Philadelphia and Marcellus Shale

Julie Slavet
Sep 28, 2010

Ashley and I were pleased to spend the day today hearing expert testimony from scientists, gas companies, environmentalists, government officials, and economists at a Philadelphia City Council Hearing regarding the Marcellus Shale. We’ll have a long post up summarizing each speaker shortly, but for now, we’d like to point you to an article that ran into today’s Philadelphia Inquirer that explores the Philadelphia Water Departments stance on the Shale. An excerpt:

“Although half of the source for Philadelphia’s drinking water is underlain by Marcellus Shale,” [Philadelphia Water Department Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Services] Neukrug testified, “we recognize that the extraction of natural gas is an activity that can be performed with low risk to natural resources if there is good enforcement of existing regulations, inspection of drilling sites, and restoration of sites to their pre-drilling state.”

Neukrug said that the city’s chief concern about Marcellus development was deforestation and soil compaction – conditions associated with any development. The runoff from lawns contains much more nitrogen, dirt, and fecal coliform than runoff from forests, he said.

“Preventing forest loss is fundamental to the long-term quality of Philadelphia’s drinking-water supply,” Neukrug testified.

In an interview last week, Water Department officials said they had worked quietly with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission to strengthen drilling regulations. They said they would not be shy about raising alarms if they saw a threat.

“The Marcellus Shale is just another issue we’re dealing with,” said Kelly Anderson, the department’s source-water protection manager.

Go read the article and check back here later for highlights from today’s City Council hearing!

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