Just Ask A Pennsylvania Politician

Natural gas drilling is complicated. I’ve been known to go on about it long past the point of being polite. Woe to those who ask a simple question because there are no simple answers. Yet if you care deeply about our environment, about public health and the health of future generations, it’s difficult not to get a little impassioned when the subject comes up. Thankfully, it comes up a lot more often. When I’m fortunate enough to have the ear of a state official, I keep it brief but I let them know I’m alarmed by specific impacts of Shale Gas Production. I stick to the facts, and mind my manners of course.

FACT 1:  According to the Environmental Working Group, “Water utilities spend 19 times more on water treatment chemicals every year than the federal government invests in protecting lakes and rivers from pollution in the first place.”

FACT 2:  Once water is removed from the watershed for fracking (and AquaPA has begun pulling 3 million gallons A DAY from the Susquehanna) it cannot be safely returned. It is lost forever. “Recycling” really refers to re-use for another frack.

FACT 3:  The best triple cement well-bore seals, which are meant to protect our water supply from drilling chemicals, methane migration and naturally occurring flowback, will start to deteriorate and fail in 70-100 years. That’s according to the industry estimates. They will ALL need to be replugged. Just as acid mine drainage has polluted our waterways, these leaking seals will poison our water tables.

FACT 4:  According to PA DEP, 6.2% of these seals fail immediately. That number is unacceptably high, nevertheless it is rising.

FACT 5:  Burning natural gas is cleaner than coal or oil, but producing and processing is more greenhouse gas intensive.

FACT 6:  Perhaps the scariest fact of all… Most Republican lawmakers don’t believe in Global Warming.

So, whether you are meeting them in person, or commenting on an article he or she posted, if you only ask a politician one question, maybe find out if they subscribe to the science of Global Climate Change. I know it’s impolite to put someone on the spot, but I assure you their reactions are priceless.

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