Letter to the Editor: Concerned About Fracking in Montco

A call to prohibit fracking in Montco.

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men." —Rachel Carson

Natural gas drilling by horizontal slickwater fracturing  (often called fracking) is a monumental environmental issue PA is facing that impacts everyone’s future. 

Often referred to as a “bridge to cleaner energy” our governor is supporting drilling any and everywhere possible in Pennsylvania to capitalize on the gas drilling boom.  Since the Marcellus Shale does not underlie Montgomery County, I think many of us assume this is not our problem because it’s not in our neighborhood or 500 feet from our schools, but it could be coming our way. 

As previously published in Patch, http://ambler.patch.com/articles/fracking-debate-comes-to-montgomery-bucks-counties, there is a natural gas reserve waiting to be explored in Montgomery and Bucks Counties called the South Newark Basin.  Currently there is a ban on granting drilling permits in the 2 counties, but that is subject to expire in 2018 to give the state time to evaluate the potential of the reserves and the impact on the environment.  This is precisely why if you are concerned about fracking you need to speak out now. 

If Marcellus Shale Drilling is allowed to continue, it will make it easier for the South Newark Basin to be drilled.  Not that fracking upsteam does not hurt us.  We are not as island and we cannot keep the air from blowing or water from flowing, but having the actual drill rigs, well pads, extra trucks, noise pollution, air pollution, etc. in our Township would be significantly worse.

Some serious environmental and human health issues to consider are:

  • methane gas leaks contributing to climate change
  • greater asthma cases and costs due to increasing air pollution
  • the lack of transparency of disclosure from the gas industry on actual chemicals utilized in the entire process of fracking
  • forest fragmentation caused by well pad, road and pipeline construction that will hurt wildlife
  • waste brine used on roads for de-icing; when ice melts or rain falls, the waste can run off roads and end up in the drinking supply
  • disposal of drill cuttings and radioactive flowback waste in wastewater treatment plants and/or landfills
  • and the fact that millions of gallons of fresh water is being used to frack wells, and each time fresh water is used it is completely removed from the water cycle. 


Natural gas drilling is not a bridge to cleaner energy.  

What can you do?

  • Conserve energy at home.  Get a home energy audit, add insulation, lower the thermostat on your heat.  EnergyWorks is a good place to start.
  • Contact your representatives.  Demand more energy subsidies for renewable energy like solar and wind and have them make clean energy jobs a priority. If you don’t know who represents you, look here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/state/main/?state=GA&view=myofficials
  • Get involved in a group.  There are several local ones like The Delaware River Keeper or Protecting Our Waters.
  • Install solar panels or switch to an energy supplier that focuses on renewable resources like solar and wind. 


Erin Crump, Blue Bell

Marie Crawford April 04, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Stephen, I never suggested you can't have an opinion. It has been my experience that it us difficult to assess the effects if our choices on other people, without putting ourselves in their shoes.
The optimist April 04, 2013 at 02:33 PM
i think we should learn from history...love canal...... so let fracking occur but for every hole dug or every 10,000 gallons of "fluid" whether water or something else there should be usage tax put upon the drilling company. That money would goto either future legal claims or if the claims are unfounded returned to said company. Think of it as escrow.
Marie Crawford April 04, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Glad you asked about our alternate heat. We're not a family that can buy into alternative energy so here's what we did. First of all, we have a summer-winter hookup oil furnace for central heat. Using this the way we had before economizing meant that we burned about 1000 gallon of oil each year. Since last August, I have ordered only 250 gallons of oil, and there was 150 gallons in the tank to start and expect to use another 150 gallons through the summer. So that's 1/2 the amount of oil than we previously used. Last year, with a warmer winter we used even less. Here's what we do. It's not perfect, but it does burn much less oil and saves us using roughly 500 gallons of oil. We have become a family again. Instead of retreating to separate rooms to do homework, internet, or hobbies in the cold months, we use our family room and kitchen. In the rest of the house, when it is not freezing, we now actually turn the heat off. Cooking makes heat, I have a small ceramic heater by my desk, and interestingly, our electric bill is not higher (possibly offset by the cost of the oil burner's frequent firing?) We turn the oil burner on for an hour or two each day to do dishes, wash, and shower, or we skip the shower and opt to shower at the YMCA, after an exercise class. If you visited us in our family room, you would find the TV on, the stove cooking, and the thermostat is turned up to 58 degrees when we use the room. TBC
Marie Crawford April 04, 2013 at 03:23 PM
We put a door between the family room and the rest of the house to keep the heat in. When we really feel cold, which has only been about 5 times this winter, we use our wood stove. The stove has a catalytic converter, so it double burns everything, Continued:even the smoke, so that it burns much cleaner than a regular stove. We Continued - When we use the catalytic woodstove use oak from our property that is dying from bacterial leaf scorch, brought to the Middle Atlantic states from a southern leafhopper that can now survive further North than it previously could, so the only trees we cut are ones that are already dying. Other measures: We dry our clothes at night or when heat is most needed, opening the vent to our basement, so that instead of the heat running outside, it goes into the basement, rising to help warm the house. At night, we sleep under down and fleece, or electric blankets.
Marie Crawford April 04, 2013 at 03:37 PM
In 1988, when I bought my first house, my thermostat was set at 72 degrees. By 1998, it was regularly set at 60 degrees. So you can see this adjustment to cooler temperatures has taken place gradually. We are hardier for it. The cold does not feel as cold, and I have learned that rather than needing a constant temperature, once becoming more active in the cold, we just need to be able to warm up. If you came to our house on a winter evening, you would find us together (more people in the same room makes more heat), and see that we wear comfy warm clothes, and have blankets or quilts on our chairs and sofas. Also, we have an heater in the ceiling of the bathroom that is used only when we bathe or shower. Also, we open the curtains on the Southern/Eastern side of our house on sunny days, and close them in the evening. Right now, the outside temp is 44°, our heater is off, the curtains open, and the indoor temp is 60°. We could have switched to gas to save money while it is cheap, but in good conscience, did feel right about this with what is happening North of us. So instead of buying a (temporarily) cheaper fossil fuel, we just use less of our current fossil fuel. This really has not been a big sacrifice, but more of a change of mindset. I now less sensitive to the cold and healthier, too.


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