I am an avid outdoors man and fisherman and I was very concerned about our natural resources even before the Dunkard Creek incident. Due to energy demands and the economy, drilling has and will increase in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Some problems that are arising are linked to underfunding and under-enforced regulations.
Drilling operations are supposed to "treat" wastewater, but obviously it is very expensive and not all operations are following these regulations. What concerns me even more is that drinking water advisories on the Monongahela River were brought about due to total dissolved solids concentrations that exceeded federal levels last year.
Allegedly, this was coming from another state, but as a result of continued pollution, almost a year later there is a horrible tragedy, and even still no one is saying for sure who did it, where the damage is coming from or who will foot the bill to restore the environment. If regulating officials cannot quickly catch polluters with warning and advance notice, what is going to happen in the future?
It seems that the process to allow more drilling in Allegheny National Forest moved very quickly and much faster than the process to stop pollution in the Dunkard incident areas. Unfortunately, it may be only a matter of time before the next environmental tragedy occurs in regions like the Laurel Highlands, Allegheny National Forest or Fisherman's Paradise.
I know that there is a lot of money to be made at the corporate, state and private levels and that this is a multifaceted issue, but the inability to regulate might have to mean less drilling or possible legislative changes to preserve Pennsylvania's most valuable resources.