A Fracker in Pennsylvania Wants to Take 1.5 Million Gallons a Day From a Small, Biodiverse Creek. Should the State Approve a Permit?

PennEnergy says such withdrawals are “safe and responsible” and “highly regulated.” Environmental activists counter that the company’s application used old data and doesn’t do enough to protect imperiled species.

Sometimes, when evaluating a river, size matters. If you need to supply 40 million people in seven states with drinking water, you would hope for a body of water that resembles the Colorado River—classified as an order seven watershed for its size and biological diversity. The Amazon river, the world’s largest, is an order 12 watershed.