New Bill Allows Drillers to Use Acid Mine Water for Fracking in PA

An idea whose time has come–in fact is long overdue–is that of re-using acid mine water (AMW) for fracking. The Old Forge borehole was drilled years ago near Scranton, Pennsylvania to alleviate the problem of water seeping into abandoned coal mines in the area, contaminated mine water that was threatening the water table. Old Forge was drilled to channel that water out–and into the Susquehanna River. Some 60-100 million gallons of acid mine water comes out of that hole every single day! It is the largest single source of pollution for the Chesapeake Bay. In 2013 money was allocated to begin a pilot project to clean up the acid mine water at Old Forge, using money from the impact fee assessed on Marcellus drillers in the state (see Specifics on Marcellus $ Helping to Clean Chesapeake Bay Pollution. While that’s a great plan, what’s even better is that drillers are ready and willing to use AMW for fracking operations–except for liability laws. The current laws on the books say “if you touch it, you own it” and drillers are afraid if they begin using AMW, litigious lawyers for Big Green groups like Food & Water Watch will take them to court and try to bankrupt them–claiming the AMW, even if treated, is causing negative environmental and health issues…

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