No Bats, No Food

Press Release from the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, August 17, 2012:

“New Report Raises Red Flag for Bats from Shale Gas Drilling”

Bristol, PA – The Delaware Riverkeeper Network released a new report authored by a bat expert at Bat Conservation International considering and documenting many potential impacts shale gas development and fracking can have on bat populations living in the Delaware River watershed. According to the report, the water withdrawals, water pollution, air pollution, and massive land disturbance associated with shale gas development pose serious threats for bat populations, including the little brown bat and the federally endangered Indiana bat. The report notes that bats have been significantly impacted by White-nose Syndrome and as a result are at increased risk from human impacts such as shale gas development. The location of the Marcellus shale, now the targeted shale formation for drilling across Pennsylvania, New York and elsewhere, overlaps some of the areas hardest hit by White-nose Syndrome.  

Cris Hein, lead author of the report and the Bats and Wind Energy Program Coordinator at Bat Conservation International, says, “This report should raise a red flag about the impacts of gas drilling and associated infrastructure such as gas pipelines for our already imperiled bat populations. Bats are primary predators of night-flying insects, including many that consume and potentially decimate important food crops. By working to protect bats from the potential harmful impacts of shale gas development, we also are helping to protect people.”

Adds Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, “This report documents the many ways that shale gas development could impact bat species already in decline, and as a result could be the final straw for their continuing existence in the Delaware River watershed region. Bats are part of the Delaware River watershed ecosystem, and a group of species we want to thrive in our region – this report shows just one more way that shale gas development harms our communities. Harming the bats is an ecological catastrophe, but one that also hurts people. The harm shale gas development inflicts on them needs to be avoided.”

The report has already been submitted by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is providing multiple approvals for pipelines that will crisscross the Delaware River watershed, including the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Upgrade Project.

A copy of the report can be found at: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/resources/Reports/Impacts_of_Shale_Gas_Development_on_Bats.pdf

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