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A Point-of-View paper from 2012 E-Forum

Land, Air, and Water Conservation Organization (LAWCO)

The Cobalt Gas Company is planning to establish a horizontal natural gas well. This well is to be built on a farm bordering the Tioga State Forest in Lycoming County upstream from Cedar Run. Many people see this as an opportunity ready for the taking, but what they don’t realize is the harm this well will bring to the environment. These harmful consequences will affect a variety of different things.

The forests, animal habitats, and rivers will be greatly affected by the Marcellus Gas drilling. Between 38,000 and 90,000 acres of forests will be cleared and another 60,000 to 150,000 acres will be cleared for the new pipeline. The drilling and clearing will affect the forest habitats and without trees, the soil will release between 18 to 45 million pounds of sediments per year. Between 30,000 and 80,000 pounds of nitrogen per year and 15,000 to 40,000 pounds of phosphorus per year will be released into the water. Forty-six percent of the drilling will be in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the water that is contaminated will affect everything between the drilling sites and the Atlantic Ocean. Already, the decline in water quality has affected the Eastern brook trout. Fifty percent of the trout’s native territory has been destroyed because of the increase in sediments and habitat fragmentation from the bridges across rivers and construction from the Marcellus Shale drilling. In 2011, 181 wells were drilled in Tioga County alone. The members of Trout Unlimited are working to help restore the rivers to the population of the Eastern brook trout can return to the area.

The drilling will also affect the people of the towns around the drilling site. The drilling can pollute the wells that people use for drinking water. It will also destroy nature trails and other areas that could be used for recreational activities. When the drilling starts, many small towns will be crowded with people who work on the rig and the town will grow and develop too quickly. Then when the gas well runs dry, the workers will leave and local businesses, like construction, supplies, and accommodations, will lose profits.

These are just a few of the numerous reasons why a natural gas well would not be right for this type of environment