No More Drilling in the Dark

New report explores hazards of natural gas production on air, water and wildlife habitats

11-16-2011 // M├ękell Mikell

Natural gas is a part of America’s energy future, but it does not have to become part of this country’s energy failures when it comes to protecting air, water and wildlife habitat. A new National Wildlife Federation report, No More Drilling in the Dark: Exposing the Hazards of Natural Gas Production and Protecting America’s Drinking Water and Wildlife Habitats (pdf), delves into the challenges and potential solutions surrounding the unconventional drilling practice known as fracking.

Key recommendations for safeguarding air, water and wildlife habitat in No More Drilling in the Dark include:

  • Eliminating industry loopholes and exemptions from laws like the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • Safeguarding parks, tribal lands and other special areas.
  • Reducing drilling impacts on air, water and wildlife habitats.
  • Encouraging greater public involvement where natural gas drilling is occurring or being considered.

 “Transparency, sensible oversight and reliable safeguards for air, water and wildlife are just commonsense when it comes to drilling for natural gas,” said Todd Keller, senior manager for public lands campaigns for the National Wildlife Federation. “What should be best practices for the industry are also what is best for local communities and wildlife habitat.”

“State parks are the heart of Pennsylvania, and drilling in these special places would be a job killer for local economies and a threat to wildlife,” said Jan Jarrett, president and CEO of PennFuture. “Our public lands are just as valuable as our natural gas development. Pennsylvanians shouldn’t have to choose between them.”

“Unfortunately, here in Texas, policy makers have been slow to learn that extracting natural gas safely and responsibly requires adequate regulation and common-sense controls," said Texas state Rep. Lon Burnam.  "This report confirms the need for the kind of controls that will protect public health, wildlife and our already stressed eco-system."

“Hunters and anglers support a sound economy that balances responsible energy development with the needs of fish, wildlife and their habitats,” said Neil Thagard, energy initiative manager for Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Our nation’s quality of life, one enjoyed by sportsmen and non-sportsmen alike, depends on preserving this balance.”

 “When it comes to fracking fluids and transparency, natural gas companies need to either fish or cut bait,” said Thomas Buhr, secretary to the executive committee of Michigan Trout Unlimited. “Before they start drilling, they need to come clean about the chemicals they are putting into the ground that could impact our water, fish and wildlife.”

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