State of Key Pa. Rivers Growing Stronger Alongside Safe Natural Gas Production

Pittsburgh, Pa. – While there continues to be a great deal of public focus on the safe, effective and tightly-regulated development of clean-burning American natural gas, especially as it relates to protecting our water resources, the health of several key Pennsylvania rivers are strong – further demonstrating that natural gas development can, and must, be balanced with enhancing our environment.

For its part, the natural gas industry recognizes that technological advancements must continue to be leveraged across its operations toward the shared goal of a stronger environment and a stronger economy. And through the ongoing development of Recommended Practices and other water management technologies, which are allowing for more water to be recycled and reused, along with common sense environmental regulations, this objective continues to be met. And as President Obama said a week ago in his State of the Union Address, responsible shale gas development “has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.”

  • Monongahela River Named Pa. River of the Year. Earlier this month, the Monongahela River was “named Pennsylvania’s 2013 River of the Year following public, online voting across the state,” according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in partnership with the Pennsylvania Organization for Watershed and Rivers. Commenting on the award, which have been presented annually to various waterways across the Commonwealth since 1983, DCNR secretary Richard Allan said “the Monongahela is surging back as a vital link to unlimited recreational potential and rich natural and historical resources.” 
  • SRBC Notes “Good Progress” in Annual State of the Susquehanna Report. Last week, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) released its annual State of the Susquehanna assessment “showing trends in water use, drinking water, stormwater, aquatic habitat and other key water resource indicators,” according to its press release. With nearly 6 million people dependent on the basin for their drinking water supplies, SRBC – along with other regulatory bodies – continues to tightly-regulated natural gas related activities and withdrawals in the region. And while some question the volumes of water required in the natural gas production process, SRBC’s report makes clear that such activities – which have increased slightly – represent a fraction of total water use from the Susquehanna River. The following charts – from page 5 of SRBC’s report – highlight this fact.

SRBC2

SRBC1

This positive news cannot, and will not, make for complacency however. The responsible development of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale – which is helping to put more than 240,000 Pennsylvanians to work today, according to the state Department of Labor & Industry – represents a generational opportunity, and we must work collaboratively and diligently to get this right. President Obama is right — we need to encourage this safe development.