Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates January 24, 2012
To receive our news updates, please email jan at firstname.lastname@example.org
* 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 contact your state legislator: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/
Click on the envelope under the photo for email address
* For information on the state gas legislation and local control: http://pajustpowers.org/aboutthebills.html-
To read former Updates please visit our blogspot listed above.
Calendar of Events
This week could be your last chance to see PROMISED LAND. Apparently the movie is not held long at local theaters.
***Westmoreland County Commissioners Meeting- 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the county courthouse at 10:00
***** TAKE ACTION*****
***Contact your state rep to co-sponsor HB 268-Water Testing
From: Representative Jesse White About Water Testing
To: All House members
Subject: Establish a Duty on DEP to Disclose Environmental Testing Data
My legislation is simple; it says the PA Department of Environmental Protection
shall disclose the full and complete results (including raw data and
documentation) of any tests conducted on a landowner or leaseholder’s property.
This information shall be made available at no cost within five (5) business
days of a written request by the landowner or leaseholder.
According to an article in the New York Times on November 2, 2012:
“In a deposition, a scientist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection testified that her laboratory tested for a range of metals but
reported results for only some of them because the department’s oil and gas
division had not requested results from the full range of tests.
The scientist, Taru Upadhyay, the technical director of the department’s Bureau
of Laboratories, said the metals found in the water sample but not reported to
either the oil and gas division or to the homeowner who requested the tests,
included copper, nickel, zinc and titanium, all of which may damage the health
of people exposed to them, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry.”
The full article, “Pennsylvania Report Left Out Data on Poisons in Water Near
Gas Site” can be found at: http://nyti.ms/SB2qA1
My legislation would simply allow landowners and leaseholders to get all the
facts and data about what DEP finds as a result of their testing; nothing more,
nothing less. There is no justification whatsoever for disclosing anything less
than 100% of the information about potentially toxic substances in the air and
water of Pennsylvanians
***Airport Fracking--Public Hearing
Fracking Allegheny County Airports on FEBRUARY 7
Please see Doug’s Letter at the bottom of the Updates
Thursday February 7, 2013, at 6 p.m.
Robert Morris University's Sewall Center International room
119 Campus Drive - Moon Township, PA
Council Member Macey will be the presiding officer for the public hearing.
From Marcellus Protest:
Please email Allegheny and Moon Supervisors
Just tell them “no fracking at the airport
Bulk email list (click any address to send email or cut & paste the entire list to send to all of them): If you prefer to phone them, their phone numbers are at the bottom of this email.
Allegheny County Council:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Moon Township Supervisors:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
***Surveyor’s Right to Enter Act –Kill this bill
(This could be a loophole for seismic testing and who knows what else. (from a Group member)
Call/email your legislators and tell them to KILL THE BILL:
(you can find your legislators contact info in the addresses listed at the top of the newsletter)
A new PA law was just introduced 1/16/13 that would allow surveying teams to go on anyone's property, with permission or not. Read the actual bill
What this Bill seems to be for is surveying pipelines and prospective wells and making it legal to come on your land to survey for the pipeline without your permission providing they have given you some warning, a phone call? A letter?
SENATE BILL This is No. 166 Session of Senate 2013
INTRODUCED BY ALLOWAY, SOLOBAY, TARTAGLIONE, SCHWANK AND EICHELBERGER, JANUARY 16, 2013
REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE, JANUARY 15, 2013
This ACT would:
Providing for a surveyor's right to enter the land of another to perform surveying services.
Definition of a Surveyor. An individual registered as a professional land surveyor, professional engineer or agent
Gives them the right to enter land of another if necessary to perform surveying using customary equipment and vehicles.
A surveyor is required to carry a form of identification that indicates the surveyor's registration or place of employment and the surveyor is required to display the identification to any individual requesting to view it.
Notification--Prior to conducting a survey, a surveyor shall make a good faith effort to notify a landowner whose land s/he is surveying.
The only land prohibited is land owned by a railroad company (must have written permission) or a place used for residence or storage.
The duty of care section provides that the surveyor may not damage the land of another or is the surveyor provided immunity from civil liability for the damage.
***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
***National Call-In Day
***EPA—Seeking Scientific Literature and Technical data on Fracking
They are looking for peer reviewed literature but also articles
Rather than comments, the agency is seeking additional scientific literature and technical data regarding the effects of the fracking process on water sources. They favor peer-reviewed material, but if you’ve got relevant info or articles, send them. The form is linked below and the deadline is April 30, 2013.
***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.—
*** To Pennsylvania Game Commission
Oppose the proposed oil and gas lease of State Game Lands
Started by: Suzanne, West Middlesex, Pennsylvania
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA - Pennsylvania Game Commission, we call upon you, as public servants sworn to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution, to oppose the proposed oil and gas lease of State Game Lands #150, Tract 150A-12 containing approximately 586.007 acres, located in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, PA. Portions of State Game land #150 are located within 1000 feet of the Pulaski Elementary School and are also within a 100 year flood zone.
The controversial method of drilling for natural gas that has been tied to groundwater contamination across the U.S and around the world. Gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale has become one of the greatest threats to Pennsylvania’s environment and public health in decades, including:
• Contaminating drinking water supplies;
• Destroying the public lands of the Commonwealth; and
• Increasing air pollution
***Jessica Ernst, The Consequences of Fracking (6:58)
Jessica Ernst is a scientist who has worked in the oil and gas industry. She discovered firsthand the consequences of fracking in her town of Rosebud, Alberta, Canada :“No healthy community on this planet would allow hydraulic fracturing because it is not safe, it is impossible to do even with the best rules and regulations."
***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
***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:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-commentsBest 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.
***GASP Releases Citizen Handbook for Commenting on Marcellus Air Permits
1. DEP Chooses To Not Use more Stringent Water Test
“The state is not using its most stringent test to review for contaminants in residential drinking water near drilling. For more than four years, the Pennsylvania DEP has had the ability to test for 45 contaminants in its water-sample analysis. But according to DEP data, the computer code that determines what substances will be tested has not been used in at least two years. It’s been shelved in favor of two codes that test for fewer than half the number of substances.
The Times confirmed the existence of the third so-called suite code and how the codes were used only after it filed a Right to Know request . The unused code is called Suite Code 944 or Marcellus Inorganic Survey in DEP data. It was developed in 2008, two years before the creation of Suite Code 946, which tests for only 23 contaminants, 22 fewer chemicals. The other code used, Suite Code 942, was developed in 1991 and tests for 14 substances. According to DEP data, it actually has been the code most commonly used in the past two years. DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday would not say why Suite Code 944 hasn’t been used in the past two years, or why it tests for so many more substances than the other two codes.
In my opinion, the absence of metals (such as) selenium, arsenic, mercury and chromium from Suite Code 942 is problematic,” said Yuri Gorby, a microbial physiologist and bioprocess engineer who is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. “These metals are known environmental contaminants with established toxicological effects.”
State Rep. Jesse White, D-46, Cecil Township, who first broke the suite code reporting issue in November, plans to introduce House Bill 268, which would require the DEP to report complete results of any tests conducted for residents, including raw data and documentation. The bill also would require that this information be made available at no cost to landowners by written request within five business days.
“This is almost unbelievable,” he said. “The DEP developed a suite code to fully analyze for impacts of Marcellus shale, and not only did they never use it, they never even told anyone it existed.
Newly sworn-in Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has made clear his plans to conduct an audit of the state DEP to ensure the agency has the resources to protect the state’s water supplies from pollution from drilling activity. DePasquale worked for the DEP under former Gov. Ed Rendell.
Additional Info on Coding:
***Facing criticism for not reporting all findings of its residential water tests, the DEP said it did not report all chemicals discovered because the substances simply weren’t related to wastewater from commercial gas drilling. But a 3-year-old study, in which the state DEP participated, links those unreported chemicals with flowback water from fracking.
***So what’s the difference between the three codes?
Suite Code 942 tests for 14 substances, including specific conductivity, pH, alkalinity, hardness, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, barium, iron, manganese, strontium and total dissolved solids.
Suite Code 944 tests for 45 substances, including ammonia, Kjeldahl nitrogen, nitrate and nitrite, phosphorus, carbon, cyanide (distilled and weak acid dissociable), sulfide, hardness, calcium, magnesium, sulfate, fluoride, arsenic, barium, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, thallium, molybdenum, silver, zinc, antimony, tin, aluminum, selenium, titanium, phenols, mercury, pH, total suspended solids and total dissolved solids.
Suite Code 946 tests for 23 substances, including specific conductivity, pH, Alkalinity, total suspended solids, hardness, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfate, arsenic, barium, iron, manganese, strontium, zinc, aluminum, lithium, selenium, residue, bromide and turbidity.
***Private wells are only inspected if a complaint is received, officials said, and are not regularly tested by the DEP.
***The DEP does not keep track of how these complaints are resolved, so it’s unclear if these complaints were actually representative of water contamination because of drilling activity. In a past interview, DEP spokesman John Poister said the agency tries to respond to water complaints within two days and most are resolved in less than 10 days.
2. Cecil Township Wins Court Case Against MarkWest Compressor Station
This decision means area residents won't have to breathe in compressor station emissions of 36 tons of nitrous oxides and 14 tons of carbon monoxide per year.
The compressor station consists of a 35-foot structure containing up to 8 internal combustion engines powered by gas, electricity or a hybrid. The facility would also contain 5 to 8 condensate and salt-water tanks, including vapor recovery units, a flare to burn off excess product. It would operate every day, all day and emit a max of 19.5 tons of VOCs per year and 36 tons of NOX and 14 tons of carbon monoxide per year.
The zoning hearing board concluded that the proposed compressor station was not of the same general character of any of the permitted uses with the Industrial -1 District. The courts agreed that Mark West failed to demonstrate that the compressor facility was of the same general character of other permitted uses in the light industrial district. And was not a “comparable use which is not specifically listed”
The court ruled that while compression of gas may be an integral part of the transmission and distribution of gas, it does not follow that a compressor facility is a use of the same general character as the transmission or distribution systems referred to in the definition of essential services. The court determined that the applicant did not have to be a public entity to provide an essential service, nevertheless, the court held they were not an essential service.
3. Auditor General DePasquale To Audit DEP
(Note from John: Stop by his facebook page to thank him, and let him know he has your support. https://www.facebook.com/DePasqualePA?ref=ts&fref=ts ~JT )
As one of his first acts, new state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has launched a performance audit to determine how well state environmental officials have monitored the impact of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation on water quality and waste disposal. Mr. DePasquale, who took office Tuesday, sent a letter the next day to Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer informing him of the audit covering activities from 2009 to 2012.
Mr. DePasquale, a former DEP deputy secretary in the Rendell administration and Democratic House lawmaker, pledged to make this audit a priority during his campaign. He reaffirmed that goal in his inaugural address. "One of my first official duties as auditor general will be to initiate a performance audit of the Department of Environmental Protection to make sure our constitutional right to pure water is not compromised by natural gas drilling," said Mr. DePasquale.”
4. DEP Doesn’t Like Allegheny County’s Plan to Monitor Shale Emissions
By Timothy Puko
“State environmental regulators are protesting the Allegheny County Health Department‘s proposal to track air emissions from a growing number of shale gas wells in the county.
County Air Quality Program officials want to require drillers to notify them during certain stages of drill work — including well boring and hydraulic fracturing — so the county could monitor emissions.
The DEP says the rules would be redundant because the state requires similar notifications from drillers, Deputy Secretary Vincent J. Brisini wrote to the county during the public comment period. An industry group and the state claimed county rules could cause confusion because of discrepancies with state rules centered on the definition of an “unconventional well” used for shale drilling.
“It is possible that the regulated community will be forced to speculate regarding the significance of the differences,” Louis D. D‘Amico, executive director of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, wrote to the county. He warned it could lead to a “competitive disadvantage” if drillers have added reporting requirements in Allegheny County.
The Garfield-based Group Against Smog and Pollution urged passage of the rules.
Tuesday‘s vote by the air program‘s regulation subcommittee could send the plan to the Board of Health for a vote in March, said Jim Thompson, program manager.
Pollution from natural gas work sites can increase ozone in the air, a special problem for Pittsburgh because it has one of the country‘s worst ozone problems, environmentalists have said.
Industrial air polluters of all types in Allegheny County complain about the layers of regulation. The county has special jurisdiction over air quality within its borders — filling the role the DEP has elsewhere in Pennsylvania — often leading to protests from industrial groups and companies when county officials consider new air protection rules.
The county would need to determine whether that special jurisdiction applies to unconventional gas drilling, Brisini said. The state passed oil and gas rules a year ago and excluded local governments from regulating the industry.
Federal and state decisions long ago granted the county its jurisdiction and Act 13 should not diminish that, Thompson said.
There are 38 wells in Allegheny County — all on the outskirts — representing a small but growing share of the state‘s unconventional wells primarily targeting the Marcellus shale, state records show. The goal is to get a sense of their impact and determine if the county needs tougher regulations on air emissions, county officials have said.
“This simple notification system will allow ... inspectors to be in the right place at the right time,” wrote Jamin Bogi, an education and outreach coordinator at the Group Against Smog and Pollution. “Rather than play catch-up once drilling takes off here, our inspectors will be in front of any potential issues.”
5. Pennsylvania Drilling Wastes May Overwhelm Ohio Injection wells
The volume of drilling wastes from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale is growing and threatening to overwhelm existing waste-handling infrastructure in Ohio and other states, according to a study released Tuesday.
Ohio’s 179 injection wells for disposing of briny waste might not be sufficient for the Pennsylvania waste, plus wastes from Ohio’s developing Utica shale, said Brian Lutz, assistant professor of biogeochemistry at Kent State University, who led the analysis while he was a postdoctoral research associate at Duke University.
The volume of Marcellus wastewater has grown 570 percent from 2004 to 2011 due to increased shale gas production in Pennsylvania, Lutz said.
“The overall volume of water that now has to be transported and treated is immense,” he said. “It threatens to overwhelm the region’s wastewater-disposal infrastructure capacity.”
The wastes in play include flow-back water, produced immediately after hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, plus brine, or production water, generated after the fracking is done and the well goes into production. Such wastes generally are similar with a few key differences.
The liquid wastes can contain significant amounts of salts and total dissolved solids; low-level radiation and toxic heavy metals picked up from underground rocks; oils and grease; leftover toxic chemicals used in fracking; and certain volatile organic compounds, including benzene.
Ohio cannot ban such wastes because they are interstate commerce protected under the U.S. Constitution. It is unknown exactly how much injection capacity the state can handle.
“A lot of attention, to date, has focused on chemicals in the flow-back that comes out of a well following hydraulic fracturing,” he said. “However, the amount of brine produced — which contains high levels of salts and other natural pollutants from shale rock — has received less attention, even though it is no less important.”
Studies have shown that brine can be as difficult to treat as many of the chemicals used in fracking fluids, he said.
6. Ingraffea-Englender Debate
One detail I gleaned from the debate that I had not known was the explanation of the water problem in Dimock. Dr Ingraffea explained that the DEP found a problem with the water in Dimock but the EPA cannot say the water is contaminated because federal law does not allow calling methane a contaminant, but if the homeowner would try to sell the house, there would be a problem because the water is “contaminated” with methane.
Methane can explode and can combine with other elements to potentially cause a problem.”
(No studies have been conducted on the effects of breathing indoor air contaminated with methane” jan)
7. EPA Extends Comment Period in Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — “Gov. Matt Mead has joined those expressing disappointment that the EPA has extended for a third time a public comment period on a report on groundwater pollution in a Wyoming gas field rather than moving toward wrapping up the study.
"Wyoming did not ask for this delay nor do we want it. This does not move us toward resolving the concerns of the landowners in the area," Mead said
The report on the EPA's findings in the Pavillion area marked the first time the federal agency blamed hydraulic fracturing for a specific case of groundwater pollution. The report widened the gap between environmentalists who characterize fracking as a threat to clean groundwater and petroleum industry officials who insist fracking is safe. Both sides agree on one thing: The comment period extension is unnecessary.
Those with polluted well water "continue to suffer the effects of living in a contaminated environment" while peer review is delayed, John Fenton, chairman of the group Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens, said in a release last week.”
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Mead-disappointed-by-new-EPA-Pavillion-extension-4199306.php#ixzz2IHLa1OLG
8. Drilling and Fracking have destroyed Property values
“As the pace of oil and gas development increases in Colorado the controversy and impacts on our communities and public health have been well documented. However, one impact to Coloradans which not has received as much attention is how drilling and fracking has impacted Colorado’s real estate and the value of Coloradans’ most significant investment and nest egg — our homes.
As a managing broker of 40 realtors on the Front Range, I hear from brokers of potential buyers balk at buying a home near a drilling or fracking site, even though that’s often where the discounted homes are. The reason these homes have reduced value is that they are so close to oil and gas activity. The flip side of that same coin is that there are homeowners struggling to sell their home near these sites because of low buyer interest. They often have to sell at significantly lower prices than when originally purchased due to the oil and gas industry neighbors.”
9. Hallowich Case
."At one point in the hearing, Judge Seneca admonished the industry counsel for linking its confidentiality argument to the protection of the rights of the Hallowichs' children. "What gives you the right or standing to assert the privacy rights of the minor children?" Judge Seneca asked Mr. Binotto.
Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, who sought to file a brief in support of opening the judicial record, said the settlement could contain important information about the impact of gas drilling operations on public health. Mr. Frank said, "I believe the judge will act expeditiously."
Comment from Group Member:
“It is ironic that the frackers' attorney is arguing against unsealing the docs to "protect" the Hallowich family's privacy. The frackers evidenced no concern to "protect" the family's health & property while they fracked in very close proximity to the Hallowich's home.
Before the fracker-imposed gag order, the Hallowich family was actively speaking out on the harm caused to their health and property- in fact they were interviewed by media worldwide.”
10. Toxicologist Says Fracking’s Effect On Health Was Not Studied Due to Politics
(This should have been done before Gov Corbett et al started fracking in our state. jan)
“Some five years after the fracking in Pennsylvania and surrounding states got under way, a team of toxicologists from the University of Pennsylvania is leading a national effort to study the health effects of fracking.
The university’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology has organized a working group with researchers at other top universities including Columbia, Johns Hopkins and the University of North Carolina to investigate and analyze reports of nausea, headaches, breathing difficulties and other ills from people who live near natural gas drilling sites, compressor stations or wastewater pits.
The aim is to bring academic discipline to the unresolved national debate, which pits an industry that denies any link between fracking and environmental contamination against those who assert that fracking poisons air and water with natural and man-made chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.
Dr. Penning has asked 17 centers affiliated with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to take part in different aspects of research on the health effects of fracking. Ten have so far accepted, he said in an interview.
Dr. Penning said the planned research projects would not duplicate the continuing work of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is conducting research into whether fracking contaminates water supplies. That study is not explicitly focused on the health effects of any contamination.
Asked why academics are only now proposing a systematic study of fracking’s health effects about five years after the shale boom began in earnest in Pennsylvania, Dr. Penning replied, “Politics.”
With a strongly pro-industry administration led by Pennsylvania’s Republican governor, Tom Corbett, and a Republican-controlled legislature that has recently approved a gas-drilling law friendly to industry, state financing has not been available for research into whether drilling activities have negative health effects, Dr. Penning said.
“Academia can only do work if there’s funding to do that work,” he said.
11. Fracking for Gas to be Powered by Gas
“Gas/ oil companies are experimenting with converting diesel engines to gas engines making drillers consumers of the product they are making. Gas has become so cheap that drillers are looking for new ways to use the gas. Some engines will use a mix of 70% gas and 30% diesel.
Although diesel produces large quantities of smog forming nitrogen oxides and soot, the size of the benefit from replacing diesel engines with gas is not clear. “That’s because new diesel engines are subject to strict standards and gas powered engines give off only slightly less pollution,” Joe Osborne of GASP.
The economic benefit is huge for the industry which used more than 700 million gallons of diesel in fracking last year.
(Fracking for natural gas being powered by it too, AP, Latrobe Bulletin, 1-21-
12. SHALETEST AIR TESTING SHOW ELEVATED BENZENE LEVELS IN THE BARNETT SHALE
“Based on results of a recent air study, benzene is still elevated around natural gas production facilities in the Barnett Shale.
During the month of October 2012 members of the non-profit organization ShaleTest.org visited sites throughout the Barnett Shale in North Texas. These sites were viewed through a FLIRGasfindir camera, which detects Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Many of these sites had visible
emissions present and unfortunately many of these sites were close to communities, city parks, restaurants and other place where people congregate.
Former Mayor of DISH, TX and co-founder of ShaleTest.org
says that "it is a shame that over the past several years we still have a problem with the oil/ gas industry polluting the air of North Texas, it is time for the industry to step up and be the good neighbors they claim to be on the industry funded commercials".
During these visits ambient air monitoring was performed using stainless steel summa canisters. Results of this monitoring show the presence of several chemicals including the well-known carcinogen benzene. A
Kinder Morgan gas processing facility located on Jim Baker Rd. west of DISH, TX showed elevated levels of benzene and toluene, as well as many other chemicals known to be present at facilities such as this.
ShaleTest documented emissions at a similar facility near downtown Fort Worth on Nixon Street Operated by Chesapeake Energy. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality performed sampling that validated ShaleTest's concerns, finding elevated levels of benzene and toluene at this facility. “Looking forward into 2013 we must make our health and environment a priority. It is unacceptable that the natural gas industries are ignoring the devastating impacts they have on citizens and the environment.” says Susan
Sullivan, board member of ShaleTest.
ShaleTest is a non-profit organization that provides environmental testing for lower income families, and was performing this monitoring at the request of several citizens on the Barnett Shale.
If you would like more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
• Calvin Tillman, Executive Director
(940) 453-3640, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Tim Ruggiero, President
(917) 763-8901, email@example.com
• Susan Sullivan, Board Member
(214) 282-6554, firstname.lastname@example.org
• gasfinder video and TCEQ test results
• ShaleTest Air Test Results
Contact: Calvin Tillman For Immediate Release
Executive Director January 23, 2013
13. What’s that Mysterious Patch of Light in North Dakota?
36% of Gas Not Captured --Just Flared
(36% of the gas produced in ND oil drilling isn’t captured. Yet in PA, we’re dealing with the air and water pollution caused by drilling more wells. Jan)
“It's a little to the left, high up near the Canadian border. Just run your eye up that line of lights at the center of the country, look over to the upper left: There's a patch that looks like a big city — but there is no big city in that part of North Dakota. There's mostly grass. So what are those lights doing there? What is that?
The patch is marked with a circle. It turns out, yes, that's not a city. And those lights weren't there six years ago.
What we have here is an immense and startlingly new oil and gas field — nighttime evidence of an oil boom created by fracking. Those lights are rigs, hundreds of them, lit at night, or fiery flares of natural gas. One hundred fifty oil companies, big ones, little ones, wildcatters, have flooded this region, drilling up to eight new wells every day on what is called the Bakken formation. Altogether, they are now producing 660,000 barrels a day — double the output two years ago — so that in no time at all, North Dakota is now the second-largest oil producing state in America. Only Texas produces more, and those lights are a sign that this region is now on fire ... to a disturbing degree. Literally.
When oil comes to the surface, it often brings natural gas with it, and according to North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources, 36 percent of the natural gas now extracted in North Dakota isn't captured. Gas isn't as profitable as oil, and the energy companies don't always build the pipes or systems to carry it off. For a year (with extensions), North Dakota allows drillers to burn gas, just let it flare. There are now so many gas wells burning fires in the North Dakota night, the fracking fields can be seen from deep space.”
14. Energy in Depth (EID) Stalks Yoko Ono, Lennon, and Sarandon
“MONTROSE, Pa. — Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon spoke out against fracking Thursday during a tour of gas drilling sites in NE Pennsylvania, warning about what they view as the danger to air, water and human health. The celebrities boarded a tour bus in New York City and headed to rural Susquehanna County to see gas wells, compressor stations and other evidence of the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, and to visit with residents who say they have been negatively impacted by drilling.
Tom Shepstone of Energy In Depth, an industry group, trailed the sleek silver Mercedes tour bus – which had trouble negotiating an icy hill at one point and had to creep back down – and declared the celebrity visit to be a publicity stunt. "They don't pay mortgages here, they don't have to get jobs here, they don't have to pay taxes here, they don't have to support their families here. They just come up here to pick on this area and use it as part of their trendy cause," he said.”
14. US Encourages Gas Production In Poland
“Poland is the most enthusiastic country in Europe regarding fracking. The hope is that the gas would bring Poland closer to its ally, the US, and reduce Poland’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels, Russia supplying nearly all of Poland’s oil and 2/3 of gas. However Poland is already fairly energy independent.
“The interest in shale gas is also due to prompting by the US. Despite the lack of a scientific consensus on the benefits and drawbacks of shale gas in the US the state dept nonetheless has initiated engagement programs all over the world from Jordan to India to China. Cooperation with Poland has been especially close.
President Obama made a point of endorsing shale gas when visiting Poland. ‘
Hindering the development however are several issues including strict European Union environmental laws.”
(Post gazette, 1-6-13, Poland dreams of shale. Dimiter Kenarov)
15. Letter to the Editor that never got published,
What company: barges onto your property when you give them notice you aren’t going to renew your gas lease?
What company is in total control of measuring and reporting the amount of gas being produced by the well?
What company began deducting processing charges from the royalties in 09 when those deductions had never been taken in 08?
What company has no oversight as to whether processing charges are accurate or legitimate?
What company just hired Governor Rendell’s top aide?
What company was deemed exempt from the Clean Water Act when the Cheney (Halliburton)/Bush administration was in power?
What company pays some property owners 10%, 12%, 17% in royalties?
What company pays some property owners a site fee for the 5 acres of property that will be destroyed permanently by a well site, and not others?
What company is gobbling up as much property in this area as possible, drilling as much gas as possible, storing as much gas as possible before our legislators finally get their act together and tax them?
What company has spent millions, if not billions developing how to remove gas from the ground, but spent nothing developing the proper way of disposing the putrid, toxic frac fluid?
What company has destroyed the roads in Mt. Pleasant Township?
What company donated a bronze statue as retribution for destroying roads in Mt. Pleasant Township?
What company has sucked dry streams and tributaries all over the area?
(People need to investigate what they are getting into ahead of signing contracts. Contracts can be personalized. from group member)
16. Letter from Doug Shields to Allegheny County Council
Dear Members of County Council:
I send this article from today’s New York Times regarding the University of Pennsylvania’s initiative to study the health effects related to shale gas extraction.
On February 7, you will convene a public hearing on the pending lease arrangement between the County and Consol Energy. Between now and then I will be providing you information related to the industry and clear evidence of serious issues associated with shale gas extraction. I would hope that you will be responsive to these matters in a meaningful way.
Last week the County Executive stated on a KDKA news report that, "We’re going to have public hearings and if the public can make a good case why we shouldn’t drill at the airports. Council will consider that, and I will consider that,” Fitzgerald said.
I would take issue with this premise set forth by the County Executive. I would argue that the burden of proof does not fall to the public to “make a good case why we shouldn’t drill at the airports.”
The burden of proof does not fall to the pubic. It falls to the County Executive and to the Council to make a good case as to why we should drill the airports. The County Executive has stated publicly that “we have to do this right.” I have yet to hear him iterate anything in the way of how that is to be accomplished. That obligation “to make a good case” falls to him and to the County Council; not me or the public. Your duty is serve the public interest and look to our collective health, safety and welfare.
Obviously, money is always is a concern for government but to merely look to money as the sole arbiter in making this this decision would be to ignore other serious matters to consider. From where I sit it looks as if the public process is being gamed by the County Executive and the Council. If you disagree with that then please point to me any evidence to the contrary.
I also have a serious concern as to providing only a single opportunity for public comment (3 minutes) on February 7th in Moon Township.
Merely because this activity is planned in Moon Township, I would hope that the Council is mindful that all Allegheny County residents have a stake in this. It is our, we the people of Allegheny County, land. On a matter of such importance, the Council would do well to convene additional informational meetings and hearings throughout the County. That is appropriate given the nature of this matter. Pittsburgh City Council, when faced with a similar issue of import, we convened hearings in communities throughout the city. On the privatization of the public parking system ($450 Million at stake) we had over 20 community informational meetings and hearings. You would do well to do no less on this issue. While the County web site encourages citizens to fight your own property tax assessment, I cannot find a single word devoted to the subject of the Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction process.
To date, I know of no meetings at all convened by individual members or the County Council as a whole regarding this subject. I and others have asked you directly as to your thoughts on the matter of Fracking. We have no response, only silence. The lack of transparency in this process is very disappointing and frustrating. Now that this issue is front and center, you, our elected representatives have an obligation to present your thinking to us on the matter. It is for you to explain why you may think this is a good or bad thing. It is your obligation of office to communicate and fully inform the public as to the issues presented here. What can you point to that would demonstrate your due diligence on the subject? Y
Your collective silence throughout this process is deeply disappointing and is counter to every principal attached to an open and honest government.
So, in closing, I request of you to fulfill these obligations of office by providing to me the authoritative sources you have relied upon as to make a thoughtful determination and what the public should be aware of.
As a citizen, it would be difficult for me or anyone else to make any cogent public comment at a public hearing without the information requested below. I cannot in good conscience, be supportive of any plan if I do not understand the matter in a comprehensive way. This is where the burden falls to the County Council, not me. It is incumbent upon you to respond to these matters. It is time for our government to put its cards on the table. This would require you to respond to the following, but not limited to:
Public Safety Impacts - what is the current status of our first responder’s ability to respond to events associated with Fracking and mid-stream operations. Are they equipped and trained to deal with well fires, spills, blowouts and other events associated with this practice? Do you have an evacuation plan in place? What comments have been made by the FAA as to contingency plans in the event of a blow out or well fire? There are many documented cases of incidents of this type. Can you cite any County, local or PEMA protocols in place? Can you point to any capital budget impacts to county and local government that may be required to equip and train our first responders? In the event of a well fire or blow out do you have any contingency plans in place? Do you have any truck traffic mitigation plans?
Air Quality - What information can you provide to me related to the cumulative effects of Fracking operations - from drill site to impoundments to mid stream assets (i.e., compressor stations, distillation facilities and so forth)? Have you performed studies as to how the county would monitor air quality in the area?
Water Quality - It is well documented that there is a problem with well casing integrity. About 7% of well casings fail from inception leading to methane (and toxic return fluids) migration into aquifers. That number climbs over time. The casings must maintain their structural integrity in perpetuity. What if any thing can you point to on that matter that would assure the public that they are safe? Return fluids contain a host of toxic substances. Do you have a waste management plan and what possible liabilities are attached to the county as a potentially responsible party (PRP) for the disposal of these materials including but not limited to barium, strontium, radionuclides and radioactive waste?
We have seen an inordinate amount of documented water contamination and stream degradation as a result of surface spills. The DEP has documented and fined (but did not abate the source) drilling operators thousands of times. What is your plan on that matter (it would be limited due to the fact that you have no regulatory power. The County Executive has stated publicly that he would impose appropriate regulations on operators. How does that square up with the fact that the County has no ability to do so per state law?
What contingency plans do you have in place to assure surface and sub surface water quality integrity?
Planning - The County has no ability to impose any planning related restrictions. That is a matter reserved at the municipal level of government (see: PA Municipal Planning Code). That being said can you provide to me a foot print of the drilling operations at the airport and beyond the airport properties? Fracking operations extend well beyond the well pad. Where is the well pad(s) planned? Where will open waste pits be located? Where will attending permanent mid-stream facilities placed in the surrounding municipalities? Where will gather pipelines as well as shipping pipelines be located. What is your plan to work with surrounding municipalities to mitigate truck traffic, noise, and air quality? What new roads (temporary or permanent) would be required to support this operation? What is you plan to do pre-drilling testing and documenting of conditions present at the site? Be advised that a single pre-drill water test has been determined, in a civil action in Bradford County, as not being sufficient evidence as to causation of well contamination.
How many abandoned mines and gas and oil wells are there on this site?
Environmental Impact Statement - Please provide to me any information the County has gathered as to the environmental impacts associated with drilling at the airport(s) sites. What due diligence, if any, has the County performed in this regard. An Environmental Impact statement would not only look at the natural environment but the as-built environment as well. What would be the impact to surround property values, both at the site and in areas of mid stream operations? If the county has no comprehensive Environmental Impact study; 1) will you commission one; 2) why or why not?
Health Risk Assessment - What health risk assessments have you relied upon to identify risk factors? What plans do you have in place to assure citizens that the public’s health is not put at risk. What public health documents can you point to that you may have relied upon in your consideration of this issue?
Risk Analysis - What, if any risk analysis has the County performed to determine risks associated with the operations. What levels of insurance and bonding would be required of Consol? Have you reviewed Consol Energy’s Disclosure of Risks noted in their prospectus as required by the Security and Exchange Commission? Have you disclosed those risks to the public? Why/why not? What is your opinion of those risks you are asking me/the public to assume?
Community Participation & Advisory Boards - What, if any, public participation do you envision for this matter? How would you effectuate such a plan? What are the terms of the lease? This is critical. How do you see the public involvement in the construction of any lease? If you are to act as our fiduciary in negotiating this lease, how do you intend to inform the public as to what provisions a lease might contain? What, if any Advisory Boards have you contemplated? Would they be independent? How do you see their make up?
Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your anticipated cooperation in this regard. Should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
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 email@example.com