Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates April 4, 2013
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* 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:
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.
Calendar of Events
***County Commissioners Meeting- 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the county courthouse at 10:00
***Pittsburgh Health Summit on Chemical Exposure in Gasfield Communities
Saturday April 6th, 2013
Conference Time: 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
The Carnegie Science Center
1 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Google Maps URL: http://goo.gl/maps/xP7UK
"Recent technological advances in directional drilling and high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing have stimulated the rapid development of a complex industrial network. In addition to multi-acre well pads, this network includes compressor stations, cryogenic separation plants, crystalline silica sand transfer stations, landfills that accept radioactive drill cuttings, and open impoundments for freshwater, flowback and other hazardous liquids. Incidences of human and animal health impacts from living near these facilities are increasingly documented, principally through the efforts of concerned citizens and community-based action groups. The Pittsburgh Health Summit will serve to further amplify the voices of people who suffer with symptoms of chemical exposure as they seek protection from air and waterborne contaminants generated by the rapidly expanding shale gas and oil industry. The event will be facilitated by Dr. Gerald Groves."
Dr. Yuri Gorby
Howard A. Blitman Chair in Environmental Engineering
Professor, Department of Biology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York, 12080
Registration required: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tdHH0rdF0gcVJ6sFb1h0DcFx_XMhww0LVtk4L_JtRy8/viewform.
There is no cost to attend but registration is required. Lunch and light snacks will be provided.
***Dr. Wendy Lee Professor of Philosophy Speaks on Fracking
The Seventh Annual Dr. Bernard Cobetto Lecture Series on Contemporary Ethical Issues presents environmental philosopher Dr. Wendy Lee and a community panel will discuss natural gas fracking in “When the Earth Moves Under our Feet: The Pennsylvania Marcellus Gas Rush.”
7 p.m. Wed. April 10
Ferguson Theater (Smith Hall), U. of Pitts, Greensburg
Free & Open to the Public
To register, call 724-836-9911
***Environmental Justice Film Series: The Price of Sand, The Last Mountain, and Triple Divide.
For additional information contact: Wanda Guthrie 412-596-0066 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Last Mountain: Tuesday evening, April 9, 7pm Community House Presbyterian Church,120 Parkhurst St Pittsburgh, PA (North Side Community) 15212
We are all users of the electricity and power that is generated from the sacrifices of the Appalachia residents and miners. The imagery of environmental devastation is so shocking, the deregulation and egregious indifference of the coal mining companies’ various violations so appalling, that we begin to feel somehow complicit in perpetrating this modern American tragedy. Ordinary people, banded together in a common purpose, can indeed move mountains.
The Price of Sand: Saturday evening, April 20, 7pm Saturday evening, The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer,5700 Forbes Avenue (Squirrel Hill Community) 15217
In parts of rural Wisconsin, the presence of sand mines is something you can feel, smell or taste. The presence of those mines and the trucks hauling its powdery sands toward natural gas drilling sites has been devastating. The sand is an essential ingredient in the fracking process.
Sand, fracking, health, volumes: It has been tough for residents of Pennsylvania to prove that natural gas production is harmful to health. It has been equally difficult for our Midwest neighbors to convince the public of the health hazards posed by the frack sand mining
Triple Divide: Monday evening, April 29, 7pm, 5401 Centre Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Shadyside Community)15232
Through personal stories, experts and public documents, Triple Divide tells a cautionary tale about the consequences of fracking, including contamination of water, air and land; intimidation and harassment of citizens; loss of property, investments and standard of living; weak and under enforced state regulations; decay of public trust; illness; fragmentation of Pennsylvania’s last stands of core forest; and lack of protection over basic human rights.
The film begins at one of only four triple continental divides on the North American continent in Potter County, Pennsylvania, where everything is downstream. From this peak, rain is sent to three sides of the continent—the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada, Chesapeake Bay on the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. This vast water basin is drained by three major rivers—the Allegheny, Genesee and Susquehanna. These waterways rank among the most coveted trout streams in the U.S., helping to create a regenerative tourism economy upon which locals have depended for generations. At this “watershed moment” in Pennsylvania’s history, which way will the future flow?
The documentary filmmakers, Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, will lead a question and answer session.
***Earth Day Protest at Regional DEP Offices-April 22
Calling on DEP to fulfill its mission and stop fracking
Jay Sweeney, Green Party of Pennsylvania , 570-587-3603
Melissa Troutman, Mountain Watershed Association, 724-455-4200
A coalition of more than 40 environmental organizations and individuals are rallying for protection of communities and the environment with a statewide Earth Day Protest on Monday, April 22. These rallies will call on our public officials to act with integrity and protect the people of Pennsylvania , who are being victimized every day by fracking and the cradle-to-grave dangers of shale gas extraction.
Rallies will take place at each of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) regional offices in Harrisburg , Meadville , Norristown, Pittsburgh , Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport on Earth Day. The coalition is calling for support from people who want to stand together to preserve and protect our communities from the assault and abuse of environmental devastation.
The rallies will demand that DEP fulfill its mission to "protect Pennsylvania 's air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment.” In order to do so, DEP must put the ‘public’ back in public policy.
Join the Earth Day coalition at your regional DEP office to demand our public officials:
• Appoint an environmental expert without industry ties as DEP Secretary to ensure DEP’s mission is fulfilled;
• Place a moratorium on permits for gas wells, compressor stations, pipelines, water withdrawals, coal mines, and other infrastructure related to fossil fuel extraction;
• Allow no more toxic secrets and full disclosure of water tests and other studies by DEP;
• Provide justice for those harmed by the oil and gas industry; and
• Reopen the DEP Office of Energy and Technology Deployment to develop solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies.
For more information or to get involved, contact these regional representatives:
Northeast Region, Wilkes-Barre : Jay Sweeney, 570-587-3603, email@example.com
Southwest Region, Pittsburgh : Mel Packer, 412-243-4545 or 412-307-6827, firstname.lastname@example.org
Northcentral Region, Williamsport : Russell Zerbo, 215-567-4004 x130, email@example.com
Southcentral Region, Harrisburg : Maria Payan, 717-456-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org
Northwest Region, Meadville : Diane Sipe, 724-272-4539, email@example.com
Southeast Region, Norristown : Chris Robinson, 215-843-4256, firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently the coalition includes:
Allegheny College Students for Environmental Action, http://webpub.allegheny.edu/group/sea/Home.html
Benedictine Sisters Erie PA, www.eriebenedictines.org/
Berks Gas Truth, http://www.gastruth.org/
Brandywine Peace Community, www.brandywinepeace.com
Bucks County Green Party, www.pa.greens.org/bucks/
Citizens for Clean Water,
Communities United for Rights & Environment, http://marcellus-cure.blogspot.com/
Cross County Citizens Clean Air Coalition,
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, DamascusCitizens.org
Delaware Riverkeeper Network, www.delawareriverkeeper.org
Energy Justice Network, www.energyjustice.net/
Environmental Justice Committee - Thomas Merton Center, http://thomasmertoncenter.org/projects/environmental-justice/
Food & Water Watch, www.foodandwaterwatch.org
Fracking Truth Alliance, http://frackingtruth.webs.com/
Frack Mountain , www.frackmountain.com
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, www.gdacoalition.org/
Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia,
Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA), www.gpofpa.org
Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP), www.gpop.org
Growing Community Project, facebook.com/growingcommunityprojectPA
Celia Janosik, Beaver County Volunteer Water Quality Monitor,
Kill Mammon, www.killmammon.wordpress.com/about/
Lehigh Valley Gas Truth, www.gastruth.org/
Lehigh Valley Greens,
Lenape Nation, Chief Shelley DePaul, www.lenapenation.org/main.html
Luzerne County Green Party,
Marcellus Outreach Butler, www.marcellusoutreachbutler.org/
Marcellus Protest, www.marcellusprotest.org/
Montgomery County Green Party, www.greens.org/pa/montgomery/
Mountain Watershed Association, www.mtwatershed.com
Northwest Greens, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nwgreens/
Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group, www.pbccg.com/
PA Alliance for Clean Water and Air, www.pacwa.org/
Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia, www.psrphila.org
Protecting Our Waters, www.protectingourwaters.com
Jasmine Rivera, Action United,
Mark Schmerling Photography, www.schmerlingdocumentary.com
Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective, www.shadbushcollective.org/289/
Shale Justice Coalition,
South Hills Area Against Dangerous Drilling (SHAADD), www.shaadd.org
350 Berks & Lehigh Valley Climate Action,
Dr. Walter Tsou, Phila. Commissioner of Health 2000-2002,
Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group, www.westmorelandmarcellus.blogspot.com/,
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Philadelphia/Delco Branch,
York County Green Party, www.yorkgreenparty.org/
Take Action!! Send this letter for a Public hearing (from Mt Watershed)
Power Plant Ruffsdale, Westmoreland County
We need to request a public hearing and make public comment for a natural gas-fired power plant proposed in Ruffs Dale, West Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County by TENASKA PA II PARTNERS LLC.
Please copy the following text and e-mail to Jill Geisler at JGeisler@pa.gov or send a letter to Jill Geisler 400 Waterfront Drive Pittsburgh PA 15222. Make sure to include "Tenaska Permit 65-990" in the subject line.
Dear Ms. Geisler,
I request a public hearing for the Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station Permit #65-990 to take place prior to approval of the facility's permit. In addition, I would like to provide the following public comment.
This plant would emit carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, hazardous air pollutants, particulate matter, sulfur oxides, sulfuric acid mist, and greenhouse gases according to a recent, comparative natural gas power plant permit issued by your department to Moxie Energy in Bradford County.
The Westmoreland County and the Laurel Highlands region regularly experience periods of air inversion where moisture and air pollutants become trapped below a layer of cold air as the weather changes throughout the day and seasons. This air inversion puts southwest Pennsylvanians at risk of ground level ozone exposure in addition to the many toxins emitted by the plant.
Asthma patients exposed to the plant's emissions could be triggered into fits, more asthma patients may be diagnosed, and children with developing lungs and seniors with respiratory disorders are disproportionately at risk.
All of the required gas infrastructure and cumulative air quality impacts should be considered part of the permit application and review process.
The plant will be supplied via regional shale gas wells developed using hydraulic fracturing that entails heavy truck traffic, methane migration, flaring, chemical evaporation, and diesel equipment emissions. Thousands of more shale gas wells will be needed to supply the plant.
Cryogenic processing plants, dehydrator stations, compressor stations, metering stations, and pipeline construction are required to process and transport the gas. Once the plant is online, additional compressor station engines will be needed to replace the pressure lost in gas transmission lines.
I urge you to deny this permit and protect our air. Pennsylvanians must prioritize energy efficiency and clean, sustainable electricity generation.
[Your Phone Number]
Write Thank Yous To Newspapers that Pursued Open Records in the Hallowich Case:
David M. Shribman, Executive Editor
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
34 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Liz Rogers, Editor
Observer - Reporter
122 S. Main St.
Washington, PA 15301
Thanks are also due to the judge on the case:
President Judge Debbie O'Dell-Seneca
Washington County Courthouse
1 South Main Street, Suite 2002
Washington, PA 15301
*** ‘Fracking & Public Health’ on You Tube
Seminar held at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa
***To sign up for notifications of activity and violations for your area:
***Headley Story on WTAE
***List of Harmed Now on Fracktracker
1. SkyTruth Alert Overflows—Too Many to Include
The gas industry must still abide by local zoning regulations, since Act 13 remains overturned.
The industry claims local zoning regulations hamper development. What an absolute distortion of the facts as evidenced by my last Sky Truth Alert which included 50 permits to drill and a note that I need to limit my geographic area because the limit of 50 notifications was exceeded.
Several of the permits were in South Huntington Township and Derry Township, Westmoreland County,
To sign up for alerts for your area:
2. PACWA’s List of the Harmed Now Mapped by FracTracker http://www.fractracker.org/2013/03/pacwas-list-of-the-harmed-now-mapped-by-fractracker/
Jenny Lisak, co-director of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, maintains a list of people who believe they have been harmed by gas extraction operations. It is appropriately entitled, The List of the Harmed. The February version of the list (mapped below) names 822 people negatively impacted, with symptoms ranging from headaches and rashes to death...
3. Warnings Regarding the Center for Sustainable Shale Development
From Sierra Club and Marcellus Protest
**Dr. Anthony Ingraffea confirms that the new "Center for Sustainable Shale Development” is a PR move on the part of EDF
From Sierra Club
“We should merely ignore it, that the so-called 15 standards amount to a hill of beans. Fortunately, Sierra came right out with a criticism of it nationally. Unfortunately, now that Teresa Heinz Kerry's husband is Secretary of State (poised for possible approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline), her former position against fracking might have changed and Heinz Endowments is one of the environmental funders of CSSD.
But worse, EDF has been positioning itself since April 2011 to undermine the science of Cornell University's Robert Howarth, Renee Santoro, and Anthony Ingraffea peer-reviewed study that predicts that methane is the dirtiest fossil fuel, worse than coal. Ingraffea met with Fred Krupp and Mark Brownstein a year ago but Krupp and EDF are on a mission to completely discredit the findings and a full-blown national campaign to do so will launch on April 26. We need to be ready to counter their campaign with a national one of our own.
EDF has been trying to kill coal- good- and elevate methane (gas, jan) to a national hero level as a bridge fuel, bad. You've perhaps been seeing the national press report EDF's repeated references to their 3.2% figure of intentional and fugitive methane emissions on the atmosphere, that anything less than that is acceptable and the industry's aim of reducing it soon to 1%. An exact figure is never possible, only a range is scientifically appropriate, and the present range of actual measured methane releases to the atmosphere are starting to indicate that the entire life-cycle rate to be higher than 3.2%, e.g. the peer-reviewed work of NOAA/U of Colorado. Reducing any emission rate would require enormous capital investment to repair leak sources, and require years to complete, for a methane supply of only a few decades at most, when we are running short on years to avert even more serious climate change impacts.
EDF stated a year ago that the Howarth, Santoro, Ingraffea predictions are wrong and EDF is conducting its own life cycle study of all methane emissions. However, a one-year study is not a long-term, comprehensive study as it claims to be. Ingraffea asked for Cornell to be on the team but was refused.
EDF had counted on the support of NRDC and Sierra but the Chesapeake/Sierra scandal dissuaded Sierra's support and NRDC unconscionably remains on the fence. We need NRDC to be castigating EDF and Heinz vociferously. Everything needs to be done to persuade Frances Beinecke to protect our interests and the environment. Their refusal to do so cannot continue.
You've noticed that The New York Times has silenced Ian Urbina on his Drilling Down series about methane. And its environmental editor, with whom Ingraffea met to challenge that NYT, is not "down the middle," stating his prime source of information on the issue is Fred Krupp.”
From: Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter gas drilling task force
**And An Editorial From Marcellus Protest, Pittsburgh
The Center for Sustainable Shale Development
“Making Peace? The center for Sustainable Shale Development
“When the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) was announced on March 21, we didn’t get it. How can shale be made sustainable? We know that sustainable is the must-have corporate buzzword nowadays. [What’s next,
ads for “sustainable beer”?] Still, “sustainable shale”?? But now we understand.
It’s not the shale they’re making “sustainable;” it’s the development. This is to be a Center for Sustaining the Development of Shale a public relations countermeasure to divert us from real environmental protection, and to keep an awakened citizenry from interfering with the fracking juggernaut.
Overwhelmingly, the news was reported as “environmentalists and drillers declare peace.” That’s because CSSD’s press release began by touting their “environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and energy companies”—in that order.
Read on, though, and you find that their Board of Directors is dominated by industry executives and consultants, with ICF international providing ‘technical support.” Those “environmental organizations,” however, are relegated to “strategic partners”. So, when the reporters are gone and CSSD gets down to business, any impact it has upon fracking will be of the industry, by the industry and for the industry.
CSSD didn’t quite have its documentation together on launch day. (Maybe they rushed the announcement, in hopes of neutralizing headlines about the Pennsylvania DEP?) Still, we were able to read a copy of their first publication, “Performance Standards.” CSSD has said that any ‘operator’ who signs up to
these standards (and pays $30,000) will receive their seal-of- approval as one of fracking’s good guys.
But CSSD’s “Standards” miss the point. They meticulously specify a few technical matters where the industry came to agreement on “best practices.” (For example, specs on diesel engines fill three of the Standards’ eleven pages.) On the other hand, they are silent about the effects of fracking operations.
No matter what it actually does to the environment, CSSD won’t
get in the way of the industry’s freedom to frack. Just as long as an ‘operator’ agrees to follow the industry norms, they’ll have CSSD’s blessing. (Well, any norms that CSSD has been able to codify. CSSD says it spent two years of behind the scenes meetings to come up with those eleven pages.)
Meanwhile, CSSD’s environmental ‘strategic partners’, haven’t said why they put their names to this announcement. (We’ve asked; they don’t answer.) So we can’t tell you:
*What does a ‘strategic partner’ really get to do at CSSD? (And what have they agreed to stop doing?)
* What are the ‘partners’ getting for the use of their names?
The “environmental community” isn’t monolithic. Many environmental groups jumped up to disassociate themselves from CSSD’s claimed “peace” settlement. But by then the news cycle had moved on, and they didn’t get much attention.
Yet the opposition is to fracking is powerful, and growing. The formation of the CSSD shows that this industry needs every trick it can find in order to confound and confuse opposition.
Some sincere environmentalists still hope to ‘regulate’ fracking – although we at Marcellus Protest do not. But CSSD’s new environmental ‘partners’ should not have squandered their influence so cheaply. They haven’t “made peace” (as the
headlines tell us); they’ve just been co-opted, getting nothing in return but to see their names appear on the fracker’s cookbook. “
4. Att. John Smith’s Comments on Intra-State Effect of Act 13
“Last July the state commonwealth court ruled in favor of municipalities on Act 13, Tom Corbett’s legislation that imposed a one size fits all set of regulations that was then challenged by a group of municipalities.. That decision was appealed by the industry and a decision is expected any day.
“Pennsylvania’s decision won’t set precedent across the nation but is may be instructive for other state courts, said lead attorney John Smith of Smith-Butz Law Firm. Its’ happened here before. When the Pa Supreme Court justices found in 2009 that state guidelines don’t necessarily supersede local regulations, they cited a Colorado courts decision.
Pennsylvania’s ruling could be useful in taking similar cases before a judge in shale drilling state, said Smith, since this is a ‘case of first impression”.
We are hearing from a lot of people in New York. The calls come from reporters looking for legal tea leaves and medical personnel who are concerned about drilling activity near certain populations. “
In New York, legislators voted to extend the state’s 5-year moratorium on drilling to 2015. “
(Drilling conflict plays out around US, Pittsburgh post gazette)
5. Family Says Gas Drilling Turning Paradise Home Into Nightmare –from Bob
Mar 29, 2013 - PENNSYLVANIA - "Is that really water burning?" Parsons asked Headley. When Headley placed a funnel over the bubbles, the flame stayed lit. "The horses used to drink out of this spring, and the deer and the coon. All those animals have since left. Nothing will drink out of it. There's not a footprint around this well at all," said Headley.
But that's not what angers Headley the most. About 150 yards from his home, the cap on a natural gas tank popped up, and a gas cloud began pouring out. Headley recorded the incident on video from inside his house.”
Video & Story:
The Headley’s provided more details in the recent Saint Vincent meeting video:
Headley Family Exposed to Atlas Blowdowns 500 Feet from Their Home
“What am I supposed to do if I need to get in here?” Dave Headley asked a worker from Atlas Resource Partners, which owns a Marcellus gas well on his property. The worker, Headley said, secured the gate at the end of the driveway leading to the Headleys’ house with a padlock wrapped in barbed wire.
He got no response from the man on the other side of the gate.
The couple also said they are concerned about what’s coming out of the gas wells, and onto their land.
Recently, the Headleys said Atlas representatives performing what Crook called routine maintenance, the blowing down of the well, sparked a dispute between Dave Headley and the workers.
Crook said although he knows Atlas is in compliance with Pennsylvania (DEP) standards when it performs blowdowns, he wasn’t able to explain the science of the process or why it’s not considered unsafe to blow that liquid into the air.
Headley showed the Herald-Standard video footage of the blowdown process, which he said took place multiple times last summer show a floating ventilation cap open on the top of a several-hundred gallon tank labeled “brine,, and a brownish liquid being aerated in bursts, some of them lasting several minutes and leaving a fog hanging in the air.
The tank is about 500 feet from the Headleys’ front door, and about 100 feet away from the fence containing their four horses. Dave Headley said the DEP has echoed Crook’s statement that on a production well, Atlas is allowed to perform the procedure.
“They blow out all the water because it increases efficiency,” Dave Headley said the DEP told him.
“A certain amount is legal,” he said, “but there’s no way to keep track of how much is coming out of there, or what’s in it.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes well blowdowns as one means of reducing the amount of liquid that accumulates in the gas transmission pipes. According to the EPA, blowing down a well to temporarily restore production “can vent significant methane emissions, from 80 to 1600 million cubic feet per year per well.”
“The process must be repeated as fluids re-accumulate, resulting in additional methane emissions. Operators may wait until well blowdown becomes increasingly ineffective before implementing some type of artificial lift. At this point, the cumulative methane emissions from a well could be substantial,” according to information from the EPA website.
“For natural gas wells,” the EPA states, “a progression of fluid removal options are available to unload accumulated fluid, boost gas production, extend well life and reduce or eliminate the need for well venting.”
There are also other procedures that result in less methane being released into the air along with the liquid, according to the federal agency.
The Headleys said that when Atlas conducted the blowdowns throughout the summer, they noticed the trees nearest the brine tank yellowing. They also started noticing swelling around their horses’ eyes and one of the horses later lost its eyesight on one side.
When the Atlas workers came by to conduct the most recent blowdown, Dave Headley said he went over to tell them to stop.
His 4-year-old son was outside in the yard, and his 17-year-old son was about 100 feet away, chopping wood, he said. Dave Headley said he received no warning or advisement that the blowdown was about to occur.
“If it was your children, you wouldn’t let them play in it either,” Dave Headley said he told the workers.
A state police trooper visited later to tell Dave Headley not to harass the workers, and not long after that, the Atlas workers came back to put a lock on the gate, Dave Headley said. The most recent trouble isn’t the Headleys’ first bout with the gas companies.
“We had a shallow surface spring,” Linda Headley said, but the drinking water became contaminated, so they paid to put 2,500 feet of water line across their property to link into public water. “(The pipeline workers) drove over it and broke up the pipe,” she said, “and now the water line is spewing water.”
Linda Headley produced a water bill she recently received saying she owes hundred of dollars. “Normally our bill is 30, maybe 40 dollars,” she said.
Last year, the DEP cited LMM for spilling bentonite into nearby Georges Creek after an inspector from the DEP’s Southwest Region Oil and Gas Program responded to the spill on June 4 and determined that bentonite from a horizontal natural gas pipeline drill did impact the creek. Bentonite is a super-absorbent clay-like material used to lubricate and seal well casings.
Veronica Coptis, a community organizer with the Mountain Watershed Association, a nonprofit water conservation group, has said if enough bentonite dissolves in the creek, it could adversely affect the creek’s aquatic habitat by coating the streambed and clogging the gills of fish.
LMM filed separate suits in Fayette County Court last year against Dave Headley and his neighbor, Joe Bezjak, for attempting to prohibit the workers from entering their property. Their court cases are ongoing.”
To read the article:
6. Antero Industrial Site Moves for No One-
the Trent Family Suffers
By Tara Zrinski, Shalereeporter.com shalereporter.com
“New Milton, W.V. — On March 18, Antero Resources issued its 2012 financial and operational results.
This highlighted the company holdings of 305,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale and 88,000 acres in the Utica Shale.
Boasting a sky-rocketing production increase of 9 percent, Antero’s March daily production in March of 390 million cubic feet blows away the 2012 daily average of 239.
Antero operates 13 Marcellus rigs, all of which are in West Virginia, and it expects to add another by year’s end. Antero ascent in the natural gas industry, however, is blemished by the complaints of a Doddridge County landowner.
William Trent has been battling Antero Resources over the placement of a water “tank farm” 63 feet from the bedroom window of his disabled son Jake.
“The neighbor and Antero don't seem to care, as long as they are both making money,” said Trent. “Life does not seem to matter to them, but Jake's life does matter to me.”
Ten years ago, Jake Trent suffered a traumatic brain injury after a four wheeling accident at the age of 15. After over a year in the hospital, he returned home, his left eye lost and a shunt inserted into his head to drain the fluid from his brain. He has had over 30 reconstructive surgeries to his face.
“Jake couldn’t talk to you, couldn’t even roll over when he came home,” said William Trent, the adopted father of Jake. “Now he is walking and talking, and all of this can be lost under these conditions.”
Trent is concerned that his son’s most recent reconstructive surgery has not healed because of the dust and diesel fumes the family has had to endure since nearby drilling operations began in October 2012.
Although the natural gas operations are on his neighbor’s property, Trent said he introduced his son to the workers last November in hopes that they would move their operations while Jake healed from his most recent surgery.
“This was his last shot at it, that’s what upset me,” said Trent. “With all the dust and the fumes, if that gets in his shunt, that’s it for Jake.”
In addition, the family has lost sleep from equipment lights shining in their windows and the house vibrating as Antero fracked a well 24 hours a day for six weeks at about 300 feet from their home.
“[Jake’s] temperament changed, his eye was all bloodshot and burning. It was the diesel fumes,” said Trent.
Trent contends that the operation could have been moved to either of two open meadows a half a mile from his home instead of “smack dab in my front yard,” a request Trent said he made at the onset of drilling operations.
At age 66, Trent works as a production supervisor in the industry of which he is critical, ironically, so he can continue to care for his Jake. He declined to provide the name of his employer but indicated that his company would not operate with such little “concern and respect.”
If Trent could say anything to Antero, it would be: “Get it the hell out of there. My place is ruined. Who will buy it now?”
Trent and his wife, Debbie, built a handicap-accessible home with a swimming pool for Jake’s rehabilitation on a 25-acre plot of land. It is not only covered in mud and dust but is worthless because of the natural gas operations that have left a huge impact on the well being of the family.
Now, 10 large water tanks, three water pumps and lights border the Trent property, guarding a well pad that has been fracked twice since drilling.
“Everything I got is covered in mud, dust and fumes,” said Trent.
Although Antero supervisors and even Vice President Alvyn Schopp insisted the situation would be taken care of, months went by with no concern or contact to the family, Trent said, contrary to what Antero told local media.
After Trent took his fight to the local television station, Antero immediately put up a 16-foot fence on Feb. 13.
Trent said that his son’s eye cleared up and his personality went back to “Jolly Jake” after the fence was erected, blocking the lights and a bit of the noise.
Since that time, though, his neighbor had a new fence installed that has left a gap between the drilling pad and the Trent house, , letting the noise, dust and fumes travel back onto his property. Trent is still concerned that the stress of the constant flow of trucks could pose a detriment to Jake’s well being.
Contacting Antero’s Monte Clare concerning the resolution and future operations, questions were deferred to Vic Schopp in the Denver, Colo., office, who failed to respond to the inquiry.
“Am I against drilling? absolutely not.” said Trent, who believes that production is good for the state and the people who benefit from royalties. “Am I against ruining people’s lives? Heck yeah, when it’s not necessary.”
By Tara Zrinski, Shalereeporter.com
7. MOB Photo of the Day #87 (03/28/13)
A truck sucks up drilling mud after a spill during a pipeline project in early 2011.
When asked about the spill on Feb 21, 2012, Michael Brinkmeyer, general manager at Keystone Midstream Services LLC, told The Pittsburgh Tribune Review “there were no accidents or uncontrolled or unexpected discharges.” Later that day, Brinkmeyer changed his story and stated that Keystone Midstream Services LLC did have an "inadvertent surface release" from its pipeline installation a week prior, on Feb. 14.
Read the full chronology below and you can decide if he was trying to cover-up the spill.
• On Feb. 20, 2012 MOB was informed by a resident that there was a “spill” taking place on Crab Run Rd. near the site Rex Energy’s Grossick well.
• One witness was told by a worker that there had been a “frack out,” another worker said it was drilling mud that returned to the surface.
• Upon inspection by MOB members, drilling mud lined the culvert next to the road, passed through a pipe under the road, and ran towards the creek. Hay bales were set up in an attempt to stop the flow into the creek. Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DN2ULc-eBM
• According to Timothy Puko’s February 21 article published on Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s website, the clean-up had been going on for three to four weeks--that would set the start date at Jan. 23 or 29. In the same article Michael Brinkmeyer, general manager at Keystone Midstream Services LLC, told the reporter “there were no accidents or uncontrolled or unexpected discharges.” Read more: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_782645.html#ixzz1nhu80rPe
• In a second article posted the same day by the same author, Brinkmeyer changed his story and stated that Keystone Midstream Services LLC did have an "inadvertent surface release" from its pipeline installation a week prior, on Feb. 14. Read more: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_782729.html#ixzz1nhuXkllr
• The cleanup was still underway on Feb. 28, 2011. Watch the video: https://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=K0aC4yyVoDY
Photo by: MOB
8. Allegheny County Working to Limit Diesel Emissions.
(This article by Don Hopey explains the work being done in Allegheny County to limit highly toxic diesel emissions, soot particles being so tiny they can directly enter the bloodstream. By contrast, in more rural areas, we are being exposed to increasing levels of diesel pollution via truck traffic and the unregulated use of non-road diesel engines that frequently are used to power equipment used for the fracking process. Fracking engines are exempt from protective regs. Jan)
Beginning in 2007 federal regulations required diesel engines to reduce sooty particle emissions by 90% and in 2010 to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, a component of smog by 95%. Federal Rules require all new diesels to run cleaner. Allegheny Co. Health Dept ‘s vehicle retrofit program is helping achieve that goal.
The program has installed new filters and new engines in about 200 vehicles since 2005, costing about $4 million. And including retrofits of almost 100 school buses, two Port Authority buses, eight trucks, 44 garbage and municipal trucks and one CSX switchyard locomotive.
The retrofits have reduced diesel emission from those vehicles by at least 90%, almost 400 tons a year. Reductions include 10 tons of highly carcinogenic diesel particulate matter containing soot (black carbon), heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Mr. Thompson, of Allegheny County Health depart, said 1 ton of diesel particulate emissions poses the same cancer risk as 60 tons of benzene which is know to cause cancer. By comparison, Stationary sources, power plants and factories in Allegheny County emit a total of 50 tons of benzene annually.
The problem is the older diesels vehicles that can last for 30 to 60 years. Other sources of diesel emissions include towboats, construction equipment, train locomotives and off peak electric generator run by industry.
The county has implemented idling regulations limiting diesel vehicles to no more than 5 minutes of idling per hour. This reg has been hampered by the state enacting an idling law, Act 124, which prohibits the county health dept from enforcing the county regs. State law pre-empts Allegheny enforcement and allows enforcement only by law enforcement officers and some members of the DEP.
A $865,000 study by Pitt school of public Health and Carnegie Mellon has begun and will use 40 battery operated multi- pollutant monitors at strategic locations in Downtowns to identify sources of diesel emissions.
Rachel Filippini from GASP said, “A Coalition of environmental groups active in pushing for passage of the city clean diesel construction law in 2011 attended a council committee meeting to strongly urge the city to implement and enforce the law. “There has been a huge delay and we want to know what’s going on. The law says regulations were supposed to be written in six months and yet the air quality has not benefited and dirty emission are continuing to affect people living nearby various construction projects a swell as the construction workers.”
By Don Hopey Pittsburgh Post Gazette, March 24 2013, County acts to reduce diesel engine emissions)
Old Diesel Equipment Still Spewing Soot into Pittsburgh’s Air
By Emily DeMarco-Construction Regs Never Finalized
“Pittsburgh City Council passed a clean construction law more than 18 months ago but no dozers, diggers or dump trucks have had to comply. Regulations for the ordinance haven’t been finalized making in unenforceable.
The law focused on construction sites that received public dollars. If the development’s budget was larger than $2.5 million and it received at least $250,000 in public subsides, it would have to retrofit a percentage of its diesel equipment.
EPA has set standards for new diesel engines but the old engines produce dirty diesel fumes. The tiny soot particles, black carbon, can go straight into the bloodstream, and is linked to cancer, asthma, and stroke.”
(old diesel equipment still spewing soot into Pittsburgh’s air, Emily de marco, Pittsburgh post gazette, march 24, 2013)
9. Overview of the Hallowich Case, Washington County
by S. Tom Bond, Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV
“The curious story of Stephanie and Chris Hallowich of Washington County in Pennsylvania may have reached an end. A good start on this is the National Geographic article relating their experience with shale drilling. Chris, a young high school History teacher, and Stephanie, an accountant, bought ten acres about 30 miles South of Pittsburgh and built their dream home, completed in 2007.
As the article puts it, “But even as they were building, the bucolic view was being replaced by an industrial panorama. Four natural gas wells, a gas processing plant, a compressor station, buried pipelines, a three-acre plastic-lined holding pond, and a gravel road with heavy truck traffic surround them. Instead of the sounds of birds and the scent of new-mown grass, the Hallowiches listen to the wheeze of tractor-trailer brakes and breathed diesel fumes—and worse.”
The result was they had to have water delivered to their home for drinking, bathing and cooking, and were exposed to air contamination, too, as well as the sound of the compressor station and trucks. As readers of FrackCheckWV.net know, standards for proof of well contamination are set impossibly high, loss of water supply simultaneous to drilling is not considered proof, you must show the contamination is identical to something that was sent down the well.
There was a conflict between the PA-DEP assessment of their well water and the results of a private lab. They had to use a windsock to tell which way the wind was blowing, to know when to keep their children indoors. Part of Hallowich’s problem was having so many installations around them, which are considered individually, but not the total effect, in present law. They had invested their future income on the place and no one would buy it and no bank would finance the buyer. The company said they offered what amounted to 40% of the value Hallowich’s thought it was worth, but Hallowich’s denied ever getting an offer. Mrs. Hallowich became a vocal critic of the industry.
Then the Hallowich’s decided to sue. In August, 2011 it was announced the family had settled the claim against the drilling company and the two companies that operated the compressor stations. No details were released, and the results were sealed by the court.
Now the story gets more peculiar. At this point the drilling company decided to increase the size of the impoundment from 5 million to 15 million gallons.
Next, two newspapers, the Observer-Reporter of Washington County, and the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, decided to ask for opening court records, based on the state Constitution relating to open court proceedings. The judge refused, saying the papers had waited too long, from August 23 to September 6, “And untimely filing of petitions are frowned upon.”
At this point an Observer-Reporter writer thought to examine the transfer tax record in the Court House. This showed a $545,000 between the two parties.
November 15th, 2011, the Hallowich’s filed a second suit against the drilling company stating it had violated the confidential agreement by falsely stating it paid $500,000 for the property. The actual price was $100. The claim was that the drilling company intentionally and fraudulently filed a Reality Transfer Tax Statement of Value with the State Department of Revenue to publically embarrass them and inflate the family’s tax obligations on the sale of their home and “garner a public relations windfall,” because the company had paid more than the full market (appraised) value of the property.
By April the matter had grown so important as a news item that the case was appealed to the PA Superior Court. Earthjustice, a public interest law firm specializing in cases protecting natural resources, safeguarding public health, and promoting clean energy, filed an amicus brief on behalf of doctors, scientists, researchers and advocates supporting the joint efforts of the Pennsylvania newspapers. “The sealed court records in this case are part of a widespread pattern of industry secrecy,” Mr. Gerhart said. “In the face of a nationwide gas drilling boom and the troubling reports of related health impacts, we cannot afford to let this pattern continue.”
The 39-page brief contained references to 27 other court cases in seven states involving confidential settlements or limited disclosure or nondisclosure of court proceedings alleging health or environmental problems caused by unconventional shale gas development involving hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Six of the cases are in Pennsylvania.
In December the state Supreme Court sent the case back to the county court. In January the case was again in Washington County court before a new judge who said, “The whole thing is a little unusual. There wasn‘t at least complete transparency that occurred here. And if you have a presumption of openness in the court and all the activities that happen in it, this might raise some eyebrows.”
In a March a decision was made by the new Judge that the record should be opened. The settlement paid out $750,000,including more than $150,000 in legal fees. The comment from the driller at this point was, “Range does not have concerns with the judge’s decision, which we greatly respect, to make the court file public. This information combined with the vast public data accessible through the DEP’s extensive investigations should provide the public with even greater clarity that shale gas is being developed safely and responsibly.” To which the reader will no doubt ask, “So why were they against disclosure in the first place.”
The new judge’s statement was, “Corporations, companies and partnership have no spiritual nature, feelings, intellect, beliefs, thoughts, emotions or sensations because they do not exist in the manner that humankind exists … They cannot be ‘let alone’ by government because businesses are but grapes, ripe upon the vine of the law, that the people of this Commonwealth raise, tend and prune at their pleasure and need. Therefore, this court must grant those motions and reverse [the previous decision], unless a higher authority forestalls the common law’s application.”
An article appeared on March 21 titled “Washington County couple collects $750K settlement in fracking case with no medical evidence to support health claims,” allowing the spokesman from the drilling company to say, “We’ve long maintained there was never any environmental or safety impact on the family. The public can now very clearly see this is an industry that is being faithfully and responsibly developed without adverse impacts on health, safety or the environment.”
Whoa! What’s the lesson here? Do you suppose these people admitted they were lying all along? Do you suppose two college educated people didn’t understand the implications of the statement admitting no medical evidence existed to show that drilling harmed them when collecting a settlement? Or do you suppose it was a logical extension of the often used confidential settlements, mentioned above, so frequently forced on litigants to get them to settle? Is this last interpretation out of line with the attempt to “stick it to the Holloways” by falsely reporting property value as mentioned in the second suit filed?
What is the old saying, “When you swim with sharks….”
Recent FrackCheck Publication by S. Tom Bond on March 25, 2013
10. Race to Ship PA Gas to the Gulf
(The article notes that PA faces an uphill battle in getting a cracker plant. The cracker plant, to which Gov Corbett promised huge tax breaks, would be highly polluting and deteriorate air quality. There is, of course, no mention of tough environmental regs to protect health. Jan)
By Erin Schwartzel
“Pipelines in PA will move natural gas liquids to Texas – a 1500 mile trip. Enterprise will start building a pipeline next month that will connect Houston, PA to Houston, Texas.
Ethane which can be processed into ethylene- used to make plastics- is in demand. A plant is needed to convert the ethane into ethylene. The PA cracker plant would take several years of construction. So in the meantime t the ethane will be shipped to the Gulf Coast.
About 70% of the Enterprise route will use pipelines already in place, converting pipelines so that they can run liquids, which are cheaper to run because they require lower pressures.
In Beaumont Texas, near Houston, petrochemical plants are everywhere. Pennsylvania faces an uphill battle to get the cracker plant because infrastructure and a workforce are already in place in other states. “
To read the article: (race is on to ship gas liquids form PA to Gulf Coast plants, Erich schwartzel, post gazette, march 24 3013)
11. More Drilling in PA In Order To Send Gas to India and Japan
“The operator of a proposed Chesapeake Bay terminal that would liquefy natural gas for export has signed deals to ship the fuel to India and Japan, buttressing its application for an export license.
Dominion Resources announced Monday that it had secured buyers for essentially the entire capacity of the proposed plant at Cove Point, Md., which is tied directly by pipeline to Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale gas field.
The Virginia energy company also announced it had signed engineering contracts for the Cove Point project and filed a formal 12,000-page application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Construction would start in 2014 and the plant would begin shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2017. The project is estimated to cost from $3.4 billion to $3.8 billion.
Natural gas must be purified and super-cooled into liquid to be transported by ship. Upon arrival at destination markets, the LNG is converted back into gas.
Dominion says the plant would generate 4,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, produce an estimated $9.8 billion in royalty payments to mineral owners over 25 years, and spin off $1 billion annually in federal, state and local government revenues.
It also would stimulate more drilling in Pennsylvania, where Marcellus production has subsided because an oversupply has driven down prices. "This may be an opportunity for them to return to drilling like they were before," said Daniel E. Donovan, a Dominion spokesman.
Dominion's proposal awaits a key license from the Department of Energy to export LNG to non-free-trade nations, which include Japan and India. Dominion's application is third in line out of more than 20 awaiting review by the energy department. Most of the plants are on the Gulf Coast.”
Under the agreements, Dominion collects a fee for transporting and processing the fuel, but the exporters will own the natural gas.
Commentary by John Trallo:
We are the fossil fools of fossil fuels.
This is what we're being asked to sacrifice our lifestyles, our peace, our state forests, our families’ health and safety, our property values, and our children's future for. Oh, and corporate profits, too. We have been lied to by the industry and our elected officials, and it continues to go on, and will continue until the people wake up and refuse to tolerate it. We deserve better. Our children deserve better. This is NOT what "energy independence, lower domestic fuel costs, clean energy, and American jobs" look like.
We are going to be an extraction colony for the rest of the world, and with this insane push towards "right-to-work" in this country, we will indeed have the "right to work" for less than standard or minimum wage, no benefits, no retirement, and no ability to engage in collective bargaining for a living wage and for job security. Corbett said, PA is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.... this is what he meant. We will be a third world extraction colony.
This is why people like State Senator Gene Yaw and State Representative Garth Everett are holding a "closed door - invitation only" PA stakeholders meeting on developing 25,000 acres of Rock Run in the Loyalsock State Forest -- that belong to the people of PA, in which every PA resident is in fact a stakeholder, at the DCNR Resource Management Center at 6735 Rt. 220 Dushore, PA 18614 tomorrow at 1pm, where not even the press is allowed in. This cries for a public presence asking to have access as PA stakeholders, as is our constitutional right.
This is outrageous.
12. Gas Prices and Production Decline
“The trend is so ominous that two industry insiders I know believe that U.S. natural gas production could actually start declining soon and send prices soaring. They say drillers have fallen so far behind that it will be impossible to make up for production lost from existing shale gas wells. Those wells typically see production decline rates of 85 percent after two years. (Translation: Some 85 percent of existing production from shale gas wells must be replaced every two years BEFORE production can grow.)The future is, of course, unknown to us. But, the present and the past suggest that the so-called shale gas revolution is about to be laid to rest. Yes, shale gas might prevent total American natural gas production from dropping off a cliff even as conventional natural gas production continues to decline. And, at some point shale gas might even allow U.S. production to rise modestly above current levels. But, two things are now abundantly clear: It won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap.”
Comment from Group Member:
According to this, It would appear that the cost to extract MS gas has resulted in drastic cut backs on production because gas prices have remained low.
However, If LNG is exported to the degree that applications are being made and the fall off rate for wells already drilled is at 85% after only TWO YEARS as listed in what I've copied and pasted below, the cost will spiral for all while multiple wells will need to be drilled to keep up with demand. Our state will suffer mass destruction, along with the residents enduring the drilling and yet we consumers will pay increased costs for the gas provided.
13. Ed Rendell's Payments from Gas Interests Not Disclosed in Pro-Fracking Column
“Former Gov. Ed Rendell once called New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "crazy" for backing a moratorium on gas drilling until environmental concerns could be resolved. This past week, Rendell had a strongly worded op-ed column in the New York Daily News, attacking "vocal critics … who continue to push a false choice" by putting environmental concerns ahead of the "economic growth" of the gas boom. Rendell, it seemed in Wednesday's column, just wanted to give New York State some helpful advice out of the kindness of his heart. The very next day, a bunch of online troublemakers known as ProPublica divulged something that Rendell "forgot" to tell the editors of The Daily News. He was not just speaking as Pennsylvania's former governor; he was speaking as a paid consultant for a company that has invested in the gas drilling industry.
When Rendell's column urged New Yorkers to support fracking, ProPublica reported, he did not divulge that "he has worked as a paid consultant to a private equity firm with investments in the natural gas industry," and gets about $30,000 a year from the firm, Element Partners. Rendell did tell The Philadelphia Inquirer that, "This idea that I'm a shill for natural gas companies is ludicrous." As for the "strong oversight" Rendell mentioned, critics have accused both him and Corbett of undercutting enforcement of environmental laws, an assertion supported when two officials of the oddly named state Department of Environmental Protection were forced to testify under oath and confirmed deliberate steps to withhold disclosures about water contamination.”
14. Industry Complains So DEP Withdraws 4 Pollutants from Proposed Water Regs
March 29, 2013 – In the face of industry opposition, Pennsylvania officials have backed away from proposed standards that would limit certain kinds pollution that drilling and fracking operators can discharge into the Commonwealth’s waters.
Specifically, the agency has removed proposed standards for molybdenum, sulfates, chlorides, and 1-4 dioxane, because the restricfftions “raised the concern of the business community,” according to a recent DEP report. The constituents were originally included in proposed updates to Chapter 93, which regulates water quality under the Clean Streams Law. The revised proposal is now pending approval by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Quality Board.