Basket Creek flows into the Upper Delaware River near Long Eddy, NY. The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, part of the National Park Service’s Wild and Scenic Rivers System, stretches 73.4 miles along the New York – Pennsylvania border.I spent time in northern Pennsylvania this week shooting a magazine story about fracking. (What is fracking?)
The upper Delaware River is a really beautiful place. Amazing how pristine it is considering how close it is to NYC and Philadelphia. I can understand why local residents are worried about plans for 35,000 natural gas wells along the river. (As of 2009 there were already over 77,000 gas wells in Pennsylvania, but none yet in the protected Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River area.)
Researchers have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, methane and xylene found in contaminated drinking water near drilling sites. Other environmental concerns include surface water contamination, air pollution, forest fragmentation, and human health problems. The 2005 Energy Policy Act exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act (plus some regulations of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act), and exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during fracking.
On the other hand, gas companies and property owners stand to earn up to one trillion dollars in profits from drilling in the Marcellus Shale. And it's clear that these small towns need income, with nothing else but tourism to hold up the economy.
The article will be out in October and I'll post my full photo essay then.