DEP Encourages Pollution Just Be Buried Deeper!

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came out with a press release announcing the process to use acid mine runoff from coal mines in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, including Marcellus Shale wells .

DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said, “Acid mine drainage impairs more than 5,000 miles of streams in our state, making it ideal for operators to take the drainage out of our waterways and put it to use for hydraulic fracturing,”

Each day, more than 300 million gallons of acid mine drainage discharges into state waterways from sites in the anthracite and bituminous coal regions. Instead of cleaning up that mess, the DEP is recommending the problem be buried deeper. Hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale wells takes place 5,000 to 8,000 feet below groundwater tables. Their logic rests on the assumption that the polluted water is not too likely to find its way into groundwater.

It’s somewhat funny to hear an agency with the title Department of Environmental Protection come out with ideas like this. Using the same logic the commonwealth of Pennsylvania should consider opening the gas wells to other toxic waste disposals too. After all it’s so deep in the ground there’s no way it can hurt anything, right?

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