TOWANDA -

The weather was hot, and so was the topic of natural gas drilling Sunday.

At the Towanda VFW, two Democrat governor candidates outlined their positions on the natural gas industry in a visit at the Bradford County Democratic Committee Picnic, with one expressing support for a fracking moratorium.

Around 4 p.m., candidates John Hanger and Max Myers spoke to a gathering that was estimated at more than 50 people, inside the VFW building.

Myers said he was in favor of a fracking moratorium.

He called for "slowing the process down."

"Let's take a look at what's going on and call a moratorium on the fracking," he said.

He cited some environmental concerns.

"When you're going to pump all those chemicals in the ground and think that they're not going to revisit you, or the potential isn't there somewhere down the road we just need to begin utilizing some common sense in the process," he said.

His website at www.myersforgovernor.com includes his position on fracking.

It reads, in part, "I see wisdom in a moratorium. It would allow everyone to 'catch their breath' after a very aggressive drilling expansion season. The moratorium period should be used to review data in an honest and open arena. With environmental issues as important as these are, concerned citizens need to be heard, honored and respected."

Hanger, meanwhile, said the current governor has gotten natural gas drilling "all wrong."

Hanger was secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection in the Gov. Ed Rendell administration.

"I am not opposed to gas drilling," Hanger said. "And I'm not going to stand here and say that we need to put the gas drilling out of business. And there are some people who absolutely have that view. I'm not one of them."

However, Hanger said that natural gas drilling must be strongly regulated; local government should have the authority to zone it; and it must be reasonably taxed.

"We're doing none of those things in Pennsylvania right now," he said.

"That's completely in the wrong direction."

He noted that his plan for natural gas drilling can be found at his website at www.hangerforgovernor.com/

He called for increasing the number of drilling inspectors.

When he said that natural gas drilling doesn't belong in state parks, there was applause.

He also mentioned some of his other positions that are mentioned on his website. They are:

- Ban the dumping of any gas well wastewater that is not fully treated in

to open wastewater pits

- Ban the dumping of any gas well wastewater that is not treated to Safe Drinking Water Standards into rivers and streams from both Marcellus shale and conventional wells

- Continue the moratorium on leasing more state forestland for gas drilling

- Insure that the best available technology is deployed on compressor engines to cut air emissions by 90 percent or more

Look for a further report in a future edition of the Daily Review.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: reviewtroy@thedailyreview.com.