At 6:45 am on Feb. 11, Dunkard was rocked by the explosion at a Chevron Appalachia natural gas drilling site. The fire was finally extinguished Saturday. One worker was reported injured and another was killed.
According to press reports, Chris Abruzzo, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said it was fortunate that the nearest house was about a half-mile away from the explosion.
While Abruzzo is busy thanking fortune for protecting families and the community from the devastating explosion, it is his agency that continues to fight to reinstate Gov. Tom Corbett’s pro-drilling Act 13, the law that would allow gas well pads and their attendant infrastructure and harms, to be built just 300 feet from homes, schools, day care centers, hospitals or any other structure in Pennsylvania.
It is time for good judgment, not just good fortune. The half-mile buffer good fortune gave to the residents of Dunkard far surpasses what the DEP or the governor would see them have. Secretary Abruzzo and Gov. Corbett continue their efforts to reduce the buffer of protection between drilling sites and houses, between the poisonous hazards on these sites and the streams that provide us our drinking water, between dangerous drilling infrastructure and every aspect of our communities.
As the Dunkard explosion reminds us, simple, good common sense commands that we protect our families and our drinking water from this dangerous industrial activity.
Maya van Rossum
Maya van Rossum is with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.