Setbacks for fracking sites need to be increased


Editor, The News:

David Grey commented how sad it was to attend the latest Wilmington Township supervisor meeting. One supervisor asked the audience if a distance of 2,000 feet from home to well pad would make them happy. It looks like the Wilmington Township supervisors have made their decision: heck with the dangers. The issue is not only buildings around compressor stations. What about the airborne soot, volatile organic compounds and pollution from the numerous trucks?

Those who support fracking suggest the research is sham science, yet all of the professional peer-reviewed studies have not changed their conclusion: the setbacks need to be increased, not decreased.

Our state legislators provided the distance at 500 feet. They are not scientists or health professionals. The Pennsylvania Medical Society asked the governor to suspend fracking until it is known to be safe for those living nearby. Our state Supreme Court gave decision-making back to the local communities. I do not envy our supervisors the difficult decisions balancing any monies coming into the township coffers and the real concerns of those of us who who know of the risks.

Gov. Cuomo of New York considered the health studies and banned fracking altogether. Maryland considered a setback requirement of 2,000 feet before their Republican governor banned it altogether, saying the benefits did not outweigh the risks to the health and environment of Maryland (April, 2017). In 2013, Dallas, Texas, made the restriction 1,500 feet from any residence.

The studies I have read and cited suggest that in regards to health risks, well pads should be at least half a mile from the nearest community.

What is half a mile in feet? That would be 2,640 feet.

Janice Gabriel

Neshannock township

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