Fracking, gas pipelines threaten Pennsylvania's environment

The Morning Call - Op-Ed

By Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark

June 11, 2015

For much of the past decade, the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale gas formations has been employed by natural gas drilling companies in southwest and northeast Pennsylvania.

The industry has professed to police itself effectively, and when greater regulations were recently suggested, David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, chafed, saying, "These duplicative regulations … have the potential to create an enormous amount of operational disruption without providing any meaningful environmental benefits."

On a parallel track, drillers are fighting mightily against the regulation of emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that could easily undo the benefits of the coal-to-gas switch currently powering Pennsylvania. The methane that is leaking everywhere from well pads and compressor stations to pipelines that deliver gas to our homes has 84 times the warming potential of carbon in the first 20 years of its release into the atmosphere. It's a climate catastrophe in the making.

Pope Francis will address this issue head-on when he delivers his first major encyclical, on climate change, to the world's 1 billion Catholics this summer.

Read the full article here. 

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