Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gas Drilling in the Delaware River Watershed

The Marcellus shale formation covers large areas of New York and Pennsylvania, and there is a very serious push for natural gas drilling in these areas.

Environmentalists see potentially disastrous consequences for the area’s water supply (including New York City’s drinking water) as well as other possible damage to the environment.

The shale runs beneath almost all of West Virginia and much of Pennsylvania, with several miles across New Jersey's northwestern border, south of Dingmans Ferry along the Delaware River. Drilling won't be an issue in NJ because there's no recoverable gas in those sections because it is on the surface.

Delaware River at Dingman's Ferry

Drilling generally only recovers about 10 percent of a deposit and last year the U.S. used 23 trillion cubic feet of gas. If you believe the most optimistic view of the Marcellus Shale predictions, it could provide enough gas to heat New Jersey homes for 250 years at current demand.

You can look at what the pro-drilling side says about the Marcellus shale and its potential at geology.com.

The U.S. Geological Survey is not as optimistic. Their estimate in 2002 was that less than 2 trillion cubic feet of gas would be recoverable from the Marcellus shale.

There will be a webinar conducted by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Riverkeeper, Inc. on April 29, 2009 at 10:30 am. The Dodge Foundation and the New York Community Trust are co-hosting this funders’ briefing.

The webinar will focus on the impacts of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. They will also discuss the gas drilling issue within the broader national debate on climate change and energy independence.

1 comment:

  1. Ken

    This is a great post.. I hope you publish more articles on the Delaware System. I would be interested in your opinion on the flexible flow management plan for releases on the Upper Delaware River.