Two recent letters to the Eagle attempt to undermine claims by so called anti-fracking activists.
Geologist Charles H. Shultz, Ph.D., made unscholarly claims (“Anti-frack nonsense,” April 8) in particular taking issue with statements made by Joseph McMurry (“Fracking dollars,” March 10) about the possible leasing of land under Memorial Park.
Shultz claims letters to the Eagle are written by blinded and irrational pundits in need of a reality check; then he proceeds to become unhinged and silly.
McMurry stated there might be drilling under Memorial Park. In response, Shultz asserts “there is no connection whatever between the land surface in Memorial Park and the gas-bearing shales of the Marcellus Formation, which are separated by more than a mile of solid rock.” Even a geologic neophyte like me knows there are pockets of water, sand and all sorts of natural fractures between the surface and the Marcellus, but we’re not talking virgin ground either. This part of Pennsylvania has been mined and drilled before.
Shultz poopoos McMurry’s concerns about air pollution near well sites, and yet Dr. Jerome Paulson, M.D., director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, lists among other things: hydrogen sulfide and other gases produced by the well ... and silica from sand used as a proppant.” And the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection lists benzene, toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene (BTEX), particulate matter and dust, ground level ozone, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and metals contained in diesel fuel combustion. None of these things is “good for you” even in infinitesimally small quantities, which is why many health organizations, and Dr. Paulson, say drilling near people is problematic.
Another writer, Bernie Paga (“Anti-frack fibs,” April 15) contends that fracking is generations old. No fracktivist would deny fracturing has been around for multiple generations. What’s new is depth, directionality and pressure. These are new wrinkles on an old process. These also multiply the chance for error.
Paga also claims any water pollution near well sites is from “natural causes.” He better tell the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; they recently were forced to admit to 161 contamination incidents due to drilling activity.