Friday, September 7, 2012

Jan's Updates September 7, 2012

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates Sept 7,2012
* For articles and updates or to just vent, visit us on facebook;
* To view permanent documents, past updates, reports, general information and meeting information
* For information on the state gas legislation and local control:
You may have to Cut and Paste Links- (they work erratically)
Calendar of Events
***County Commissioners Meeting- 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the county courthouse at 10:00
*** Murrysville Amicus Meeting Thursday, Sept 12, 7 pm, Murrysville Council Chambers, --- or maybe even sooner. See further information under Take Action
*** Health Effects of Shale Gas Extraction Conference November 9
The Third Annual Health Effects of Shale Gas Extraction Conference will be held on November 9, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA. More information is available on the conference website:
For a full calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:
Att. John Smith and the other attorneys for the Act 13 case have presented a webinar for the purpose of understanding the Court Case. All of us should view it to better understand the Act 13 case and the zoning issues involved. 
The webinar should be required viewing for local officials--supervisors, zoning hearing board members, solicitors, county commissioners, legislators, etc. 
So please forward the webinar link to officials in your area. There should be email addresses on your township website. Everyone please take ten minutes to help and let me know who has been contacted.  If they receive the information more than once that is fine. You can cut and paste the following and forward to your supervisors, zoning people, legislators, etc.: [
The following link to a webinar on Act 13, explains the lawsuit whereby the zoning portions of Act 13 were declared unconstitutional by the Commonwealth Court.
It is presented in an understandable manner.
You will be asked to register but the registration is immediate. The entire program is about 50 minutes. 
Frack Links
*** Video of what used to be a Clean Stream in Loyalsock State Forest-
Drilling Accident- Marc 1 Pipeline- (1 minute)
And from John: These are some videos I took this morning [Saturday 9/1/2012] of 'The Beach' at World's End State Forest. This 'sediment' from a 'wet stream crossing' of the MARC-1 Pipeline has traveled 15+ miles down the Loyalsock from Ringdale to Hillsgrove, and is still spreading. He notes there is no sign of aquatic life.
*** Frack water reported to be discharged into Conemaugh
Canoeing on the beautiful trip to Saltsburg from the Conemaugh Dam, we discovered Tunnleton Liquids Co. discharging Marcellus Shale frack water into the Conemaugh. The entire area smelled badly of chemicals.
*** Video of fracking process-if you are interested in what parts of the process look like
***List of the Harmed
Updated as of August 25th, 2012-
The following is an ever-growing list of the individuals and families
that have been harmed by fracking (or shale gas production) in the U.S.
Should you encounter any issues (misinformation, broken links, etc.) or if you are/know someone who should be added to this list, please contact us at (
***Sign up for Sky truth for reports on gas activity
Fracking Quotes
*** “The 10 existing compressor stations in Washington County (these are within 5 miles of each other) are permitted to emit 2-3 times as much nitrogen dioxide per year, as the US Steel Edgar Thomson Works has actually emitted in any year from 2000-2008,” Joe Osborne of Gasp
*** It’s not a level playing field,” said Peter V. Anderson, who grows corn and alfalfa on the parched plains of eastern Colorado. “I don’t think in reality that the farmer can compete with the oil and gas companies for that water. Their return is a hell of a lot better than ours.”
Fracking News
1. Attorneys Ask Court to Deny Intervention of Sen. Temore and Scarnati
Attorneys challenging Act 13 asked the state Supreme Court to deny the request of two top state Republican leaders, State Senator Pro Temore Joe Scarnati and state Leader of the House Rep. Samuel H. Smith, to intervene in an appeal of Act 13.
They said Scarnati and Smith's request should be denied for several reasons—including the fact that the Commonwealth Court denied a similar request from the lawmakers regarding intervention into the proceedings.
Cecil Township Solicitor John Smith, who is one of the lead attorneys on the case, also said in court paperwork that the legislators failed to state a valid basis for intervention, "as they do not have a legally enforceable interest in the appeal and their interests are adequately represented by (the state)."
In addition, he wrote that allowing the pair to intervene would "be improper as it would cause undue delay to the proceedings, which have already begun to move forward pursuant to an expedited schedule."
2. Coal Alliance & Duquesne Light file Amici Supporting Gas Industry Wednesday, September 5, 2012
3. In Luzerne County, Zoning Board Refuses Compressor Station
The Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board unanimously shot down a proposed gas compressor station in West Wyoming tonight.
Cheers and clapping filled the county council meeting room after the three members of the board declined to approve UGI Energy Services Inc.’s application for a special exception to construct a utility building and yard.
UGI representatives said the compressor station would comply with or exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for emissions. UGI said the project would bring lower-cost gas from within the state to local customers.
But opponents said any emissions are too many. At a county zoning board public hearing Aug. 8, opponents voiced concerns including health effects, quality-of-life issues like traffic and dust, and the potential to affect property values. Ray Gustave of West Wyoming took issue with UGI defining the site as “remote,” saying it is 1½ miles from the populated area and 2 miles from the center of town.”
4. Millions of Barrels of Wastewater Trucked into Ohio from PA Might be Highly Radioactive
Radium in one sample of Marcellus wastewater, that PA officials collected in 2009 was 3,609 times more radioactive than a federal safety limit for drinking water. It was 300 times higher than a Nuclear Regulatory Commission limit for industrial discharges to water.
The December 2011 study, compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, also found that the median levels of radium in brine from Marcellus wells was more than three times higher than brine collected from conventional oil and gas wells.
“These are very, very high concentrations of radium compared to other oil and gas brines,” said Mark Engle, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist and co-author of the report.
State law bans radioactive shale-well sand and sludge from Ohio landfills. However, brine can be sent down any of Ohio’s 171 active disposal wells regardless of how much radium it contains. Michael Snee, the Ohio Department of Health’s radiation-protection chief, said that’s the safest place for brine.” Injection wells are almost the perfect solution for that disposal issue,” Snee said.
However, environmental advocates say the Geological Survey’s report intensifies their fears of surface spills and leaks to groundwater.
“It’s an alarm bell in the night that we better get serious about testing the material in the Utica shale right here in Ohio,” said Jack Shaner, an Ohio Environmental Council lobbyist.
5. Fight over Water In the West
GREELEY, Colo. — “A race for water is rippling through the drought-scorched heartland, pitting farmers against oil /gas interests. A single frack well can require five million gallons of water, and energy companies are flocking to water auctions, farm ponds, irrigation ditches and municipal fire hydrants to get what they need.
This is complicating the long and emotional struggle over who drinks and who does not in the arid and fast-growing West.And this summer’s record-breaking drought, which dried up wells and ruined crops, has only amplified those concerns.
It’s not a level playing field,” said Peter V. Anderson, who grows corn and alfalfa on the parched plains of eastern Colorado. “I don’t think in reality that the farmer can compete with the oil and gas companies for that water. Their return is a hell of a lot better than ours.”
But industry officials say that critics are exaggerating the effect on water supplies. To fill their storage tanks, they lease surplus water from cities or buy treated wastewater that would otherwise be dumped back into rivers. In some cases, they buy water rights directly from farmers or other users — a process that in Colorado requires court approval.
In average years, farmers say they pay about $30 for an acre-foot of water — equal to about 326,000 gallons — a price that can rise to $100 when water is scarce. Right now, oil and gas companies in parts of Colorado are paying as much as $1,000 to $2,000 for an equal amount of treated water from city pipes.
“We’re not going to be able to raise the food we need,” said Ben Rainbolt, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “How are we going to produce this with less?”
That money can be a blessing for strained local utilities and water departments, but farmers say there is no way they can afford to match those bids. “Water flows uphill to money,” said Mike Chiropolos, a lawyer for Western Resource Advocates, an environmental group based in Boulder. “It’s only going to get more precious and more scarce.”
In June, the group released a study that accused Colorado of underestimating the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, saying the true figure was between 7.2 billion and 13 billion gallons per year — enough to serve as many as 296,100 people.
Despite the drought and worries about water supplies, several cities — and even farmers with water to spare — are starting to line up as eager sellers.
(For Farms in the West, Oil Wells Are Thirsty Rivals By Jack Healey, 9-5-12)
6. Sludge in Creek in LaPorte, PA Spill
‘A Discharge in Loyalsock Creek has been identified as mud, clay and sediment from gas operations according to the DEP. Vacationers from Baltimore asked why they found sludge and a green opaque color in the creek.
Gas transmission lines are being constructed from the Marc 1 pipeline project by Inergy Midstream LP. DEP said the significant amount of mud clay and sediment posed no danger to the public. No advisories were issued to swimmers or campers at the park.’
7. PA Proposed New Rules on Oil and Gas Act
According to the Post Gazette, there are more than 100 proposed changes in a 23- page draft from the DEP. It is the first step in a rewrite that is required by recent changes to the states 1984 Oil and Gas Act.
(State proposing new rules for gas drilling, AP, Latrobe Bulletin, 8-29-12)
8. The Celebrity Campaign Against Fracking: How Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon Rallied an Outcry
Yoko Ono, her son Sean Lennon, and more than 180 other artists have come together to lend their star power to the anti-fracking cause. Earlier this week, they announced the formation of Artists Against Fracking at a Manhattan news conference.
Stars who are a part of this coalition include former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Lady Gaga, Jimmy Fallon, Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Uma Thurman, Hugh Jackman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Zooey Deschanel. Mark Ruffalo and Olivia Wilde tweeted their support for Artists Against Fracking.
9. Fracking with Carbon
(This article addresses the use of carbon only for re-fracking)
Talk about a win-win situation. Compressed carbon dioxide may be more suitable than water for fracturing methane-rich rock – a finding that could help the fracking industry extract more gas from spent fields. And because the carbon dioxide is then trapped below ground, the discovery could also spur the development of large-scale carbon sequestration.
It's unclear exactly why pressurized CO2 yields a different fracture pattern from water, but Ishida's team suggest it might be connected to the fact that compressed CO2 is around 10 times less viscous than water.
He says that shale has a greater affinity for CO2 than methane. When CO2 is injected into a depleted shale formation – even one that has previously been fracked – the rock will release more methane because pockets of the gas chemically trapped within the shale will be released in favor of the more chemically attractive CO2.
10. New York –Environmentalists Push for Assessment of Heath effects
Several environmental groups met with top officials from the New York State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation to discuss possible impacts like water contamination from accidental spills, air pollution from drilling operations equipment, and higher numbers of accidents from increased truck traffic.
Environmentalists – including members of major groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates of New York, Riverkeeper and Environmental Defense Fund pressed for an independent health assessment by medical experts before regulations are finalized and any drilling is allowed to start.
But it was not clear what the agencies would ultimately do and whether adding another layer to the ongoing environmental review of fracking would further delay a decision by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to allow such drilling.
Critics of the state’s proposed drilling rules, including medical associations and dozens of state legislators, say that it doesn’t properly address the potential impacts to public health or the safe disposal of millions of wastewater produced by each gas well.
11. When Attorney General, Corbett Advised That Drilling Can Affect Property Value
(from a May Update, but so interesting I reprinted, jan)
In 2008, then Attorney General Corbett issued a "Consumer Advisory" advising that leasing your land for gas drilling could affect the value of your property and your ability to sell your home. (He had no advice for those who don't own the gas rights on their property or the neighbors of those who lease.)
The Western PA Multi-List revised their seller disclosure form in October of 2011 to require disclosure of whether you or a neighbor have leased for gas drilling; see Multi-List Questions 19 (k) and (l).
12.Thanks to Bob Donnan for the following information:
DEP Plan Approval – Smith Township, Washington County, Pa.
8 more BIG compressors coming to the THREE BROTHERS COMPRESSOR STATION in the Burgettstown, Pa. area (Atlasburg).  At 1,980 horsepower each they will total 15,840 HP (plus the 2 compressors already there). Keep in mind that all the health problems in DISH, Texas were created with compressors totaling about 21,000 HP.
Photo by Bob Donnan
Joe Osborne of GASP, when explaining the high levels of air emissions emitted by compressors, made the comparison that the 10 existing compressor stations in Washington County (these are within 5 miles of each other) are permitted to emit 2-3 times as much nitrogen dioxide per year as the US Steel Edgar Thomson Works has actually emitted in any year from 2000-2008.
Joe notes that compressor stations do not operate all engines at 100% capacity all year long, so their actual emissions are somewhat lower than their allowable emissions, but certainly not 2-3 times lower, which would be needed to reduce their emissions below those of Edgar Thomson.
GASP website:
Bob Donnan photo 
Authorization ID:
Permit number:
Authorization type:
Minor Facility Plan Approval New Source Performance Std
Application type:
Authorization is for:
Date received:
Issued 08/27/2012
Sub-Facilities for Authorization
Sub-Facility ID
Sub-Facility Name
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
Air Pollution Control Device
[Picture]Photo by Bob Donnan
13. Our Comments Work!!
Just in case you missed this detail about the WELLING COMPRESSOR STATION in Buffalo Township, Washington County, Pa:
One Less Engine at Welling Compressor Station as a Result of Comments
On June 25, 2012, the Clean Air Council and GASP submitted comments on Plan Approval 63-00958A submitted by MarkWest which proposed to install five additional compressor engines, one diesel engine and capacity expansion of a dehydrator/reboiler at their Welling Compressor Station in Washington County. After reviewing the facilities calculations for its potential to emit pollution and pointing out various flaws, PA DEP was forced to recalculate. As PA DEP stated in their response to comments:
Upon review of all public comments received with the subject application and comparison of this application with that for another MarkWest facility with similar configuration, the Department reevaluated the emissions potential for CO2e at Welling and determined that as proposed, the CO2e emission potential for Welling would be 100,071 tons per year of CO2e. On July 16, 2012, the Department conveyed this information to MarkWest. In response, MarkWest indicated that one of the proposed Waukesha P9390GSI engines would be removed from its proposal to ensure that Welling remained a minor source.
Source: Clean Air Council
Jan’s Note:
(And this is how we work together. Clean Air Council sent out the action alert on the Welling Station. I wrote a statement for WMCG. I got a call from the DEP with questions about the comparison of stations. I couldn’t locate my statement within 5 minutes so I called Joe Osborne from GASP. Joe quickly forwarded all the pertinent data to the DEP. Meanwhile, all of these environmental groups submitted detailed, technical information to make this happen.)
photo by Bob Donnan
14. Studies on Health Impacts Seek Funds
A much-publicized plan by two Pennsylvania health companies to study possible impacts from gas drilling is only in the preliminary stages as the groups continue to look for major funding. Meanwhile, a group that has been examining similar questions is starting to focus on air quality, as precise numbers of people who've had health complaints linked to drilling remain elusive.
Geisinger Health Systems of Danville and Guthrie Health of Sayre are in the planning stages of examining how people might be affected by gas drilling activity. Geisinger spokeswoman Marcy Marshall said the company has received $100,000 from a local charitable organization and is seeking other grants. The initial funding will pay for the planning stage and some pilot studies, she said. Guthrie spokeswoman Maggie Barnes said the company hasn't received any funding or started research. Guthrie will seek future grants and do research in collaboration with Geisinger.
15. Sterling Ridge Area, South Fayette, Threatened
The Ad:
“The most discriminating buyers are sure to be impressed by the architectural standards offered at Sterling Ridge, a premier development planned by J.N.D. Properties, LLC. Wide frontage homesites average 1/3 to 1/2 acre and can accommodate any home-style home including ranches and two story homes with first floor master suites. Amenities include professional landscaping, preserved open spaces and a scenic view of the neighboring horse farm. New home pricing packages from the low $360,000's.
Click here for Online Brochure with plenty of additional information
Click here for a printable brochure with current lot availability & prices (PDF format)”
The future reality??
This afternoon in Sterling Ridge –(from one of our group)
South Fayette Twp. Mgr. received a phone call from a resident explaining that earlier in the day men delivering letters to each homeowner in Sterling Ridge and asking them if they had well water or “city water”, and explaining to the homeowners that they were from (or associated with) Range Resources and that they are planning a well drilling operation very near this RESIDENTIAL development. 
Range and its agents are NOT IN COMPLIANCE with the ordinance South Fayette passed in 2010 regarding well drilling.   And they are threatening to drill in an area with uncapped wells and an uncapped coalmine.
Range's cowboy-like, bullying tactics are not welcome here or anywhere.”
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