Associated Press article on fracking got it wrong
SPECULATION and fearmongering has no place in public safety or credible journalism, but it unfortunately found one in Associated Press writer David Caruso's recent article on hydraulic fracturing that ran in the Daily News.
SPECULATION and fearmongering has no place in public safety or credible journalism, but it unfortunately found one in Associated Press writer David Caruso's recent article on hydraulic fracturing that ran in the
Pennsylvania has implemented some of the strictest regulations on hydraulic fracturing in the nation, ensuring wastewater is treated properly before entering its waterways.
Caruso implies the "so salty" wastewater is carelessly released into waterways, but nothing could be further from the truth. The drilling industry previously adhered to the same water-quality standards as other industries in the state, but now removes 300 percent more dissolved salts, minerals and metals in the water - the same standard required for drinking water.
While Caruso claims "researchers are still trying to figure out" whether treated wastewater from fracking is "dangerous to humans or wildlife," the evidence is quite strong that it isn't. The state Department of Environment Protection, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy's office of fossil energy, just to name a few, all found it safe.
Wastewater generated by drilling isn't a new concern to state officials. Since the 1980s, nearly all wells drilled in Pennsylvania have been fractured, or "fracked." While the methods of monitoring continue to improve, the state was never caught "flat-footed," as Caruso suggested.
The "weakness" in Pennsylvania's reporting system is already being addressed by new regulations expected to be in place by next month, thus updating and expanding reporting requirements for drillers. Because gas companies are looking to stay in Pennsylvania for years to come, no one has a greater incentive to keep waterways clean than they do.
Despite Caruso's attempt to malign what has been determined to be a safe practice, Pennsylvania waterways are not endangered by drilling.
What is in danger by this misinformation is the economic boom for Pennsylvanians safely harvesting our natural resources.
Katrina Currie, research associate
It's appalling that David Caruso's Associated Press article would be posted and published based on the sensational premise that Pennsylvania isn't protecting drinking-water sources from drilling wastewater. Here's the reality: Every drop of tap water that was publicly treated is required to meet the safe-drinking-
On Aug. 21, a strict regulation took effect ensuring that no water supply is at risk for not meeting the safe- drinking-water standard for total dissolved solids (TDS). The state Department of Environmental Protection has actually been incorporating this standard into permits since mid-2009.
The regulation requires new or expanding dischargers to meet the TDS standard of 500 milligrams per liter. Existing dischargers are allowed to maintain their output levels so long as the receiving stream does not approach the TDS limit - a point lost in the Associated Press story.
If the extensive, multipartner monitoring network detects waterways exceeding 75 percent of that limit, DEP will step in and reduce the pollution so no industry compromises Pennsylvania's drinking-water quality.
The state's booming Marcellus shale drilling industry is creating challenges, but Pennsylvania has stepped up to meet them at every turn. We've doubled the number of oversight staff and now have arguably the nation's most aggressive oversight program.
That's the real story here, but government doing its job doesn't grab headlines the way a piece like Caruso's does. That's disappointing.
John Hanger, secretary
of Environmental Protection