Trout Unlimited Calls for Additional Safeguards to Protect Streams from Drilling Accidents

Mon, 04/25/2011


Contact: Erin Mooney, National Press Secretary (703) 284-9408

Trout Unlimited Calls for Additional Safeguards to Protect Streams from Drilling Accidents

Arlington, Va.-- On April 19, equipment failure at a Chesapeake Energy gas well site near LeRoy Township Pa., caused a leak, resulting in the release of thousands of gallons of hydrofracking water from the site, some of it reaching a tributary to Towanda Creek. Towanda Creek is a well-known trout stream that meets the Susquehanna River, about 16 miles downstream of the spill. Just upstream from the spill - from its headwaters to West Leroy, Pa, - Towanda Creek is classified by the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission as wild trout waters. 

"At this time, reports indicate that Chesapeake Energy and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have identified minimal impacts to the stream, although long-term impacts to aquatic life are not yet known," said Katy Dunlap, Trout Unlimited's Eastern Water Project Director.  "Yet this accident is an example of what can happen as drilling increases throughout the Marcellus Shale region," Dunlap continued. "Pennsylvania must set strict setbacks for well pads and pollution prevention safeguards to prevent exposure of drilling water and chemicals to rivers and fish."

The well site was located less than 500 feet from the tributary that drains into Towanda Creek - too close to prevent drilling fluid from entering the creek.

"Trout Unlimited and its Pennsylvania Council call on Pennsylvania to adopt strict and appropriate setback regulations for all of Pennsylvania's waterways, but especially for high quality, exceptional value or special trout designated waters," said Ken Undercoffer, President of the Pennsylvnia Council of Trout Unlimited.

"There are more than 15,000 miles of Pa. streams managed for trout fishing in Pennsylvania," Undercoffer said. "Many more stream miles that have received recognition as high quality and exceptional value waters. These natural resources are at risk as drilling permits continue to be issued in close proximity to streams.

Trout Unlimited is the nation's largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.


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