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Resident suggests Perry Township put moratorium on hydraulic fracturing

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

Perry Township resident Daniel Guild asked supervisors on Tuesday to look into the possibility of placing a modified five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing because of recent hazard alerts.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health identified exposure to airborne silica as a health hazard to workers conducting some fracking operations during recent field studies, Guild said.

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”involves pumping large volumes of water and sand into a well at high pressure to fracture Marcellus shale and other tight formations, allowing oil and gas to flow into the well.

“OSHA has already released an alert about the drilling process,” Guild said. “There have been deaths and illnesses reported near these sites. They have tested 11 wells, and exposure has been identified. The levels of airborne silica are 100 times the legal limit.”

A total of 659 chemicals are used during the fracking process, according to Guild.

“These chemicals are known carcinogens,” Guild said. “It will be a number of years before government regulations and legislation catch up to the fracking process.”

Chairman A.J. Boni said the supervisors will look into possible options.

Guild said State College recently place a moratorium on fracking. Pittsburgh also placed one but decided to allow fracking near the airport, according to Guild.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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