Altoona shouldn’t dive into lease prematurely
Altoona’s water is our finest asset – the watershed encompasses 66 acres of fresh running streams, seven reservoirs, beautiful forested acres for commonwealth citizens’ health and recreation.
It is well known that hydrofracking operations from Texas and Ohio covet these very lands and/or those that border upon them for their risky dwelling operations.
City Councilman Bruce Kelley’s proposal to lease is put forward for economic reasons, and yet the ramifications of such a deal would touch upon land use rights, use of environmental wilderness for citizens’ benefits, and a whole slew of aspects that the council would have to research before it could be assessed as a safe move.
Increased local flooding due to impact area (as current weather patterns demonstrate) and other unforseeables render this strategy highly speculative, even dubious.
Highly fragile ecosystems, depletion of pristine aquifers deserve trusted peer-reviewed biological science, which the Water Authority currently does not possess, and neither does City Council.
But, hey, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.
Incidentally, this same type of lease (50-year) was enacted in Lehigh County, which resulted in higher water user costs.