Since 2004, there have been more than 11,000 natural-gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania.
At the same time, natural gas prices have plummeted by 80 percent. Shell is building a petrochemical plant in Beaver County to use the ethane generated at wells. But at what cost?
Turns out, fracked wells are most productive in the first five years of operation. (There are already 100 wells in Washington County that are either plugged or inactive.) Some unlucky landowners are now paying the cost of producing gas that their royalties won’t cover. We already have miles of gas pipelines built, with more planned.
Also, the disposal of fracking waste water has changed the chemistry of our rivers and has had municipal drinking water authorities dealing with high levels of bromide and trihalomethanes. Although that’s now prohibited, the Allegheny River still has elevated bromide and radium levels.