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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Gas Drilling Explosion Highlights Problems of Proximity to Homes and Schools
Delaware Riverkeeper Network   ::  EcoWatch  ::  February 13, 2014 

On Feb. 11, the town of Dunkard, PA was rocked by an explosion at a Chevron Appalachia natural gas drilling site. Yesterday the fire was still burning. One worker was reported injured and another as missing.

According to press reports, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Chris Abruzzo said it was “fortunate” that the nearest house was about a half mile away from the exploding drilling site.
While Abruzzo is busy thanking fortune for protecting families and the community from the devastating explosion, it is his agency that continues to fight to reinstate Governor Corbett’s pro-drilling Act 13—the law that would allow gas well pads and  their attendant infrastructure and harms, to be built just 300 feet from homes, schools, day care centers, hospitals or any other structure in Pennsylvania.
Responsible Environmental Management of Oil and Natural Gas in New Brunswick Rules for Industry  (February 15, 2013)

“The operator must not locate an oil or gas well head or a battery or a flare end, or a compressor station or a gas conditioning plant within: a) 500 metres [1640 feet] of an elementary school, middle school, high school, hospital, or nursing home; b) 250 metres [820 feet] of a dwelling; c) 250 metres [820 feet] of a place of outdoor public concourse such as a playground, fairground, outdoor theatre or campground; and d) 100 metres [330 feet] of any other permanent building, railway, pipeline, or public road.”

“Well pads are not permitted within 250 metres [820 feet] of a water well or a spring or a reservoir serving as an individual water supply, or within 250 metres [820 feet] of a surface water intake feeding into an individual water supply.”

It is time for good judgment, not just good fortune. The half mile buffer good “fortune” gave to the residents of Dunkard far surpasses what the DEP or the Governor would see them have (see picture that shows the comparison of what good fortune gave Dunkard versus what Abruzzo and Corbett continue to argue for). Sec. Abruzzo and Gov. Corbett continue their efforts to reduce the buffer of protection between drilling sites and houses, between the poisonous hazards on these site and the streams that provide us our drinking water, between dangerous drilling infrastructure and every aspect of our communities. 

As the Dunkard explosion reminds us, simple good commonsense commands that we protect our families and our drinking water from this dangerous industrial activity.

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