Gant Daily: Sestak Calls on EPA to Step Up Oversight of Marcellus Drilling

MEDIA – Following a blowout at a Pennsylvania natural gas well, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Congressman Joe Sestak called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today to increase its oversight of Marcellus Shale development.

The blowout at the natural gas well in Clearfield County last week, apparently caused by a failed blowout preventer, spewed polluted drilling water and natural gas 75 feet in the air and on the ground before being capped 16 hours later. The drilling liquid from the well’s hydraulic fracturing activities, whereby the liquids are shot underground at high pressure to break up shale and release its natural gas, flowed off the site and toward tributaries to Little Laurel Run.

While the situation was eventually contained, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said the accident could have resulted in a “catastrophic incident that endangered life and property.”

The circumstances of the accident are similar to those that led to the BP oil rig explosion in April at the Deepwater Horizon Rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Joe wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to ask that the Marcellus Shale development be monitored by the EPA to ensure that drilling does not harm Pennsylvania’s water resources.

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