WCO weighs pros and cons of Shale industry's effect on environment

With a November 2011 bentonite spill in Johnsonburg's Silver Creek highlighting the potential environmental hazards posed by Marcellus Shale activity, Wildlife Conservation Officer Tom McMann of the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) spoke at January's meeting of the Elk County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs about the environmental effects of Marcellus Shale activity on Elk County's wilds and wildlife. In an interview Tuesday, McMann discussed further the pros and cons the industry poses to animal habitats and aquatic resources, as well as what he has seen of both in Elk County so far. While McMann said the Nov. 15 incident was considered by the Knox branch of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to be the second-worst seen in the department's Northwest region, he clarified that there was no fish kill reported as a result of this incident. McMann added that when fish kill occurs as a result of Shale-related processes, it is either the result of a hazardous chemical entering the waterway or caused by sediment, which he claimed is the number-one pollutant in Pennsylvania.