Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates February 28, 2013
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* To discuss candidates: http://www.facebook.com/groups/VoteProEarth/
* To contact your state legislator:
For email address, click on the envelope under the photo
* 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.
Facebook and Posting Please—Flyers torn down
Thank you to those of you who are helping to post flyers . As fast as Jack and I put them up, they are being torn down-even in public libraries. We will continue to re-post and ask that you help us. See “publicity, how you can help” below. jan
Calendar of Events
*** Fracking and Your Health, Public Health Perspectives Public Meeting
* What common health problems do residents experience?
* What are the sources of exposure?
* How can you reduce your exposure?
* What public health studies are being done?
Nadia Steinzor - Earthworks
Raina Rippel- Southwest PA Environmental Health Project
Linda Headley –member of a SW PA affected family
Dr. Ralph Miranda- Greensburg Physician, Speaker/Moderator
Where: Fred Rogers Center, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe PA
When: Tuesday, March 19, 7:00-9:00 pm
Publicity-How you can help
***Thank you to many of you who have offered to post flyers for our March 19 health forum at St Vincent. Here are three things you can do to help out:
- Copy the flyer I attached and post a few
- Post the meeting on your face book site about 1-2 weeks before the meeting
- Send out the notice to people on your email list and ask them to pass it on.
That action is incredibly helpful in getting the word out to people who are not on our list. Jan
***County Commissioners Meeting- 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the county courthouse at 10:00
For a full calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:
***Air Study Shows Regional Pollution Damages Are
Significant from Shale Operations
Study: “Estimation of regional Air Quality Damages from Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Extraction in Pennsylvania by Aviva Litovitz, Aimee Curtright, Shmuel Abramzon, Nicholas Burger and Constantine Samaras
RAND Corporation, Published January 2013
“Damage costs were based on effects on physical health and environmental damages, including mortality, morbidity, crop and timber loss, visibility and effects on anthropogenic structures and natural ecosystems. The total cost of region- wide damage ranged from $7.2 million to $32 million dollars for 2011.
Emissions state- wide were only a few percent of total polluting emissions but in counties where activities are concentrated, NOx emissions from all shale gas activities were 20-40 times higher than allowable for a single minor source despite the fact that single gas facilities usually fall below the major source threshold for NOx.
*The authors did not consider damages from flaring as it is to be phased out by 2015. (A New York study estimates that flaring increases NOx and VOCs by 120%. PM 2.5 emissions increase by 250%)
*Compressor stations represent 60-75% of all extraction-associated damages. *VOCs, NOx, and PM 2.5 combined were responsible for 94% of total damages.
*10 PA counties constituted nearly 90% of wells in the state.
*Washington County had the highest damages, estimated at $1.2-8.3 million. * Damage in Washington County represents about 20% of damage statewide
*66 to 80% of damages are attributable to long-term activities
County Damages- 2011
Westmoreland County Damages—low of $319,802 to high of $1,826,057
Washington County- low of $1,296,604 to high of $8,306, 931
Fayette Coutny-$226,871 to high of $804, 966
Butler-- low of $127, 217 to high of $533, 192
Allegheny- low of – $22, 071 high of $133,172
For the data charts and information on counties:
***DEP Chided at Hearing in Washington County
Part 1 - http://youtu.be/m7QB_I01Sls
Part 2 - http://youtu.be/RPEYKIhxnQw
Part 3 - http://youtu.be/ZPiw3KAN8jI
Part 4 - http://youtu.be/3Dj06NR6KGs
Part 5 - http://youtu.be/EPnfh_M0Jpk
TAKE ACTION!! -From Clean Water Action
Let the state know that you want them to release all water testing results from gas drilling investigations!
Mystery, questions and concerns continue to surround Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) policies for testing water that has been suspected of being impacted by Marcellus Shale natural gas operations. These issues were originally brought to light when it was revealed that DEP doesn’t report full test results to residents, depriving them of critical health and safety information. People have a right to know ALL the results whether good or bad. Let the state know that you want them to release all water testing results from gas drilling investigations!
When we found out about DEP’s policies, Clean Water Action and a coalition of environmental groups sent a letter to Governor Tom Corbett and Secretary Michael Krancer criticizing the DEP’s policies as lacking transparency and inadequate to protect residents and drinking water. We called for immediate reforms to DEP’s procedures and demanded immediate disclosure of all data collected through DEP water tests. We were optimistic that we might finally get answers when Secretary Krancer suggested scheduling a meeting to discuss these issues. DEP however left us still in the dark and extremely disappointed when they abruptly cancelled the meeting.
DEP must provide Pennsylvanian’s with answers. DEP is entrusted to oversee and regulate the oil and gas industry in a manner that protects public health and the environment; water quality testing and enforcement are clearly a key part of this mission. We continue to ask DEP to reschedule the meeting and if nothing else, address the many questions surrounding their procedures (click here to see our most recent letter and list of questions). Help us apply pressure to DEP by emailing Governor Corbett and Secretary Krancer TODAY!
Tell them they need to reschedule their meeting with us and provide answers to the questions and concerns surrounding their water testing policies.
For Clean Water,
Steve Hvozdovich, Marcellus Campaign Coordinator
Triple Divide: Fracking Documentary Premieres-Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic
Public Herald investigative journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman announce the opening of Triple Divide. Triple Divide deconstructs the (DEP) handling of shale gas development.
Pribanic and Troutman take audiences on a cradle-to-grave journey to uncover how DEP and industry have handled violations within Pennsylvania’s highest classified watersheds, what happened in the 2011 Bradford County Blowout, water contamination complaints, health issues, and the split-estate landowner dispute.
After being accosted by contractors for Seneca Resources in Tioga State Forest during production of the film — an event shared in the chapter “Ecoterrorism” — Troutman knows all too well how contentious the issue of fracking is. “Americans have been told from the beginning of this boom, which has already been a bust for many, that there will be ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’ I firmly believe that whether ‘winner’ or ‘loser,’ everyone is entitled to the same fundamental rights of ‘Liberty and Justice, for All.’ When it comes to shale gas extraction and development, that’s not happening.”
“Of the five films I have seen on fracking (Split Estate, Gasland, Promised Land, Fracknation, Triple Divide) this one is the best at showing a slice of the all-too-real and desperate situation as it relates to water and fracking,” said Robert Donnan, who took part in a Pittsburgh test-screening in February.
Triple Divide recently found a friend in Hollywood when critically-acclaimed actor Mark Ruffalo joined Troutman as co-narrator. Its name comes from Pennsylvania's triple continental divide, one of only four in North America, giving birth to the Allegheny and Genesee Rivers, as well as Pine Creek which becomes the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. These three rivers flow to three separate sides of the continent: north to Lake Ontario, southeast to the Chesapeake Bay, and southwest to the Gulf of Mexico.
For Triple Divide, everything is downstream.
The film was shot and edited by Pribanic in his first feature length project. “Triple Divide is a clear example of how investigative reporting can unlock the moral deficiencies of an industry shrouded by the state. It’s a film to let the public know we are out there, ready and willing to tell the truth, to tell their story.”
Pribanic also points to the need for public accountability, quoting a shocking string of untold stories in the shale fields of PA. “I’ve been in conversations where parents without health insurance are experiencing water contamination after fracking and forced to ‘doctor up’ un-drinkable water using Kool-Aid for the children or coffee for adults. It’s criminal.”Both filmmakers, who also co-founded the investigative news non-profit Public
For clips of the film and more, visit www.tripledividefilm.org, and go to the Video page. Also, follow PH’s Twitter, or Facebook to stay informed about Triple Divide — and #TripleDivide for reference on twitter.
**For images of the film please see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184238@N06/sets/72157632806240125/ — to use an image simply click on the image, go to ‘view all sizes’ in the upper right hand corner, choose a size, and drag and drop or right click to save the image. Credit photos: Joshua B. Pribanic.
We'd be happy to answer any questions you have.
Melissa Troutman & Joshua Pribanic
Managing Editor & Editor-in-Chief
1. How "Public" are our Public Lands?
On Loyalsock Forest- From Pennfuture
“Pennfuture has highlighted the ongoing refusal of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to obtain public input on whether to allow natural gas development on an extraordinarily beautiful tract of land in the Loyalsock State Forest, Lycoming County.
The area in question contains some of the most valuable and sensitive ecological and recreational resources in the Pennsylvania State Forest system, including much of the Rock Run watershed, an Exceptional Value (EV) stream widely hailed as the most beautiful in Pennsylvania. Due to an unusual deed restriction, DCNR has the ability to strictly control or forbid surface access to this area. But while there are ongoing negotiations between the Corbett administration and Texas-based Anadarko to open this sensitive area to natural gas development, DCNR refuses to allow the public to have any input, understand the environmental impacts of the drilling, and evaluate alternatives.
Now, faced with DCNR's continuing obstinacy, PennFuture and eight statewide and Lycoming County conservation, recreation, fishing, and hunting organizations have urged the chairs of the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees to conduct public hearings on this urgent matter. Letters were sent to Rep. Ron Miller, R-York, chair of the House committee, and Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, chair of the Senate committee.
Every Pennsylvanian who uses or values our public lands should be alarmed about DCNR's willingness to open the Loyalsock State Forest to more natural gas development — and the agency's refusal to consider public input into the future of this special place. The drilling industry already has access to about half of the state forest lands that lie above the Marcellus shale. An exhaustive study conducted by DCNR in 2010 concluded that opening more state forest land to natural gas development would compromise the ecological integrity and wild character of the state forest system, and risk its sustainably managed certification, which gives Pennsylvania forest products access to green building markets across the globe.”
2. EPA Drilling Emissions Reporting Incorrect
(First it was made public that the DEP’s data on well production was incorrect. Now it is revealed that EPA’s data is also incorrect. This poor database makes it impossible to estimate risks, the need for pollution controls, and other important conclusions about fracking. Jan)
“Gaps in emissions data reporting are hindering the EPAs ability to regulate the oil-and-gas industry, according to a report by the agency’s internal watchdog.
EPA’s Office of Inspector General said the agency was caught off-guard by the domestic drilling boom-- the agency understaffed its emissions program for the oil-and-gas sector and lacks a “comprehensive strategy” for fixing the flaws.
“With limited data, human health risks are uncertain, states may design incorrect or ineffective emission control strategies, and EPA’s decisions about regulating industry may be misinformed,” Arthur Elkins Jr., the EPA inspector general, said in the report.
Many of the problems Elkins discovered were related to fracking. Emissions from some equipment and portions of the fracking process have gone unreported, Elkins said.
For emissions evaluating tools that do exist, the inspector general said many “are of questionable quality because they are based on limited and/or low quality data.”
Drillers have produced at a frenetic speed in recent years — and the report said EPA’s emissions reporting regime was unprepared.
The report noted the number of gas producing wells spiked 76 percent between 1992 and 2010, adding about 11,000 wells annually during that period.
The report said EPA must resolve staffing issues to keep pace with the oil-and-gas industry’s growth. The report also said EPA needs to better coordinate data collection across its offices.
3. Fracking and the Revolving Door in Pennsylvania
“This report documents the revolving door between government and the gas industry in Pennsylvania, where numerous top government officials and environmental regulators have either left their public jobs for careers in the oil and gas industry or come to government from the private sector. The report is based on extensive research on the career trajectories of dozens of public officials. The revolving door trend in Pennsylvania raises questions about whether regulators are serving the public interest or private industry interests in their oversight of fracking. The following are major findings from the report:
● Pennsylvania’s previous three governors have strong ties to the natural gas industry. Tom Ridge’s firms benefited from a $900,000 contract to lobby for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, MarkSchweiker joined a lobbying firm with a Marcellus Shale practice, and Ed Rendell is a partner in a private equity firm invested in fracking services companies and recently lobbied on behalf of driller Range Resources. Current governor Tom Corbett also has strong ties to the industry – he
received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and previously worked as a lawyer for Waste Management, which is active in the Marcellus Shale.
● Every Secretary of Environmental Protection since the DEP was created has had ties to the natural gas industry. Jim Seif is now a principal and energy consultant at Ridge Global LLC, one of former governor Ridge’s firms that lobbied for the Marcellus Shale Coalition; David Hess is now a lobbyist at Crisci Associates and has gas industry clients; Kathleen McGinty has served on the boards of two energy companies, is managing director of a consulting firm that is part of the
Marcellus Shale Coalition, and is a partner in former Governor Rendell’s private equity firm; John Hanger is now special counsel to a law firm that represents every segment of the natural resources industry; and Michael Krancer is former general counsel at a utility that relies on natural gas and a former partner at a law firm member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
● Twenty Department of Environmental Protection employees have held jobs in the energy industry either before or after their agency jobs. Former high-level staffers include Terry Bossert, who has worked for three law firms that represent the energy industry before being hired as a vice president at Chief Oil & Gas; John Hines, a former Executive Deputy Secretary, who is now a government relations advisor to Shell; and Barbara Sexton, a former Executive Deputy Secretary who is now a government affairs director at Chesapeake Energy.
PAI found several striking revolving door connections that have previously gone unreported:
Former Gov. Ed Rendell and his Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty have a financial stake in companies servicing the fracking industry. Rendell and McGinty are operating partners in Element Partners, a private equity firm that invests in the energy sector. Several of the companies serve the natural gas industry, such as 212 Resources, Agility Fuel Systems, and Environmental Drilling Solutions.
Secretary of Environmental Protection Michael Krancer’s Executive Deputy Secretary for programs is now a lobbyist for Shell. John T. Hines, the author of a 2011 leaked e-mail revealing a new DEP policy requiring Krancer’s approval of all notices of violation in the Marcellus Shale, is now a government relations advisor for Shell Oil Company.
Husband and wife Eric and Sarah Battisti left the Rendell administration to lobby for the gas industry. While Sarah Battisti’s departure for BG Group was noted in the press, it was not reported that her husband, Eric Battisti, a senior deputy secretary to Rendell, left to work for Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney where he lobbies for EQT and Williams Companies.
Several prominent law firms that are destinations for regulators and public officers after they leave government are members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney, K&L Gates, and Blank Rome are three of the most renowned law firms in Pennsylvania, and many regulators and public officers are hired after leaving government or come to government from one of the three firms. All three also lobby for companies engaged in fracking and are members of the gas industry advocacy group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
Full Report (PDF)
And from the Herald standard on Revolving Door--
Marcellus Shale Businesses Have Ties with Regulators
“According to PAI’s findings, a total of 45 current or past public officials have ties to the energy industry and the practice of fracking. Of those, 28 have left their posts for industry jobs. “The prospect of well-paid industry jobs gives regulators who are still in government an incentive to maintain an amicable relationship with the drilling industry,” the report says. “The result is an environment of regulatory capture; the government apparatus that is supposed to watch over the drilling industry and ensure that it is not running roughshod over the public interest is actually subject to undue industry influence and control.”
The PAI report also says that state spending for the DEP is down 41 percent from 2001-2011, while the natural gas industry spent an estimated $11.5 billion in the Marcellus shale region in 2010. “Pennsylvania’s revolving door regime is extremely troubling,” said Robert Galbraith, a PAI analyst. “These close relationships can hijack the regulatory process. The report raises serious questions about the incentives guiding New York’s regulators as they make their decision on fracking.”
4. Senator Jim Ferlo Grills DEP Secretary Krancer
(A Group Member Wrote-The Reps. who questioned Krancer need to be congratulated.
Here are the email addresses for the Sen. Ferlo and Rep. Santarsiero: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
And to send boos to Solobay: firstname.lastname@example.org)
“ DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said he expects his department to remove a backlog of 6,000 applications for permits related to oil and gas wells, mining and water by summer.
Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-38, voiced surprise that nine of every 10 violations cited by DEP inspectors at Marcellus Shale gas wells in 2011 resulted in no fines.
“How do you reconcile that?” the Pittsburgh lawmaker asked.
Krancer said the number of inspections have increased from 4,900 in 2010 to 12,000 this year. With more oversight, the DEP secretary said violations have been cut in half.
“The idea of an issuance of a notice of violation is not to issue a fine. The idea is to bring conduct which is potentially volatile to the attention of the operator so the operator can do something about it,” Krancer said.
But that wasn’t enough for Ferlo, who is a member of the Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee.
“You’re the secretary of DEP and the citizens are demanding that there be proper enforcement and proper citations to correct the behavior of an industry that, in my opinion, has run amok, despite your perception of the industry. Citizens feel very shortchanged right now,” Ferlo said.
“I’m sorry for that perception on your part. I think it’s an incorrect perception,” Krancer responded.
Ferlo also expressed dismay that Krancer doesn’t seem to be available to meet with public groups and was pointed in his query about what it would take to win his attendance at an event.
“What circumstances do you agree to come out and be with the public or (would you) just hide behind this issue; that it’s political theater?” Ferlo wondered.
Krancer said he has attended many public meetings and offered to share his calendar to prove it. When Ferlo accepted that offer, Krancer appeared to balk.
Lawmakers also wondered about the use of acid mine water in Marcellus Shale drilling sites and if the DEP would coordinate that with drilling companies.
And, they asked about prescription drug pollution in waterways, abandoned mine reclamation, coal-fired power plants and smallmouth bass.
“Who is actually checking (on the fish)?” Sen. Pat Vance, R-31, asked. “There’s (sic) black spots on them. They have asexual behavior. Whose job is that to follow up on that?”
Krancer said he is hoping the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission will partner with the DEP to determine what is going on with brownish-colored fish, which can grow up to 20-inches long.
“We don’t know, yet, what the cause is of that,” he said.
Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-31, attempted Wednesday to pin down Krancer on his global-warming beliefs, but the DEP secretary wouldn’t bite.
“It’s amazing to me that the highest environmental official in Pennsylvania cannot offer an opinion about the issue of global warming despite acknowledging that it would be better for our environment to have lower carbon emissions,” the Bucks County lawmaker said later in a press release.
Gov. Tom Corbett is asking lawmakers to approve a $125 million budget for the DEP. That’s just $639,000 more than this year. Krancer said he expects no employees to be furloughed.
5. Drilling is Primary Pollution Source in Utah
“A comprehensive analysis of emissions and ozone pollution in the Uintah Basin in eastern Utah concluded that the primary source is oil and gas operations. The oil-field operations created about 99 percent of the volatile organic chemical emissions and about 70 percent of the nitrogen oxides emitted in the basin. "It isn't surprising, this is a rural area," said Brock LeBaron, who managed the study for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Across the West — from Colorado's Front Range to Wyoming's Green River Basin — oil and gas operations have been linked to ozone pollution.
Ozone pollution has become a problem in the Uintah Basin, with levels in 2011 reaching 139 parts per billion, nearly double the federal health standard. About 1,100 wells were drilled that year. For the past three years, state and federal scientists have been collecting data in the basin and measuring emissions. The area around Pinedale, Wyo., suffers from the same winter ozone problem. Leaks from pipes and tanks and fumes from pumps, dryers and compressors were major sources of volatile organics. Drill rigs and fracking were sources of nitrogen oxides and methane, according to the study.”
6. Three Wells Used 42 Million Gallons Of Water-Michigan
Three deep hydraulic fracturing wells in northwestern lower
Michigan’s Kalkaska County have used 42 million gallons of water in the past two years, according to a published report. The wells are run by Encana Oil & Gas wells in Excelsior Township, about 25 miles east of Traverse City. Some environmental groups and county residents have expressed concern about the water use.
“They are gigantic water consumers, and there are enormous wells,” said Paul Brady, who lives a few miles away. “I’m concerned about the water, just like everyone else should be.” Frac Focus, a nonprofit group created by industry and environmentalists to provide factual information on hydraulic fracturing activity, has a website that allows energy companies to publicly document details about their wells, including water usage.
7. Colorado Questions Water Use and 84,000 Gallons of Frack Fluid Spills
“Fracking a single well uses tremendous amounts of water which is then permanently contaminated. Thirty of Colorado's 64 counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas due to severe drought and heat. Is fracking an intelligent use of our water?
A spill erupted just a few weeks ago near Fort Collins, with 84,000 gallons of "frack-fluid" gushing out uncontrollably for 30 hours. Fracking is a highly industrial activity that will require increased road maintenance. Our elected officials claim the issue is out of their hands and that the state decides when and where to frack. If Longmont and Fort Collins can ban fracking, then we can too. The image of our city as "The Sweetheart City," "Gateway to the Rockies" and an incredible sculpture and arts city are being jeopardized by this industry.
Ban fracking in Loveland.”
8. EPA Verses Range in Texas Water Debate
Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter
“The Texas Railroad Commission oversees oil and gas and hasn't overseen trains in years. But Al Armendariz, U.S. EPA's Region 6 Administrator in 2010, told officials that the three-member elected commission doesn't do a very good job of regulating drilling, either.
"As the state entity responsible for promoting oil/gas development, they have a difficult time separating their regulatory responsibility from their close connections to the gas/oil producers," Armendariz wrote in an email.
Armendariz and his staff were preparing an "emergency order" accusing Range Resources Corp. of contaminating the water wells of two homes on the outskirts of Fort Worth with methane. EPA officials felt the state commission was dragging its feet.
"I am convinced that if we do not act, the RRC [Railroad Commission] will: delay, state the need for more data, ask the company to voluntarily study the situation, delay some more, etc.," Armendariz wrote.
Armendariz's email was one of many released to EnergyWire in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
On Dec. 7, 2010, EPA issued the order against Range, which also accused state officials of not doing enough to protect the homeowners and their water.
The Railroad Commission scheduled a hearing the next day for Range to present evidence in the case. The commission found Range blameless.
A year after that, EPA withdrew its case with little public explanation. Messages between top EPA staffers indicate that they were keen to get Range's cooperation in a national study of the safety of hydraulic fracturing. And days after the charges were dropped, Range's top executives said they would participate (EnergyWire, Feb. 14).
Range no longer owns the two wells. They were sold as part of a $900 million, 390-well deal with Legend Natural Gas, financed by the Carlyle Group
The emails obtained by EnergyWire show behind-the-scenes maneuvering as EPA officials waded into the debate about drilling, and later as they beat a retreat. They also indicate:
- EPA officials discussed including the Parker County case in the national hydraulic fracturing study, but headquarters officials didn't like the idea.
- EPA officials fumed privately the day the case was dismissed about what Range Resources was saying about the case in the media.
- Shortly before the case was dismissed, Armendariz forwarded a long list of cases to headquarters in which Pennsylvania regulators accused Range of poor well construction that caused gas to leak from the company's wells.
- Armendariz also forwarded a report done for the agency by geologist Geoffrey Thyne to top EPA officials in Washington in November 2011, explaining that it was an "independent analysis of the data" done by an outside expert.
Armendariz received Thyne's report from his enforcement chief, John Blevins and a few hours later, he wrote back.
"Good to have even further validation that we correctly identified produced natural gas impacting a source of drinking water," he wrote.
A story by the Associated Press indicates Thyne, who worked at the time for the University of Wyoming's Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, concluded the gas in the drinking water could have originated from Range Resources' nearby drilling operation.
Pitzarella said he wanted EPA to vouch more strongly for the safety of the water around its wells.
"If we're asking for some additions, it would mean a lot to us if you could include that the water and community in Parker County is safe," Pitzarella wrote in an email to an EPA press officer. "We made statements in the past that we're walking back from in an effort to demonstrate the commitment to a partnership and collaboration."
Some in the agency worried that including Parker County in the study could be used by critics who said the case against Range lacked data. But, one way or another, the Texas site was deemed simply too controversial.
"HQ would prefer to study another location so as to collect information from another site with less attention," Armendariz wrote to members of his regional staff.
Still, he noted that the Region 6 office could push for it to be included in a "Phase 2" of the study.
EPA officials said they had pushed for the state to act in the Range case but that the state kept finding reasons not to act. In an enforcement memo discussed by Armendariz and Giles, officials summed up their frustration with state officials at the Railroad Commission.
"They don't think they should act until the flow pathway has been determined, but they have no plans to try to figure out what the flow pathway is," the memo stated.
Environmental Health Outreach Coordinator
Environmental Working Group
1436 U Street NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20009
9. How Fracking Harms Farming and Farm Animals
By Alexis Baden-Mayer
“Their names are Carol, Steve and Jackie, Susan, Marilyn and Robert, and Christine. They share a bond. Two bonds, actually: They all own, or owned, farms. And those farms, along with their own health and the health of their farm animals, have all been ruined by fracking.
Jacki Schilke of North Dakota, lost two dogs, five cows, chickens—and her health—after 32 oil and gas wells sprouted up within three miles of her ranch. Christine Moore, a horse rescuer in Ohio, sold her farm after a well went up five miles from her farm, creating an oily film on her water and making her too sick to care for her horses.
With hundreds of thousands of fracking wells and waste injection sites in the U.S., it’s likely that our food supply already contains water, plants and animals (meat) contaminated with fracking chemicals. While we hear a lot about drinking water contamination, including people’s water catching on fire straight out of the faucet, that shouldn’t be our only concern. Contaminated crops and farm animals raised for food are also possible avenues for exposing humans to fracking chemicals.
Of course, not all farm animals are destined for the food chain. Those unfortunate enough to live near fracking wells can tell us a lot about the potential danger from fracking chemicals to our own health. Farm animals have the same susceptibility to disease that we have, but because they are exposed continually to air, soil and groundwater, and have more frequent reproductive cycles, they exhibit diseases more quickly, presaging human health problems. A study involving interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations revealed frequent deaths. Animals that survived exhibited health problems including infertility, birth defects and worsening reproductive health in successive breeding seasons. Some animals developed unusual neurological conditions, anorexia, and liver or kidney disease.
What causes those health problems? Among the hundreds of toxic chemicals used in fracking are arsenic, benzene, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), formaldehyde, lead, toluene, Uranium-238 and Radium-226. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ list of common health problems from exposure to fracking chemicals includes autism, asthma, cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, infertility, birth defects, allergies, endocrine diseases and immune system disorders.”
For the rest of the article: http://ecowatch.org/2013/fracking-our-farms/
10. Ozone Levels, Cardiac Arrest Linked in Houston Study
(We live in an area already impacted by ozone. Fracking will further contribute to ozone pollution and consequently, poor health. Jan)
“ Researchers at Rice University in Houston have found a direct correlation between out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and levels of air pollution and ozone. Their work has prompted more CPR training in at-risk communities.
Rice environmental engineer Daniel Cohan discussed how uncertainties in air-quality models might impact efforts to achieve anticipated new ozone standards by the EPA. The authors analyzed eight years’ worth of data drawn from Houston’s extensive network of air-quality monitors and more than 11,000 concurrent out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) logged by Houston Emergency Medical Services (EMS). They found a positive correlation between OHCAs and exposure to both fine particulate matter (airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrograms) and ozone.
American Lung Association has ranked Houston eighth in the United States for high-ozone days.
11. DEP Owes Complete Disclosure to Citizens-Editorial
Wednesday, February 20,2013
“The folks at the PA DEP don’t like state Rep. Jesse White. We get it. White has been a frequent critic of the agency, particularly as it pertains to the DEP’s regulation, or lack thereof, of the Marcellus Shale gas-drilling industry.
But the agency came off as spiteful, childish and unresponsive to the public it is paid to serve when it refused to send a representative to Tuesday’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing in Washington (County, jan), for no other reason than the fact that White was the organizer of the session.
Had a DEP representative been at the hearing, he or she would have heard from folks who blame the fouling of their drinking water and various physical maladies on fracking that is taking place near their homes. Is gas drilling really the cause of these problems? Perhaps the DEP could have provided some answers, or at least agreed to investigate further.
One issue that has no doubt rubbed DEP officials the wrong way is White’s legislative efforts to force the agency to release all of its water-testing results to affected homeowners, rather than just those DEP deems pertinent and worthwhile.
Asked about that Tuesday in an interview with the Observer-Reporter, the DEP’s Katy Gresh said, “It would be irresponsible for DEP to provide homeowners with raw data that has not been quality-assured and quality-controlled. Raw data is, quite simply, unreliable and not valid in the eyes of any laboratory, public or private.”
We think it would be better to let the homeowner, or a laboratory that homeowner might hire, make the decision on what is reliable and what is not. And what about these terms “quality-assured” and “quality-controlled”? Do they mean “edited” and, pardon the expression, “watered down”? The public has a right to wonder.
The refusal to give up any and all test results raises questions, valid or not, about for whom the DEP is really working. Also, the fact that Gov. Tom Corbett raked in nearly $1.3 million in campaign contributions from the gas industry in his run for the governor’s office in 2010 suggests to some that he’s not especially interested in stringently regulating the Marcellus drillers.
The complaints aired at Tuesday’s hearing might well have been isolated incidents, but they were concerning, nonetheless.
The panel heard from neighbors Kimberly Staub and Chris Lauff, who have worries about future health problems after drilling occurred near their homes on Fort Cherry Road in Mt. Pleasant Township. Lauff brought with him a jar of muddy water produced by his well. He said the drilling company admitted it fouled his water supply, and he is now on a public water line, but that doesn’t resolve his concerns about health issues down the road. Complete DEP air and water testing on his property, with complete disclosure of the results, could either confirm his fears or perhaps give him some peace of mind.
Staub got in touch with DEP last fall after noticing an odor from a nearby drilling impoundment. She has made repeated follow-up calls to DEP regarding tests of the air quality on her farm but has yet to receive any evaluation from the agency. That’s simply unacceptable.
Also testifying before the committee was Judy Armstrong Stiles, who said her family had to move from their home in Bradford County because of health problems they blame on drinking water they believe was contaminated by a gas-drilling operation a few miles away.
“I just want to know where were those agencies that were supposed to protect us?” she asked.
We have editorialized often about the benefits brought to our area by the gas industry, especially the economic boost it provides. But we also believe that the safety of our environment and citizens must be paramount. That’s where the DEP comes in, or should come in.
As committee member Rep. Kevin Boyle of Philadelphia County said Tuesday, “I apologize for DEP. As Pennsylvania citizens, you deserve better.”
12. Drilling and Wastewater Disposal Sites-from Bob
(Where did all the drilling waste and wastewater go during the second half of 2012?
#1 answer = Ohio …and West Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania) Bob
ADVANCED WASTE SERVICES OF PA (NEW CASTLE) - NEW CASTLE, PA
ALLIED WASTE SYSTEMS - NIAGARA FALLS, NY
AOP WELL #1 (OOGC DISP CO - SWIW #6) – NEWPORT, OH
APEX SANITARY LANDFILL – AMSTERDAM, OH
APPALACHIAN WATER SERVICES LLC (RONCO WTP) – MASONTOWN, PA
AQUATIC SYNTHESIS UNLIMITED, LLC (KAY ARENA) – INDIANA, PA
ARMSTRONG ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES – LANCASTER, PA
B & B OILFIELD SERVICE - MILLER & CO #3 (SWIW #28) – GARRETTSVILLE, OH
B & B WELL # 2 (BELDEN & BLAKE) – HARTVILLE, OH
BDB ENERGY D-1 DISP WELL – FOWLER, OH
BLAZEK PUMP AND WELL – HIRAM, OH
BROAD STREET ENERGY - HL FLOWERS #1 – BELPRE, OH
BROAD STREET ENERGY BELPRE – CUTLER, OH
CARBON LIMESTONE LANDFILL – BFI – LOWELLVILLE, OH
CARPER WELL SVC BRYANE SMITH 1 (SWIW #3) – MARIETTA, OH
CHEMUNG COUNTY LANDFILL – LOWMAN, NY
CLEAN STREAMS, LLC - WILLIAMSPORT, PA
CUMBERLAND COUNTY LANDFILL – NEWBURG, PA
CYCLE CHEM LEWISBERRY – LEWISBERRY, PA
DAVID R. HILL INC - DEVCO UNIT #1 (SWIW #11) – CAMBRIDGE, OH
DIETRICH # 1, PETROWATER INC – JEFFERSON, OH
ELKHEAD GAS & OIL - CHAPIN WELL # 7 (SWIW # 8) – HOWARD, OH
ENVIRONMENTAL RECOVERY CORPORATION OF PA (ERC) – LANCASTER, PA
EUREKA RESOURCES (WILLIAMSPORT WATER TREATMENT) – WILLIAMSPORT, PA
FISHBURN DISPOSAL #1 (SWIW # 45) – MARENGO, OH
GEORGETOWN MARINE #1 SWIW – BELLAIRE, OH
GINSBURG DISPOSAL WELL #1 (CARPER WELL SERVICE) – ALBANY, OH
GRER A-1 SALTWATER DISPOSAL – MORGANTOWN, WV
GROSELLE #2 - SALTYS DISPOSAL WELLS LP – GARRETTSVILLE, OH
HAKES C&D LANDFILL – PAINTED POST, NY
HAWG HAULING WV DISP WELL, MARQT 211871 – BUCKHANNON, WV
HUNTERS SWIW #5 – RENO, OH
HYDRO RECOVERY – BLOSSBURG – BLOSSBURG, PA
JUNCTION CITY DISPOSAL WELL (R C POLING CO INC) – JUNCTION CITY, OH
KEYSTONE SANITARY LANDFILL – DUNMORE, PA
KLEESE #1 (SWIW #18) - KLEESE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCS – VIENNA, OH
KOONTZ #1 DISPOSAL WELL – WARREN, OH
LYDIC ENERGY 85C,LTD SALTWATER DISPOSAL WELL KENT1 – ZANESVILLE, OH
LYONS INJECTION WELL # 1 - PANDER RAY TRUCKING INC – BYEVILLE, OH
MAX ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES - YUKON FACILITY – YUKON, PA
MCCUTCHEON ENTERPRISE - APOLLO, PA
MCKEAN COUNTY LANDFILL/RUSTICK, LLC – KANE, PA
MONROE PARTNERS, LLC – WOOSTER, OH
MORRIS H CRITCHFIELD F76 DISP WELL PAS2D912BSOM - FRIEDENS, PA
MOSTOLLER LANDFILL – SOMERSET, PA
MYERS #1 UNIT (SALTY'S DISPOSAL) – ATWATER, OH
NORTH STAR BRINE DISPOSAL – YOUNGSTOWN, OH
NUIMANS # 1 (PETROX, INC) – MINERVA, OH
OHIO OIL GATHERING CORP DISP WELL #1 (SWIW #6) – NEWPORT, OH
PA BRINE TRT INC - FRANKLIN PLT - VENANGO CO – FRANKLIN, PA
PA BRINE TRT INC - JOSEPHINE PLT, INDIANA COUNTY – JOSEPHINE, PA
PANDER #1 (SWIW #15) – NEWTON FALLS, OH
PAROBEK #2 (SWIW #12) – NEW LYME TOWNSHIP, OH
PATRIOT WATER TREATMENT – WARREN, OH
PETROWATER INC. – JEFFERSON, OH
PHOENIX RESOURCES LANDFILL – WELLSBORO, PA
R.O.J.#1-A (HUFFMAN-BOWERS, INC.) – CHESHIRE, OH
RAY PANDER TRUCKING INC – DIAMOND, OH
RESERVED ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES – MOUNT PLEASANT, PA
ROSCOE MILLS (SWIW #19) – MEIGS, OH
SALTYS DISPOSAL - GROSELLE INECTION WELL # 2 – GARRETTSVILLE, OH
SALTY'S DISPOSAL - MEYERS #2 (SWIW #33) – ATWATER, OH
SALTY'S DISPOSAL - WILCOX #1 – ROOTSTOWN, OH
SENECA LANDFILL (AKA VOGEL LANDFILL) – EVANS CITY, PA
SOIL REMEDIATION INC. (SRI) – LOWELLVILLE, OH
SOUTH HILLS LANDFILL – SOUTH HILLS, PA 15129
STONEBRIDGE OPERATING COMPANY-KORTING #1 – WASHINGTON, WV
TERRAQUA RESOURCE MANAGEMENT – WILLIAMSPORT, PA
TRIAD HUNTER - WARREN DISPOSAL #1 (SWIW #5) – DEXTER CITY, OH
TUNNELL HILL RECLAMATION LANDFILL – NEW LEXINGTON, OH
USA VALLEY FACILITY, INC – IRWIN, PA
VEOLIA ES - CHESTNUT VALLEY LANDFILL – MCCLELLANDTOWN, PA
VEOLIA ES GREENTREE LANDFILL – KERSEY, PA
VIENNA JUNCTION LANDFILL – TOLEDO, OH
VIRCO - HARRISVILLE WELL – CARIO, WV
VIRCO - HELEN HALL #1 WELL – MARIETTA, OH
WARREN DRILLING CO #1 (SWIW #6) HUNTER DISPOSAL – DEXTER CITY, OH
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - ALLIANCE LANDFILL – TAYLOR, PA
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - ARDEN LANDFILL, INC. – WASHINGTON, PA
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - MEADOWFILL LANDFILL – BRIDGEMENT, WV
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - EVERGREEN LANDFILL – BLAIRSVILLE, PA
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - LAUREL HIGHLANDS LANDFILL – JOHNSTOWN, PA
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - NORTHWEST SANITARY LANDFIL – WEST SUNBURY, PA
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - NORTHWESTERN LANDFILL – PARKERSBURG, WV
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC - SOUTHERN ALLEGHENIES – DAVIDSVILLE, PA
WASTE RECOVERY SOLUTIONS, INC. – MYERSTOWN, PA
WAYNE TOWNSHIP LANDFILL (CLINTON COUNTY) – MC ELHATTEN, PA
WEAVERTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP – MCDONALD, PA
WESTMORELAND WASTE, LLC – BELLE VERNON, PA
WHITE PINES LANDFILL – MILLVILLE, PA
WILCOX #1 – ROOTSTOWN, OH
WOLF #1 DISP WELL (PANDER RAY TRUCKING INC) – NEWTON FALLS, OH
WOLF #2 DISPOSAL WELL (PANDER RAY TRUCKING INC) – NEWTON FALLS, OH
Source: Pennsylvania DEP
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
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