Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jan's Updates May 21, 2012

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizen's Group
Hyperlinks are in purple. Blue links are cut and paste.

Calendar of Events

*** Ligonier Township Supervisors Meeting-June 12, 7:00, Township Building

*** Stop the Frack Attack, Washington DC July 28,http://www.stopthefrackattack.org/

(Sierra Club, Calvin Tillman, Earthworks)

*** Westmoreland County Commissioner Meeting

Jan Kiefer is coordinating this effort to have representation from the group at the meetings as the discussion of the impact fee evolves. Please email Jan and/or me if you can attend --jkief7@aol.comJan Millburn- janjackmil@yahoo.com

The next meeting date: This Thursday, May 24 at 10:00 AM at the Westmoreland County Court House. This is the time to express our concerns about fracking and the effect on our county as well as impact fee use.

*** Tour de Frack-You Can Participate For Only One Day

The‘Tour de Frack’ promises to be one of the most celebrated local events of this coming summer.Described as ‘activism in motion’, from July 14 to July 28 cyclists may take the whole ride from Butler to Washington DC, or they may enjoy one or two day segments of the journey.

*** Steering committee Meeting- May 23, Wed, 7:30All are invited to attend. Email Jan for details

For a full calendar of Marcellus events:http://marcellusprotest.org/event_calendar

All Township Residents—Call to Action !!Keep Those Resolutions Coming !!
**Lawsuit Filed --Resolutions ofTownship Support Urged
Attached to this WMCG Update is a resolution supporting the lawsuit against Act 13.Act 13 precludes the use of local zoning to restrict gas operations in residential areas, restricts doctors in sharing important health data, and limits counties in the use of the impact tax (a partial list).
HOW WE CAN HELP: Please print the resolution and take it to your next township supervisors’ meeting to request their support for this lawsuit. Supervisors should return the signed resolution to Brian Coppola and also to your state representatives.
Sample Statement: See our Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group blogspot, for a sample statement to supervisors. (address is listed above)
Good references on Act 13:
Top Ten Myths about Act 13 by Sierra Club- http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/downloads/FrackingMythbustersFactSheet.pdf
Handout on Act 13 by Penn Future (short version)-
Delaware Riverkeepers Basics About Act 13
Penn Future on act 13 (detailed version)

DEP TO Eliminate Public Comment on Smaller Engine Compressor PollutionBut it All Adds Up
TAKE ACTION NOW!!!Deadline Wednesday
Link below
From Clean Air Council:
New DEP Permit to Cut All Public Input on Gas Equipment
Pennsylvania’s newly revised General Permit 5 (or GP-5) will continue to prevent public input on smaller engines at natural gas compressor stations, and will also essentially block all commenting and public participation for all compressor stations that are categorized as “minor sources.” The public must show DEP that there is a groundswell of concern about losing their ability to have some input on natural gas equipment proposed and built in their backyards.
This year, residents used their voices to achieve hearings on 10 compressor stations across the state, which has led to stronger air permits and has caused DEP go back to re-evaluate some permits. The proposed GP-5 does not include an individual Best Available Technology Analysis for each station and will likely result in missed opportunities to implement new technologies as they become available. Please tell DEP to stand up for public health and democracy over industry efficiency and profits.
The deadline fro commenting is this coming Wednesday, 5/23/12.
Clean Air Council's Action Link :

EPA Hotline-Dumping or Spills, Releases

--The EPA number to call for illegal disposal of wastes or other suspicious activity is

1 877 919 4EPA (toll free) or email:eyesondrilling@epa.gov

Tips can be anonymous

--In the event of an emergency such as a spill or release of hazardous material, call the National Response Center at 1 800 424 8802

Easy to use map of well sites and violations:


Fracking Quotes

*** "Really, what our story is … the leak rate (of methane) is twice what the industry thinks it is," she says.Gaby Petron, NOAA atmospheric researcher

*** PSATS “published a deliberately misleading bulletin” about the legal challenge to act 13. Peters Councilman David Ball on PSATS activities.





5. PSATS Passes 2 Resolutions Supporting Zoning and in Conflict with Act 13

Representatives from Bucks County introduced 2 measures at the PSATS (PA State Assoc. of Township Supervisors) conference; both were passed on May 8 and both are in direct conflict with Act 13.

12-36 The first resolution states that the association will “oppose any legislation that would remove, reduce, or inhibit local government authority or existing local subdivision, land use, and zoning controls”

12-37 The second resolution states the organization “opposes any legislation that would pre-empt the existing authority of townships to regulate land use through zoning and subdivision and land development ordinances including any amendments to the Coal and NonCoal Surface Mining and Conservation Act and Oil and Gas Act.

PSATS angered some members and citizens for its failure to inform municipalities that Act 13 would destroy their zoning ordinances.David Ball, Peter’s councilman, criticized PSATS for producing at least 2 documents that legislators could use to claim that PSATS endorsed Act 13.

David Ball also sent a scathing letter to the head of PSATS for publishing a “deliberately misleading “bulletin about the legal challenge to Act 13.”

6. Physicians for Social Responsibility Call For A Moratorium On Fracking.

The call for a moratorium is based on concerns that include groundwater contamination by toxic chemicals used, improper wastewater disposal, the causation of small earthquakes, and methane gas leaks. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

PSR also calls on the industry to fully disclose chemicals used to frack.

(PSAR Reports, spring g 2012)

7. Democratic Caucus Files Amicus Brief in Support of Act 13

This is an excellent document to review as it provides details on how Act 13 violates our constitutional rights including abuse of eminent domain, the wrongful creation of a class for one industry with more rights than any other industry, the improper exercise of police power (meaning government action taken to protect public health, safety, morality, and welfare).The document points out the fact that Act 13 mandates that the DEP grant setback variances to any well operator that applies.

“Act 13 essentially gives the oil and gas industry the unfettered ability to drill in any zoning district, without oversight or regard for the existing local municipalities comprehensive plans, tax bases, need for orderly development or the desires and needs of the citizens of local communities. As such, Act 13 is not in the interests of the health, safety, morals, and public welfare of the commonwealth and is, therefore, an unconstitutional exercise of the commonwealth police power.”

The Democrat’s Legislation includes components to:

-Restore zoning

-Impose a reasonable tax

-Protect natural resources by increasing setbacks and bonding

-Create a public online tracking system for frack wastewater storage and disposal and prohibit drilling in floodplains

-Guarantee rights of patients to full medical disclosure

-Make jobs a priority by establishing a job creation tax credit.

(House democrats unveil Marcellus compact to fix shale-drilling law, latrboe bulletin 5-14-12)

and Brief Amici Curiae , members of the Democratic Caucus of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives)

8. Radio Ad On KDKA—Our Support Needed!!

The Communities United for Rights and Environment has a 60 second spot on KDKA radio in opposition to Gov. Corbett’s Act 13 legislation.To keep the ad running, the group needs donations.

The ad is free to anyone in the state who wants to air it on their own station. For information contact:kenweir629@yahoo.com

To hear the ad and learn how to contribute for publicity for our side:


The ad is also on YouTube:


9. Green Tree Train Has Hazardous Frack-Chemical leak

A chemical odor leaked from a train in Green Tree, Allegheny County, due to a valve breaking and releasing a by-product of fracking fluid into the air.

Neighbors said the trains have been non-stop since fracking began and are concerned about their health. Residents plan to go to their borough officials to see what can be done.

10. Clearville Compressor Station-You Tube

Do you want this for a neighbor?

That is not steam. Compressors emit toxic air pollutants harmful to health.
 youtube link

11. Gas Industry Next to Homes

To view what it looks like when the industry invades residential areas-- http://www.marcellus-shale.us/

12. Methane Emissions Are Based on Estimates and They are Too Low

Estimates of methane emission by the EPA are largely based on extrapolation. A measurement is taken in one place or at one source and a complicated calculation is done to assess what the means for an entire region.

NOAA scientists have found these estimates are not a good substitute for real atmospheric measurements. Gaby Petron, atmospheric scientist with NOAA in Colorado said of measurements in Colorado: "Oh, my God, we were looking at something really different than anywhere else where we were taking measurements in this country," Petron recalls. "And at first I didn't know what it was."

Her measurements, were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. She saw very high levels of methane frequently and when methane was high she saw a consistent mix of other chemicals with it that included propane and pentane in specific proportions.The source was tracked to the gas fields. The industry’s analysis of the mixture of chemicals that come out of the ground with gas matched what she found in the air.

"Really, what our story is telling in our paper is the leak rate is twice what the industry thinks it is," she says. Petron’s research also suggests that the industry is underestimating other chemicals including benzene.

Gaby Petron want to take her van equipped with sensitive instruments to the gas fields in Utah, Texas, and PA.

(frackings methane trail : a detective story by Elizabeth shogren, 5-17-12

13. Some Say Their Health Problems Ignored by PA Dept of Health

People have complained that the PA Dept of Health has not done its job of investigating health problems they feel are caused by gas pollution

The Associated Press found the information about the number of complaints received was confusing. The agency first reported that it received about 30 complaints in total, but then said 30 were received over the past year. Then it said it didn’t even begin recording complaints until 2011.

Some residents say they have complained and not gotten a response.

PA health officials did not receive the funding needed. Gov Corbett and the state senate cut the health appropriations to zero.

(Latrobe bulletin, residents state ignoring their health complaint, 5-14-12, AP)

14. Sen. McIlhinney Erred on Act 13-Didn’t Understand What He was Voting For

300 angry residents attended a meeting in Upper Bucks to say that Act 13 destroys local zoning and will negatively affect their quality of life.

McIlhinney had told residents that the law would have no impact on Bucks County --that the law was for the 40% of PA townships that have no zoning.But now everyone realizes that in Nockamixon where strict zoning was in place, their rules no longer apply.

So now McIlhinney has promised to rally his colleagues in Harrisburg to amend Act 13.

(philly burbs, Mcilhinney promises legislature will fix drilling law, editorial, daily intelligencer, Doylestown 4-26-12)

15. Economic Impact-Property Values $$$$$$$$$

Dr. Barth has reviewed the data on the economic impacts in

Texas, which has the longest history with fracking.”When one considers unemployment rates, the growth of median household income, and the number of people in poverty, it appears that the Barnett Shale counties are not doing better than the rest of the state”

Median household incomes increased by 21% statewide, versus 10 to 16% in the four most heavily drilled counties.

Unemployment rates were slightly higher in the drilled counties.

As for Property Values:A study by Integra Realty Resources that was commissioned by Flower Mound, Texas, concluded, “residential homes over $250,000 that were immediately adjacent to well sites can lose 3% to 14% in value”

Kris Wise a realtor in Flower Mound said, “the true loss is far greater, and nobody wants to buy a home near gas wells, not even for a 10 % price cut. In reality the valuation declines may be much greater since it’s been reported that the Wise County central Appraisal District Appraisal Review Board has “decreased values by 75% when a gas well sits on the land”

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizen’s Group—Mission Statement
To raise the public’s general awareness and understanding of the impacts of Marcellus drilling on the natural environment, health, and long-term economies of local communities.
Officers: President-Jan Milburn
Treasurer-Wanda Guthrie
Secretary-Ron Nordstrom
Facebook Coordinator-Elizabeth Nordstrom
Blogsite –April Jackman
Science Subcommittee-Dr. Cynthia Walter
To receive our updates, please email jan at janjackmil@yahoo.com