Trout Unlimited Expert Testifies About Impacts of Marcellus Shale Drilling on Natural Resources at Senate Committee Hearing

Thu, 10/20/2011

Contact: Erin Mooney, TU National Press Secretary (571) 331-7970


Trout Unlimited Expert Testifies About Impacts of Marcellus Shale Drilling on Natural Resources at Senate committee Hearing

Eastern water resources and habitat at risk from Marcellus drilling.

Arlington, Va. — Trout Unlimited's (TU) Eastern Water Project Director, Katy Dunlap, testified about the impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling on Eastern forests, brook trout and coldwater resources before a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing today, saying that natural resources in the region are in potential danger from the effects of drilling.

"From what we see on the ground, regulation of gas development is not adequate to protect water resources," Dunlap said. "While Trout Unlimited is concerned about the potential contamination of water resources that can be directly caused by the hydraulic fracturing process, we are equally concerned about the surface impacts that can result from the associated activities of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas development," she said.

Dunlap pointed to specific concerns about the location of well pads, wastewater storage areas, water withdrawals from small headwater streams, spills and leaks of toxic substances and the management, storage and disposal of drilling wastewater.

Charging state agencies with lax or inadequate management and oversight of drilling activity, she said water resources must be protected as gas is developed. Earlier this week, she pointed out, a Pennsylvania legislator sought co-sponsorship of a bill that would remove the current 150-foot buffer between a well pad and high quality, exceptional waters.

"If passed, this bill would allow well pads to be built right up against streams, creating unacceptable risks to Pennsylvania's waterways and its aquatic life," Dunlap said.

In her testimony, Dunlap urged Congress to take a more careful look at the full range of gas development impacts on water resources, and to consider reinstating the Clean Water Act stormwater and Safe Drinking Water Act provisions to protect those resources from gas development.

Dunlap provided examples of drilling-related problems from Pennsylvania, where more than 1,600 gas wells are currently in production in the Marcellus Shale region.

"By far the most prominent and concerning impact that Trout Unlimited members are seeing on the ground is the failure or lack of erosion and sediment controls on well pad construction sites and access roads," Dunlap said.

Trout Unlimited volunteers are working throughout the Marcellus Shale region, testing the water quality of rivers and streams to measure the effect of gas drilling on these areas.

To read Dunlap’s full testimony, go to


Trout Unlimited is the nation's largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.


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