Senecas Oppose Fracking Plan

Coudersport plan would allow thousands of gallons of wastewater into Allegheny River

Tom Puckett
March 21, 2018 - 3:23 pm

Salamanca, NY (WBEN) The Seneca Nation of Indians met with other government leaders and environmental experts to discuss concerns over a proposed wastewater treatment plant on the Allegheny River. 

Epiphany Allegheny, LLC and the Coudersport Area Municipal Authority are proposing the plant that would allow for the transport, treatment and release of thousands of gallons of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing into the Allegheny River. The proposed treatment facility would discharge up to 42,000 gallons of treated fracking water, the Senecas say, with insufficient removal of radioactivity, into the river each day, although the plant could process between 20,000 – 80,000 gallons daily. Water used for fracking in Pennsylvania contains high levels of radiation, due to its location in the Marcellus Shale region.

Seneca President Todd Gates says the Allegheny River is a source of drinking water for millions of people, from the Southern Tier of New York down to Pittsburgh. Gates contends during extreme high water events, which are a regular occurrence in the region, contaminated sediment from the facility will be transported and deposited downstream, ultimately accumulating in the Allegheny Reservoir, which sits on Seneca Nation territory. He adds the proposed treatment facility would be located in a 100-year floodplain. "In the event of a flood or spill, thousands of gallons of untreated hazardous and radioactive material stored on-site would be released directly into the Allegheny River," says Gates.

“Contamination doesn’t know geography,” stated Seneca Nation Treasurer Maurice A. John, Sr. “Contaminants released into the water at the project site won’t just stay at that site. They will travel, like the water itself, through communities in Pennsylvania and New York, and here to Ohi:yo’, our Allegany Territory. Everyone who traveled to join us today are of one mind in recognizing the importance of the river and the importance of protecting the river for the next generations.”

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