A plan to discharge treated fracking water into the Allegheny River continues raising concerns. The Seneca Nation of Indians hosted a day-long conference on the controversial project Wednesday.
Federal state, and local officials from New York and Pennsylvania along with Seneca Nation officials and environmental experts took part in the meeting on the Seneca's Allegheny Territory. At issue - a proposed wastewater treatment plant in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, that would discharge treated fracking water into the Allegheny River. Seneca Nation President Todd Gates points out the drilling process for natural gas and oil brings up dangerous radionuclides.
"At West Valley, they're trying to process nuclear waste. They haven't found a good way to process it. You can contain it. If you can contain it, that's one thing. And if there is nuclear waste coming up from the fracking water, and they have it there, it's going to contaminate our river," Gates said.
Millions of people get their drinking water from the Allegheny. Along with Coudersport, it flows through Olean, Salamanca, Allegany State Park and down into Pittsburgh. Gates says fracking water is known to damage aquatic life.
"And this is a new process they're proposing so why experiment on the Allegheny River? There's no good place to experiment with that type of waste. But we really oppose them trying it on the Allegheny. Especially at the headwaters. It's been designated as some of the cleanest water for the 3 rivers that originate there, the Genesee, the Susquehanna, and the Allegheny," Gates said.
Along with the Seneca Nation, the plan is opposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the New York State DEC. The project is currently under review by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.