The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 20, 2012

Report: Fracking will affect economy, environment

JOHNSTOWN — Standing against the backdrop of the 2012 Pennsylvania River of the Year, a representative of PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center discussed her organization’s concerns about how extracting natural gas from Marcellus Shale can impact water quality and people’s health.

Field associate Mary Kate Ranii said the organization is calling for a moratorium on the process following the release of a report called “The Costs of Fracking,” sponsored by PennEnvironment, Environment America and the Frontier Group. In it, the organizations contend the fracking process, which involves breaking shale with pressurized, chemically treated water, negatively impacts the environment and the long-term economy of regions when the drilling takes place.

The local release of the study occurred Thursday at downtown Johns-town’s Point Park, where the Stonycreek and Little Conemaugh rivers meet to form the Conemaugh. The once orange-tinted Stonycreek was polluted by acid mine drainage to the point where aquatic life was all but nonexistent. Now, following decades of revitalization, it is a thriving, award-winning waterway used for recreation.

PennEnvironment hopes to avoid seeing fracking cause similar problems with rivers, streams and lakes.

“Gas, like coal and like oil, is a boom-and-bust cycle,” Ranii said. “During the boom, there’s the illusion of prosperity, but after the boom ends and the gas is all tapped, counties are left paying the real price, which is health impact and ruined roads and ruined drinking water.”

Ranii was joined by area residents who spoke out against fracking, including Carl Whipkey of New Florence, Kurt Limbach of Bolivar and Rev. William Thwing, pastor of the United Church of Christ in Johnstown’s Moxham section.

“All of this – this river, these mountains, this water we drink, this air we breathe – is a gift to us from God,” Thwing said. “It’s God’s property. It’s not ours to do with as we please. God created it, God loves it and God has entrusted it to us to use while we’re here and to care for the sake of ourselves, for the sake of the other creatures that depend on it and for the sake of future generations that come after us.”

Events releasing the report also were scheduled in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre.

“With this report, we wanted to show people the real cost of fracking,” Ranii said. “People know about the environmental and the health impact, but we really wanted to show them the dollars and cents of what it’s going to cost.

“In Pennsylvania, we are calling for a moratorium or just a pause on drilling until drillers can prove that they can drill for gas without negatively affecting public health and the environment.”

Energy in Depth, a subsidiary of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, questions the accuracy of the study.

“I think it’s another headline-grabbing study rolled out by PennEnvironment to try to obfuscate the debate on Marcellus Shale development. ... Clearly it was developed to reach a predetermined outcome,” said Energy in Depth spokesman John Krohn.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

  • new councilman Judge fills City Council vacancy

    A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads