National T-U Leaders Raise Drilling Concerns


Chris Lawrence
Washington DC

Metro News: The Voice of West Virginia

A representative of Trout Unlimited urges members of Congress to consider enacting legislation putting federal controls on Marcellus Shale Drilling.

Katy Dunlap, T-U’s Director of Eastern Water Projects tells members of a Senate subcommittee waste water from drilling near trout streams could have long lasting negative impacts on those waters. She further adds the impact of access to drilling sites could also cause surface impacts equally harmful to those same streams.

“From what we see on the ground, regulation of gas development is not adequate to protect water resources,” Dunlap said. “While Trout Unlimited is concerned about the potential contamination of water resources that can be directly caused by the hydraulic fracturing process, we are equally concerned about the surface impacts that can result from the associated activities of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas development.”

One of those concerns beyond potential water contamination from fracturing is the potential for erosion after excavation work on drilling sites.

“By far the most prominent and concerning impact that Trout Unlimited members are seeing on the ground is the failure or lack of erosion and sediment controls on well pad construction sites and access roads,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap told committee members the organization is concerned the state will be incapable of properly regulating the drilling with proper protections for streams for native brook trout and other species. She points to a bill now in the Pennsylvania legislature to remove the present 150-foot buffer required between a well pad and high quality waters.

“If passed, this bill would allow well pads to be built right up against streams, creating unacceptable risks to Pennsylvania’s waterways and its aquatic life,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap and T-U are urging Congress to carefully examine the potential impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling on water and land resources. She tells Congress Trout Unlimited volunteers are already working independently in the Marcellus Shale region to test water quality and monitor stream conditions in areas where gas development is underway.


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