Inside Climate News reporter Jake Bolster writes about PennEnergy, an oil and gas company which seeks to withdraw 1.5 million gallons of water, intended for fracking operations, from Pennsylvania's Big Sewickley Creek, a small but vital watershed.
In a nutshell:
Concerns abound regarding the potential harm to the creek's ecosystem, recreational lands, and the Southern Redbelly Dace, an imperiled fish species. Environmentalists, supported by local politicians, have opposed the water withdrawal, emphasizing the need for accurate and updated data on stream flow. Meanwhile, studies highlight the risks associated with fracking-related water withdrawals from small watersheds, as these practices could harm both aquatic life and water quality.
Big Sewickley Creek “is a treasured local natural resource for many reasons,” said Julie DiCenzo, a Bell Acres resident and an advocate for the watershed. “Eight municipal parks, two sportsman associations, several conservation areas, and a 1,200-acre state game lands lie within the watershed.”
The big picture:
The fracking process consumes vast amounts of freshwater, which can strain local water supplies. The chemicals used in fracking fluid, combined with naturally occurring compounds underground, can contaminate water sources, posing risks to human health and aquatic ecosystems. In addition, the withdrawal of water from small watersheds can disrupt fragile ecosystems and endanger species, threatening the delicate balance of local environments. These concerns underscore the need for stringent regulations and sustainable practices in the fracking industry to mitigate these adverse effects.
Read the article at Inside Climate News.
To learn more about the environmental and health effects of fracking, be sure to read our excellent series, 'Fractured: The body burden of living near fracking'.