Marcellus Shale Coalition Statement on Recent Post-Gazette Report

CANONSBURG, Pa. – The Marcellus Shale industry today issued the following statement regarding misleading and incorrect information featured in the Oct. 4 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, “Toxins tied to fish kill may have hitchhiked.”

It is irresponsible and premature to speculate on the source or sources contributing to the aquatic condition of Dunkard Creek. The situation with the Dunkard Creek is unfortunate and deserves a thorough and proper investigation of possible causes. Why the Marcellus Shale industry is even mentioned in this article when there has not been Marcellus drilling activity anywhere near the upper reaches of Dunkard Creek where the algae was found is unwarranted and completely mischaracterizes the situation.

The entire natural gas industry is committed to environmental stewardship. As residents of the Commonwealth, we are also eager to learn more about this incident. We are working with the appropriate regulatory agencies to help determine the cause and source, including active participation in collecting and analyzing water samples from the creek.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has stated that there are numerous theories and thousands of possible sources of golden algae, including migrating birds, animals, non-gas industry vehicles or equipment, and sportsmen — all of which are completely unrelated to natural gas drilling, equipment or transportation processes.

Natural gas producers follow stringent regulations on the management of water resources. Water withdrawals from streams and rivers are permitted by the DEP, and flowback water generated from hydraulic fracturing must be managed and treated according to state regulations. Many natural gas producers are recycling all or large portions of this flowback water, eliminating the need for treatment and eventual discharge into waterways.

The Marcellus Shale industry will continue to work with appropriate state and federal agencies to investigate the situation.