Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jan's Update August 15, 2012

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates August 15, 2012
* For articles and updates or to just vent, visit us at face book
* To view permanent documents, past updates, reports, general information and meeting information
* For information on the state gas legislation and local control:
Please Cut and Paste All Links-(they work erratically)
Calendar of Events
***Westmoreland County Commissioners Meetings
The commissioners are soliciting comments on how to spend Marcellus shale impact fees. If you cannot attend a meeting, you can fill out a survey at this link.
SEE our Blogspot--To facilitate us in providing input, Cynthia Walter has written an overview of points to consider when making comments to the commissioners. Included is Mike Atherton’s statement.
***Meeting announcement from the Mountain Watershed Association Thursday:
Public Hearing for Fayette Co. Oil & Gas Zoning
Fayette County needs you to attend the public hearing this Thursday, Aug. 16th at 6:00 PM and stand up for better oversight and local control of oil and gas development through zoning! Please bring your friends and family! Fayette County Commissioners will hold a public meeting in the Meeting Room of the Fayette County Public Service Building, 22 East Main Street, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on August 16, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. to hear public comments regarding proposed amendments to the Fayette County Zoning Ordinance pertaining to Gas and Oil wells.
The amendments were originally devised to align with statewide zoning mandated by Act 13 to allow shale gas industrial sites in residential land use zones. This portion of Act 13 was struck down as “unconstitutional” by PA Commonwealth Court, so there is no need to rush an amendment or grant sweeping rights of industrialization in our residential areas. Please attend the meeting Thursday, August 16th, 6PM and voice your opinion. Call our Outreach Coordinator, Melissa, at 724-455-4200 ext. 6#
***EPA Weakening Regs. On Compressor Engines
Jim Rosenberg who is involved in compressor station issues…
“The EPA is proposing to eliminate the requirement that gas fired stationary spark ignition reciprocating internal combustion (SI RICE) engines, such as those commonly used in natural gas compressor stations, be fitted with catalytic converters if they are located in a “sparsely populated” area. Let us be clear about the implications of this proposal. You are sentencing residents who live next to compressor stations (and there are several of those, even in Class 1 locations!) to what could be a lifetime of drastically raised exposure to hazardous air pollutants.”
“There is no countervailing requirement in law for the EPA to impose such discrimination. Rather, by the EPA’s own admission, this proposal results from petitions by industry. We, the citizens of Class 1 locations, are entitled to petition also. We do not forfeit our rights by choosing to live in rural locations. Neither industry nor the EPA is entitled to take away those rights.
One should note the curious evasion of language in the proposed rule.”
Tell EPA that you deserve basic protection from air pollution:
***Get Diesel out of Frack fluids-from Sierra club
In 2011, the gas industry was caught red-handed, secretly pumping over 32 million gallons of diesel fuel and diesel by-products into the ground -- and right through our drinking water. This is after the industry denied using diesel in their fracking cocktails!
The use of diesel in fracking fluids poses a great threat to our drinking water. Containing known carcinogens like benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes, ingesting diesel can damage your central nervous system, liver and kidneys.
In response, EPA has released draft regulations for the use of diesel in fracking. However, we need to take it a step further and ban the use of diesel and diesel by-products in fracking fluids.
Drilling companies have long assured the EPA and policymakers that the use of diesel fuel was nearly nonexistent. However, in 2011 a congressional investigation found companies were still widely using diesel fuel to the tune of over 32 million gallons in 19 different states between 2005 and 2009 -- while no oil and gas companies sought proper permits from state or federal agencies for its use.
Fracking Quotes
*** They even gave me my own hat,” said Mark Piantine, Derry Twp. fire chief speaking of gas drilling company WPX.
*** Who is the state to come in and tell a local town or borough how they should run their town,” Kelleher asked. “The local people should know what’s best for the local area.”
*** None of us here wanted to lose our zoning,” Township Supervisor Liz Martin said. “We had just spent a whopping lot of money on new zoning regulations specifically set forth because of the natural gas industry… and we didn’t want to see all of that money go to waste.” Martin is from Luzerne County.
*** The industry won’t provide researchers the data that is necessary to conduct air studies. They will only provide that data to their hand-picked researchers. When the Colorado School of Public Health submitted a grant to the EPA it was withdrawn because the industry would not cooperate with them.
So now, Colorado State U. Atmospheric Science Dept., who the industry supports, will conduct the study. Colorado Oil and Gas is elated.” (jans summary from see item #8
 1. ACT 13 Remains Unconstitutional While on Appeal-- Judge Pelligrini once again ruled in our favor. We won!!!!
The following information from members of LAWPA:
The upshot is:
1) Act 13 preemption and waivers are still null and void
2) Municipalities don’t have to do anything regarding their local ordinances, etc.
3) Everything is on hold until the Supreme Court rules (probably in Oct.)
Here is the background information on what just went on:
Under Pa law, if the Commonwealth is a party and loses in court, the
effect of that loss may be stayed pending appeal. Meaning the Commonwealth court's decision, while is still valid, can be held in abeyance pending appeal.
We asked the court to reaffirm its order and keep it in place until the Supreme Court rules. The best explanation is to read the attached application we filed with the court last week.
Regardless of how the court rules, municipalities may still choose to
keep its ordinance in place as Act 13 has been ruled unconstitutional.
The court has scheduled an argument on the filing attached for August
15. This has no effect on the court's previous decision, which is final. It also has no effect on the appeal to Pa Supreme court. It merely addresses what happens between the time the Commonwealth court rules and the Supreme Court rules A bit confusing, but make sure everyone understands, our win stays in place and can only be overturned by the PA
Supreme Court.
2. What Can Happen At Conditional Use Hearings and Why We need to Attend
From Bob S.
On Aug 8 there was a Conditional use hearing at Independence Twp, Beaver County. The room was packed. Mark west and Range Resources was there presenting their case. They were asking for a permit for one compressor; when pressed it turned out to be 14. They did not know what powered the compressors. Venting was an issue. Their answer was it was an industrial process. When asked where the gas was going from the well, they said to Washington County. They did not know the route for the pipes. Noise was an issue . 16 decibels at the property line was the answer, also said 90 was the max. [Soft Break]They said that the 16 decibels did not accumulate (I think this means increase. Jan) with multiple units. Everyone is waiting for the results from the courts. Bob
3. Westmoreland Municipal Authority
Three citizens, including Harriet Ellenberger, candidate for office of state representative that is presently held by Mike Reese, attended the municipal authority meeting. Jan K posed questions to the authority regarding the recent spill, which they said they would respond to in writing. Harriet Ellenberger has openly stated her concern about the need for better regulations of gas drilling to protect health and the environment.
4. Position Statement of Allegheny County Boroughs, Townships Support PA Court Ruling Against Act 13
The Allegheny County Boroughs Association (ACBA), the Allegheny County Association of Township Officials (ACATO), and the Allegheny County & Western PA Association of Township Commissioners (AC&WPATC) announce their joint support of the PA Commonwealth Court decision striking down the ban on local zoning in Act 13.
We flatly and completely oppose wholesale preemption of local land use controls.”
5. In Derry Township, Drilling Slows Down
Before hauling rigs away, WPX drilled but did not frack, some wells in Derry. This activated the leases so they would not have to renegotiate payment terms with landowners.
Derry fire chief Mark Piantine, said company executives flew in from Tulsa in May 2010 to meet with local officials. “The carpet was laid out which featured a wet bar and portable toilets. “They even gave me my own hat.” said Piantine.
Supervisor Vince Decario thinks the investment can’t be short term, “why would you spend half a million dollars and then leave? They’re coming back. Definitely coming back.
Williams Co. became the water authority’s biggest client and paid the authority hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
The fall in gas prices has caused drillers to move rigs to Ohio where more profitable gas liquids and oil are available. (Derry sites empty as low gas prices stop drillers, post gazette, erich schwartzel, 7-22-12)
6. State Sen. Solobay Guest of CNX
State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg attended Super Bowl XLV as a guest of local shale driller CNX (Consol). When attention was drawn to his ‘free’ trip, he claimed he would payback all the money CNX spent on his trip. During that same Super Bowl week, Range Resources hosted Solobay and a bunch of other Pennsylvania ‘big wigs’ to a Texas barbecue.
7. Hydrochloric Acid Plume in New Columbia, PA-Residents Evacuate
Amanda Friend and her family were forced from their home after a toxic acid-spewing Halliburton truck hauling 4,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid pulled into a neighboring convenience store.
“There was a huge plume in the air and it was just getting bigger and bigger,” Friend said of the incident in White Deer Township, Union County.
Gregory Pellicer Jr., noticed a cloud billowing behind the Halliburton Energy Services tanker he was driving east on Route 80 as he was headed from Homer City to Montrose, state police said. He immediately began working to contain the leak, police said.
State DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday said an estimated 250 gallons leaked out and soil tests are being done to determine if there was any contamination. It’s an acid and it could be very damaging to humans and the environment,” he said. The cause of the leak is still under review, but a quarter-sized hole was observed in the truck. It’s too early to determine if penalties will be assessed Halliburton, he added.
The company was transporting acid for drilling and production support services. Once the acid hits the air it vaporizes, causing a toxic gaseous cloud. White Deer EMA Director Larry Maynard said fearful store employees fled.
“When we were leaving, the cloud was moving over the school,” Friend said. DEP workers will perform soil tests in her backyard. “I won’t bring my kids back until DEP tells me it’s okay,” she said.
With more than four decades of experience as a firefighter in White Deer, Maynard said of Thursday’s incident.” This is the worst thing we’ve ever had to deal with.
“If you want a shock, just park along I-80 and watch what goes by,” Maynard said. Emergency officials worry that accidents involving trucks carrying hazardous materials on the interstate could have an accident that would threaten residents who live in the township. In this case, the truck driver left I-80 and drove almost right into town.
Fortunately, Maynard said the wind Thursday night was blowing west and carried the cloud away from the village. At times, the cloud grew so thick Maynard said he could not even tell the convenience store was there.
New Columbia Road was shut down for about six hours during the cleanup.
(People flee as chemical cloud hovers near New Columbia By Marcia Moore and John Finnerty
Photo by Bob Donnan
8. Air Data Provided only To Those Researchers Approved by Gas Industry
John Toerge says he’s like many other people living close to oil and gas development in Colorado – the effects of drilling aren’t felt only in the local economy, they’re felt in his nose, lungs and ears, too. “No one has gone out to the well pads and collected air samples during various activities on the pads and collected those air samples at (different) distances coming off the pad to determine how the air pollutants are moving away from the pads,” said researcher Lisa McKenzie, Colorado School of Public Health.
“If you have an emission of benzene at a certain concentration, how does it decrease as you move away from the pad?” she said. “What are people actually going to end up being exposed to? How people are affected depends on the weather, the topography, and the kind of wells being drilled.
In a NOAA study in N. Colorado, benzene and methane were found in abundance and were directly traceable to oil and gas wells. Also found were ethybenzene, toluene, xylene, heptane, octane, diethylbenzene which are both carcinogenic and non- cancer disease causing pollutants.
A Colorado School of Public Health study concluded that people living within ½ mile of gas wells are at greater risk of disease including cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals
But here’s the problem. The industry won’t provide researchers with the data that is necessary when conducting air studies. They will only provide that data to their hand-picked researchers. When the School of Public Health submitted a grant to the EPA it was withdrawn because the industry would not cooperate with them.
So now, Colorado State U. Atmospheric Science Dept., who the industry supports, will conduct the study. Colorado Oil and Gas is elated.
(Summary from few studies on air safety near drill sites,
Comments on The Above Article on Radionuclides and Nosebleeds
The following commentary on this article comes from a member of a science group of to which I subscribe (jan):
“Correction to text on nose bleeds should read, The industry doesn't want anyone to know about the Arsine gases (Arsenic) and radioactive tracers. The radioactive tracers like cesium and iodine 131 can cause nosebleeds when released during fracking operations.
"John Toerge says he’s like many other people living close to oil and gas development in Colorado — the effects of drilling aren’t just felt in the local economy, they’re felt in his nose, lungs and ears, too. “When they did this well a quarter mile from my house, I started noticing I was getting bloody noses, respiratory problems,” he said.
The industry doesn't want anyone to know about the Arsine gases (Arsenic) and radioactive tracers. The radioactive tracers like cesium and iodine 131 can cause nosebleeds when released during fracking operations. There is a possibility that the exposure to fracking operations suffered by John and members of his family may cause serious health consequences. Hypothyroidism and cellular damage are just two of the consequences that can and do result from exposure to radionuclides like Iodine 131. Nosebleeds have been reported in the range of 250-600 Rems. Other symptoms include: fever, nausea, vomiting, malaise, bleeding gums, hair loss, bleeding genitals, bloody discharge from the bowel or kidneys, menstrual abnormalities, inflammation of the stomach and pharynx.
See letter sent to Congressional representatives of NH, VT, CA and to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo weeks before his decision on fracking. Read one of the letters here: Stop Natural Gas, Oil and Mineral Fracking Now !
Radioactive tracers are routinely used to track the extent of the frack and fissures created underground. Fracking does not just involve high-pressure water injection with clays or muds or harmless carbonic acid from soda pop to create slip in fracked fissures. It also involves underground explosions and use of traceable tracking fluids and radioactive tracers. Fracked fields are a multiplicity of interconnected wells. As the drillers progress over an area, tracers allow them to know when they have achieved flow across the field between borings. This applies not only to oil and gas but to mineral extraction as well e.g. Uranium and rare earth fluid extraction.
The coastal region of Texas is a classic example of what can happen with this technology. The Texas department of public health still can't figure out why there is so much radioactivity in public water supplies and increases in cancer rates. Its has been hidden thanks to Dick Cheney and company to protect the industry and companies like Halliburton. That particular region is being mined by fracking techniques for uranium.
Aquifer contamination from fracking?
Everyone that allows frackers onto their property signs a liability / confidentiality agreement holding the drilling companies et al harmless. You can't talk or discuss anything related to the operation and if anything happens you can't sue. The neighbors are the ones who suffer the consequences and don't know where to start looking for causal relationships.
9. EXCO Fined for Unpermitted Transfer Stations.
(Note from group member)
This is the same company that was fined $160,000, for operating an injection well (4 miles from my house) through a mechanical failure for 5 months. They also have violations for improper storage and disposal of waste for the M well that contaminated a spring on my property which they denied all responsibility for.”
EXCO Improperly Stored Flowback Water, Waste Sand from Gas Drilling Sites
The Department of Environmental Protection has fined EXCO Resources $47,500 for operating unpermitted residual waste transfer stations in Lycoming and Sullivan counties in 2011 and 2012. This violated the state’s Solid Waste Management Act.
“For each transfer station, EXCO should have applied to DEP for a Solid Waste Processing permit that has specific requirements for the safe storage, processing and transfer of residual wastes,” DEP Regional Director Marcus Kohl said. “These permit requirements ensure proper protection of the environment as well as public health and safety.”
In 2011, DEP inspectors found 19 hydraulic fracturing tanks that were three-quarters full of flowback water. A conductivity meter placed in the water registered a high reading, and there was a leak between the first and second tanks with fluid accumulating in the containment area. It was apparent that flowback water from nearby EXCO well pads was being piped to the frack tanks. A standard frack tank can hold up to 21,000 gallons.
The agency issued a notice of violation to EXCO in November 2011, instructing that the flowback water be transported to a permitted facility and that no additional flowback water be transported to the site until a permit was obtained from DEP.
In January, DEP discovered similar violations involving seven frack tanks at an EXCO site in Sullivan County. The agency sent the company a notice of violation later that month, and an inspection in February confirmed that the tanks had been removed.
From COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Dept. of Environmental Protection
10. State Employees Told To Fast-track Drilling Permits...or Their Performance Evaluations Will Suffer
“Critics say a new order from Gov. Tom Corbett will pressure state employees to more quickly approve environmental permits, including Marcellus Shale gas wells and projects that involve sensitive wetlands or ecosystems. The order, signed July 24, is described as a "Permit Decision Guarantee" for the Department of Environmental Protection.
Environmental advocates say the order directs the agency to "consider compliance with the review deadlines a factor in any job performance evaluations" of staff.
"It's going to put the public health and safety at risk," said George Jugovic Jr., a former top DEP employee who supervised a staff of more than 200 as the agency's Southwest regional director. "I think the message is clear. Issuing the permit has a higher priority than doing a fair and thorough job of insuring that the application complies with the law.""
11. Trainers Tell PA State Workers How to Avoid Citizens Public Record Requests
Trainers are telling state workers who are learning a new phone system that they can use an instant-messaging feature to avoid citizens' public record requests. (PA’s open records director wrote to Gov. Corbett).
"During several different training sessions for the implementation of the new statewide telephone system, state employees were specifically instructed that certain telephone messages and instant messages on this system are not subject to the state's open records law," wrote Terry Mutchler, executive director of the Office of Open Records. It happened in at least four training sessions, she said.
"There's no way to retain" so-called instant messages, which are intended for "quick, routine communications," said spokesman for the Office of Administration under Corbett.
Under the law, only "obtainable" records are subject to public release, said Melissa Melewsky, attorney for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.
Use of technology to circumvent the law would violate the spirit of Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law, several First Amendment advocates said.
"It's a completely inappropriate way to use technology to avoid accountability," Melewsky said. "It invites abuse."
The training overseen by the Corbett administration is the latest example of government officials potentially using technology to circumvent state and federal disclosure laws.
12. Drilling Research Suffers from Lack of Funding
A house committee turned down an Obama request to fund 4.25 million in research on the affect on water quality. And PA striped $2 million of funding that included a health registry to track respiratory problems, skin conditions stomach ailments and other illnesses related to drilling.
“Right now the kind of comprehensive research that’s needed just hasn’t started,” said Bernard Goldstein, professor U Pitt School of Public Health.
Center for Disease Control said fracking research should include all the ways people can be exposed. Yet “we don’t have any new initiative regarding shale gas and public health said Bernadette Burden, CDC spokesman.
If somebody in your community tells you that theyre sure that theyre sick that their kids are sick, and at the same time the industry is saying, “It isn’t us, who are you gong to believe?” Goldstein said.
Research from University of Texas and New York University has generated controversy because of the researchers ties to the industry.
(gas drilling research suffers from lack of funding, Latrobe bulletin, begos 8-4-12)
13. 2 out of 5 Fracked Wells Were Not Reported in Some States
Energy companies failed to list more than two out of every five fracked wells in eight U.S. states from April 11, 2011, when FracFocus began operating, through the end of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gaps reveal shortcomings in the voluntary approach to transparency. FracFocus received funding from oil and gas trade groups and $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. More than half of new wells that went unreported were in three states: Texas, Oklahoma and Montana.
“FracFocus is just a fig leaf for the industry to be able to say they’re doing something in terms of disclosure,” said U.S. Representative Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat. DeGette, along with Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey, introduced legislation in March 2011 that would require companies to disclose fracking chemicals. The bills haven’t advanced in either the House or Senate.
14. No Help for Sick Residents
(from bob donnan news: The first paragraph in this story references a family living near the entrance to Cross Creek Park, near some Atlas wells that were drilled just outside the park. Another lady that I personally interviewed (living near these same well sites on the other side of the ridge) told me she lost a perfectly healthy horse in a short period of time during production activities. Later, when one of the Range wells was drilled inside the park, she lost pressure on what was historically a very strong water well.)
Jeannie Moten and her family live within a half a mile of gas wells in rural Pennsylvania. When she and her niece discovered strange lesions on their bodies, they consulted a doctor. “The good news is that it wasn’t cancer, and the bad news is that we have no idea what it is,” said Dr. Amy Pare. Pare decided to take urine samples from Moten’s neighbors and was dismayed to discover hippuric acid, phenol, mandelic acid and other chemicals not typically found in people.
The chemicals may be related to the fracking operations in Moten’s community, but most drilling companies refuse to share all of the ingredients of their fracking fluid. According to a new Pennsylvania law, healthcare professionals have to sign a confidentiality agreement before companies will disclose information about fracking chemicals. If doctors pass that information on to their patients, they could be sued. “I just want to make my patients healthy. And I can’t do that if I don’t know what it is that’s making them sick,” said Pare.
Fracking doesn’t just occur on lonely plains or distant outposts. It happens right next to our homes, our farms, and our schools. Operators pump fracking fluids right into our backyards, and many of the chemicals they use are proven to be toxic. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to skin rashes, vomiting, headaches, asthma symptoms, childhood leukemia, multiple myeloma, and other serious health hazards.
And yet without strong disclosure requirements, people who live next door to drill pads aren’t allowed to find out what chemicals may be lurking in their air and water. In fact, only two states, Colorado and West Virginia, require companies to even notify homeowners before fracking occurs on their property. Without notification, residents don’t have a chance to do baseline water quality testing. And trade secret loopholes mean that residents may not be able to find out what chemicals were used in their backyards if contamination occurs.
15. Louisiana Sinkhole, Bubbles, and 1000s of Recent Quakes May Be Linked to oil/ gas
On Monday, officials warned an explosion is possible from gas in Louisiana’s sinkhole area where radioactive waste has been pumped into a cavern. As the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) authorized drilling a new well in the danger sinkhole zone, a seismologist noted seismic activity in that zone. There is a real possibility that the fossil fuel industries’ environmental modifications (ENMODs) are causing the gas bubbles, giant sinkhole and thousands of quakes resulting in the State of Emergency.
Diagnostic tests from government officials and industry pinpoint no source of the sinkhole or gas bubbling bayous, but seismologist Dr. Stephen Horton of . University of Memphis says the link between those events and oil and gas industry ENMODs in south Louisiana is a "real possibility." “The sinkhole and bubbles may be caused by the same thing,” said Dr. Horton. Seismic activity is being detected from Louisiana’s giant sinkhole area. Seismometers picked up thousands of quakes in the Assumption Parish disaster area since June, according to Horton. He and colleagues had installed four instruments underground to record quake activities, and since then, two more, each monitored daily.
Eighty miles west of Bayou Corne is Lake Peigneur that balances above a salt dome that collapsed in 1980 when a drilling rig punctured a protective layer in the salt mine wall, causing the entire lake, including a drilling rig, several larges barges and large chunks of surrounding land to be pulled down into the cavern.
Pressure was so great, the bayou ran backwards, created a large waterfall, and was sucked back into the puncture hole.
Scientist Dr. Wilma Subra, award-winning human rights defender worked extensively on the Lake Peigneur incident and has done so for several decades. She suspects drilling too close to the edge of the salt might have compromised the Bayou Corne cavern.
Subra was excluded from meetings of scientists last Monday. She worries for the safety of the surrounding communities.
16. Seismic Testing Permit Denied for State Road in Ohio
Hinckley Township trustees as well as Medina County officials said they cannot grant Nicholson Land Services and TGC Industry permission to conduct seismic testing on State Road (county Route 44). Trustees said Medina County officials have advised them that roadway easements are considered the private property of homeowners up to the roadway center line and roadway easements can only be used for transportation and public utility purposes. Project manager for Nicholson, Bill Blalock, said, "This is the first time in company history that we have been denied permission."
Seismic testing is a process where specialized vehicles, about twice the size of an SUV, equipped with vibrating plates, travel slowly down a roadway. Blalock said the equipment has sensors which determine the safe level of vibration which can be used as the trucks approach homes as well as underground structures. As the truck would approach the center of a town, for example, little vibration would be used. He said based on the feedback from the vibration process, a three-dimensional drawing is obtained.
17. Officials thrilled by Act 13 ruling
County and municipal officials upset with their loss of zoning authority under Pennsylvania’s gas drilling impact fee law breathed a sigh of relief when a state appellate court struck down part of the statute.
Seven municipalities had sued the state over the law on constitutional grounds. They were backed symbolically by 67 municipalities and counties that signed letters criticizing Act 13, among them three Luzerne County municipalities and the county’s governing council.
“We all unanimously agreed that we did not like the act for one reason or another,” said Jim Bobeck, chairman of the Luzerne County Council. “Councilman Eugene Kelleher, the council’s representative to the County Commissioners Association Natural Gas Task Force, said, Who is the state to come in and tell a local town or borough how they should run their town,” Kelleher asked. “The local people should know what’s best for the local area.”
Dallas Township sent a letter of support for the municipalities who sued the state over Act 13. The township spent several months updating its zoning ordinance to account for natural gas pipelines and other facilities proposed for the township, only to have its work superseded by Act 13.
None of us here wanted to lose our zoning,” Township Supervisor Liz Martin said. “We had just spent a whopping lot of money on new zoning regulations specifically set forth because of the natural gas industry… and we didn’t want to see all of that money go to waste.”
Black Creek Township and Sugarloaf Township also sent letters opposing Act 13. Local environmental advocacy group the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition expressed its support of the decision.
Photo by bob donnan
18. What Parent Wants This Next To Their Child’s School
The above pictured Multi-Chem facility is right next to a Washington, Pa. elementary school (Washington Park Primary School). These photos were taken through the lower property line fence of that elementary school:
This Weeks Letter to the Editor-from Penn live, August 3
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court found Marcellus Shale zoning provisions of Act 13 unconstitutional July 26. The majority opinion states the act "violates substantive due process because it does not protect the interests of neighboring property owners from harm."
PA Environment Digest wrote that one day later, Gov. Tom Corbett - perhaps to show appreciation for the $1,813,305.59 that claims he's received from the oil and gas lobby - announced his administration was appealing the ruling, saying in part: "The provisions struck down by the Commonwealth Court are critically important for ... local governments looking for guidance on how they may reasonably regulate oil and gas operations. Both the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, which represents 1,455 municipalities, urged passage of the law."
I am not aware of a single local government official who has ever stated they sought guidance on how to regulate local land use from Act 13. CCAP and PSATS (and the PAB) caved in to the financial Goliath that is the oil and gas lobby.
To imply these lobbyists represented the wishes of its member municipalities' voters and taxpayers by supporting Act 13 seems purposefully misleading. The state Supreme Court should dismiss such a frivolous appeal.
STEVE TODD, Derry Twp.
Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens GroupMission 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 news updates, please email jan at