Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates November 16, 2012
Information contained in “Updates” is contributed by people around the entire western PA area. Thanks so much to everyone who helps to keep us informed, especially Bob, Gloria, Debbie, and John T but so many others as well.
-please copy and paste links
-sorry photos have not been copying -please see newsletter
Information contained in “Updates” is contributed by people around the entire western PA area. Thanks so much to everyone who helps to keep us informed, especially Bob, Gloria, Debbie, and John T but so many others as well.
-please copy and paste links
-sorry photos have not been copying -please see newsletter
* For articles and updates or to just vent, visit us on facebook;
* To view permanent documents, past updates, reports, general information and meeting information http://westmorelandmarcellus.blogspot.com/
* To discuss candidates: http://www.facebook.com/groups/VoteProEarth/
* To email your state legislator: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/
* For information on the state gas legislation and local control: http://pajustpowers.org/aboutthebills.html-
*** Westmoreland County Commissioners Meeting- 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the county courthouse at 10:00 AM (NOTE: The 11/8 meeting was cancelled and re-scheduled for 11/15.)
***Meeting on Westmoreland Beaver Run Resevoir 7 PM Monday, November 19, 2012 at the Murrysville Community & Senior Center, 3091 Carson Avenue, Murrysville, PA 15668
Panel members include John Stolz, Ph. D. Biological Sciences, Duquesne University; Jim Morrison, Murrysville Chief Administrator; Cynthia Walter, Ph. D Ecological Sciences; and Brien Palmer, Partner, InterLINK Management Consulting and Chair, Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Murrysville.
*****To sign a petition to Investigate DEP Water Testing ******
"We call on US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for misconduct and fraud related to withholding information about drilling contaminants in our water."
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
(See article #1 below for details)
***A second petition regarding water testing***
DEP Accused of Omitting Toxins from Water Test Reports
Could it be that the DEP is intentionally omitting toxins and carcinogens from the water test results it gives to homeowners? Based on evidence submitted by the Technical Director of the DEP’s Bureau of Laboratories, state Rep. Jesse White is calling for state and federal agencies to investigate DEP’s practices. DEP Secretary Krancer says DEP’s practice is consistent with those in other states such as CO, NY, OH, and WY. See an explanatory graphic here.
***Petition to President Obama**
Do you remember when rivers caught on fire before the Clean Water Act passed? The only thing worse than a river on fire would be your drinking water on fire. Yet thanks to fracking, that's exactly what's happened to countless American families.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a dangerous way of drilling for natural gas -- and if President Obama does not step in by the end of the year, the Department of Energy (DOE) could write the gas industry a blank check for more fracking.
President Obama needs to hear from 40,000 of us in the next two days -- send your letter today, telling him to protect communities from the dangers of fracking!
**** A response to the Gas Industry Ads by Christine Hughes, suggesting loopholes for food industry!!
Thank you to Sierra Club
****Theo Colburn Video—24 minutes on Fracking and Air
***Report – Gas Patch Roulette
How Shale Gas Development Risks Public Health in PA
***Sign up for Sky Truth for reports on gas activity
Sign up to receive reports on the geographic area you select. You will receive regular updates on permits issues, well spud, and violations in your area.
***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 email@example.com (http://pennsylvaniaallianceforcleanwaterandair.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/list-of-the-harmed18.pdf
*** “Not only do we run more risks of adverse environmental and human-health impacts, but we will have less economic benefit than will other Marcellus shale states for the amount of gas we have underground.” Dr Goldstein.
*** “I wasn’t offered a job by Gov. Corbett and, frankly, if he would have offered it to me, I wouldn’t have taken it,” Hanger said
*** “The deposition testimony shows where DEP's priorities lie - the agency doctored lab reports in order to protect the fracking industry from the people it is charged with safeguarding,” said Sam Bernhardt, Pennsylvania Organizer for Food & Water Watch.
1. New PA Auditor DePasquale Plans To Review DEP Water-Testing Programs
“Dem. Rep. Eugene DePasquale defeated Rep. John Maher, R. for the position of Auditor of Pennsylvania.
DePasquale’s day-one campaign promise is to dive into a politically charged area of state politics – auditing water-testing programs in the Marcellus Shale region overseen by the DEP. The audit would determine whether the staffing levels at DEP are appropriate to regulate and monitor gas drilling and also will examine inspection and testing methods at regional offices for consistency, he said.”
2. EPA Study on Fracking Held up –Gas Industry Won’t Cooperate
“The EPA can’t find a partner to perform a study of drilling and drinking water, a year after it said it would take such action. The result is that federal scientists may not be able to do before-and-after testing of shale gas operations in Washington County and other locations. EPA science adviser Glenn Paulson detailed the problem at the University of Pittsburgh’s annual conference on shale drilling’s health effects. The agency still is looking for companies to give them access for the study, due in 2014, he told a crowd of more than 150 people.
Agency officials said in June 2011 they were going to test through the full life cycle of wells at a Range Resources Corp. site in Washington County and at a site in Louisiana. One of those proved technically unsuited for the research and the agency has yet to finalize a deal with the company that was going to give it access to the other, Paulson said after his speech. Range Resources welcomes such federal research, spokesman Matt Pitzarella said when reached about Paulson’s comments. He could not immediately confirm whether the company ever had a deal or was working on one for the agency’s study.”
3. When Public Parks are Turned Into Industrial Zones
-On Cross Creek from R. Martin, Coordinator, PaForestCoalition.org
Perhaps what’s at stake is best described by outdoor writer George Block, in the Washington Observer-Reporter.
From his article “ Cross Creek Lake belongs to the people”:
“I don't remember my first dollar but I do remember my first trout.
I don't remember my income for 1965 but remember an eight-point buck.
I don't remember my hourly rate for 1973 but do remember a quiet trout stream in McKean County full of brook Trout.
I don't remember how much money was in my pocket that day four years ago as I sat on the patio with my 94-year-old mother. I was pointing to a Baltimore oriole in the apple tree and she was thrilled to see it.
That was the last time we sat on the patio together.”
It started with a 2003 agreement by Washington County officials:
Picture by Bob Donnan
“WHEREAS, County made a determination that the leasing of oil and natural gas rights in the premises hereinafter described will be for the best interests of the County and authorized leasing of the same . . .” And things went downhill from there.
Washington County resident Bob Donnan has been documenting the destruction of Cross Creek Park. His photos and narratives have kept us abreast of the “death by 1,000 cuts” that resulted from natural gas development in this public park. Bookmark this article and use it to prevent this from happening in your park.
“Alternative Waste Disposal”
Perhaps as an indicator of what will be left behind in Cross Creek Park, note the “alternate waste disposal” which is permitted by Pennsylvania DEP. It is a little like the disposal in a landfill, soaking up excess moisture via woodchips, limestone or other absorbent – BUT it’s buried on-site.
Apparently, DEP permits drillers to simply fold the waste pit liner over the sludge and add 18 inches of dirt over the liner. University of Pittsburgh R.D. Vidic described one hazard due to this short cut to disposal: Radiation. Ra226 bonds with the Barium present. Locally called “toxic teabags”, this
Photo by Bob Donnan
apparently allows the driller to walk away from future liability for environmental damage, even if the liner leaks.
According to the gas lease agreement:
“All trash, rubbish, or waste materials from each drilling site shall be removed and disposed of in a properly licensed solid waste site. All pits shall be filled with earth and developed per County specifications at Lessee’s expense upon completion of each well.”
The question remains: Unless the contents of the “Toxic Teabag” have been analyzed and declared safe, why would our DEP allow the process?
The permits issued for the Cross Creek Park operation call for adding "Soli-Bond" as a solidifying agent prior to burial. While Mr. Donnan has observed some kind of gray powder being mixed with the liquids prior to burial, it is not known if this is the approved material.
(Go to Mr. Donnan’s website; scroll one-third of the way down this page for the info on radiation test results and pit burials in Cross Creek Park :
from: R. Martin Coordinator www.PaForestCoalition.org)
4. An Exploratory Study of Air Quality Near Natural Gas Operations
TEDX is pleased to announce that our paper "An Exploratory Study of Air Quality Near Natural Gas Operations" has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. Click here to download the paper.
This exploratory study was designed to assess air quality in a rural western Colorado area where residences and gas wells co-exist. Sampling was conducted before, during, and after drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a new natural gas well pad. Weekly air sampling for 1 year revealed that the number of
--non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) and their concentrations were highest during the initial drilling phase and did not increase during hydraulic fracturing in this closed-loop system.
--Methylene chloride, a toxic solvent not reported in products used in drilling or hydraulic fracturing, was detected 73% of the time; several times in high concentrations. A literature search of the health effects of the NMHCs revealed that many had multiple health effects, including 30 that affect the endocrine system, which is susceptible to chemical impacts at very low concentrations, far less than government safety standards.
--Selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were at concentrations greater than those at which prenatally exposed children in urban studies had lower developmental and IQ scores. The human and environmental health impacts of the NMHCs, which are ozone precursors, should be examined further given that the natural gas industry is now operating in close proximity to human residences and public lands.
To view the paper and more information on endocrine disrupting chemicals go to: www.endocrinedisruption.org.
5. EPA Seeks Research For Fracking Study
“The EPA has put out a call for peer-reviewed studies on fracking. The request, published this week in the Federal Register, seeks information that would relate to the EPA’s fracking study.
The scope of the study includes the full hydraulic fracturing water lifecycle—from water acquisition, through the mixing of chemicals and injection of fracturing fluids, to the post-fracturing stage, including the management of flowback and produced water and its ultimate treatment and disposal. The study will include a review of the published literature, analysis of existing data, scenario evaluation and modeling, laboratory studies and case studies.
Data and literature on the subject will be accepted until April 30, 2013.
6. 25 Organizations Demand DEP Reveal all Data from Water Tests, and Provide Information to Homeowners
25 organizations sent a letter to Governor Tom Corbett criticizing the DEPs well water testing and notification policies as outdated, lacking transparency, and inadequate to protect residents and drinking water from pollution caused by gas drilling. The groups called on the Governor to take immediate action to reform PADEP’s procedures and disclose all data collected through DEP water tests but only partially reported to households where the testing occurred.
The letter and requests for action were prompted by information revealed through depositions in the case of Kiskadden vs. PADEP and DEP Secretary Michael Krancer’s recent announcement of changes to how suspected water pollution from shale gas operations is investigated.
The organizations’ letter made 3 requests:
**DEP report all data from households where well water was sampled due to suspected pollution from gas and oil operations. A court deposition of the technical director of DEP's Bureau of Laboratories indicated that DEP routinely omits data on 16 of 24 heavy metals for which it conducts water analyses from the final reports provided to well owners. Some of the omitted metals have serious health impacts and have been found in drilling flowback and produced water. DEP should revise its testing protocol to include all potential contaminants so the agency can accurately evaluate drinking water impacts and affected residents can make informed decisions about their water supplies.
**DEP revoke the new policy requiring administrators in Harrisburg to approve any positive notices of water contamination before public notification is made. In response to previously made requests in this regard, Secretary Krancer claimed DEP was fully transparent. In light of the revelations of Kiskadden vs. PADEP, the groups reasoned that the data used by DEP and provided to the public is neither complete nor accurate, and should not be the basis of determining whether pollution has occurred. Notification of contaminated water should be made without delay and bureaucratic red tape eliminated due to the potential harmful health impacts on residents waiting for testing results.
**The missing results from all well water tests ordered by the DEP should be provided immediately to well owners. This includes all tests using special reporting codes that omit from reports data that is necessary for accurate determinations by DEP of whether pollution occurred and whether residents’ health and water supplies are being harmed. Determinations by DEP based on partial data must be questioned.
The groups pointed out that current policies fly in the face of DEP’s mission to protect the state from gas drilling pollution, increase the risk of residents’ exposure to contaminated drinking water, and undermine DEP’s credibility in the eyes of the public.
Clean Water Action is proud to join with other organizations in calling for swift response to correct these procedures and policies and restore faith that DEP is looking out for the public’s best interest not the oil and gas industry's," says Steve Hvozdovich, Clean Water Action.
“As gas development spreads across Pennsylvania, problems with drinking water and health often follow,” says Nadia Steinzor with Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project. ….Transparency and reliability are hallmarks of responsible public agencies, which the DEP in this case clearly is not.”
….DEP isn’t on the job. Instead of digging deep to discover the facts, they are doing cursory testing and holding back critical information from those affected, making their decisions fatally flawed. This is flat out wrong and we’re calling on Governor Corbett to make immediate changes,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
"Pennsylvania residents in fracked communities have complained for years that DEP has protected the industry instead of protecting their water, air, land and health. Withholding information from impacted homeowners endangers public health and is inexcusable. We call for a complete reversal in DEP's priorities and an end to their betrayal of Pennsylvania communities," states Iris Marie Bloom, Director, Protecting our Waters.
“The deposition testimony shows where DEP's priorities lie - the agency doctored lab reports in order to protect the fracking industry from the people it is charged with safeguarding,” said Sam Bernhardt, Pennsylvania Organizer for Food & Water Watch. “The process of fracking simply cannot be done safely,” he concluded.
….. as taxpayers, property owners are entitled to all 24 data points in the test results because their tax dollars paid for them,” states Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth.
Julie Edgar of Lehigh Valley Gas Truth states, “Lehigh Valley Gas Truth thinks that this development, though superficially shocking, is unfortunately characteristic of the DEP under the regime of Governor Corbett, and we call out as demonstrated by these shady procedures that benefit privatized corporate profit agendas while sacrificing public health.”
Nadia Steinzor, Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, 845-417-6505
Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, 215-369-1188 x 102
Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-369-1188 ext. 104
Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting our Waters, (215) 840-6489
Steve Hvozdovich, Clean Water Action, 412-765-3053 x 210
7. Range Bails on Cecil Meeting
“A meeting designed to forge a positive, working relationship between Cecil Township and Range Resources was abruptly canceled Thursday because a local lawmaker posted the meeting notice on his Facebook page and announced his plans to attend. State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, who has been at odds with Range Resources for some time, posted information about the workshop meeting online, checking the option to invite others to attend.
But allowing public discussion was contrary to what representatives from Range Resources, who had requested the meeting, believed would be taking place at the 6 p.m. workshop. In a letter to White, Range’s counsel, attorney David Poole, referred to an Oct. 26 email from township manager Don Gennuso that stated in a workshop setting the public is able to attend but does not get involved in the discussion. He went on to note that based on White’s Facebook posting, it appeared he was attempting “to derail the discussion” by inviting people who do not live in the township to come and speak. So, shortly after 3 p.m., Jim Cannon, Range’s local government relations manager, emailed Gennuso and said they were declining to appear but hoping to reschedule for another time.”
8. Dr. Ingraffea --- Fracking A Cause of Earthquakes
“During a videocon at Youngstown State U, Dr. Ingraffea of Cornell U emphasized that one of his biggest concerns regarding fracking is the now established fact that not only can the waste injection wells cause earthquakes, but that fracking wells do as well. He cited the latest study by the British Columbia Oil & Gas Commission that documented over 30 seismic "events" from April 09 to December 2011 - the largest a 3.8 on the Richter scale. (This is similar to findings by the Oklahoma Geological Survey from 2011 - links below.)
Dr. Ingraffea stated that his concern wasn't that these quakes would necessarily destroy homes or other above ground structures, but that they can harm the integrity of wells and their infrastructure, causing leakage and fluid migration in unpredictable ways. These studies also act to expose the falsity of industry claims that wells are inherently safe.”
Earthquakes in the Horn River Basin (PDF)
9. Dr Goldstein ---Why PA Should Have Been Moving Slowly on Gas Extraction (Excerpts)
“Guinea pigs lead an exciting life – for at least a while. They are the first to be chosen for adventurous new projects, and while the project lasts they get lots of attention. But in the long run they are sacrificed to the benefit of others. Pennsylvania and, to a lesser extent, West Virginia, are now the guinea pigs for other American states with Marcellus shale gas deposits that are wisely going slow. Not only do we run more risks of adverse environmental- and human-health impacts, but we will have less economic benefit than will other Marcellus shale states for the amount of gas we have underground.
….”But two key points must be kept in mind: First, a large fraction of the existing gas is left behind in those parts of the shale that are not close enough to the well holes or that are not blown open or kept open by the hydraulic fracturing process. And second, the industry’s drilling technology is getting better at retrieving even more of the gas and leaving less behind.
So how do I know that states that go more slowly will make more money per amount of gas in the Marcellus shale than Pennsylvania will?
First, there is information from the Barnett shale in Texas showing the progressive increase in gas yield over time. I also feel confident because in the past few months I have made this point in front of industry representatives and petroleum engineers in meetings in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., and Alberta. In each case I have asked that anyone in the audience who disagrees please get up and say so. No one has. So let me repeat this request: If anyone out there thinks my prediction – that improving drilling technology will lead to more gas yield over time – is wrong, please let me know.
The boom and bust cycle we are now experiencing is yet another reason why rushing ahead as the guinea pig for the Marcellus region diminishes the economic benefit to Pennsylvania. This headlong rush has increased gas supplies faster than demand, inevitably leading to a decline in natural gas prices. The resulting dislocation may be part of the reason that, for the first time since 2006, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for September, the most recent state data available, was higher than the nation's. Over time we can expect that supply and demand will be more closely coordinated, thus sparing other Marcellus shale regions from the costly dislocations currently affecting Pennsylvania’s industry and workers.
Gov. Corbett's tax breaks for industry also make no sense if you accept, as I do, that virtually all shale gas areas in our state will be drilled. It may be reasonable to give a tax break to Toyota so that the manufacturing giant locates its next automobile plant in Pennsylvania rather than in another state. But if the industry wants our shale gas, which it obviously does, then we should not subsidize it to get the gas.
Trial and error has also characterized the less rigorous industry approaches to environmental and occupational health risks. In the past 18 months the state had to impose a “voluntary moratorium” on using classic water treatment facilities for the literally millions of gallons of flowback water that come from every “frac.” The trucking of the flowback water to Ohio that resulted was then stopped because of earthquakes. Currently, industry is scrambling with new trial and error approaches to the millions of gallons of flowback water that comes to the surface after each hydrofracture. Similarly, improvements are occurring in well casings and other aspects of the overall drilling process for which failure has already led to adverse environmental consequences.
We can’t expect Gov. Corbett to tell us that in the long run Pennsylvania will have less economic benefit than other states. Like most politicians, his time frame does not go beyond his potential term of office. Nor can we expect industry to pass up the opportunity offered by the governor to make Pennsylvania a guinea pig. When New York, Maryland, Ontario, and Quebec eventually get around to drilling in their Marcellus shale, they should thank us for what the industry has learned while we served the role of guinea pigs.
But it is more likely that they will be too busy healthily laughing on their way to the bank.”
(Pennsylvania: The Marcellus shale guinea pig state - Bernard Goldstein, M.D)
10. New Injection Wells Planned for PA--Elk and Clearfield Counties
(I remember, not so long ago, that the DEP assured us that deep injection wells would not be used in PA because they couldn't work with the geology in PA. I also remember Dr. Tony Ingraffea, of Cornell University saying that eventually waste disposal is going to be a major problem for the industry in PA. Well, now it is. Don't kid yourself in thinking that they'll stop with the wells in these two counties. The industry, if they get away with this, will want to do this in as close proximity to gas wells as possible because it's cheaper. Where you'll have one, you'll have the other. –JT, group member)
The EPA has issued draft permits for fracking wastewater disposal wells in both Elk and Clearfield counties. The state has only five permitted and operating underground injection disposal wells that accept wastewater from oil and gas production. The EPA has issued final permits for two injection wells in Warren County, but they’re under appeal by residents. With the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, the gas industry needs more options to dispose of their wastewater. Plans for the wells in Warren, and Clearfield counties have met substantial opposition from residents.
11. DEP Water Testing Results Continue to Stir Controversy
“Testimony by a high-ranking DEP employee revealed that the DEP Bureau of Laboratories reran parts of its residential water tests for fracking pollution and, in some cases, the numbers differed substantially. This same official also could not say which number — the higher or the lower — was reported to homeowners.
Testimony by another DEP employee revealed that the department requires no formal training for its water quality specialists and has no Marcellus shale-specific training.
On Nov. 1, state Rep. Jesse White, D-46, Cecil Township, disclosed deposition testimony that the DEP, in its analysis of residential drinking water, is not reporting all the chemicals discovered in test results of residential drinking water because the department does not consider the substances related to wastewater from gas drilling.
Using the Sept. 26 deposition of the DEP Bureau of Laboratories technical director, Taru Upadhyay, in an Environmental Board hearing, White brought to light the DEP’s use of several suite codes, which only report back to residents a portion of the test’s findings.
But perhaps more telling of the broader issue is another fact brought up in Upadhyay’s deposition. In it, Upadhyay said the DEP lab in one case reran the tests for specific metals in drinking water tests, such as arsenic, and came up with two very different numbers. As to which number — the higher or the lower — was reported to the homeowner — in this case, Loren Kiskadden of Amwell in Washington County — Upadhyay could not say.
The entire suite was not rerun, she said, just the individual metals. Also, on reports returned to homeowners, the DEP did not indicate which metals were rerun, or that metals were rerun at all.
Kiskadden, the resident who brought the case against both Range Resources and the state DEP, claims the DEP report of his water contamination complaint is inaccurate and incomplete. Kiskadden’s water was tested twice using an older code, Suite Code 942.
Upadhyay said Kiskadden’s water was also found to contain zinc, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, titanium and boron, all results not included in his water contamination report. The lab also found acetone, chloroform and T-butyl alcohol in Kiskadden’s water, the latter of which is known to be used in fracking fluid. The DEP has said these findings were from lab error and ruled that Kiskadden’s water was not contaminated as a result of fracking occurring 3,000 feet from his home.
In his first letter of response to White, DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said the heavy metals were left off the report because their levels were “extremely low” in this particular case.
Former DEP Secretary John Hanger, who held the position from 2008 to 2011 under former Gov. Ed. Rendell, doesn’t agree with the DEP’s testing practice.
“My view is that the (DEP) should release all the test results of any substances found,” he said. “It’s just better to release all the substances to the owner of where the water was taken, whether or not the pollutant of substances (found) are relevant to an investigatory purpose. It would concern me if the department found a high (concentration) of a substance that posed a threat to the health of the owner and would not release it.”
Hanger was not retained as DEP secretary under Gov. Tom Corbett
“I wasn’t offered a job by Gov. Corbett and, frankly, if he would have offered it to me, I wouldn’t have taken it,” Hanger said. “He would rightly have never asked me to take the job because we are just not on the same page at all. He wanted to put a secretary in place that reflected his philosophy.”
DEP water quality specialist John Carson’s said in his deposition, that he had not had any formal training in water impact from Marcellus drilling operations or how to properly collect water samples.
Carson is with the DEP’s field office; he goes out and tests water supplies, then requests contamination tests from the DEP Bureau of Laboratories, sometimes using the suite codes. He said that he was not aware that using suite codes gave the lab permission to report back to him only a portion of water contamination results.”
12. Allegheny County New Air Toxics Guidelines
New protocol will impact permits
“The Allegheny County Board of Health has finally approved new air toxics guidelines aimed at gradually reducing levels of hazardous air pollutants from industrial facilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, coal-burning power plants and gas development and processing facilities. Seven years after the first proposal was made to update the county's cumbersome and scientifically outdated 1988 air toxics guidelines, the board Wednesday voted 7-1, with one abstention, to adopt the new guidelines that will allow the health department to use up-to-date scientific information about the health risks posed by hazardous air pollutants to assess permits for new emissions sources.
The new guidelines, which take effect Feb. 7, will for the first time allow the health department's air quality program to consider the cumulative impact of toxic air emissions from nearby sources when evaluating an application for a new pollution source. It will also allow the emitting industries to offset any new or increased emissions by reducing pollution from existing sources, including mobile sources like diesel trucks.”
13. Why the Well Completion Process Can Have Serious Health Impacts
The Colorado School of Public Health study results are based on three years of monitoring for several potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near wells, including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.
The health impact is greatest for those residents living closer to wells and “the greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short term but high emission well completion period. (Well completion is the period when the fracking fluids along with heavy metals and other hydrocarbons whoosh up from deep within the earth. This occurs right before gas production begins. jan).
The health risks are primarily due to exposure to trimethybenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes, all of which have neurological and or respiratory effects.
Researchers found that residents living near wells have higher cancer risks. Authors note that data was not available on all chemicals emitted during the well development process so the risks could have been underestimated.”
(Study shows air emission near fracking sites may pose health risk, dave kelly, UC, Denver)
14. Notes on Water Symposium -- Carnegie U-Notes from Bob
“Researchers are using the ratio of contaminants to identify specific pollution sources, ratios like Bromides/Chlorides and Calcium/Magnesium or Calcium/Strontium. The results showed overall river pollution levels rising from 2009 through 2011, then dropping in 2012. At first it appeared this might all be due to reduced dumping into the Mon River (as reported in the news columns) but my ‘eureka moment’ came when a very basic bar graph was shown in the afternoon, clearly indicating to me that those reductions corresponded directly to drastically reduced Marcellus well permitting and fracking in 2012. I would have loved to have seen an overlay slide of that bar graph as it related to the earlier complicated slides.
Bottom line: It was overall good news for those of us using Mon River water, even though our family now drinks only bottled spring water. Jeanne VanBriesen of CMU said that while high sulfate and chloride levels in the river mostly affect water taste, the bromides can cause serious health issues as disinfection by-products (DBP’s).
This foam is often seen in Clearville, Pa near Angel Smith’s farm—from bob
There were several discussions about how more FOAM is appearing in the river (sound strangely familiar?) Analysis of the foam has revealed: iron, manganese, aluminum, barium, strontium, and if I am reading my notes correctly, Radium 226 and Radium 228, which is not such great news for river water users!
A fish researcher (Dave Argent) presented his 2008 through 2010 data that showed a clear concern for the dramatic reduction of ‘small bodied bentic fishes’ like the rainbow darter, channel darter and johnny darter; small fish living close to the bottom of the river. A correlation may be revealed in some of the grab samples his team took of river water, with one test showing the conductivity of the water at 500 near the surface and 3,000 near the bottom, just 5 to 8 feet deeper. When comparing their fish sampling from 2005-06 with 2010, fish families had decreased from 13 to 11, and fish species had dropped from 36 species to 23. He mentioned one polluted location near Rice’s Landing where water was showing a ‘silvery white’ color and had a conductivity level of 13,000, which he suspected was originating at a CONSOL “treatment” plant a short distance up a tributary.
PITTSBURGH NEEDS A REAL RIVER BASIN COMMISSION
David Dzombak presented information on the ‘Headwaters Resource Committee’ (HRC) being created as part of area’s pseudo river commission ORSANCO. He was asking for input on what to study and what groups should be included on the advisory committee. As I scanned their current list, I saw SHELL and US STEEL, but pointed out to him that CLEAN WATER ACTION should surely be included. I also informed him and the group that the current President of ORSANCO (Ken Komoroski) is a high-powered attorney who often represents drilling companies and their agenda, as he did here in our township a couple years ago. To everyone’s interest he said there was a very small, one man operation with funding known as the Ohio River Basin (ORB) commission, but it wasn’t clear if it was still in operation.
THE ARMY CORPS
The Army Corps of Engineers reported and said they would like to do more river studies, but , they have several 90-year-old locks that need replaced and their limited funding is getting even worse since coal barge traffic revenue has dropped to zero in at least one location.”
15. Health Effects of Gas Extraction Conference- U. of Pittsburgh Notes: from Bob
Bromides Still High In Allegheny River, Down in the Mon
“One main takeaway from the conference is that Marcellus wastewater continues to be a BIG problem and it may be affecting your family’s health. Within hours of the CMU conference reporting lower bromide concentrations in the Mon River, an understandably incensed professor from PITT presented research showing high levels of bromides in the Allegheny River. He fears that as early as next summer many smaller water authorities will not be able to deliver water to their customers.
When water containing high bromide levels is chlorinated, it creates carcinogenic, brominated trihalomethanes.
Best Dee-Fense you ask, other than moving away from our beloved city?
Take colder showers and keep your shower stall well ventilated. Baths pose less risk. You know, we really are STUCK ON STUPID around western Pennsylvania, letting this industry barge in here and continue to poison our water and air!”
From the Trib Report:
“Bromide, which can cause cancer in drinking water, has declined in the Mon, apparently coinciding with a voluntary ban on disposing gas drilling wastewater, researcher Jeanne VanBriesen said Thursday. State officials cited her research in asking for the ban in the spring of 2011. However, success has not been universal in Western Pennsylvania, said Melissa Rubin, spokeswoman at the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority. Its scientists have still found elevated levels of bromide in the Allegheny River, the authority’s source for its drinking water, she said.
Though not considered a pollutant by themselves, bromides combine with the chlorine used in water treatment to produce compounds that can cause cancer.”
For lists of the many artists who are signing Yoko and Sean's petitions against fracking:
16. On Brine and Radioactivity
"When oil and gas are extracted, large amounts of brine are typically brought to the surface. Often saltier than seawater, this brine can also contain toxic metals and radioactive substances. It can be very damaging to the environment and public health if it is discharged to surface water or the land surface. An example of radiation pathway migration, per the White report, is the use of brine water (i.e., flowback and/or produced water) to treat roads. On paved roads, the brine water will inevitably run off to the sides and into a waterway, livestock pastures and crop fields. Any radioactivity in the brine water that remains on the road will be re-suspended by traffic into the air with the resulting direct exposure to humans or biota. When spread on dirt roads, the brine water is adsorbed by the dirt. As it dries out, the radioactive waste is re-suspended in the dust from the road. The dust particle size and concentration is determined by the weight of a vehicle, the number of tires and its speed. The dust is inhaled by humans and animals and deposited on the local vegetation.
Exemptions from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 have been called the Halliburton Loophole. A few of the exemptions include: Produced Water (brine/flowback), drilling fluids, drill cuttings, geothermal production fluids to name a few. (See: page 12, Exempt E&P Wastes, US Environmental Protection Agency: Exemption of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Wastes from Federal Hazardous WasteRegulations.) This means regulation and use of frack water is up to each state’s own environmental department. With the recent revelations about Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection lack of complete water test reports, how safe does it make you feel to follow a PennDOT truck spraying down roads during a snow storm?"
17. Human Health Risk—Summary Report
Presented to New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Dept of Health
Albany New York, October 9, 2012
Participants included David Brown, health toxicologist, Southwest Pa Environmental Health project; David Carpenter, Director of Institute for Health and the Environment, U of Albany; Ron Bishop, Dept. of Chemistry, SUNY Oneato, Sheila Bushkin, MD, MPH, Public Health and Preventive Medicine Consultant
**** 1. Fracking will bring to the surface significant amounts of radioactive wastewater in the form of flowback fluid and production brine that flows out of wells during gas production.
**** 2. Processing radioactive chemical- laden wastewater through water treatment plants can contaminate streams. High bromide levels form brominated trihalomethanes which are definitely linked to bladder and colon cancer and are suspected to be linked to birth defects.
****3. Radioactive sludge from drill sites will contaminate landfills. New York permits disposal of radioactive drill cuttings and mud in landfills . Contamination will last for thousands of years. All landfill membranes fail over time. Leaching can result in contamination of ponds, groundwater. Radium 226 emits gamma radiation which can travel long distances.
***4. Vehicles transporting radioactive waste pose a risk
*** 5. Spreading radioactive wastewater on roads exposes people and contaminates surface water. The most common use of radioactive wastewater from drilling is road spread. Radioactive particles can become airborne as vehicles travel.
****6. Storage of radioactive wastewater in tanks can result in leaks and lead to contamination.
***7. Marcellus shale contains high levels of radon. Radon mixes with and stays in gas through pipelines and into homes. When burned, radon is released into the air. According to US Geological Survey, radon 22 levels in Pa Marcellus gas ranged from 1 to 79 pCi/L , with a median of 32. This is 8 times higher than the EPA threshold for remediation of radon in indoor air .
****8. Silica exposes workers and proximate neighbors, which can cause silicoses. Fracking sand is 99% silica, a known cause of lung cancer, and contributor to autoimmune disease, pulmonary disease, and chronic kidney disease.
***9. Diesel machinery contaminates air and to the formation of ozone. Diesel and smog are know causes of asthma and lung cancer are linked to bladder and breast cancer, stroke, heart attack, cognitive decline, premature death, and in pregnant women, preterm birth and lowered birth weight.
****10. Flares contaminate air with hazardous pollutants including hydrogen sulfide, methane, and the BETEX group. EPA has banned flaring, but not until 2015.
****11. Diesel vehicles contaminate air. Fracking can require 322 to 1365 truck trips to transport water, chemicals, sand, and other equipment
****12. Synergistic reactions can result in altered chemical compounds. Synthetic chemicals can form new compounds when exposed to sun, water, air, and radioactive elements.
****13. Well casing failures will contaminate drinking water supplies. All casing will fail over time. Failures provide migration routes for frack fluids methane and other hydrocarbons.
****14. Health impacts from fracking will burden sensitive populations: children the elderly, those with compromised immune system- Asthmatic and those with cardio pulmonary disease
****15.Stress from fracking has real health consequences- noise, traffic, concerns about water and air
****16. Health care costs will increase due to acute effects from fracking, exacerbations of existing chronic diseases, exposure to contamination, etc. Areas of concern include:
*Neurological problems involving cognitive, behavioral and psychosocial disorders in children
*Endocrine disruptors affecting hormonal and metabolic processes leading to infertility, early puberty, and other reproductive issues affecting men and women.
*Immunosuppressants decreasing the immunological defenses of the population, leading to vulnerably to infectious agents.
*Mutagens and carcinogens leading to greater incidence of cancers especially among children, teens, and young adults.
*Other chemicals doing damage to the renal systems, gastrointestinal system, and cardiac and respiratory systems, as well as skin, eyes, ears, and nasopharyngeal tissues.
Costs of chronic diseases resulting from exposure to fracking must be calculated as has been done for coal.
****17 Many health impacts related to fracking may not be evident for years- including longer latency period conditions as asthma cancer and heart disease resulting from exposure to chemicals in air and water. Chromosome damage for radiation exposure may impact future generations. The full extent of risks are not knows in part because studies do not generally take into account long term cumulative effects
****18 Medical professionals are ill equipped to recognize or treat symptoms related to radiation exposure or exposure to hazardous chemicals.
****17. Many health impacts may not be evident for years. Long latency periods exist for asthma, cancer and heat disseat. Chromosome damage for radiation exposure may impact future generations.
****19. Non-disclosure agreements can obstruct the efforts of public health official to obtain accurate data.
****20. Conflicts of interest may affect the veracity of scientific findings Studies have found that industry funded science can result in finding that befit sponsor, poor study design, withholding of negative data from publication and other problems.
18. Japan to Buy Liquefied gas from US
(So basically, the rush to drill in PA and other nearby states has led to a glut, which has led to lowered prices, which has enabled foreign nations to import the gas. We are left with polluted water, dirty air, and multiple health issues so that the gas industry can supply foreign nations with energy. Gee, how’s it feel to be a third world nation? Jan)
“Japan's biggest utility, Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T), is in advanced talks to secure liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from North America and help reduce high import prices as Japan cuts reliance on nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster, company officials said on Tuesday.
Plentiful supplies have depressed North American gas prices to just over $3 per million British thermal units, sparking interest from Asian markets, where prices are much higher, at around $13 per mmBtu.
At the same time Japan, the world's largest LNG importer, has been scouring the globe for supplies of the gas to fuel power stations as most of the country's nuclear plants have been closed down since the earthquake and tsunami last year caused the worst atomic catastrophe since Chernobyl in 1986.
Any agreement to buy U.S. shale gas will be subject to approval from Washington, which is reviewing whether to allow export licenses for some buyers of the fuel.
Tokyo has been negotiating with Washington since last year to allow more shale gas projects to export LNG to Japan, which hopes to receive LNG shipped via the Panama Canal as early as in 2015.”
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Aaron Sheldrick and Clarence Fernandez)
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
Facebook Coordinator-Elizabeth Nordstrom
Blogsite –April Jackman
Science Subcommittee-Dr. Cynthia Walter
To receive our news updates, please email jan at firstname.lastname@example.org