The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 2, 2014

Expected better

I was surprised that Representative Fred Keller’s column (June 18) about the benefits of fracking for natural gas was so one-sided. Yes, the economic benefits he cites are real, but I would have expected (from someone who was a key part of the successful effort to stop the tire burner in West Milton) some acknowledgement of the equally real, immediate and long-term environmental costs of fracking.  

There are documented cases of contamination of drinking water. There are documented cases of contamination of streams with chemicals that the drillers will not specify. There is irreparable fragmentation and destruction of woodlands, with destruction of habitat for wild animals. There are health issues that are overburdening health care facilities in the region, and under state law, physicians are not even allowed to tell their patients that their ailments are related to fracking.

And in the long run, when the gas is gone in 10 or 20 years, these companies will declare bankruptcy and move on, just like the coal companies in the anthracite region, or the lumber companies in the same region where fracking is now happening.

We, the taxpayers, will be left holding the bag yet again for cleanup and restoration.

That is what a severance tax is for, and every other gas-producing state has one. The gas companies aren’t going anywhere: this is where the gas is. Governor Corbett’s refusal to accept a severance tax reflects his dependence on the gas industry for financial support.

Fred Keller’s column reads like it was written by the PR department of the gas industry. I expected better.

John Peeler,


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