Report Questions Environmental Price PA Pays for Fracking

11-18-2011 //

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Natural gas can be a major benefit to Pennsylvania's economy, but the environmental price tag that comes with drilling for it is the focus of a new report from the National Wildlife Federation.

The group's Todd Keller, senior manager for public lands campaigns, says the report looks specifically at hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the practice of using a high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to release the trapped gas. Keller says the report raises questions about how the practice affects a state such as Pennsylvania's water supply, air quality and wildlife.

"We believe this is a really, really timely report, and it's critical for people to get educated on the natural gas issue; what's going out there, what can be done to put in safeguards, etc."

Industry officials say fracking uses cement casings and drills deep into the earth to minimize environmental damage. Keller says the fallout from fracking comes in many forms: clearing forests to build drilling pads, drilling accidents which lead to stream and river pollution, and machinery exhaust which increases air pollution.

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