Pennsylvania's designation as commonwealth indicates certain privileges "for the common good" concerning land "commons" such as forests, streams and rivers.
Current drilling practices such as used in fracking require millions of gallons of water per drilling site. (Three to 5 million gallons is a conservative estimate.)
Where do the energy corporations draw their water from? Recent stories from Ohio indicate that reservoirs, streams and rivers are often used to obtain the water. In one recent story, homeowners and trailer dwellers are being coerced to move so that an energy corporation can pump water gratis from the river in their neighborhood.
Such practices are beginning to crop up in Pennsylvania. It is disturbing to learn, for example, that a Texas gas drilling company has pulled millions of gallons of water from the Foster Sayers Lake in Centre County and from the West Branch Susquehanna River, as reported by the Centre Daily Times.
The environmental dangers are amazingly manifold: What to do in times of drought? What is the impact on natural areas caused by transporting water? What is the impact to the streambed, fish and other biotic life? What happens to the contaminated water after fracking?
Because out-of-state energy companies are not bringing in their own water, they need to access Pennsylvania's natural resources.
With the help of our governor and local water "custodians," who are turning a blind eye or who are in collusion, the companies are accessing the water for free. I challenge any citizen to try this. And yet the commonwealth is "for the common good." Of whom? The citizen, not the corporation, And certainly not the out-of-state Marcellus predators.
Peter Wolf, Altoona