fracking in Pennsylvania

Fracking_SiteS. Harrison Grigg at Guernica:

The governor decided to dub the region “The Pennsylvania Wilds” after remembering that we were up there, running loose in the woods, and making the first dignitary visit to Tioga County in years. “The Pennsylvania Wilds” was a marketing plan to seduce more leaf peepers, RV campers, and retirees. Outdoor gear shops replaced five-and-dimes; artisan shops filled the smoke shops. Someone even suggested building a casino at the edge of the state forest, near the gorge, to attract more tourists. The New York Times Real Estate section covered us, our affordable acreage plumed as weekend getaway properties. It was a compelling pitch, but the writer complained that the only chain restaurant option was a lonely McDonald’s.

There’s more. The ground, the shale of the canyon, below the state forests, below the farms, holds miles of natural gas. Companies circled over Pennsylvania for decades, but they could never crack the ground because their methods couldn’t safely tap the gas trapped in tiny pores—until hydrofracking.

Now they cut roads into the woods, fly choppers over pastures to haul in supplies, pour concrete well pads, erect compressor stations, and clear-cut miles of forest to run in a line. Millions of gallons of water are drawn from lakes, rivers, wetlands, and wells, and then mixed with sand, chemicals, and some other things that nobody knows and companies don’t have to disclose. This concoction is injected at high force through the massive concrete well, splintering layers of shale like a spoon cracking the surface of a crème brûlée. The toxic water fills the pores, thereby flushing out the gas.

more here.