"A key piece of the state's approach to controlling water pollution from Pennsylvania's fast-expanding natural gas drilling activity cleared a major hurdle Thursday.
The Independent Regulatory Review Commission voted 4-1 over the objections of the gas industry to approve the Rendell administration's proposal to prevent pollutants in briny drilling wastewater from further tainting public waterways and household drinking water. State environmental officials say too much of the pollutants can kill fish and leave an unpleasant salty taste in drinking water drawn from rivers.
"Drilling wastewater is incredibly nasty wastewater," state Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said after the vote at the panel's public meeting. "If we allow this into our rivers and streams, all the businesses in Pennsylvania will suffer ... all those who drink water in Pennsylvania are going to be angry and they would have every reason to be, and all of those who fish and love the outdoors are going to say, `What did you do to our fish and our outdoors?'""
Marc Levy reports for the Associated Press June 18, 2010.
"Film Challenges Safety Of U.S. Shale Gas Drilling" (Reuters)