HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale, noted that residents witnessing hazardous, suspicious or illegal activities linked to Marcellus Shale gas-drilling should notify federal and state authorities.
“The drilling boom brings with it many risks and hazards, not only to water resources and public infrastructure but also to the companies’ workers and investments,” George said. “Increased vigilance must accompany the increased activity.”
George said spills and other emergencies may be reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s regional office at 570 327-3636 or toll free at (1) 800 541-2050.
Less-urgent complaints may be made to the toll-free Citizen Complaint Line at (1) 866 255-5158, pressing #4 to reach the Northcentral Regional Office. Complaints may be filed anonymously online to the office through the links on the DEP Web site.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Mid-Atlantic Region offers a natural gas drilling tip line for reporting dumping and other illegal or suspicious hauling or disposal activities. The toll-free number is (1) 877 919-4372 and the email address is email@example.com.
All projects approved by the Susquehanna River and Basin Commission, as well as pending water withdrawal and consumptive use applications, are available on the commission’s Web site.
“In five years, almost 1,500 Marcellus Shale wells have been drilled and more than 3,700 permits issued,” Rep. George said. “Not surprisingly, the violations have spiked, and 565 citations have been filed against well operators so far this year.”
Rep. George said that the Goshen Township supervisors notified him that a well, access road and a 4 million gallon hydraulic fracturing impoundment has been proposed off McGeorge Road.
“I learned of it the same day that the state Agriculture Department was forced to quarantine 28 head of cattle when they drank drilling wastewater that had leaked from a holding pond,” said Rep. George, whose House Bill 2213 calls for disclosure of the precise composition of fracturing fluids.
“Already, low stream levels are forcing a halt to water withdrawals by well drillers,” Rep. George said. “It is just one of a million scenarios that we have to consider.”