March 30, 2012 |
Government officials have now confirmed what they strongly suspected a year ago: The radioactive iodine-131 in some of the region's waterways, also found in minute amounts in Philadelphia's drinking water, is coming from thyroid patients. After patients swallow the chemical in capsule or liquid form, some of it passes into their urine, which then enters the wastewater-treatment system and winds up in rivers that provide drinking water, the officials said. Philadelphia's water is safe, according to officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Philadelphia Water Department, and the city Department of Health.
March 15, 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said that well-water tests of 11 homes in Dimock, Pa., near Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling "did not show levels of contamination that could present a health concern. " The samples included three of four households that are receiving drinking water deliveries from the federal government. EPA said it will reevaluate the need to provide water after an additional round of testing. "We are pleased that data released by EPA today on sampling of water in Dimock confirmed earlier findings that Dimock drinking water meets all regulatory standards," said George Stark, spokesman for Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., whose drilling activity has been blamed for well-water contamination.
March 9, 2012
The multistate agency that governs the Delaware River basin has made a sensible decision to continue a moratorium on natural-gas drilling in the watershed. But that has put the Delaware River Basin Commission at odds with some very powerful forces, including state capitals that provide its funding. Fortunately, aside from a direct threat that wasn't carried out by New Jersey to yank its contribution to the DRBC, the agency hasn't been targeted because of its policies on drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation.
January 20, 2012 |
Federal regulators said Thursday that they would deliver drinking water to four households near natural gas wells in the embattled town of Dimock, casting doubt on Pennsylvania's decision to allow a Marcellus Shale operator to halt deliveries in December. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also said it would conduct its own water sampling at 61 homes in the rural Susquehanna County township "to further assess whether any residents are being exposed to hazardous substances that cause health concerns.
December 2, 2011 |
Last month, Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer testified before Congress on what he called the "unbiased real facts" of shale-gas exploration. Speaking before the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, he gave four examples of "suspect science" on the safety of hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas. One of the examples he discussed at length was our study at Duke University. Our study with two coworkers, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May, found no evidence that fracturing fluids had contaminated drinking water, but it did find evidence of higher methane, ethane, and propane concentrations in some drinking-water wells near drilling sites.
November 27, 2011
Do you support continuing the moratorium on drilling in the Delaware River region that provides this area's drinking water?
November 6, 2011 |
If you despair of the direction of today's youth, the general torpor and indifference of so many, head to Central High. Visiting this school, one of the region's academic treasures, a United Nations of young talent, always makes me feel better about teenagers, Philadelphia, and, well, almost everything. There should be a dozen Centrals, and the day that occurs, we can claim success. Central is home to many remarkable students, including sophomore Afaq Mahmoud, whom her friends call Fofo, pronounced "Fufu.
September 18, 2011
Don't distort fracking debate Banning fracking would reverse the 70 percent reduction in natural-gas prices consumers have experienced since 2008. This would have a stark impact on Pennsylvania families, especially low-income families, who spend almost a quarter of their after-tax income on energy. An attack on affordable energy is an attack on low-income families' ability to heat their homes, run hot water, and cook food. Thankfully, we don't have to choose between the environment and the poor, because drilling is being done responsibly, ensuring clean water and fresh air. But in "Drilling push raises stakes on health, environment," (Sept.
September 10, 2011
Maybe if Pennsylvania natural-gas drillers hadn't tallied hundreds of serious environmental violations during the still-nascent Marcellus Shale boom, the ranks of protesters who swarmed an industry conference in Philadelphia this week would have been a little thinner. But it's those violations, incurred when extracting natural gas by pumping a witch's brew of chemicals underground, that have given so many people understandable pause over the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.