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PA League of Women Voters opposes mine drainage bill

April 2, 2014

HARRISBURG, PA — The League of Women Voters is among more than 50 environmental organizations and community groups that have co-signed a letter requesting that Pennsylvania legislators not take action on a mining drainage bill before an environmental impact assessment has been completed, and if a vote is taken before that, urging elected officials to vote “no.” The League believes that while this bill started with good intentions in October 2011, it is now extremely dangerous.

According to the league, the bill, SB411, would exempt the extraction industry and others that withdraw, transport, store or use mine drainage water to sites anywhere in Pennsylvania for fracking and “other beneficial uses” from liability even if landowners next to or downstream from the pollution-producing site have suffered injury to their health, drinking water or property. Giving one industry the right to pollute the waters of the Commonwealth without any consequences is unfair, unwarranted and unwise, the league maintains.

The bill would allow the removal of coal mine drainage water for natural gas stimulation. A Rand Report spells out some of the dangers of removing coal mine drainage water for natural gas well stimulation. These include early corrosion of the gas well due to the nature of acid mine drainage, and bacteriological contamination of gas wells.