In New Wilmington, a barn has been converted into a field station for some environmental science students. The students have met at the barn every Tuesday since Thanksgiving to discuss educating and warning people about the risks of fracking. This group refers to themselves as the “Fracking Truth Alliance.”
Since the Marcellus Shale gas development has hit Lawrence County, many residents are curious as to how they are affected by this new technology. In the county, two wells have already been drilled and permits have been issued for six more. A total of 3,677 leases were signed in Lawrence County and the number count is growing.
The Fracking Truth Alliance is concerned about the effects that shale gas drilling – or “fracking” – will have on residents’ health, and surrounding communities. Their mission is to educate landowners about the potential risks and hazards of Marcellus drilling.
“We’re trying to get to the truth,” said Steve Beck, who owns 30 acres near New Bedford, Pa. “We hear positive and negative.”
While landowners can benefit from lease royalties if drilling takes place on their land, the chemicals used for fracking can pose a danger to groundwater. There have been reports of water being unfit to drink and/or bathe in since wells have been drilled. The Department of Environmental Protection Agency says state law requires drillers to case and grout wells through fresh water aquifers – which would keep the surface water separate from the groundwater.
Additional Marcellus Shale drilling concerns include: air pollution, destruction of farmland, and declining property values.
If you wish to know more about the Fracking Truth Alliance, please view their webpage for the latest updates and information on local meetings.