Council: Don’t use lake water for drilling

Harveys Lake officials cite environmental concerns in opposing the water use.

EILEEN GODIN Times Leader Correspondent

HARVEYS LAKE – Council members on Tuesday night voiced concerns over a gas company’s interest in using lake water for the drilling of the Marcellus Shale.

Environmental scientists from Gannett Fleming Engineering are interested in drilling in the Marcellus Shale region, which runs through Northeastern Pennsylvania. The shale contains pockets of natural gas.

The gas company wants to use 20 million gallons of water from Harveys Lake for a process called hydrofracing. Hydrofracing is the use of high pressure water to create cracks in the rock surrounding the shale so that the gas can be recovered.

Council Chairman Lawrence Lucarino said the shale is located a mile or more below the earth’s surface.

Council members say they oppose the practice because they are trying to protect the state’s largest natural lake.

But even though the council can deny it the use of the water, “the federal government can override the council’s decision,” Councilwoman Diane Dwyer said.

The council has asked attorney Charles D. McCormick to draft a letter stating the borough’s position and reasons against using the lake water.

“Who knows how well they will filter out the contaminants before letting the water back into the lake,” Dwyer said.

She asked residents to “please be watchdogs and keep an eye on your backyard.”

The Marcellus Shale fields are located in the Appalachian Basin, running through Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. According to the Web site, the Appalachian Basin could provide 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas for the United States. The United States now produces 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In other news, emergency 911 street maps have been returned to the borough. Council members Carole Samson and Charles Musial will review the maps to make sure all the street names are correct.

This process should take about one to two weeks, Samson said. Once approved by the borough, the maps will be sent to the County 911 office for final approval.

Copyright: Times Leader