Just plain pretty … for now

We were on our way back from another of our treks along the Pine Creek rail trail when this view to the north beckoned.  Neither of us is very sanguine about what the future may hold for this most beautiful landscape. As you may have heard the Marcellus Gas Shale Industry has already had significant local impacts on both water quality and on forest and wetland habitats. Because naturally occurring gas shale has such low permeability, hydraulic fracturing makes the extraction of natural gas more efficient. The technique includes the delivery of fracturing fluids 5,000 – 20,000 feet into the ground, under pressure, to open fissures in the rock thereby liberating gas from the surrounding formations. Where these fluids migrate (they are not fully recovered from the wellbore) is not understood. What influence perturbation of these natural rock formations will have on gas migrations and on the local water table is not known. This significant lack of knowledge notwithstanding, the Pennsylvania Gas Shale Industry moves ahead much like the California Gold Rush. To its credit New York State has been somewhat more suspect of hydraulic fracturing … but that reticence may soon change. How unfortunate it is that markets and money talk, no matter what may be at stake. What dollar value would you suggest be placed on the scenery below? And what of the value of vigorous trees?  Healthy soil? Clean water? Unpolluted air? And multitudes upon multitudes of plants and animals which depend upon these resources – unspoiled? Ponder that.

8 thoughts on “Just plain pretty … for now

  1. This section of the Pennsylvania constitution hangs in the cubicles of many of my coworkers. Sadly, these seem to be just words on a page. Pennsylvania has a knack for repeating history when it comes to our natural resources. When will LHU be getting its first wellpad? There might be enough space on the commons between McEntire, High, and Gross Halls.

    Section 27. Natural Resources and the Public Estate
    The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

    • Wow! Thanks for passing that along. Unbelievable! Just unbelievable. Why is it that those who hold elected office don’t follow the rules they work to establish? Yes, I know, silly question. Got any good news today?

  2. This strongly resonates with what we’re seeing happen here in the desert. We have come to love the amazing landscape here as well. Watching one of the last few intact ecosystems in our country become fragmented by industrial scale solar has been heartbreaking. I know just how you feel.

    • Sorry for not responding promptly. The fragmentation of any ecosystem, especially smaller ones, is never good. If you remember anything about genetic drift you will know that reductions in population size and limits on gene flow can spell the end of resident plant and animal populations – or at least the genetic diversity of them. I am struck by the double-edge-sword phenomenon here. Building solar reserves to ‘save the planet’ and, at the same time, threatening resident flora and fauna. What is your solution? Construct in someone else’s backyard? The news is always depressing. Nice to hear from you though – that is always the silver lining. D

    • Thanks Dianne … it’s always uphill battle. So many people – so many needs – and dwindling resources. Answers are difficult and never accepted by all those involved (on both sides of these issues). Thanks for your vote of support. D

  3. What a beautiful photograph! Good questions and thoughts. I have my opinions on fracking, but of course they are not appropriate for this family channel …

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