May 18, 2011 —
For the second year in a row, the most endangered river in the United States, accoriding to the conservation group American Rivers, is a victim of natural gas drilling and the environmental hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.”
A report, released on May 17 by American Rivers, is described as "a wake-up call to policymakers as concerns mount that the process used to extract natural gas is contaminating drinking water and potentially threatening the health of millions."
The most endangered river of 2010 was the Upper Delaware River, which, the group says, is similarly threatened by natural gas extraction.
“Natural gas drilling poses one of the greatest risks our nation’s rivers have faced in decades,” says Andrew Fahlund, senior vice president for conservation at American Rivers. “Without strong regulations, public health and drinking water will be threatened by the toxic, cancer-causing pollution that results from hydraulic fracturing.”
American Rivers calls for moratorium on fracking, Susquhanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) disagrees
A statement from SRBC said the following:"SRBC wholeheartedly disagrees with American Rivers’ call for us to impose a moratorium on water withdrawal and use approvals for hydrofracing. Many in the public who oppose or are very wary of this practice believe the overriding concern relates to the potential impacts to water quality, which falls outside of SRBC’s regulatory responsibilities. We believe the decision whether to impose a moratorium falls squarely within the discretion of SRBC’s member states."
"It is SRBC’s job to wisely manage and conserve the water resources of the basin while encouraging their sustainable use and development. That is SRBC’s prescribed mission.
"In the Susquehanna basin, water quality regulations fall in the domain of our sovereign member states, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the federal government. As such, while our regulations are intended to be protective of aquatic resources, we do not regulate and have never regulated water quality, nor are we contemplating doing so in the future.
"When it comes to water quantity, the Commission solidly believes the largely water-rich Susquehanna basin can accommodate the natural gas industry’s water needs, especially during times when our waterways are flowing very high or at normal levels."