Beaver Run reclamation a failure
Consol Energy has established an extensive network of Marcellus shale gas wells in the Beaver Run watershed on Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County property. MAWC has made public reports regarding the continued high water quality of Beaver Run Reservoir despite the drilling — and that’s great.
What Consol does not make public is the very poor land reclamation at the aforementioned Marcellus sites.
In April 2013, Consol distributed a press release praising its work done on the 60-acre Aikens Pad adjacent to Beaver Run Reservoir. Craig Neal, a Consol employee, boasted, “Consol Energy aims to reclaim land post-energy development back to its original or better condition … we have already planted 2,300 trees on two different sites.”
I challenge anyone with the most basic understanding of the environment to inspect the “reclaimed” sites. They will find tree mortality on about 90 percent of both unprotected young spruce trees and hardwoods planted in tubes.
Of those tubed hardwoods (oaks), many of the few survivors have limbs twisted into a non-viable limb-ball because the netting on the tubes was never removed. Since the day of planting, which was a big media event, these trees have not been tended — a guarantee for failure.
Millions of dollars in profit from gas exploration has come out of Beaver Run. Why can’t Consol put money, time and effort into a viable and sound reclamation?
If what Consol says differs so greatly from what it does regarding reclamation, why should we trust anything the company says about gas exploration?
Jeffrey R. Pope