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The rush to drill should alarm us all

Written by Susan Mannella on .

If the recent rash of serious injuries and environmental disasters involving Marcellus Shale drilling operations doesn't alarm you, it should. This untapped "gold mine" is a threat to our community as much as it is the "saving grace" for all of our economic problems. A recent well fire in West Virginia revealed that first responders were not prepared to handle a catastrophe of this type ("Burning Questions at Gas Well," June 9). What procedures are in place to notify residents if a local spill or release of toxic gases occurs? I really don't trust profit-seeking company reps to notify authorities in a timely fashion to protect my family.

Reports of 200,000 Marcellus-related jobs in Pennsylvania don't reveal that most of those jobs will be filled by Texas carpetbaggers. I have yet to see an advertisement for a local Marcellus job fair.

Gov. Ed Rendell has done nothing to protect Pennsylvania's interests other than to propose new taxes to compensate for his inadequate budgeting. The gas industry is protected by archaic laws that allow wells to be built adjacent to residential properties with nothing more than a grading permit.

Perhaps the most alarming threat is the profound increase of total dissolved solids in the Mon River watershed, a primary source of drinking water for thousands. The state Department of Environmental Protection is under-resourced to effectively protect this vital natural resource.

Slow down, Marcellus, your time will come, but for now public officials and local residents need to demand that we slam the brakes on this runaway train before it's too late.

JOHN DOWLING

Cecil

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