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Beware Marcellus risks

April 8, 2013 Letters to the Editor

On March 30, Marcellus Outreach Butler sponsored a screening of the film “Triple Divide” by Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman. This is a well-done film that investigates the impacts of fracking and drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale and the failures of the state and the gas companies to prevent real dangers.

At the beginning of the project, Josh and Melissa asked the question “How are the impacts of the Marcellus Shale drilling being handled by the state?” The film explores personal stories from different areas of the state and also delves into case files to tell the story of some of the consequences of this unconventional gas drilling. It also exposes the failure of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to protect the citizens and environment of Pennsylvania.

The title “Triple Divide” is pertinent as it refers to the headwaters where water flows to three different sides of the continent. One of the four triple divides in North America is in Potter County, where the water can end up in three different places: the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada via the Genesee River; the Chesapeake Bay via the Susquehanna River; or the Gulf of Mexico via the Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. On its way, the water flows through some of the last great wilderness areas that include some of the best trout streams.

Marcellus Shale gas drilling is threatening— and possibly contaminating — these waterways.

For a donation, the film is available online at www.tripledividefilm.org.

I feel it is important for everyone to be fully informed about the rapid spread of this unconventional gas drilling. Unfortunately, the gas companies paint a rosy picture, which might not be the whole truth. It is important that everyone avails themselves of all the information available.