Oil drilling causes stir over rivers

With Harrisburg already deciding how to spend the yet-determined tax on natural gas drillers, the Marcellus Shale gold rush seems to be a done deal. Yesterday, however, a City Council committee hearing delved into whether hydraulic fracturing could end up contaminating Philadelphia’s water supply.

Council chambers were filled overwhelmingly by opponents with signs along the lines of “Go Frack Yourself, Not Me.” Scientists, environmentalists, utility officials and engineers were among those who testified before a Council committee. “What we do today could determine that quality of drinking water for my grandchildren,” Councilman Curtis Jones said.

While Academy of Natural Sciences Vice President David Velinsky said fracking could lead to decreased water quality in the Delaware River Basin — claims that hazard chemicals could seep from the frack-treated waters into drinking supply were abundant — uncertainty requires a full study.

Should be no worries for Philly

Marcellus Shale Coalition President Kathryn Klaber said day-to-day drilling operations and hydraulic fracturing “doesn’t result in contamination down­stream,” where Philadelphia is along the Dela­ware and Schuylkill rivers.

“It’s based on sound science,” she said, noting the coalition applauded the EPA study announce­ment. They aren’t applauding a push for a moratorium, though. “People want answers. … But, what other energy sources do they want besides natural gas? That’s what I’m not hearing.”

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