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Article published July 29, 2013
Don’t blame fracking
Gary Neely Connoquenessing Township
There has recently been a spate of letters in this newspaper by uninformed people concerning the hydro fracturing of gas and oil wells. Some of these folks are well-meaning, concerned citizens while others are just envious that some landowners are getting royalties and they are not — just another form of sin known as class envy. I live near the Connoquenessing Woodlands and the water was never any good here. The major problem is shallow coal seams that carry naturally occurring methane and iron particles. Farm fertilization and unlined manure pits have a greater potential impact on our shallow water wells than fracking, which occurs 7,000 feet below ground behind multiple layers of cemented steel casing. The disposal of frack water can be a problem, but this is normally reused on future wells or recycled through sites and standards approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Having worked in the oil and gas industry for many years, I can testify that the industry is highly controlled and regulated by the appropriate state and federal agencies. Fracking is the only method currently known to successfully produce oil and gas wells in this region and has been used almost exclusively since the 1960s. One local opponent of fracking suggests a moratorium in Pennsylvania as there is in New York state. Ask the people in western New York how they really feel about losing a several-billion-dollar a year industry and not being able to utilize the minerals they own. If this opposing view were prevalent 150 years ago, America could never have built our transcontinental railroad system, our mills, our highways, our modern modes of transportation, our ability to efficiently heat our homes and build our cities. We would all be subsistence farmers, cobblers or indentured servants. It is fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas — that largely were responsible for building the middle class in America and allowing us to enjoy the lifestyle we now have.