By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown hosts a hearing this evening at City Hall on natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin. 

Although the hearing’s backers are against hydraulic fracturing, or hydro-fracking, the main method of recovering natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, Brady Russell of Clean Water Action said those in favor are invited too.

Hydraulic fracturing is a way of splitting rocks at the bottom of a well to aid in release of natural gas. It will also release whatever else is down there, if precautions aren’t successful.

That’s why Russell wants people downstream to get involved. “Even though it’s hundreds of miles away, it’s all going to flow downstream and the Philadelphia Water Department’s intakes are going to draw some of those chemicals out, and we don’t know what kind of impact those chemicals have, but after 20 years of slowly taking in some of that stuff we could start to see some impacts on the health of Philadelphia or we could it could happen much sooner than that.”

Testimony will be referred to the Delaware River Basin Commission which is to issue rules on hydro-fracking next month.

“Once these rules go into effect, hydro-fracking can start,” Russell said. “There basically hasn’t been hydro-fracking in the Delaware River Watershed yet. You know, one or two wells, but not on a large scale, so we’ve been able to get away Scott free so far.”

Russell says proposed rules don’t take into account a little pollution per well, multiplied many times.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060

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