians should read these studies and consult with credible scientists before considering drilling in our county parks.
Remember that Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald sent an email to the Marcellus Shale Coalition during his election campaign in January 2011 demanding contributions from gas drillers which stated in part: "I love going to the expensive 'Captains of the Industry' parties in New York City, but would rather have the 'Captains' put their money behind a candidate who will promote the growth of industry. ... I need money and I need it fast." Prosperity for whom?