Philadelphia weighs response to gas drilling

    Councilman believes city’s buying power could force a safer approach to extracting gas from Marcellus Shale.

    As Philadelphia City Council prepares to explore the Marcellus Shale controversy later this month, a city councilman says Philadelphia’s natural-gas buying power could be leverage to make sure gas drilling is done safely.

    Councilman Curtis Jones says he believes the extraction process to remove natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, known as fracking, could contaminate the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers in Philadelphia. He says the hearings will find out if that is the case.

    “So when you use high concentrations of saline which is simply put as salt into extracting properties out of the Marcellus Shale, the potential for catastrophic impact on our water supply is there,” says Jones.

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    Jones says he may use his position on the commission overseeing Philadelphia Gas Works to keep the city from purchasing natural gas extracted from shale. Although the state and federal governments regulate the gas extraction, Jones believes Philadelphia’s buying power could give the city a voice in the process.

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