Thursday, November 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Does Pa. use radioactive water to de-ice the roads?

Does Pa. use radioactive water to de-ice the roads?

Let those other namby-pamby states use salt to keep their roads clear. In Pennsylvania, we prefer to nuke our icy highways, thank you very much:

Some well operators are also selling their waste, rather than paying to dispose of it. Because it is so salty, they have found ready buyers in communities that spread it on roads for de-icing in the winter and for dust suppression in the summer. When ice melts or rain falls, the waste can run off roads and end up in the drinking supply.

Yet in Pennsylvania, where the number of drilling permits for gas wells has jumped markedly in the last several years, in part because the state sits on a large underground gas formation known as the Marcellus Shale, such waste remains exempt from federal and state oversight, even when turned into salts and spread on roads.

When Pennsylvania regulators tried to strengthen state oversight of how drilling wastewater is tracked, an industry coalition argued vehemently against it. Three of the top state officials at a meeting on the subject have since left the government — for the natural-gas industry.

The bottom line is that we can use a computer worm to shut down Iran's nuclear program, but Pennsylvania's is still going strong.

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Will Bunch
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