Young Urges Pa. Environmental Dept. To Deny Fracking Project

Citing possible health and environmental threats, state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, has sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection urging the agency to deny the permit application submitted by Epiphany Allegheny LLC for a proposed fracking waste treatment plant in Coudersport, Pa., on the banks of the Allegheny River.

Echoing concerns advanced by the Seneca Nation and others, Young noted that the potential of radioactive materials and other contaminants being discharged into the river presents health and environmental risks to areas located along the river’s 30-mile course through New York state. The river flows through several Cattaraugus County communities including Portville, Westons Mills, Olean, St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, Carrollton, Jimerson Town, Salamanca and Seneca Indian Nation lands. It also runs along the northern boundary of the Allegany State Park.

“The Allegheny River is one of our region’s environmental jewels — a natural resource that connects to numerous streams, creeks and lakes, supports a diversity of fish and aquatic life and that enhances our quality of life and tourism. The proposed waste treatment plant, situated in Coudersport Pennsylvania at the headwaters of the river, has the potential to carry contaminants downstream, presenting a health risk to our residents and to the ecosystem of the river and the watershed,” Young said. “There are simply too many unanswered questions. There are other methods of handling fracking waste which I believe should be explored instead.”

The project is under review by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The facility would have an output of 50,000 gallons of discharge per day and there are no state or federal requirements for the company to monitor levels of radioactive material, despite research that has shown radioactivity to be present in fracking waste. Others calling for Pennsylvania officials to deny the permit include the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Cattaraugus County Planning Board and County Legislature have each passed resolutions opposing the proposed plant.

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