Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates January 17, 2013
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Calendar of Events
***County Commissioners Meeting- 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the county courthouse at 10:00
***Promised Land at Local Theaters-A Note from LAWPA group Member
“John and I leafleted this evening at The Oaks and saw Promised Land.
The industry has good reason to be worried about this movie. It is a movie about power and deception, personal and corporate. It is the story the industry does not want told. People seemed sincerely appreciative of two people standing in the cold and handing out material – not sure why but it was different from other leafleting -almost as if people welcomed some person-to-person connection with the issue. Things are changing. A human presence might actually count for more than the industry’s expensive ads on the screen.”
***January 19 Marcellus Protest - Frack Forum - Pittsburgh
For a full calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:
Help these groups help us! You can sign all four petitions in 10 minutes
***Sign the Penn Environment Petition for A Moratorium
***Sign the Sierra Club Petition On Exporting Gas
Tell Secretary Chu to go back to the drawing board and look at how exporting fracked gas could hurt our communities.
***Sign the Petition To Stop Fracking Ads on NPR
Tell NPR to stop advertising for fracking Industry
(They have 849 of 1000 signatures as of Tuesday, when I checked)
NPR To Lose Supporters—Ads Promote Fracking
Why Some Public Radio Supporters Won't Be Donating to NPR This Year
“For more than 20 years, Dennis Higgins of Otego, NY has donated to NPR. Last year he gave about $500. But this year, he was uneasy after hearing NPR continuously plug the American Natural Gas Alliance, a fracking advocacy organization.
“NPR has a little plug,” Higgins said. “Something like: ‘To our supporter ANGA and their commitment to the environment and jobs in the United States.’”
Higgins is an assistant professor of computer science and mathematics at SUNY Oneonta. He wouldn’t call himself an environmental activist, but his area is at risk of being affected by fracking, so he and his wife stay up-to-date on the issue. They went to all the town board meetings to establish a moratorium in his county, motivated, they say, by their love for the natural beauty of the region as well as their family.
So Higgins decided he wasn’t going to donate to NPR this year, and that he was going to encourage others to pledge to do the same. He started two online petitions calling on NPR’s CEO Gary Knell to eliminate NPR’s ANGA plugs.
Higgins wrote in the description of one petition:
Certainly, NPR should not be promoting the gas industry's commitment to jobs and the environment. I wrote our local affiliate when I withheld my yearly contribution and got no response. I wrote NPR and got no response. I guess my contribution is not as important to them as ANGA's. Will you stand with me and withhold your contribution to NPR until they pull the ads touting ANGA's commitment to our environment?
(For the entire article:
***Petition--Protect State Game Lands in Lawrence County
Please help protect our state game lands by signing the petition at the
“I will be presenting this petition to the PA Game Commission on January 27th during the public comment period. We would greatly appreciate your help in promoting this petition by forwarding it to as many contacts as possible. It has been our experience that even people who know very little about fracking, do not want to see their favorite hunting grounds disturbed by this industry, so please forward to
any hunting enthusiasts as well.” Carrie Hahn
***Penn State Conducting Online Survey About Pennsylvania's Water Resources
“This is your chance to be heard on the value and importance of water resources in Pennsylvania!
Researchers from Penn State along with several other agencies are conducting an online survey of Pennsylvania residents about the state's water resources. The object is to collect opinions from a large number of Pennsylvania residents on the current status of our water and how to prioritize funding and other resources to best protect and manage our water resources. This informal survey is intended as a public engagement project and does not necessarily represent a statistical sampling of opinions.”
The five-minute survey can be completed online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PaWater
The survey will remain open until February 28, 2013 and a summary of results will be published on the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center website in Spring 2013 at: http://www.pawatercenter.psu.edu/.
This survey is funded by the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center and Sea Grant Pennsylvania in partnership with Penn State Extension and the Pennsylvania American Water Resources Association.--
***In New York 550 Officials Vow to Protect the State from fracking
-They ask for comprehensive environmental and health assessments.
-Babies born near frack sites are smaller and have lower apgar scores.
15 min video
***Delaware River Keepers Video of Citizens Speaking Out on Fracking to Gov. Corbett
***Earth Song Video-Michael Jackson
About the environment in general. (Beautiful song. I love this one. Jan)
***A new documentary series "From The Frontlines" to soon be aired on LinkTV and FSTV
“From the Frontlines” Carol French, Dairy Farmer, Bradford County
A few points from her discussion:
Water problems, rashes in both humans and cows. Her daughter is sick and the hospital could not diagnose her problem.
An area home was worth $395,000- now $39,000 due to loss of water.
French asks what is your child’s health worth?
***From Theo Colborn:
Dear friends and colleagues,
I recently gave a presentation at a TEDxMidAtlantic event in Washington DC in which I read a letter I sent to the President and First Lady of the United States. In this letter I remind them of the current epidemics of endocrine-related disorders and describe how the laws that were supposed to protect us have let us down. I close with two practical suggestions for the President to take action.
Please take a minute (actually 16 minutes) to view this, and if you agree, share it with everyone you know. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r2Rx8VRq48&list=SPsRNoUx8w3rN4l7h9HzGwXlDuUKWqb-eS&index=10
1 of three babies will develop diabetes
1 of 88 babies will develop autism
1 of 54 baby boys will develop autism
-Endocrine disrupting chemicals can disrupt not only sex organs but the pancreas, thyroid, stomach, and intestines
-It used to be believed that there was a barrier in the placenta that would prevent chemicals from getting through to the fetus. We know that is not true.
-Prior tests on chemicals were based on cancer risk but the chance of a baby getting one or more endocrine disorders in far greater than the risk of getting cancer.
(In a national survey, Theo Colborn found that 40% of chemicals used to frack are hormone disruptors. Jan)
Contact the white house:
You can also copy the link and paste it in a message directly to the President here:
Best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season,
Dr. Theo Colborn
*** New and Better Frac Mapper
A new mapping utility for website visitors who want an easy-to-use point and click tool.
*** Report – Gas Patch Roulette
How Shale Gas Development Risks Public Health in PA
*** Sky Truth-Sign up for reports on gas activity in your area
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.
*** Carnegie Mellon Puts Shale Data Online
Faced with a scattered body of research and background information about the booming Marcellus and Utica shale industries, officials and students at Carnegie Mellon University have compiled a searchable “bibliography” of more than 1,000 documents online.
***GASP Releases Citizen Handbook for Commenting on Marcellus Air Permits
***Interview from the list of the harmed-Gerri Kane
Gerri Kane shows her contaminated water and describes health problems
1. PA DEP Offers Acid Mine Drainage Water to Drillers
“The DEP is encouraging the use of acid mine drainage ( AMD) for fracking operations as was recommended by Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.
DEP says more than 300 million gallons of polluted water from decades of coal mining operations, flows into the state’s rivers and streams every day.
Because fracking a well requires on average, four million gallons of water a day, some say using the state’s polluted coal mine drainage waste to frack would help clean up a damaging legacy of coal.”
2. Industry Wins Air Regulation Battle in Private Meetings
Pollution Limits for Engines Will Be 3 X Lower Than Proposed
“ Under final consideration are new air pollution limits for diesel and gas powered engines used in fracking that according to eight environmental groups, are not tough enough. The new pollution limits are specified in a proposed "General Permit 5." DEP says limits will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides "NOx" -- a primary component of unhealthy ozone, smog and acid rain. They also would apply to other pollutants from well drilling, compressor station and pipeline pumping engines of less than 1,500 horsepower that emit less than 100 tons of the pollutant annually. Such a "one-size-fits-all" regulation is favored by industry because it streamlines the permitting process to less than 30 days. The proposal under review also would eliminate the opportunity for public comment on individual gas development operations.
After two years of lobbying by the drilling industry, the DEP decided to allow the engines to emit three times more air pollution than what was initially proposed by the DEP's Bureau of Air Quality in 2010, even though emissions-controls manufacturers say their equipment can meet lower emissions limits. The higher pollution limits could cause significant air quality deterioration in coming years as wells, pipelines and compressor stations multiply, according to a 55-page comment document by the Clean Air Council, and seven other environmental/ community groups.
"We'd like to see policy based on relevant science. That's what should be at the heart of this thing," said David Presley, a Clean Air Council attorney. He said the DEP increased the emissions limits in the general permit proposal based solely on drilling industry objections and didn't verify the accuracy of claims that the technology isn't applicable.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also was critical of general permit control requirements for larger engines known as "synthetic minor sources" -- those that would have emissions of more than 100 tons of NOx a year if not for the use of controls. And the agency urged the DEP to consider the cumulative impact that issuing numerous general permits could have on air quality standards.
The proposed general permit also doesn't require gas-development operations to use updated engine emissions control technology as it becomes available and economically viable. Such provisions should be, and usually are, included in the text language of other general permits, according to the Clean Air Council comments.
"The proposed general permit is not pushing the envelope. It's not going further than the individual permits the DEP is issuing now," Mr. Presley said. "Best available technology standards are supposed to push the envelope and set emission controls that companies have to attain."
While it's true the proposed general permit reduces nitrogen oxides emissions limits from 2.0 to 0.5 grams per horsepower hour, Mr. Presley said, that lower rate is already regularly achieved by many natural gas-powered engines. He said a NOx emissions limit of 0.15 grams -- three times lower than the 0.5 gram limit in use -- is achievable using Selective Catalytic Reduction, or SCR, controls.
The higher 0.5 gram emissions limits were sought by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry lobbying organization, and individual drilling companies in several industry-only meetings and a series of email exchanges with the DEP over the past two years as well as public comments submitted during the spring of 2012.”
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/marcellusshale/environmental-groups-criticize-proposed-pollution-limits-on-engines-used-in-gas-drilling-670180/#ixzz2HvFap4so
3. EPA Study Will Not Evaluate Water Contamination-Industry Won’t Allow It
(This issue continues to receive coverage. The obvious question becomes—Who is running the show? Why does the EPA not have the authority to demand pre and post water testing to protect public health? Jan)
“In its inability to find a single company willing to test water quality before and after drilling and fracking, the EPA is being thwarted in perhaps the most important part of its study of fracking’s impacts” Earthworks said.
‘Computer simulations are not enough”Alan Septoff, a spokesman for Earthworks said. He noted that the EPA study and future studies should consider the likelihood of water contamination.”
(Latrobe bulletin, 1-7-2, AP, EPA Fracking Study May Dodge Some Tough Questions.)
4. Robinson Supervisors Say Range’s Information Is Insufficient
Quick Summary from Group Member:
“Supervisors Brian Coppola, Mark Brositz, and Frank Love conducted a very professional, courteous, and well-run hearing. Solicitor John Smith provided calm, competent, and easy-to-understand explanations for all of the legal questions, as he always does. Dorothy Bassett gave a very detailed presentation which expressed her concerns and explained how the drilling would affect her neighboring borough of Midway and its 900 residents. Cat Lodge and Irene Barrie also gave impassioned presentations expressing their concerns.
It is no wonder the industry has retained outside consultants to determine "how to deal with the global anti-fracking movement."
It was a standing -room only crowd and we all had to move our chairs into the township garage in order to have more space.
The Range attorney apparently showed up for a few seconds before the hearing and then left. What arrogance....
It is too bad that more local residents in the audience didn't speak. A local resident thought that some of the silent residents were leaseholders, who may now be concerned about the harmful effects, but are too afraid to speak out.”
***********From: Observer Reporter
“Although Range Resources urged Robinson Township to take action on two gas well pad applications, citizens requested the board of supervisors deny them during two hearings Monday night. In a letter to the township’s solicitor and zoning officer, Range attorney Shawn Gallagher outlined the process by which the company has attempted to work cooperatively with the township since September. Neither of those applications has been approved by the board which believes some information is insufficient. Pitzarella wrote in his e-mail that the company may have to take legal action.
“It is apparent from the township’s conduct that the township is not proceeding in good faith with regard to the administration, review and processing of Range’s applications,” Gallagher wrote. He did not stay for the hearings which were continued from December. John Smith, Robinson’s solicitor, noted Range did not need to attend or provide additional information. But Supervisor Mark Brositz saw it differently, commenting “I’m having extreme difficulty in determining they did meet the ordinance and they’re not here to answer questions.”
But Tim McClelland, township engineer, said Range had failed to comply with provisions in the zoning ordinance on site grading and had failed to include a site plan. While Range did submit a sound study, the township believes it does not comply with its noise ordinance.
Dorothy Bassett, of Midway, called on supervisors to protect the health and safety of the community, saying those living in the area can be exposed to harmful air quality.
Irene Barrie, of Maple Grove Road, said her family has already been negatively impacted by construction of a MarkWest gathering pipeline. “We’re angry, we’re tired and the nightmare has only begun,” she said.
Due to the number of people who attended the hearing it was moved into the township garage.
YouTube of meetings:
Robinson Township – Range Resources gas well zoning hearings
Parees - http://youtu.be/PEmwxD5nsIc
Kendall - http://youtu.be/VMJB-SmXMQE
Listen to comments at 24:30 mark
5. Associated Press Sings Praises of Gas Industry’s’ Improved Community Relations
(Really? APs examples did not include a word about communities where the industry has dominated, controlled, and harassed. Community cooperation for the industry means doing what they want, where they want, with no opposition. My guess is that this was another article penned by Kevin Begos who consistently puts a positive spin on all fracking news.)
“According to AP Press most municipality officials now credit drillers for improving communication and responding quickly when there are problems.
XTO set up a community advisory board in Butler County. Supervisor Rankin said, ‘XTO has been great to work with’ .
Some drillers have hired local residents to act as liaisons and ramped up communication efforts.
Range’ s Jim Cannon said, ”Were probably more active listeners now so we’re probably better able to hone in on what local governments need from us”
(Latrobe bulletin, gas drilling companies work on community relations, AP, 1-1-13)
6. Chesapeake Drills-Horses Won’t Drink
“Bonnie Hall purchased a beautiful pasture on a ridge in Martinsville, W.V., where she intended to raise horses. She had up to eight horses before Chesapeake Oil came to Wetzel County in 2007, peddling cheap oil and buckets of cash for landowners. This sleepy little town woke up . . . to the smell of diesel and the taste of petrol in their water. “When Chesapeake came, they said emphatically – ‘We do not contaminate groundwater,’ ” said Hall.
Hall never signed a lease but when the second well was drilled on an adjacent property almost a mile and a half away, her horses refused to drink the water drawn from a 350-foot deep well on her property. “The water was cloudy, gray and smelled like cleaning fluids,” Hall said. She also observed what looked like the rainbow swirls of gasoline in the water. At that point, Hall called Chesapeake. “We are in the middle of Chesapeake’s victory play,” said Hall. “I don’t feel like this is a safe place to live anymore for my grandchildren or my great-grandchildren.”
7. Hallowich and Haney Cases Still Undecided (from Bob)
The next court proceedings on unsealing the Hallowich case will take place this Friday @ 9:30AM in the courtroom of President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca at the Washington County Courthouse in Courtroom #1.
The Haney objection arguments will be heard by the same judge on January 29 @9:30am. The Pa DEP is also implicated in the case on the 29th. Should be quite interesting. Below is a photo of Range’s Yeager impoundment above Stacey Haney’s.
Photo by Bob Donnan
8. Pennsylvanians Affected By Fracking Speak Out to Gov. Corbett
“On Jan. 8, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) presented Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett with more than 35 video messages from Pennsylvania residents opposed to shale gas drilling. The videos were collected and assembled by the DRN, and shown to Gov. Corbett by Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum during a State House meeting in Harrisburg, PA.
The video shows Gov. Corbett the raw emotions of residents who have suffered from the harmful impacts of fracking as well as those who are concerned about keeping Pennsylvania’s water, air and land clean. Many of those who spoke on the videos also opposed planned natural gas pipeline expansions throughout the state. Several physicians voiced their opposition to a provision of Pennsylvania’s Act 13 natural gas law limiting access to information about the chemicals used in the fracking process.”
To view video:
9. EPA Caved To Industry Demands And Backed Off On Homeowner’s Water Investigation
“ When Steve Lipsky in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family's drinking water had begun bubbling like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: A company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.
At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.
Now a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.
For Steve Lipsky, the EPA decision seemed to ignore the dangers to his family. His water supply contains so much methane that the gas in water flowing from a pipe connected to the well can be ignited.
"I just can't believe that an agency that knows the truth about something like that, or has evidence like this, wouldn't use it," said Lipsky, who fears he will have to abandon his dream home in an upscale neighborhood of Weatherford.
The case isn't the first in which the EPA initially linked a hydraulic fracturing operation to water contamination and then softened its position after the industry protested.
A similar dispute unfolded in west-central Wyoming in late 2011, when the EPA released an initial report that showed hydraulic fracturing could have contaminated groundwater. After industry and GOP leaders went on the attack, the agency said it had decided to do more testing. It has yet to announce a final conclusion.
State agencies usually regulate water and air pollution, The EPA began investigating complaints about the methane in December 2010, because it said the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas drilling, had not responded quickly enough to the reports of bubbling water.
Government scientists believed two families, including the Lipskys, were in danger from methane and cancer-causing benzene and ordered Range Resources to take steps to clean their water wells and provide affected homeowners with safe water. The company stopped doing that after state regulators declared in March 2011 that Range Resources was not responsible. The dispute between the EPA and the company then moved into federal court.
Believing the case was headed for a lengthy legal battle, the EPA asked independent scientist Geoffrey Thyne to analyze water samples taken from 32 water wells. Thyne concluded from chemical testing that the gas in the drinking water could have originated from Range Resources' nearby drilling operation.
Meanwhile, the EPA was seeking industry leaders to participate in a national study into hydraulic fracturing. Range Resources told EPA officials in Washington that so long as the agency continued to pursue a "scientifically baseless" action against the company in Weatherford, it would not take part in the study and would not allow government scientists onto its drilling sites, said company attorney David Poole.
In March 2012, the EPA retracted its emergency order, halted the court battle and set aside Thyne's report showing that the gas in Lipsky's water was nearly identical to the gases the Plano, Texas-based company was producing.
The EPA offered no public explanation for its change in thinking, and Lipsky said he and his family learned about it from a reporter. The agency refused to answer questions about the decision, instead issuing a statement by email that said resolving the Range Resources matter allowed the EPA to shift its "focus in this case away from litigation and toward a joint effort on the science and safety of energy extraction."
Rob Jackson, chairman of global environmental change at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, reviewed Thyne's report and the raw data upon which it was based. He agreed the gas in Lipsky's well could have originated in a rock formation known as the Barnett shale, the same area where Range Resources was extracting gas.
Jackson said it was "premature" to withdraw the order and said the EPA "dropped the ball in dropping their investigation."
Lipsky, who is still tied up in a legal battle with Range Resources, now pays about $1,000 a month to haul water to his home. He, his wife and three children become unnerved when their methane detectors go off. Sometime soon, he said, the family will have to decide whether to stay in the large stone house or move.
This has been total hell," Lipsky said. "It's been taking a huge toll on my family and on our life."
The confidential report relied on a type of testing known as isotopic analysis, which produces a unique chemical fingerprint that sometimes allows researchers to trace the origin of gas or oil.
Jackson, who studies hydraulic fracturing and specializes in isotopic analysis, acknowledged that more data is needed to determine for certain where the gas came from. But even if the gas came from elsewhere, Range Resources' drilling could have contributed to the problem in Lipsky's water because gas migrates, he added.
The company insists the gas in Lipsky's water is from natural migration and not drilling. Range Resources' testing indicates the gas came from a different rock formation called Strawn shale and not the deeper Barnett shale, Poole said.
In addition, he said, isotopic analysis cannot be used in this case because the chemical makeup of the gases in the two formations is indistinguishable. A Range Resources spokesman also dismissed Thyne and Jackson as anti-industry.
Range Resources has not shared its data with the EPA or the Railroad Commission. Poole said the data is proprietary and could only be seen by Houston-based Weatherford Laboratories, where it originated. It was analyzed for Range Resources by a Weatherford scientist, Mark McCaffrey, who did not respond to requests for an interview.
Jackson said it was "unrealistic" to suggest that people could have tainted water and not notice.
"It bubbles like champagne or mineral waters," he said. "The notion that people would have wells and have this in their water and not see this is wrong."
Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant in Dallas, Allen Breed in Raleigh, N.C., and Michael Rubinkam in Allentown, Pa., contributed to this report.
10. Some Industry Leaders Question Exporting Gas
By Deborah Rogers
“U.S. News and World Report published an article entitled “Should the U.S. Export Natural Gas?” The article began with the revelation that some leaders within the energy industry itself are questioning the benefits of exportation. They are apparently concerned about a using our finite U.S. resources to grow foreign economies.
U.S. News and World Report state:
“Unrestricted natural gas exports could have “disastrous” effects on the U.S. economy, energy industry leaders argued Thursday, warning that shipping large amounts of the nation’s newly-abundant resource would result in crippling price hikes for American consumers and manufacturers.”
So, apparently, there is dissension among the ranks.
Just who is a proponent of exportation?
Those in favor are the very shale companies that are bleeding red all over their balance sheets. Exportation is unequivocally their highest and best hope for containing their losses. Never mind that they over-produced, over-leveraged and over-hyped their product. Now they are in trouble and need to be rescued. The question is, of course, whether the average American consumer should pay for the mistakes of a few imprudent energy executives?
The Marcellus Shale Coalition recently sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The letter was an unabashed plea for DOE to grant all pending export applications, even to non-free trade agreement countries.
Industry claims massive numbers of jobs created by the “shale revolution”. It is interesting to note that these numbers come from economic models which industry has commissioned and for which they have paid – handsomely. Economic models, however, are only as good as their inputs. It is not unusual for such inputs to be skewed to favor a certain outcome. This is learned by every Economics 101 student.
This brings us to their last claim of providing clean air. Apparently the Marcellus Shale Coalition is either unaware or in denial of Drs. Howarth and Ingraffea’s study on the complete life cycle emissions of shale gas. This Cornell study, which was hotly disputed by industry when it came out, was subsequently corroborated by a three-year field study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, Boulder. In fact, the emissions in the natural gas field north of Denver turned out to be even higher at 4% methane leakage than the Cornell team’s original estimates. Further, these estimates were again corroborated by the NOAA researchers in Utah with an even more dismal and certainly more troubling 9% methane leakage.
They also seem to be unaware of the Houston Advanced Research Center’s (HARC) study released in September 2012 which found that natural gas operations were contributing significantly to ambient levels of ozone.
According to the abstract:
“Implications: Major metropolitan areas in or near shale formations will be hard pressed to demonstrate future attainment of the federal ozone standard, unless significant controls are placed on emissions from increased oil and gas exploration and production. “
And this in spite of the bone headed statement by Chesapeake Energy on their website: “Natural Gas Helps Shrink Ozone Levels”. This fluff was posted at the time of the HARC study release and was presumably Chesapeake’s best effort counter to the scientific analysis..
All of the above were, of course, independent studies not paid for by industry. Perhaps independent scientific studies do not come under the purview of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Indeed, the Marcellus Shale Coalition has found itself at the very heart of the debate surrounding researchers now known as “frackademics”.
Three months ago, in October 2012, Penn State ended research of yet another fracking study commissioned by…the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
According to Bloomberg in October 2012:
“The Marcellus Shale Coalition, which paid more than $146,000 for three previous studies, ended this year’s report after work had started…The first study, in 2009, initially failed to disclose its industry funding and was used by lawmakers to kill a state tax on gas drillers.”
When the University of Texas announced that they were investigating a report of their own (which was subsequently withdrawn by the University in disgrace in December), other faculty members at Penn State raised concerns about their own fracking research team. It had already come to light that previous conclusions drawn by the Penn State team who had been hired by the Marcellus Shale Coalition were suspect.
“Subsequent studies by other researchers have found that gas drilling created fewer than half the jobs projected by [Penn State] in 2009.”
From “Energy Policy forum” by Deborah Rogers
11. Department of Interior Secretary Appoints Deborah Rogers to Advisory Committee
“Energy Policy Forum founder, Deborah Rogers, has been appointed by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, to serve on an advisory committee, the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI).
"Ms. Rogers is excited to be a part of this initiative and looks forward to working with all the members."
(See above article by Deborah Rogers. Jan)
Note from John T:
*If you're not familiar with Deborah Rogers, watch these very informative videos. She's educated, qualified, experienced, and most of all... HONEST!
Deborah Rogers Talks about Water Pollution
Deborah Rogers: Economics of Fracking (full talk)
This is Deborah Rogers' full talk, given in Binghamton, Jan 19 2012, "Shale Promises, or Shale Spin? The Economics Behind Fracking"
12. Wastewater Radiation Samples -- 242 X the Standard for Dinking Water
“For several years Pennsylvania and West Virginia drillers have been shipping wastewater to Ohio for disposal. The geology in Pennsylvania makes injection wells impractical. West Virginia environmental regulators do not allow gas companies to dump radioactive frack water from drilling sites into streams or rivers; Pennsylvania allows it on a strictly regulated basis.
A 2011 study by the U.S. Geological Survey examined 52 samples of Marcellus Shale wastewater collected from wells in New York and Pennsylvania. Some of the samples showed readings for radium at least 242 times higher than the amount allowed for drinking water - and at least 20 times higher than the industrial standard. Radium that is swallowed or inhaled can accumulate in a person's bones. Long-term exposure increases the risk of developing several diseases, such as lymphoma, bone cancer and diseases that affect the formation of blood, according to the EPA. Exposure to uranium can result in kidney damage and increase one's risk of developing cancer.”
13. Highland Township Bans Disposal of Produced Water
“Highland Township supervisors adopted an ordinance banning the disposal of deposits from the drilling of gas wells. The ordinance is seen as a way to stop Seneca Resources from disposing of "produced water"
A township "citizens group" previously called for the supervisors to enact the ordinance that is based on one reportedly adopted in other municipalities in the state and establishes "a Bill of Rights." The ordinance, in part, claims that the "injection" of waste from Marcellus Shale wells would "pose a significant threat" to the "health, safety and welfare" of township residents.”
Article and picture here: http://celdf.live2.radicaldesigns.org/downloads/Highland_Supervisors_Pass_Ordinance010913.pdf
Actual ordinance attached and at link here: http://celdf.org/downloads/Highland_Township_Community_Rights_and_Protection_from_Injection_Wells_Ordinance_010913.pdf
14. Gas/Oil Drilling The Major Wintertime Source of VOCs In Colorado Journal Environmental Science and Technology.
“Colorado Oil and gas wells contribute fuel for ozone pollution, CIRES University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) researchers find.
“At our test site in Weld County, we found that oil and natural gas operations are the dominant wintertime source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that act as precursors—‘starting ingredients’—for ozone pollution. Average levels of propane were higher than the range of values reported for 28 U.S. cities,” Gilman said. Once in the air, the VOC emissions can react with sunlight and nitrogen gases to form ground-level ozone pollution. “Propane and ethane are fairly long-lived in the atmosphere, so they travel far,” Gilman said. “No matter where you are in the Front Range, you can still see the signature of VOC emissions from oil and natural gas operations.” That’s important since parts of northeastern Colorado marginally exceed EPA standards for ozone pollution. The results are relevant for people beyond those areas though. “Sometimes people forget that we all live downwind of somebody,” Gilman said.
To discover the source of the VOCs, Gilman’s team analyzed more than 550 air samples and determined that oil and natural gas activities were the primary source of those compounds and accounted for 55 percent of the hydrocarbons that contribute to ozone formation in this area. A component of raw natural gas, VOCs such as propane and ethane can leak during extraction, like bubbles escaping from a soda can. VOCs can then react in the air to form lung-damaging ozone pollution, a chief component of smog. “But we discovered that emissions from oil and natural gas activities have a unique ‘chemical signature’ that’s very different from emissions from other sources, and it definitively identifies oil and gas wells as the major source of the high levels of VOCs like ethane and propane.”
The study was published online in the Journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Photo by Bob Donnan
15. Fizzing, Explodable Water with High Methane Levels- Again
“Jason and Debby Kline of Ohio, fear for their young children.
" I was so scared. It just was a huge explosion — the entire sink up to the ceiling," said Debby. It started just weeks ago, when they noticed their water was fizzing. Then, when Debby lit a candle near the sink, the water lit up.
"We're putting our kids in the bathtub every night in this explodable water," Debby said.
Turns out, there's highly-flammable methane gas in their well water.
Methane is invisible, and naturally occurring in the ground. It can seep into wells. That seepage is even worse if the ground is disturbed by anything from earthquakes to drilling.
Near the Klines' house, a gas company was drilling. The company had paid to pretest the family's water and methane levels were 9, just within safe limits. But months into the drilling, tests show the methane levels had skyrocketed — reaching 22 — more than twice the acceptable level.
"We're wondering if this is all just coincidental," said Jason.
Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council noted, "This family in Ohio is not alone. There's been methane found in drinking water across the country."
For the Kline family the cause of their flaming water is still unclear. The gas company told NBC News that they support the state investigation, and that "there are many natural variables that can cause the levels of methane to change."
The Klines say buying a methane filtering system would cost $8,000, money they don't have. Forced to drink bottled water instead, they're still bathing using the tap.
"We don't know the consequences of sitting in gas water," said Debby. "We just don't have a choice." http://todaynews.today.com/_news/2013/01/11/16462830-rossen-reports-family-discovers-their-tap-water-is-flammable?lite
16. British Publication Gives Gas Industry Advice on Community Relations
By State Representative Jesse White
A publication recently surfaced from Control Risks, a renowned British company hired by the natural gas industry to analyze the opposition to fracking around the world..
What’s amazing is that the only two photos of active drilling operations in the entire report are right in our backyards, in Cecil and Chartiers Townships. Seeing my hometown in a worldwide publication really reinforced how much at the epicenter of the whole natural gas boom we really are.
The section entitled “How Can Industry Respond?”, which is ironically on the same page as the photo of drilling operations in Cecil Township, is of particular interest. The report says the industry should target four key areas to improve its relations with stakeholders.
The report says:
*“First and foremost, the industry needs to acknowledge the legitimacy of local grievances. Denying the agency of local communities by blaming ‘fear’ and ‘hysteria’ is winning the industry – often an ‘outsider’ – few friends. Acknowledging grievances would begin to repair its crippling trust deficit with local communities.”
“Meaningful consultations with local stakeholders, instead of didactic ‘information sessions’ to market the presumed benefits of drilling, would help to identify potential points of tension to be addressed through both outreach and grievance mechanisms.”
Rep White: Sound familiar to anyone around here?
* “A broad-spectrum political engagement strategy that is not overly dependent on cozy relationships with regulators, power-brokers and other narrow points of influence, which are easily tarred by general mistrust of central governments and are a source of political risk. In part, this means laying groundwork at the local level with municipal and provincial officials. Such local lobbying is expensive, but many companies have dedicated teams in the wake of legislative and regulatory changes giving more clout to local authorities.”
Rep White: Working with local governments in a positive way, you say? Hmmm… Go on.
Next, the report states:
*“The industry needs to continue to make good faith efforts to reduce adverse impacts across the board. This means not only strengthening compliance, ensuring subcontractor performance and embracing new technologies, but also making conscientious project decisions regarding the siting of well pads, screening of light and noise, and routing of truckloads. This would entail absorbing increased mitigation costs, …but it would also reduce non-ideological objections to the industry.”
Rep White: Or in simple English, be a good neighbor instead of just claiming to be one.
*“Finally, in addition to reducing the negative impacts of gas development, companies need to ensure the benefits are both tangible and as widely and fairly distributed as possible. For most communities, this means procuring as much as possible locally, providing jobs and training to local workers, paying required taxes, and – crucially – making long-term investments that deliver a sustained economic boost.
Rep White: When it comes to maximizing local jobs, I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, when people like me ask questions about local hiring, we don’t get facts or statistics; we get snarky attacks, misdirection and ridicule. It would make sense if you were hiring all the local workers possible, you’d want people to know it, right? But it seems as though there are way too many out of state license plates in the region to be able to prove we’re actually getting all the local jobs we can out of this industry, and our unemployment numbers comparable to the state average would suggest likewise.
I’ll go ahead and summarize what the intelligent people at Control Risks were trying to say in their twenty-three-page report. It’s simple. Stop trying to tell us what to think every second of every day. If you’re doing the right things, you don’t need to go to such incredible lengths to convince people of anything; the results will be self-evident. At this point, the approach is turning off way more people than it is winning over. Every day, more and more constituents come to me and say that as much as they favor the natural gas boom, they can’t stand the condescending way we’re being treated by much of the industry.
17. Human Health Impacts Associated with Chemicals & Pathways of Exposure from the Development of Shale Gas Plays
By: Wilma Subra, Subra Company/Earthworks Board Member
Pathways Of Exposure
*Inhalation and Dermal Absorption from Air Emissions
*Natural Gas Production- Methane and associated hydrocarbons and Condensates
*Condensate contains extremely toxic volatile organic chemicals
Benzene known human cancer causing agent
Xylene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene
Other probable and possible cancer causing agents
Sulfur based compounds
*Chemicals are released into the air during production, separation processes, tank storage and pipeline transportation.
*Emissions into the air from produced water tanks on the production site release methane, toxic volatile organic chemicals and sulfur compounds into the air.
*Natural gas is frequently vented to the air when a well is completed.
*Compressors and motors on the drilling and production sites, injection well disposal sites and along pipelines release combustion products and volatile organic hydrocarbons into the air and degrade the air quality. These combustion products also combine with the volatile organic chemicals in the presence of heat and sunlight to produce ground level ozone.
Ingestion and Dermal Absorption Pathways of Exposure
Ground water and surface water resources and soils and sediments are contaminated from:
*Spills and leaks from pits, tanks, rigs, chemical storage containers, drums, flow lines, pipelines, mixing vats, trucks, injection wells, etc.
*Road Spreading and Land Spreading of waste
*Untreated or improperly treated produced water and flowback water discharged from Waste Water Treatment Plants
Acute Health Impacts Experienced by Individuals Living in Close Proximity to Shale Gas Drilling, Fracturing and Production Wells
*Irritates Skin, Eyes, Nose, Throat and Lungs
*Dizziness, Light Headed
*Tense and Nervous
*Depression, Anxiety, Irritability
*Irregular Heartbeat (arrhythmia)
Chronic Health Impacts Experienced by Individuals Living in Close Proximity to Shale Gas Drilling, Fracturing and Production Wells –
*Damage to Liver and Kidneys
*Damage to Lungs
*Damage to Nervous System Causing Weakness
*Changes in Blood Cells
*Impacts to Blood Clotting Ability
Health Impacts Experienced by Individuals Living in Close Proximity to Shale Gas Drilling, Fracturing and Production Wells - Air and Drinking Water Pathways
*Medical Condition and % of Individuals
*Respiratory Impacts- 81%
*Memory Loss- 56%
*Feeling Weak & Tired- 50%
*Throat Irritation- 50%
*Sinus Problems- 44%
*High Blood Pressure- 44%
*Muscle Aches or Pains- 44%
*Recall Problems- 38%
*Breathing Difficulties- 38%
*Eyes Burning- 38%
*Joint Pain- 38%
*Decrease in Vision- 31
*Sleep Disorder- 31
25% of the individuals surveyed had the following symptoms:
*Difficulty in Concentrating
*Inability to Recall Numbers
*Ringing the Ears
*Difficulty in Hearing
*Tingling in Hands
*Reduced Muscle Strength
*Loss of Sexual Drive
Health Impacts Reported by Community Members Living 50 feet to 2 miles from Compressor Stations and Gas Metering Stations Along Gas Transmission Pipelines
*61% of Health Impacts Associated with Chemicals present in Excess of Short and Long Term Effects Screening Levels in the air
*Chronic Eye Irritation*
*Shortness of Breath
*Muscle Aches & Pains*
*Weakness* & Tired*
*Ringing in Ears
*Sores & Ulcers in Mouth
*Decreased Motor Skills*
*Frequent Nose Bleeds
*Difficulty in Concentrating
*Nervous System Impacts
*Irregular/Rapid Heart Beat*
*Lump in Breast
Most Prevalent Medical Conditions In Individuals Living in Close Proximity to Compressor Stations and Metering Stations
Medical Conditions and % of Individuals:
*Respiratory Impacts- 71%
*Sinus Problems- 58%
*Throat Irritation- 55%
*Weakness and Fatigue- 55%
*Eye Irritation- 52%
*Nasal Irritation- 48%
*Joint Pain- 45%
*Muscle Aches & Pains- 42%
*Breathing Difficulties- 42%
*Vision Impairment- 42%
*Severe Headaches- 39%
*Sleep Disturbances- 39%
*Swollen & Painful Joints- 39%
*Frequent Irritation- 32%
Units at Compressor Stations and Gas Metering Stations Releasing Emissions into the Air
*Truck Loading Racks
*Glycol Dehydration Units
*Fugitive Emission Sources
90% of individuals reported experiencing odor events from these facilities
Health Effects Experienced by Community Members Living Near a Natural Gas Storage and Processing Tank Farm
Acute Health Effects
*Irritates Skin, Eyes, Nose Mouth, Throat and Lungs
Chronic Health Effects
Chemicals Detected in Water in Association with Shale Gas Drilling, Production and Distribution
Chemicals Detected in the Air in Association with Shale Gas Drilling, Production and Distribution
Ethyl-methyl ethyl disulfide
Methyl-Methyl ethyl Benzene
All photos from Bob Donnan
Red squares represent compressor stations. A MarkWest representative
told Bob that 3 high producing wells can require one compressor.
During a presentation by Joe Osborne of GASP last year, he pointed out that 8 compressor stations (like the one below) that are already in operation in western Washington County produce 3-times as much air pollution as the old Edgar Thompson Steel Mill. (from Bob)
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