Fracking's Footprint on
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America
(CSSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)
15 July 2012 - Pennsylvania is hardly a stranger to energy
development. Since 1859, more than 325,000 oil and gas wells have
been drilled in the state, and many areas still bear the scars of
strip-mining for coal.
Now the latest energy boom in on. Thousands
of feet below the surface are the Marcellus and Utica shale
formations and their largely untapped reserves of natural gas.
Deep shale gas is tapped through the process known as hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking, and since 2004 nearly 3,000 of these new
wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania.
That’s just a tiny fraction
of the state’s conventional oil and gas wells. However, because
shale gas is so deep and fracking involves handling massive amounts
of water, shale gas development leaves a bigger footprint on the
landscape than does conventional drilling.
The latest issue of CSA News explores the potential impact of
fracking on Pennsylvania’s forests as well as how the most troubling
effects might be avoided or mitigated.
Researchers have found, for example, that the
heaviest gas development is occurring in the Susquehanna River
basin—the source of more than half the water flowing into the
embattled Chesapeake Bay.
And nearly 25% of shale gas wells have
gone into Pennsylvania’s last remaining tracts of unbroken, “core”
forest, which is among the last intact forest in the entire
Northeast, as well.
Read more in the July issue of
CSA News, a magazine published by the American Society of
Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society
A companion story also appears in
Horizons, an online publication of the Soil Science Society of
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The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of
America (CSSA), and Soil Science Soceity of America (SSSA) are
international scientific soceities headquartered in Madison, WI,
that promote the agronomy, crops, and soils disciplines by
supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and
providing high-quality research publications and a variety of member
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