2010-04-22 / Local & State

Gas Drilling Debate Rages In River Watershed

By Michael Rubinkam ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PLEASANT MOUNT, Pa.

AP) – A natural gas drilling well near a farmhouse in Pleasant Mount, Pa., is at the heart of a controversy in the Delaware River watershed.

Energy companies have leased thousands of acres, hoping to tap natural gas from the sprawling Marcellus shale. Experts say the wild and scenic Delaware River watershed could become the nation’s most productive gas field.

The farmhouse’s owner, Louis Matoushek, and others are eager for the gas, and the royalty checks, to start flowing. Farmers see Marcellus money as a way to keep their struggling operations afloat.

A federal-interstate commission must decide whether to let a Louisiana company drill on Matoushek’s land. Opponents say drilling so close to crucial waterways threatens drinking water and will wreck property values, and transform the rural area into an industrial zone.

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