Texas gas company allowed to resume fracking after three Pa. spills

Hydraulic fracturing – the subject of so much controversy on Colorado’s Western Slope lately – will be allowed to resume in Susquehanna County, Pa., after state environmental officials said they were satisfied with prevention plans submitted by a Texas company that reported three chemical spills related to the process last month.

Held up by proponents of proposed federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as yet another example of potential environmental problems associated with the process, the Pennsylvania case has been portrayed as another warning sign in the ongoing natural gas boom in the Mid-Atlantic region’s Marcellus Shale formation.

In Colorado’s heavily drilled Garfield County, commissioners are weighing a resolution supporting federal legislation co-sponsored by Colorado Reps. Diana DeGette and Jared Polis that would remove a Safe Drinking Water Act exemption for fracking that was granted during the Bush administration in 2005.

While some Coloradans are concerned about water quality and wildlife habitat in the Rocky Mountains, opponents of the boom in the Marcellus Shale are worried New York City’s watershed may be compromised by fracking, which involves injecting water, sand and undisclosed chemicals into tight rock and sand formations to force out more natural gas.

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