Pike County has something to boast about: Its water is in the top 5% of the nation’s purest. The Delaware River, the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, supplies over 17 million people with clean, unfiltered water. In fact, the Delaware not only offers water that is ranked among the best in the United States, it provides substantial revenue to our area through tourism, as well as countless health, recreational and educational benefits to people who reside in and visit the area.
Most residents have heard about the worries surrounding fracking and the serious threat it poses to the water quality as well as to the overall environmental health of this area. The term “fracking” refers to induced hydraulic fracturing -or hydrofracturing- a well-bore procedure used to release the rock-embedded, deep natural gas to prepare it for extraction. This type of well-bore technique literally fractures the subterranean shale in our area in order to liberate gas. While the idea of local acquisition of environmental gas sounds like a good energy source alternative, the methods by which this gas is extracted triggers an unchecked migration of gasses as well as the hazardous chemicals used in the hydraulic process. Fracking effectively discharges toxic elements into the air and water supply.
Given the hazards inherent in this procedure, it is difficult for residents to fathom why it would be permitted in this ecologically vital, residential area. In fact, a number of countries have discontinued this practice. In Pennsylvania, some argue that accessing natural fuel locally seems like step toward energy self-sufficiency. Proponents, downplaying the documented dangers of hydraulic fracturing, point out that there is intrinsic risk in most energy extraction processes. But the fuel extracted is not even for local use. In fact, gas companies export most of the product to India and China, where fracked gas commands high prices. There is no upside, no benefit for residents. Gas companies profit, while the local population suffers irreversible, often life-threatening damage.
Fracking in Pike County is being met with some strong, educated opposition. When asked about the Tennessee Gas Pipeline which has started its process in the area already, concerned citizen and activist, Lenore Fasula, commented: “The fracked gas will be transported under the Delaware River. Under the best of circumstances, the pipes used to transport run the risk of leakage, causing toxic seepage into waterways. Compounding the dangers here, the pipes being used on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline are imported from China and are made of inferior quality yellow steel. So we run an even greater risk of leakage of corrosive matter into our drinking water, into our soil, and into our bodies. It’s a disaster.”
Despite a vocal opposition, the pipeline is currently under construction. Over 450 acres of forest have been cut down. Ninety streams and over 130 wetlands will be in the way of this pipeline. When asked about compliance and regulations to help safeguard residents, Fasula replied, “There are many documented regulatory compliance failures in the construction of this pipeline and we have brought attention to these. This has helped many to understand the dangers and irreversible damages that the fracking gas industry will cause in our area. A compressor station is proposed off of Rte 6 in Milford. Compressors periodically have to release stored gases into the air causing large quantities of methane and other toxins to be released into the atmosphere. My concern is if they decide to drill wells here in Milford the toxic pollution will be an even larger threat to our health, air, water and land in this beautiful land we are privileged to call home here in Pike County, Pennsylvania.”