CORRECTED-Philadelphia utility asked to avoid Marcellus gas

Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:37am GMT

(Corrects details throughout of commission's action)

* City Councilman concerned about effects of "fracking"

* Future Marcellus buys may consider environmental costs

By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Philadelphia officials on Tuesday recommended a city utility continue its practice of not buying natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation and asked it to consider adding environmental costs when calculating the price of any future purchases.

The city's Gas Commission, a regulatory body that oversees Philadelphia Gas Works, agreed to support the watered-down recommendations in a city report that has been promoted by City Councilman Curtis Jones, a critic of the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing used to drill the Marcellus Shale.

The Marcellus is a major gas field underlying about two-thirds of Pennsylvania and parts of surrounding states.

Jones and others have expressed concern that toxic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing may contaminate the Delaware River watershed that supplies city water.

But industry groups, including the Marcellus Shale Coalition, maintain the process is proven to be safe and harmless to water supplies.   Continued...

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