Fact vs. Myth with Bradford County, PA Commissioner, Doug McLinko

October 3, 2014

Commissioner McLinko debunks myths about fracking based on his experience with hydraulic fracturing, which began in Bradford County several years ago. 

Bradford County is the most drilled County in Pennsylvania. It is the second largest County geographically and has 36,000 parcels of property.

Myth: Hydraulic fracturing will contaminate our fresh water.
Fact: There has never been one fresh water supply ever affected by hydro fracking. This is also true in Bradford County. We have never had one instance of fresh water contamination. We have wells drilled under ponds and close to rivers, and still, we have never had one issue.

Myth: If I’m not a landowner with a well on my property, I will not see any benefits from hydraulic fracturing.
Fact: The benefits we have seen in Pennsylvania have just been so tremendous and so far- reaching. Literally everyone in the state will benefit in some way shape or form.
It’s J-O-B-S JOBS.  The jobs we have seen pop up here are not just for people who have wells on their property.
In Bradford County we have eliminated all of our County debt and reduced property taxes for all of our residents, regardless of whether or not they have a well on your property.
The revenue we have seen from fracking has been used to build a new hospital and we’ve seen $300 or $400 million being put back into our roads.
The $17 million first responder training facility will not only benefit those with wells on their property and the contractors used to build it will not only be those with wells on their property either.
The landowners who are seeing royalties are putting their money right back into the local economy, supporting local businesses.
When you drive around the County you will see new roofs on barns and houses, improvements, and new equipment, and guess what, they aren’t buying that over the internet or using contractor from far away, they are buying that from local hardware stores and local shops and using local contractors, so that money is staying locally.
Many people do not think about the benefit of fracking to our Pennsylvania Cities since all of the drilling is being done in the rural areas. Much of the tax dollars generated from fracking is going right into the state’s coffers which is then being pumped right back into those cash-strapped City governments.

Myth: Truck traffic will overwhelm these small communities where fracking is taking place.
Fact:  There is an uptick of traffic seen by fracking, especially truck traffic. The largest increase comes when the well is actually being drilled. After the well is drilled and fracked, the traffic returns to just slightly above normal. We do have a saying here in Bradford County: when the traffic is heavy: “Would you rather sit in a traffic line or an unemployment line?”

Myth: Hydraulic fracturing uses so much water it will run our lakes and rivers dry.
Fact: If you look at how many gallons is used to frack a well, it sounds like a lot of water, but in practicality, compared to the amount of water you have, it’s not even a drop in the bucket. The amount of water used to frack one well is the same amount used to water a golf course for less than a month, or about 1% of the amount of water used in car washes every day. Advances in fracking technology is continuing to reduce the amount of water necessary. Further, the trick is to reuse the water. Using water purification systems, you take the water, clean it up, and bring it right back to be used again.

Myth: Hydraulic fracturing will destroy our scenic landscape.
Fact: It doesn’t take you long after coming to Bradford County to realize that this one is inherently false. There is actually minimal impact on our landscape, and the little impact we do see is restored immediately after the well is completed. The holes dug to lay the pipelines are all filled and re-vegetated. If you’re not coming here to actually seek out the impact drilling has had on our landscape, you wouldn’t even realize it was taking place. 

Myth: Crime in areas where hydraulic fracturing is occurring is increasing out of control
Fact: When it comes to influx in crime there’s been a lot of fallacies there. Our school districts are not overrun with people, our human services department with the County has not been overrun, our jails saw a small increase of very minor crimes.

Myth: The noise created from fracking operations is unbearable.
Fact: In large part, we do not get many, if any, complaints about noise.

Myth: Industry does not care about the concerns of the citizens and local governments. They come into these small towns and do whatever they want.
Fact: The industry works very, very well with municipalities. They do things for the townships, like if they have equipment in the area and the township needs a hand with something they will do it, if they need some loads of material, they will pitch in. It really works out well.

Myth: The ancillary jobs created by fracking will not last. They will be gone once the industry is gone.
Fact: Yes, some of them will come and go, but we have seen a lot of them take up roots here, and have been here since fracking began several years ago. Where we once had no jobs and our youth were being sent away, we now have jobs for everyone, and our youth are all going away for college and coming right back, finding jobs close to home and close to their families. The opportunity for employment has been incredible.

Myth: Hydraulic fracturing will jeopardize New York’s booming wine industry.
Fact: Bradford County is home to numerous wineries, some with well pads right on their property and adjacent to water withdrawals. When it comes to wineries, and agriculture in general, there has never been any issues since fracking began several years ago. Our cattle graze in the fields here and have never had any issues. To think that hydraulic fracturing will jeopardize the wine industry in New York is just one more piece of misinformation spread by those with an agenda.

Early on in Bradford County, we had a saying, "The most information is misinformation" because that's what it was. Whatever you heard you couldn't believe because it wasn't true.  It's been a blessing to our County and we're very thankful it's here.

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Hear more from Commissioner McLinko in a private "Pickup Truck Tour” around Bradford County.

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