A recent editorial (“Gas in water more than coincidence,” July 1) highlighting research from a Duke University study is as short on facts as the study itself.
While the editorial’s headline states that methane in water wells is more than a “coincidence,” I think it’s safe to say that without pre- and post-drill water samples, it’s difficult to draw that conclusion, or any conclusion. More important, without pre- and post-drill sampling, scientifically, it cannot be determined whether methane levels in water wells increased, decreased or remained unchanged before natural gas development commenced in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The Times-Tribune’s initial report on the paper included facts about other recent studies that show a natural occurrence of methane in Northeast Pennsylvania water wells in areas where drilling has not yet begun. It’s unfortunate that the editorial left out this key piece of information.
Additionally, and what also escaped mention, is that these researchers did not conduct a random sample when selecting water wells to analyze. How they recruited homeowners to participate is still not known.
That said, the natural gas industry supports robust, fact-based scientific research and analysis that furthers the discussion and development of clean-burning natural gas.
As noted by this newspaper, and as the industry has stated for some years, it is time for Pennsylvania to put in place common sense water well construction standards to further protect homeowners’ water. As this debate continues and additional research is published, sound scientific methodology must continue to drive the conversation.
Marcellus Shale Coalition
NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.