Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WMCG Dates--Rally, March, Frackopoly,

Upcoming Dates-Events

***Rally For a Fair PA Budget
All Eyes on Pennsylvania's Budget: come to the Westmoreland County rally!
June 22, 12:00 noon, Westmoreland County Court House

            “I'm writing to you from Pennsylvania’s Choice, a non-partisan campaign for a Pennsylvania budget that serves the people of our Commonwealth. We are working with citizen groups, advocacy organizations, and unions across the state to engage our state legislators and governor in an open and constructive conversation about a budgetary long-term cure for the state's structural deficit – one that provides essential funding for public education, environmental protection, and health and human services.
            Would you like to join us? The Westmoreland County Rally for a Healthy PA Budget is your opportunity to take action. Please join us at noon, Wednesday, June 22nd, at the Westmoreland County Courthouse Square. Elected officials will speak, as will guests from the provider community, consumers, public schools, and local colleges.
            Everyone has someone in their lives who is a senior; who is living with an intellectual or physical disability; has a child or teen in public school; or, like my husband, is employed in a sector that was negatively affected by last year's state budget impasse.
            We all have something at stake:  Without a responsible conversation about the need for sustainable revenue, schools and community organizations across the state will continue to face devastating cuts. Our state's environmental protection agency will continue to have unfilled staff positions. Without the oversight required by law, coal, chemical, and fracking industries will pollute our air and water unchecked.
            Here's your chance to demonstrate your concern and to make your voice heard! Join us at the Westmoreland County Rally for a Healthy PA Budget in a few short weeks, 12noon, June 22nd, at the Courthouse Square in Greensburg.
            R.S.V.P. by calling me at (412) 403-4545. You can also sign-on and share our Facebook event for the rally at
 Carolyn P. Speranza
Lead Organizer
Pennsylvania's Choice Campaign: putting a human face on our state budget!
PA Budget and Policy Center with Education Voters of PA

***“Frackopoly" Presentation and Community Member Panel 
 Wenonah Hauter, the Exec. Dir. of Food & Water Watch will talk about her new book Frackopoly’. 
 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Friday, June 17
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
616 N. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

After discussing her book Wenonah will be joined by a Community Member Panel of several people who have been impacted by fracking in the region.
 'Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment' shines a fresh light on the influence the oil and gas industry has in politics today and chronicles the political power generated by an exciting grassroots movement that is fighting to ban fracking, keep fossil fuels in the ground and help take back our democracy. The event is free, so feel free to forward this sign-up to your friends. The Big Idea Bookstore will be present to sell books and refreshments during the program. We look forward to seeing you there!

This event is co-sponsored by: Allegheny Group of the Sierra Club, Marcellus Protest, and Friends of the Harmed.  
*** March for a Clean Energy Revolution, July 24, Philadelphia
On Sunday, July 24th, the eve of the Democratic National Convention, join the Allegheny Group of the Sierra Club, 350 Pittsburgh, and thousands of others across the country for the March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia.
  We will demand a ban on fracking and all extreme energy extraction on fossil fuel infrastructure, investment in solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources, and a just transition to a renewable energy economy. 

To reserve your seat on one of the busses from Pittsburgh, 
please reserve your seat

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates May, 2016

* Our email address:
*  To contact your state legislator:
For the email address, click on the envelope under the photo

Facebook Site- Please see the Westmoreland Marcellus Citizen’s Group county site for more articles and photos.

If anyone wants your event listed, please send it to Jan via email.
***Marcellus Shale Documentary Project-In Shadyside, Through July 31
            "As Goldsmith is quick to point out, “The dangers of fracking are around us everywhere in Western Pennsylvania — from water contamination, air contamination, land contamination and food chain contamination. We need to do more to spread the word of dangers associated with fracking, and I feel this project is a good vehicle to do that.”
            For “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project: An Expanded View,” Martha Rial of Edgewood focused on trains moving through Pittsburgh.‘ 
 Through July 31 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays;  noon-4 p.m., Sundays. 
Admission: $5 suggested donation
Where: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside
  Details: 412-361-0873 or

***March for a Clean Energy Revolution
            Sunday, July 24, 2016     Philadelphia, PA
With the eyes of the world on Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention in July, thousands will march and present these demands directly to our current and future national leaders:

***Citizens To Preserve Ligonier Valley Board Meetings are the Third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM at the Unitarian Church on Rt. 30. All are welcome to attend.  The next meeting is on June 21.

***Video of Murrysville Meeting
Dr. McCawley and Dr. Haley on Fracking: Health Effects, and Setbacks

***Penn Township Wonderful news for Penn Twp and surrounding areas:
            The second well pad, Draftina pad was denied at the Penn Twp ZHB.
(Apex has appealed this decision.)

Local Permits of Interest
***PA Gas Drilling Permit Issued in Salem Twp Township
            Gas permit issued on 2016-05-06 00:00:00 to APEX ENERGY (PA) LLC for site STEWART CENTRAL PAD-21 10H in Salem Twp township, Westmoreland county

*** Salem Municipality:
    Authorization # 1136210 has been updated on 5/5/2016.
        Subfacility ID=1211494 Name=MCILVAINE TO SPECTRA PIPELINE GP05650716-005 eMapPA search
    Authorization # 1136214 has been updated on 5/5/2016.
        Subfacility ID=1211495 Name=MCILVAINE TO SPECTRA PIPELINE GP05650716-005 eMapPA search
    Authorization # 1136309 had started the following major task: Completeness Review on 5/5/2016.

 Fracking News
***Pipeline Through Westmoreland Co.   “Officials from Sunoco Logistics have begun contacting residents who will be affected by construction of the company's Mariner East II pipeline project, expected to cross about 270 properties in Westmoreland County.
The 20-inch pipeline will run parallel to Sunoco's 12-inch Mariner East line, with both carrying propane, ethane and butane to the company's Marcus Hook plant in eastern PA. .”

***Salem Twp Pipeline Explosion Meeting   “Many in the crowd voiced a variety of concerns about health, safety, travel restrictions around the site of the blast, and the length of time it took Spectra Energy, which operates the pipeline system for Texas Eastern, to shut down the gas flow in the ruptured line.
            Two environmental groups have theorized that a more powerful compressor station that began operating at the end of 2014 a mile and a half upstream from the explosion site could have caused internal corrosion that weakened the pipeline. Spectra officials have discounted that theory.
            Ron Niziol, who inspects the welds on pipelines like the one that blew up, said there’s no inspection of the weld coatings.“Nobody looks to see if the weld is adequately covered,” he said

***Why Are There Not Automatic Shut Off Valves "Residents said some damage could have been averted if the 35-year-old line had been equipped with automatic shutoffs that block gas immediately after detection of a rupture.
            Spectra officials said workers had to manually close two valves on the 30-inch line, one at a compressor station in Delmont, the other 15 miles away along the Conemaugh River near the Indiana County border.
            The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed Texas Eastern to significantly increase the horsepower of its Delmont compressor station in November 2014, boosting the speed of gas flowing through the 35-year-old pipeline that exploded April 29 in Salem, Westmoreland County.
            The faster gas flow from the compressor about 1½ miles upline could have caused corrosion inside the 30-inch diameter pipeline, according to two environmental organizations that have tracked recent expansion and operation of gas pipelines."

***Increase Well Setbacks-- Letter to the EditorSalem Township gas explosion, citizens must demand their elected officials establish safe distances between homes and gas pipelines and wells.
            These distances, called “setbacks,” are 500 feet and totally inadequate. The Salem explosion occurred not 500 feet — but 500 yards — from a home, destroying it. It severely damaged others. Who can still think 500 feet is safe?
            Gas well explosions and blowouts occur yearly. A 2014 gas well explosion in Greene County killed a worker and burned intensely for days. A Clearfield blowout spewed toxic chemicals and explosive methane for days before being quelled. Many similar incidents have occurred in Pennsylvania since the advent of Marcellus drilling.
            This has been an issue in Upper Burrell for months. Supervisor Allen Uhler has been willing to discuss increasing the setback but Supervisors Pete Dombroski and Ross Walker III have refused. Walker signed a gas lease last year and hasn't recused himself from gas-related votes. Both have sided with the gas industry.
            Officials who do nothing are neglecting their sworn duty to protect property and lives. The Salem incident surely demonstrated the need to keep gas well activity as far as possible from homes and property. How could any public official live with himself knowing he could have saved lives by increasing setbacks but refused to do so?
            Upper Burrell residents must demand reducing the drilling risks through a dramatic increase in these setbacks.
Debra Borowiec, Upper Burrell”

***Public Support For Fracking Falls   "GOP support for fracking plunged from 66% to
55%. Democrats and independents overwhelmingly oppose fracking with approval at only 25% of Dems and 34% of independents."
***Gov. Wolf Says We Must Support Gas Industry, Mark Ruffalo Speaks Out              "Ruffalo also said the PA Depart. Of Health hadn't moved on fracking-related health complaints made during the Corbett administration. He also referenced the Wolf administration's approval of more than 1,000 fracking permits.
            "You have done nothing to help Pennsylvanians harmed by this industry," Ruffalo wrote. "You have worked hand-in-hand with the industry, creating the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, that included a group of government officials from your administration and members of the oil and gas industry to 'build public acceptance' and make it easier to fast-track fracking infrastructure."
            The governor believes the natural gas industry is an important part of the commonwealth’s economy and we must support its growth by focusing on the development of important infrastructure like pipelines, while protecting the health of our environment and our residents.”

***DEP Head Quigley Resigns
            Here is a quote from recently resigned DEP head Quigley's blog site, 2014. Probably the only DEP head to post a similar message.
            "Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks.
Here in Pennsylvania, the New York report should add great weight to the already self-evident case for tougher, more comprehensive regulation - and for the urgent study of the many unanswered questions about the public health, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts of unconventional oil and gas development.
Posted by John Quigley "

***Quigley's Email About Lack of Support for Stiffer Fracking Regs
               The email was released by Marie Cusick of WITF and StateImpactPA. It provides some context into the conflict that led to the episode and why environmentalists are still upset about Quigley’s ouster.
The full text is also included below (NSFW):
"I’ve slept on this but can no longer hold back.
Where the fuck were you people yesterday? The House and Senate hold Russian show trials on vital environmental issues and there’s no pushback at all from the environmental community? Nobody bothering to insert themselves in the news cycle?
Is there no penalty for D apostasy, at least, or shaming of the gas-shilling Rs? Apparently so.
Do some of you think that staying on your moratorium hobby horse does anything to advance the cause of protecting the environment and public health?
Do you really think the Governor will veto this shit with NO support?
The environmental community is without influence in Harrisburg. What will you do about it?"

***Penn State Awarded $20 Million For Research To Support Fossil Fuels
            (There’s $20 million that could have gone to research on renewables)
            “Penn State’s job will be to “identify, select, execute, review and disseminate knowledge from research that will improve the efficiency of production and use of fossil energy resources while minimizing the environmental impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. -- $20 million six-year multi-college project for the federal government.”

***"Friends Don't Let Friends Ban Fracking   “A conflict of interest between the gas industry and academia continues. Students for Liberty, funded largely by the Koch Brothers, presented a property rights/ free market conference featuring climate change skeptics and fracking proponents at Florida Gulf Coast University. One featured presentation: "Friends Don't Let Friends Ban Fracking"

***Petition Result —FERC Delays for Seven Months  “….The response has been overwhelming and we're making progress! In March, FERC delayed the decision on the possible approval of PennEast's application for seven more months.
            The PennEast pipeline will pollute our water and destroy wildlife. Its path runs through the Delaware and Susquehanna River watersheds, which provide drinking water to millions of people. It would cut through some of the cleanest streams in Pennsylvania that we use for fishing and swimming. Landowners don't want to risk their families' lives or lose their land. That's why nearly every municipality and county in the path of the pipeline opposes it.
            If we continue to mobilize, we can keep the pressure on FERC. Thank you again for signing the petition to oppose the PennEast pipeline and urging FERC to reject the application!
Please know that PennFuture is working hard to protect our environment for you and for future generations. If you like what we do, please take a moment to show your support.”

***Chemicals and Heavy Metals Fluctuate Over Time
             "As more unconventional wells were drilled and stimulated, more drilling-related contaminants were found in the groundwater. There were significant increases in pH, inorganic carbon, toluene, o-xylene (probable human carcinogens), and barium, along with statistically significant decreases in salts, fluoride, beryllium, chromium, iron, zinc, and zirconium. Dichloromethane, an industry chemical and potential human carcinogen, was found in quantities above safe drinking water levels in water wells on highly fracked landscapes. By 2014, concentrations of ethanol, bromide, fluoride, chloride, nitrate, and sulfate all increased from phase three testing. Samples containing common frack or drilling ingredients such as methanol, isopropyl alcohol, acetaldehyde, cyclohexane, ethyl benzene, and o-xylene also increased." Science of the Total Environment, 2016

***Gas/Oil Wastewater Microbial Changes Found in Surface Water, Endocrine Disruption
             Lead author, Akob
                        “Scientists from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Duke University, and the University of Missouri collaborated on a study at an underground injection well site  to ascertain potential impacts of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) wastewaters to surface waters. The observed changes in the microbial community and evidence of endocrine disrupting activity indicate potential adverse health outcomes for organisms living in or near the stream.
            Scientists found evidence of UOG wastewaters in surface waters and sediments collected downstream from the disposal facility, specifically elevated concentrations of barium, bromide, calcium, chloride, sodium, lithium, strontium, which are known markers of UOG wastewater. Iron concentrations also increased and were in excess of WVA DEP water quality standards.
                        Communities of microbes that help support life were dramatically altered downstream. There was a lower diversity of the life forms downstream, “which could impact nutrient cycling,” a building block of life in the creek, the USGS explained in a statement .
            “Water samples adjacent to and downstream from the disposal facility exhibited evidence of endocrine disruption activity compared to upstream samples.”  Endocrine disruptors can wreak havoc on the hormones of mammals. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed that includes bays, rivers, streams and creeks in six states and the District of Columbia, scientists have determined that endocrine disruptors have switched the testes of male smallmouth bass to ovaries.
            At the West Virginia site, Akob and her researchers did not know where leaks might have occurred.”

***Legacy of Radioactivity, 2016, Duke University, lead author, Lauer
            Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University concluded in a newly released peer-reviewed study. Some rivers and streams in North Dakota now carry levels of radioactive and toxic materials higher than federal drinking water standards as a result of wastewater spills, the scientists found after testing near spills.
            High levels of lead as well as the radioactive element radium, were discovered near spill sites.  Selenium, was found in the state's waters at levels as high as 35 times the federal thresholds set to protect fish, mussels, and other wildlife, including those that people eat. The pollution was found on land as well as in water. The soils in locations where wastewater spilled were laced with significant levels of radium, and even higher levels of radium were discovered in the ground downstream from the spills' origin points, showing that radioactive materials were soaking into the ground and building up as spills flowed over the ground, the researchers said. These spilled brines consist of inorganic chemicals, metals and salts that are resistant to biodegradation,” said Nancy Lauer,  Duke University who was lead author. “They don't go away; they stay.” This has created a legacy of radioactivity at spill sites,” she said.             The highest level of radium the scientists found in soil measured over 4,600 Bequerels per kilogram [bq/kg] — roughly two and half times the levels of fracking-related radioactive contamination discovered in Pennsylvania in a 2013 report that drew national attention. To put those numbers in context, under North Dakota law, waste over 185 bq/kg is considered too radioactive to dispose in regular landfills without a special permit or to haul on roads without a specific license from the state.
            And that radioactive contamination — in some places over 100 times the levels of radioactivity as found upstream from the spill — will be here to stay for millennia, the researchers concluded, unless unprecedented spill clean-up efforts are made. Federal laws leave the waste exempt from hazardous waste handling laws, no matter how toxic or dangerous it might be, under an exception for the industry carved out in the 1980's.
            The drilling industry enjoys looser federal standards for their radioactive waste than many other industries. The spills the Duke University researchers identified often resulted from a failure to maintain infrastructure including pipelines and storage tanks. Roughly half of the wastewater spilled came from failed pipelines, followed by leaks from valves and other pipe connectors, and then tank leaks or overflows.” 2016 Environmental Science & Technology

***Children Heart, Lung, Immune Affected, One-Mile Setback Recommended
            2016, Webb, Dyrszka, Rodriguez, et al
             A newly published peer-reviewed study concludes that air pollution from fracking puts people's lungs, hearts, and immune systems at risk – and that the health risks are particularly pointed for young children and infants.
            The study — the first to specifically focus on how shale oil and gas drilling affects children ability to breathe — concludes that starting in the womb, children's developing respiratory systems are particularly at risk from five airborne pollutants associated with fracking and drilling.
            “We conclude that exposure to ozone, [particulate matter], silica dust, benzene, and formaldehyde is linked to adverse respiratory health effects, particularly in infants and children,” researchers wrote in the study, titled “Potential Hazards of Air Pollutant Emissions from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Operations on the Respiratory Health of Children and Infants”. Published in Reviews on Environmental Health.
            Based on the risks associated with breathing air laced with the five most-studied pollutants, the researchers expressed concern about fracking near homes, day cares, and schools. “We recommend that at a minimum, one-mile setbacks should be established between drilling facilities and occupied dwellings such as schools, hospitals, and other dwellings where infants and children might spend a substantial amount of time,” they wrote.
            In Pennsylvania, the researchers noted, over 53,000 children under 10 live or attend school within a mile of a permitted fracked well. A separate mapping project, conducted by a group called Healthy Schools Pennsylvania, discovered more than 40 pipeline compressor stations – notorious for spewing pollution into the air – within a mile of the state's schools, and found that one school district that had over 40 oil or gas wells within a mile of its schools. In Pennsylvania alone, over 400 documented violations of state environmental laws occurred at wells located within one mile of a school or a day care, and 13 violations occurred at wells less than a mile away from a hospital.
            “Our research shows that the current setback distances between fracked gas wells and homes, schools, and health care centers are not enough to protect public health, especially children,” Dr. Marsha Haley, an oncologist at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after she authored a different peer-reviewed study.
            The new study is the most comprehensive review of the literature to date.
As troubling as the new study's results might be, they represent only the tip of the iceberg, since most of the chemicals used by the oil and gas industry for fracking remain gravely under-studied.
            In part, that's because little health testing is generally required under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the main federal law that covers chemical safety – including many chemicals used for fracking, a recent report by The Partnership for Policy Integrity found.

Frack Links
***Link to Shalefield Stories-Personal stories of those affected by fracking

***To sign up for Skytruth notifications of activity and violations for your area:

*** List of the Harmed--There are now over 1400 residents of Pennsylvania who have placed their names on the list of the harmed when they became sick after fracking began in their area.

*** To See Water Test Results of the Beaver Run Reservoir
IUP students test for TDS, pH, metals- arsenic, chromium, and strontium.
We have not seen results for other frack chemicals including the organics BTEX group, or cesium for example. Here is a link to the IUP site:

This Update has been sent blind copy.
For more information contact Jan Milburn

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates April, 2016 

* Our email address: 
*  To contact your state legislator: 
 For the email address, click on the envelope under the photo 

WMCG is posting articles, research, events, and meetings on our Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group facebook page. We invite you to join the page. 

Zoning Decisions 
***Protect PT Applauds the Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board Decision: 
“The applicant has failed to adequately demonstrate that the drill site operations will not violate the environmental rights of the citizens…” the decision for the Beattie Central Pad-37 states. 
"The decision — which is based on the township’s draft zoning ordinance for drilling — hinges on a section of Pennsylvania’s Constitution that guarantees citizens the right to “clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”" 
"Apex provided air and water studies that showed the possible risks associated with accidental spills or emission releases at the site." 
But they needed to provide information on NORMAL operations: 
"According to the decision, the company did not provide “sufficient satisfactory information” showing how releases from normal gas operations on site (drilling, fracking, flaring) could impact air and water." 

Court Cases 
***Middlesex Case- From Amy Nassif   “The last that we heard about the case, it is being appealed to the Commonwealth Court.  There have been briefs sent but it looks like there will not be any arguments heard until the fall.   
As for the SLAPP suit here in Butler County: 
Thursday, May 19th at 2:00 PM 
Butler County Courthouse 
I do not have a courtroom assignment yet. 

**DEP -- Right To Know 
Provided by Bob Donnan 
 RECAP  : Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania April 2016 Argument Session 
 Even Judge McCullough remarked at the outset that the case most people were there to hear yesterday afternoon was also very interesting to her: Smith Butz LLC (law firm) v. the Pennsylvania DEP regarding Right-to-Know. 
 Kendra Smith, Esq. presented a strong case in front of attending judges Patricia McCullough, Michael Wojcik, and Rochelle Friedman regarding the exceedingly difficult time Smith Butz LLC has had trying to obtain documents, for the past 4 years no less, from the Pa. DEP related to a spill at the Yeager impoundment in August 2010. 
 Apparently, a Notice of Violation (NV) was entered in eFacts on the Pa DEP website regarding the spill, but no NV was ever issued. However, it has been an ongoing struggle for Smith Butz in their repeated attempts to obtain documents related to that spill. The law firm has filed 14 informal requests along with 1 formal request, without any success at all. 
 About the only excuse the Pa DEP attorney appeared to offer was they were too short staffed in 2010 to do their job. Therefore they could not provide those additional documents, partly since they had already provided Smith Butz with volumes of other documents related to the Yeager site. 
 Senior Judge Friedman took up the DEP’s side vigorously and implied Smith Butz did not properly and precisely word their document request, and therefore did not get the documents they wanted. Ms. Smith strongly countered that thesis, saying that was definitely not the case. While she didn’t come right out and say it, they are being stonewalled by an uncooperative DEP.  
Depositions from the Haney lawsuit, related to the same Yeager site, were the ones that revealed the entire “suite code” issue (scandal?) at the Pa DEP, which only partially reveals water well test results around drilling and fracking sites, leaving huge gaps in extremely important information. 
 Another chapter of this story continues when Smith Butz once again appears in front of Commonwealth Court to appeal the Judge Renwand EQB ruling in favor of the Pa DEP over Loren Kiskadden in his water well contamination case in Amwell Township, Washington County, PA. 
 Evidence acquired during those same Haney depositions indicate that the Kiskadden ruling did not take into account all the latest evidence related to the Yeager drilling pad and impoundment, hence this appeal. 
***Kishkadden Water Contamination Case 
The full panel of seven Commonwealth Court judges heard arguments April 13, regarding an appeal in a lawsuit that claims Range Resources contaminated well water at an Amwell Township property in June 2011. 
The overlooked evidence, according to Kendra Smith, included contradictory testimony from one of Range Resources’ geologists, Elizabeth Perry, in which she first said water in the area water table moved laterally because of several impervious surfaces, but later said it was possible for it to go as deep as 500 feet. The well in question reaches nearly 200 feet beneath ground. Kiskadden first reported gray sludge, foamy water and a rotten-egg odor emanating from his well water in 2011. 
President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt asked Smith if the properties in between the impoundment and Kiskadden’s property were found to be without contamination and whether that would prove there was no connection to the Yeager site. 
“No, those properties aren’t fine. In fact, our client (and seven other plaintiffs) are part of a suit against Range Resources seeking damages for contaminated water in those intermediate sites. And they’re using water buffalos, not well water,” Smith said. 
Smith’s husband and legal partner, John, explained after the hearing the case involving those residents is still in the preliminary stages. 
DEP fined Range $1.4 million for spills and unreported leaks at the Yeager impoundment leading up to that suit filed in 2012. It was part of record-setting fines totaling $4.5 million for leaks and problems at six of the company’s water impoundments in Washington County.  
Further evidence overlooked, Smith said, was data from well monitors that tracked potential contaminants throughout the area. 

Ordinance Activity 
***South Strabane Planning  
Planning Commission member Joe Kopko: “We’re not here to make sure everybody gets gas royalties. We’re here to ensure the quality of life in South Strabane. The short-term gain will be far outweighed by the loss of quality of life going forward.” 
“In February, three supervisors recommended deep-well drilling as a conditional use only in I-1 and I-2 industrial areas, and shallow drilling in industrial and A-1 agricultural areas. 
They also recommended electric motors for compressor stations and well pad sites and minimum setback requirements of 1,800 feet from residences, retail stores and restaurants, and 2,500 feet from schools and parks. 
many residents who opposed the amendment (opposed) the restrictions to drilling in all but industrial-zoned areas and set-back requirements. 
A curative amendment, approved in September, that put a moratorium on approval of gas company applications for new permits expired, said Cambest. Any applications to the township at this point would have to meet the pending ordinance. 
At the conclusion of public testimony, the board decided to continue the hearing to their April 27 meeting.” 

***Industry Challenges St. Mary’s Ordinance 
ST. MARYS – True to their word, Seneca Resources has challenged zoning modifications pinned to the industry by the St. Marys City council. Overall, Seneca is arguing that it “is being deprived of constitutionally protected property rights to access, use and develop its oil and gas interests within the city.” 
Seneca owns approximately 42,474 acres of oil and gas interests, or 67 percent of the interests, within the city’s borders. 
 “We will aggressively defend our property interests within this community where we have safely developed and operated oil and gas wells for more than 100 years.” 
The ordinance in question took a council committee over a year to draft with input from the industry, as well as residents, in a series of closed door meetings. While the company takes many issues with the city’s ordinance, those it stressed were that  development of oil and gas is now excluded from large portions of the city where it was formerly permitted. 
The ordinance restricts oil and gas development to the rural-conservation district of the city and prohibits development in any area where the population density is in excess of 1,086 people per square mile. 
The final draft includes a setback of 1,250 feet from the center of the well bores from the nearest structure, as well as a 1,000 foot setback of 1,000 feet from compressors or generator on a well site. 
In its appeal, the company said the setbacks and other requirements provided in the amendment are unfair as they are not applied to other industries. It also added the city has little to no data to support why it chose its setback. 
The appeal came on March 15, exactly one month after they were unanimously passed by the St. Marys City council. Seneca has requested a hearing with the city’s zoning hearing board. 

Other Fracking News 
***Spectra Pipeline Explosion in Salem Twp, Westmoreland Co.  
Stephanie Novak,  Mt Watershed (excerpt) 
This morning, an explosion occurred on the Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline in Salem Township, Westmoreland County injuring one person and decimating a nearby home. The explosion occurred near the intersection of of Route 819 and Route 22 in an area that drains to Beaver Creek– just north of the Youghiogheny River watershed.  Owned and operated by Spectra Energy, the Texas Eastern is a major transmission line transporting natural gas from the gulf coast to New Jersey. The pipeline is 36 inches in diameter in the area of the explosion. 
Several months ago the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a fine to Spectra Energy for deficiencies associated with the Texas Eastern pipeline. While today’s incident is currently being investigated and the cause of the blast has not been determined, this morning’s events in Salem Township serve as a stark reminder of why we should keep all fossil fuels in the ground and shift toward an entirely renewable energy future…..” 

*** The Opposed Tenaska Plant Proceeds  
“Construction has begun on a long-delayed $780 million gas-fueled power plant in South Huntingdon that has drawn fire from environmentalists and neighbors almost since the day it was proposed in 2009. 
In those seven years, regulatory hurdles, threats from opponents and a weak market for selling electricity have caused Nebraska-based Tenaska Inc. to delay plans to build the plant on 50 of the 400 acres it owns south of Interstate 70 near Route 31. 
But on Tuesday, Tenaska spokeswoman Timberly Ross wasted no words in announcing that the project, which received its final air quality permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection this year, has received full financing and is finally under way.” 

**Rice Energy fined $393,500  
  For permit violations including wastewater spill 
Rice Energy agreed to pay fines totaling $393,500 for a series of permit violations and other issues around several well pads and pipelines in Washington and Greene counties, said the PA DEP. 
The violations by the Cecil-based gas producer and two affiliates date to 2012 and  included a wastewater spill at one site, a landslide at another and improperly permitted pipelines between others. 

***PA Air Monitoring The DEP  announced it is spending $1.56 million on 10 installations that will continually monitor fine particulate matter,  prompted by ongoing community concerns in areas around natural gas development. 
Monitors are to be installed in Wyoming and Susquehanna, Fayette, Indiana and Lycoming counties by the end of the year. The DEP will install monitors in Clarion, Jefferson and McKean counties by fall 2017. Installations in Towanda Twp., Bradford County, and Holbrook Twp., Greene County, were completed in March. 
The DEP has not announced where it will position the monitors, and with only one planned for each county, placement is critical, Mrs. Krafjack said. 
Most of Wyoming County’s industrial activity — the Procter & Gamble factory complex in Washington Twp., natural gas well pads and compressor stations — takes place in its central and northwestern sections. So an air monitor in the mountainous southwestern corner, mostly state game lands, might not reveal possible effects of gas production. 
There is no public comment period before the department decides where to place the monitors, DEP spokesman Neil Shader said. 
The monitors will detect fine particulates less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. Fine particles are created by industrial activity but also by things like burning firewood or driving a car. They can irritate the lungs and throat, cause asthma attacks and, in some cases, trigger heart attacks, according to the EPA. 
 The group Breathe Easy, Susquehanna County’s citizen science efforts, has been calling for more monitoring in areas with heavy drilling concentration for years. Federal and state agencies, however, do not regulate ultrafine particles” 

***Range Resources Sites Gas Wells Away From Large Home 
“We heard Range Resources say it sites its shale gas wells away from large homes where wealthy people live and who might have the money to fight such drilling and fracking operations,” said Patrick Grenter, an attorney and Center for Coalfield Justice executive director, who attended the lawyers’ forum. A handful of attorneys in the audience confirmed that account 
Joanne Kilgour, an attorney and director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, who attended the meeting, said Mr. Bossert’s statements “pose significant environmental justice issues, and raise the question whether the companies coming into communities are really operating in the best interests of those communities.” 
Veronica Coptis 
Deputy Director 
Center for Coalfield Justice 

*** 1000 Health Professionals Call For Protection From Fracking in PA 
PennEnvironment was joined by several of the Commonwealth’s top health experts—including Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Physicians for Social Responsibility, SEIU Healthcare, and Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project—to form Pennsylvania Health Professionals for a Livable Future. This coalition, representing tens of thousands of health professionals across the Commonwealth, is committed to addressing the impact of fracking and fracking infrastructure on the health of Pennsylvanians.They will release a series of letters to the Wolf Administration representing the backing of 1000+ health professionals calling for increased protections for Pennsylvanians from fracking 
Priority policies supported by these health professionals include:
*Establish a public health registry for healthcare professionals and affected individuals to report health impacts associated with fracking and other natural gas activities in Pennsylvania.
*Train health professionals, including those employed by the PA Department of Health, about the health impacts of natural gas.
*Address the known public health risks posed by fracking, including banning open-air waste pits.
*Remove the health professional “gag rule” from Act 13. 
*Remove exemptions of the fracking industry from key environmental laws.
*Require a minimum setback of one mile for all fracking operations and associated infrastructure relative to schools, childcare providers, hospitals and nursing care facilities. 

“The number one public health threat in Pennsylvania is fracking,” asserts former President of the American Public Health Association and former Health Commissioner of Philadelphia, Dr. Walter Tsou with Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Fracking has been linked to groundwater contamination, air pollution, radioactivity in flowback water, and even earthquakes. Nosebleeds, skin rashes, asthma, and respiratory difficulties are commonly found in areas where fracking occurs. Later complications such as premature births, cancer and tumors are very real threats,” he reminds us. 

***New DEP Regs Pass 
(It's not close to sufficient, but some new regs did pass. However the industry and some PA legislators, still fight to overturn even these basic changes. 
 Elimination of waste pits- that does not include centralized impoundment pits- looks like the biggest gain.)  
"The Marcellus Shale industry would also be barred from storing waste in pits, and using brine for dust suppression or de-icing."  
"After a seven-hour public meeting, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted 3-2 to give the green-light. " 
"The regulations, known as Chapter 78 and 78a govern both conventional drillers and the newer, unconventional, Marcellus Shale industry. Changes include updates to the permitting process. Drillers will now have to identify public resources such as schools and playgrounds. They will also have to identify old or abandoned wells that could be impacted by new drilling. If a water supply is tainted, the driller will have to restore or replace it to federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards, or the pre-drilling conditions, if they were better. The Marcellus Shale industry would also be barred from storing waste in pits, and using brine for dust suppression or de-icing." 

***Hormonal Changes from Wastewater, 2016  
“Researchers working with the U.S. Geological Survey say they found evidence of chemicals that could cause hormonal changes in animals in a stream near a West Virginia facility that disposes of gas drilling wastewater in a deep underground well. “We found levels of these endocrine disrupting chemicals high enough to threaten health,” said Susan C. Nagel, director of the study and an associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri. 
EDCs can interfere with hormones in animals and humans. “The level of EDC activity was within the range or higher than the level known to impact the health of aquatic organisms,” the statement added. 
The chemicals found by the scientists have been linked to switched genders in fish, lowered fertility in mice, and hyperactivity in children. 
They can also cause cancer, birth defects, and developmental disorders, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. 
 Published in the journal, Science of the Total Environment,  lead author Susan Nagel,  associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at the University of Missouri.” 

***Pavillion StudyAre States and Industry Testing For The Right Chemicals And How Accurate Are They  
DiDiulio -published a comprehensive, peer-reviewed study last week in Environmental Science and Technology that suggests that people’s water wells in Pavillion were contaminated with fracking wastes that are typically stored in unlined pits dug into the ground. 
The study also suggests that the entire groundwater resource in the Wind River Basin is contaminated with chemicals linked to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. 
Encana Corp., the company that operated in the Pavillion basin, said repeated testing has shown people’s water wells are safe for consumption.  
“Conducting a groundwater investigation related to fracking is extremely complicated,” DiGiulio said. “It is difficult because a lot of the compounds used for hydraulic fracturing are not commonly analyzed for in commercial labs.” 
These labs were originally set up for the Superfund program, under which EPA cleans up the most contaminated sites in the nation. They are great at detecting chemicals found at Superfund sites but not as good at detecting chemicals used in fracking, DiGiulio said. 
“You have some of these very water-soluble exotic compounds in hydraulic fracturing, which were not amenable to routine lab-type analysis,” he said. 
One such chemical was methanol. The simplest alcohol, it can trigger permanent nerve damage and blindness in humans when consumed in sufficient quantities. It was used in fracking in Pavillion as workers pumped thousands of gallons of water and chemicals at high pressure into the wells they were drilling. About 10 percent of the mixture contained methanol, DiGiulio said. 
So the presence of methanol in the Pavillion aquifer would indicate that fracking fluid may have contaminated it. But methanol degrades rapidly and is reduced within days to trace amounts. Commercial labs did not have the protocol to detect such small traces, so DiGiulio and his colleagues devised new procedures, using high-performance liquid chromatography, to detect it. They devised techniques for detecting other chemicals, as well. 
When DiGiulio retired from EPA in 2014, he trained his sights on Pavillion. He felt he had to finish his work. He obtained EPA’s methanol testing results through a Freedom of Information Act request and downloaded the rest of the information from the Wyoming oil and gas regulator’s website. All of it was publicly available, waiting for the right person to spend a year crunching the information. 
The end result: a peer-reviewed study that reaffirms EPA’s findings that there was something suspicious going on in Pavillion 
More research is needed. 
The sampling wells contained methanol. They also contained high levels of diesel compounds, suggesting they may have been contaminated by open pits where operators had stored chemicals, DiGiulio said. 
The deep groundwater in the region contained high levels of salt and anomalous ions that are found in fracking fluid, DiGiulio said. The chemical composition suggests that fracking fluids may have migrated directly into the aquifer through fractures, he said. 
Nearly half the 19 chemicals found are unstudied, and scientists do not know the safe level of exposure, EPA stated. 
Jackson stressed that the contamination seen at Pavillion could occur in other states where, according to a study published last year in Environmental Science & Technology on which he was the lead author, fracking sometimes occurs at shallow depths.”  

***Harvard Study: Fracking Wont Save Us From Climate Change Due To Methane Leakage   
“ This new Harvard data, which comes on the heels of other aerial surveys showing big methane leakage, suggests that our new natural-gas infrastructure has been bleeding methane into the atmosphere in record quantities. And molecule for molecule, this unburned methane is much, much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. 
The EPA insisted this wasn’t happening, that methane was on the decline just like CO2. But it turns out, as some scientists have been insisting for years, the EPA was wrong. Really wrong.” 

Frack Links 
***Link to Shalefield Stories-Personal stories of those affected by fracking 

***To sign up for Skytruth notifications of activity and violations for your area: 

*** List of the Harmed--There are now over 1400 residents of Pennsylvania who have placed their names on the list of the harmed when they became sick after fracking began in their area. 
*** To See Water Test Results of the Beaver Run Reservoir 
IUP students test for TDS, pH, metals- arsenic, chromium, and strontium. 
We have not seen results for other frack chemicals including the organics BTEX group, or cesium for example. Here is a link to the IUP site: 

For more information contact Jan Milburn