Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates April 25, 2013To receive our news updates, please email jan at email@example.com
* For articles and updates or to just vent, visit us on facebook;
* To view permanent documents, past updates, reports, general information and meeting information http://westmorelandmarcellus.blogspot.com/
* To discuss candidates: http://www.facebook.com/groups/VoteProEarth/
* To contact your state legislator:
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-
***Tell the Pennsylvania General Assembly: Don't subsidize the fracking industry
Sign the petition
Subsidizing fracked natural gas vehicles is a dangerous waste of money. Kill the "Marcellus Works" package of bills being pushed by pro-fracking Republicans.
Pennsylvania House Republicans are pushing to give a multimillion-dollar handout to the fracking industry.
They're pushing a package of bills--dubiously called the "Marcellus Works" package by their supporters--that would create huge subsidies to incentivize the production of vehicles that run on fracked natural gas. Three bills have already passed in the House and are headed for the Senate. The rest could come up for a floor vote very soon.1 2 3
Pennsylvanians are already suffering from the toxic effects of fracking. It's unconscionable to try to expand the demand for fracked gas by subsidizing a natural gas vehicle buildout at government expense.
Tell the Pennsylvania General Assembly: Don't waste millions of dollars subsidizing fracked natural gas vehicles.
As all too many Pennsylvanians know, fracking is a serious threat to the health of nearby communities, not a formula for economic growth. Subsidies for the fracking industry may increase the industry's profits, but they'll hurt Pennsylvanians.
Furthermore, plowing millions of dollars into natural gas vehicles and fueling stations makes no sense when we know that we have to transition off of fossil fuels, including natural gas, to avoid climate catastrophe.
Encouraging a buildout of fracked gas infrastructure is a dangerous waste of money and a craven handout to the fracking industry. We need to shame the legislators responsible for this package of bills and encourage more moderate legislators to kill the legislation.
Tell the Pennsylvania General Assembly: Don't waste millions of dollars subsidizing fracked natural gas vehicles.
***Call for Moratorium in PA-Link Provided
It's time to stop the frack attack in Pennsylvania.
The gas industry has gotten away with far too much for far too long, and the pressure is on to put a moratorium on drilling that would protect the entire state.
The moratorium would mean a full stop to drilling; at least until a comprehensive study can show that fracking is definitely safe for Pennsylvania's communities and climate. It would also mean critical breathing room for the parts of the state that have been overrun with drilling in the past few years.
Organizations from across PA have gathered 85,000 signatures in support of a stop to drilling, and the goal is to reach 100,000 before delivering them to the Governor at the end of this month.
Can you add your name to the call for a halt to fracking in Pennsylvania? Governor Corbett signed a fracking moratorium that protects only a small part of the state, but we know that drilling is leaving its mark in many more places.
That limited moratorium came as a result of powerful pressure from the grassroots movement in Pennsylvania. Hitting 100,000 names in support of a stop to drilling would be an important symbol and put notable pressure on leaders in the statehouse to take action. (The folks at PennEnvironment who have been leading this effort say that 100,000 signatures would make it the biggest petition in the state in decades.)
The stakes are crystal clear for Pennsylvania and the planet: the International Energy Agency has said that allowing the fracking boom to continue would warm the earth by a catastrophic 4 degrees Celsius. A moratorium on drilling is the first step towards a renewable energy future that Pennsylvania deserves.
Thanks for everything,
Linda From: Linda Capato - 350.org
Click here to add your name, and let's keep putting the pressure on
Calendar of Events
*** Westmoreland County Commissioners Meeting - 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the county courthouse at 10:00
*** Cook Township Supervisors Meeting-Your attendance needed
May 1, 4:00 Cook Community Center-- From Annie Macdonald
I have just gotten word from the Head Cook Township Supervisor that Williams/WPX is moving forward with drilling in the township this summer. They will be back on Oelschlager property. And the next move will be to start a pad on Mansville Road (between Bethel Church Road and Jefferson School Road), just above 4 mile Run.
I would like to propose that a critical mass of people attend the Cook township Supervisors meeting Wednesday, May 1st at 4:00. The plan would be to present the Township Supervisors with some health statistics about people who live next to wells, tourist effects, housing depreciation, traffic, etc. (Info will be provided by Mountain Watershed Ass. Kathryn Hilton and Melissa Troutman, South Western Pennsylvania Environmental Project, Raina Ripple and FrackTrack ) It would be great to also present the supervisors with Fayette's ordinances, provided by Melissa Troutman and listed at the end of this email, and ask what it would take to put some protections in place for the residence of Cook township. With Act 13 still pending Ordinances or Temporary Ordinances are needed.
Under the Pennsylvania Constitution Section 27, Article 1 we supposedly have the following rights:
The People have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.
A list of requests to our Township Supervisors along with enacting ordinances are as follows;
-Notification to Township residents on the Cook Township web site of when there is seismic testing and or a permit pending on a gas well.
-Notification on the Township web site of when a gas company is fracking and or flaring.
-Notification of where they are planning wells and gathering pipe lines. Has there been any overall discussion of what the Gas Company is planning for Cook Township? (ie how many pads, where are the pipe lines going or are they planning another compressor station)
-Township requires that no frack pond liners be buried
-Township request that Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Marcellus Shale Collaboratory headed by John Wenzel be allowed on pads to do the 'Science behind Drilling'.
-Disclosure of Chemicals:
Included in many local leases are gag orders. As a result landowners cannot talk to their neighbors or the community about gas companies plans regarding their property and development. Nor can landowners disclose publically any violations on their property. This practice not only pit’s neighbors against neighbors, but does not let the community at large deal with potential hazards. How are families or our health officials going to deal with health issues if no one knows when a violation accurse or what contaminants were involved. Information about the specific chemicals used in fracking need to be disclosed to insure the safety of communities. Gag orders included in leases need to be disallowed so the public can track violations and contaminants, especially since all depend on well and spring water in the valley.
Jules Lobel, Esq. the Bessie McKee Wathour Endowed Chair at the University of Pittsburgh has also been contacted. If he has time he would speak briefly about the ethics question of drilling in a community.
The purpose of attending the Township meeting would be to express our concern regarding past and future gas activities in the valley. Our township supervisors need to have plausible communications with an upper level executive at any gas company operating in the Township.
As residents of the Valley we want to be a part of the discussions concerning the future development of the valley.
The community needs to gage the impact to the community, tourism, road infrastructure and plan for safety considerations, before the development happens.
***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.
***DEP Announces Change in Location for Public Hearing in Washington County
The DEP announced a new location for an open house and public hearing on Wednesday, May 1, to discuss a proposed air quality plan approval for MarkWest Liberty Midstream and Resources LLC to install and begin temporary operation of new equipment at its Smith Compressor Station. The facility is located in Smith Township, Washington County. The 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. open house and public hearing will now be at the VFW Barto Post 6553 at 65 Run St. in Slovan, Washington County.
The company is requesting approval to allow the installation and temporary operation of eight new rich-burn natural gas-fired compressor engines. The newly proposed engines have a higher horsepower rating than engines currently in operation at the facility. The company is also asking to increase the capacity of a currently authorized dehydrator. At 6:30 p.m., the open house portion of the evening will begin with representatives from MarkWest making a presentation outlining their request. DEP will explain the plan approval process. Then, company representatives will be available to further explain their proposal and answer questions.
Immediately following the open house, at 7:30 p.m., members of the public may present up to five minutes of formal testimony for the public record. The testimony will be recorded by a court reporter and transcribed into a written document, and DEP will create a written response to all relevant testimony. Those who wish to present oral testimony should contact DEP Community Relations Coordinator John Poister at 412-442-4203 or register that evening prior to the hearing. Only those who register can give testimony at the public hearing.
For anyone unable to attend the public hearing, written comment should be submitted by the close of business on May 11 to Alan Binder, PA DEP Bureau of Air Quality, Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Individuals in need of an accommodation as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact John Poister at 412-442-4203 or make accommodations through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-800-654-5984 (TDD). For more information, visit http://www.dep.state.pa.us/ or call 412-442-4174. Media contact: John Poister, 412-442-4203
Clean Air Council
Community Outreach Director
215-567-4004 ext. 121
Facebook: Clean Air Council
***Free Webinar: Fracking and Its Connection to Breast Cancer
In the grossly under-regulated fracking industry, industry sponsored loopholes as well as a lack of common sense in both federal and state laws, leaves us all vulnerable to the health risks of fracking. And with no comprehensive studies conducted on the human or animal health impacts of fracking, we have all become part of an uncontrolled experiment without our consent.
Breast Cancer Action is extremely concerned about fracking’s impact on public health, and so is a growing movement of individuals and organizations across the country. Please join us on Monday April 29th or Tuesday April 30th to have an informative conversation about fracking, its impacts on human health and what we need to do to protect public health and stop cancer before it starts.
Register for Monday April 29th 11am (PST)/2pm (EST)
Register for Tuesday April 30th 2pm (PST)/5pm (EST)
The rapidly growing fracking industry raises major public health concerns, especially as fracking continues in communities across the country without proper regulation. We need a precautionary, prevention-oriented approach to reducing environmental cancer risk. Natural gas and oil extraction is a toxic industry that, if left unchallenged, stands in the way of a meaningful approach to cancer prevention.
Breast Cancer Action’s own Annie Sartor, Policy and Campaigns Coordinator, will host this webinar joined by, Jennifer Krill, Executive Director of Earthworks and Karen Joy Miller, Environmental Chair New York State Breast Cancer Network, member organization Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Inc.
During the webinar we will:
Describe the process of fracking and why it is harmful
Explain how fracking introduces cancer risks into communities
Clarify what we know about fracking and its connections to breast cancer
Describe what a precautionary approach would look like
Talk about how can you get involved
Join us on Monday April 29th 11am (PST)/2pm (EST) or Tuesday April 30th 2pm (PST)/5pm (EST) for this free webinar to learn about the harms of fracking and how you can get involved in challenging this toxic industry.
As our friend and fellow activist Sandra Steingraber says, “The burden of proof belongs on the shoulders of the gas industry to demonstrate safety, not on the backs of women, who will have to suffer and die in order to prove without a doubt that fracking causes breast cancer.”
Breast Cancer Action
***For a full calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:
Excellent short video to pass on. Includes Raina Rippel, Carol Moten, Randy Moyer, Rep. Jesse White, Ron Gulla, the Headleys. Families and workers discuss health problems.
*** 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:
1. DEP Washington Landing Office-Earth Day Rally
“April 22, 2013 – Demonstrators came by boat and bike trail to Washington's Landing on the Allegheny River Monday, loudly protesting what they said was the state Department of Environmental Protection's failure to adequately regulate fossil fuel industries, including Marcellus Shale gas, or support renewable energy development. The float, march and rally, which was billed as an "Earth Day protest against fracking," ended with participants crowding into the lobby of the DEP's Southwest Regional office.
Earth Day-DEP Rally Area Reports
Pittsburgh About 100 people in a spirited rally at DEP office. 15 came in by Kayak/canoe, including journalists from local media in boats w/us. Beached their craft and joined foot march with band to liven it up. Occupied the DEP lobby for about 15 minutes, presented our demands, spirited rally outside w/4 speakers, including 2 of "the harmed" for another 20 minutes. Spirits high, tremendous turnout for 2PM on a Monday.
NW DEP--We had about 70 people at the Meadville office. We began in Diamond Park with speakers representing the various groups involved and marched behind a banner that had FAIL!! logo and “Don’t Expect Protection” on it, carrying a coffin, two blocks to the DEP office where we had several more speakers and called out the DEP to do its job.
Northwest DEP Regional Office
Clean Water Action was in Harrisburg-from Steve
Other participating groups included the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, Clean Water Action, and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. T
We capped off the rally by personally delivering your handwritten letter. In total over 1,000 letters were collected and given to DEP. DEP tried their best to continue ignoring you by initially not accepting the letters. However, after refusing to leave the DEP lobby they knew you couldn’t be just brushed aside. So they sent a representative to collect the letters.
Just two days later, departing DEP Secretary Michael Krancer finally wrote a real response to our questions, providing 24 pages of material on DEP protocols. While we won’t be satisfied until every home affected by fracking has their water properly tested, its long past time that DEP at least responded to these concerns.
Thank you again for support and for making the rally a success!
Steve Hvozdovich, Marcellus Campaign Coordinator
2. Here’s Your Grade Westmoreland/Allegheny—Not Good
Pittsburgh’s air is cleaner but Pittsburgh still ranks the city among the United States' most-polluted metropolises. Pittsburgh ranks among the top 25 most polluted by ozone smog and by soot, formally called long- and short-term particle pollution, according to the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2013 report.
Pittsburgh was ranked 7th in short-term particle pollution, 8th in year-round particle pollution and 24th among the ozone-polluted, the lung association said. The number of "unhealthy air days" decreased from 26.3 to 20.7, according to the survey.
American Lung Association Report:
Pennsylvania Counties Report:
COUNTY – GRADE – ORANGE DAYS
Allegheny County – F – 29
Beaver County – C – 6
Greene County -- C – 5
Indiana – F – 11
Mercer – D – 8
Tioga – C – 3
Washington County – C – 4
Westmoreland – D – 7
Reports for other states:
“Air pollution remains a pervasive health threat. You probably know someone on the list below who faces a higher risk from air pollution (maybe including you!):
* Infants, children, teenagers and older adults
* Anyone with lung diseases like asthma or COPD,
* People with heart disease or diabetes,
* People with low incomes, and
* Anyone who works or exercises outdoors.
Dangerous levels of ozone or particle pollution can cause wheezing and coughing, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death.”
3. Drill Cutting Truck Sets Off Radioactivity Alarm In Yukon
Poister said DEP instructed MAX to return the materials to the well pad where it was extracted for subsequent disposal at an approved facility. “The material in question was radium 226, which is what we expect from shale drill cuttings. Every landfill in the state has radiation monitors and this showed the system did work,” Poister said. Because of concern over radiation levels in byproducts associated with the oil and natural gas development industry, the DEP was directed earlier this year by Gov. Tom Corbett to undertake a comprehensive study of the issue. Poister said the study is ongoing.”
4. Why Frack Pits Should Be Banned-Benzene Release McDonald Pa
NRC Report ID: 1044706
Incident Time: 2013-04-22 11:30:00
Nearest City: McDonald, PA
Location: 273 FORT CHERRY RD
Incident Type: FIXED
Medium Affected: WATER
Suspected Responsible Party: RANGE RESOURCES
Lat/Long: 40.329618, -80.292451 (Approximated from street_address )
CALLER STATED THAT THERE ARE MATERIALS BEING RELEASED FROM THE FRACKING POND.
5. PA Rep Jesse White on Banning Frack Pits
“Range Industry’s Matt Pitzarella wrote a letter in the Observer-Reporter saying, "Range is on record on countless occasions being in support of, and in fact lobbying for, not against, smarter and tighter regulations that adapt to new and emerging technologies."
Rep. Jesse White: “Apparently that doesn't include eliminating open wastewater impoundments in favor of safer technologies like closed loop/closed containment systems .”
Amber Benzon from the gas industry’s Marcellus coalition wrote to all state representatives that “centralized impoundments are tightly-regulated and DEP-monitored impoundments”.
Jesse White wrote this response to Ms Benzon:
Thank you for your email. Since you asked, I actually do have a few questions.
1. How does the MSC reconcile the use of wastewater impoundments as an industry best practice, when virtually everyone, including the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, comprised of MSC member companies Shell, Chevron, CONSOL and EQT, clearly says otherwise? Their performance standard #3 says they should be eliminated. From https://www.sustainableshale.org/performance-standards/:
Pits/Impoundments Performance Standards
Performance Standard No. 3:
1. After the promulgation date of these standards, any new pits designed shall be double-lined and equipped with leak detection.
2. Operators, within 12 months of implementation of these standards, shall contain drilling fluid, when using oil-containing drilling fluids to drill a well, in a closed loop system at the well pad (e.g. no ground pits).
3. Operators, within 24 months of implementation of these standards, shall contain drilling fluid and flowback water in a closed loop system at the well pad, eliminating the use of pits for all wells.
2. Does the MSC believe it is a best practice to allow an open-air impoundment within 300 feet of a residence, as permissible under Act 13?
3. How would the MSC respond to concerns that because there are no fencing or bird netting requirements, and municipalities are unable to enact such requirements under Act 13, animals such as deer often access the wastewater pits to drink from them and/or fall into them, causing damage to the liner in the process. Does the MSC believe it is definitively safe for Pennsylvania hunters and sportsmen to eat animals which have drank the wastewater from these unfenced impoundments?
4. Since 2011, the DEP, Governor Corbett and the Marcellus Shale Coalition itself have spoken out against taking this wastewater to municipal treatments plants. MSC President Kathryn Klaber said on 5/19/11 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Research by Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority experts suggests that the natural gas industry is a contributing factor to elevated levels of bromide in the Allegheny and Beaver Rivers," said Kathryn Klaber. So if this wastewater is known to impact the waterways of the Commonwealth even when treated, how is it good policy to dig an enormous hole in a residential area and let the water (and whatever volatile organic compounds it contains) evaporate into the surrounding air?
5. Does the MSC acknowledge there is an impact in air quality in the areas using wastewater impoundments? Despite claims of lower statewide air emissions, the Rand Corporation (which is hardly known for anti-industry positions) published a study on air quality in PA relative to Marcellus Shale activity, and they made an interesting point (see http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014017):
Because the relative damages will tend to be larger in the counties where shale gas extraction activities are concentrated, where population is relatively high, and where air quality is already a concern, it is also important to consider the county-level damage. For example, Washington County had the fifth largest number of wells (156) in 2011 but resulted in the highest damages, estimated at $1.2–8.3 million. Damage in this county represented about 20% of statewide damages from the extraction industry16. And while not typical of 2011 development, this example illustrates the potential impact of extraction when located in relatively populated areas17.
Since Washington County represents about 20% of the statewide damages, and the use of wastewater impoundments is widespread with documents leaks and tears (per DEP consent agreements), can MSC definitively say there is no connection between the use of wastewater impoundments and the poor air quality?
I look forward to your response as debate moves forward on these amendments.
State Representative, 46th District
6. PA Gas Companies Violating Clean Air Act-
Forced To improve Safety
“According to the AP, MarkWest will be forced to upgrade their facilities after the U.S. EPA found the company was violating federal clean air regulations. This includes condensate tanks, processing plants and 14 compressor stations including a plant in Jackson Twp., a plant in Connoquenessing Twp., and the Voll/Soergel Compressor Station (the site of repeated complaints by homeowners) in Connoquenessing Township.
No word on whether or not the DEP has issued a violation or fine.
This revelation comes amid Jackson Township’s approval of a third processing plant in the county.
A 2011 EPA study of 11 different MarkWest facilities concluded that the Washington County company was violating the Clean Air Act. As part of the settlement to upgrade its facilities, MarkWest did not admit or deny guilt.
The EPA says two natural gas companies have agreed to improve their operations in western Pennsylvania.
EPA alleges that Mark West Liberty Midstream & Resources and Laurel Mountain Midstream Operating failed to comply with safety aspects of federal clean air regulations to prevent accidental releases of flammable substances.
The EPA says Mark West has agreed to install new emergency equipment and adopt an approved maintenance schedule at all 14 of its compressor stations in Washington and Butler counties.
Laurel Mountain Midstream facility in Washington County also agreed to make improvements, as well as conduct training with local emergency responders.
The companies did not admit or deny the allegations, and both say they are committed to working with EPA and local communities.”
7. David Letterman Goes On Rant Against Fracking And The 'Greedy Oil And Gas Companies'
“David Letterman went on an epic anti-fracking rant, calling out "greedy oil and gas companies" for "injecting highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals" into the ground.
He's the latest celebrity to take issue with hydraulic fracturing. Recently, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon went on "Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel" to promote their site ArtistsAgainstFracking.com. By Rob Wile
Watch the video: http://www.businessinsider.com/letterman-fracking-rant-2012-7#ixz
8. Susquehanna County Lothrop Compressor Station Not Fined for Release During Explosion
“The explosion on March 29, 2012, at Williams Field Services' Lathrop compressor station did not cause the facility to emit more pollutants than its permits allow, according to a DEP report released on Wednesday. Approximately 1 ton, of methane was released during the incident but the station's permits do not limit emissions of the greenhouse gas and the amount of vented methane did not reach the threshold that would have required the company to secure a permit used by larger facilities.
Williams also restarted engines at the Springville Twp. station prior to receiving DEP approval, but because the department did not issue an official order to halt operations the company will not be fined for disregarding regulators' requests.
"We maintain we made it very clear," Ms. Connolly said. "However, it was not an official order by DEP to stand down so that's not considered a violation."
The blast was caused by human error, according to the report. A worker did not properly lock down a compressor engine when he was away during maintenance and other workers, who assumed the work was done, began to turn the engine back on. The gas that flowed through the system triggered the explosion about 15 seconds after workers evacuated the building and hit an emergency shutdown switch on the way out.
The incident spurred public meetings and raised concerns about the safety and oversight of natural gas infrastructure in rural areas, which are not regulated like pipelines and compressors in more populated places.
Ms. Connolly said "We don't have the power to penalize them for operator error," she said, unless that error causes the facility to violate its air permits or pollution laws.
Some neighbors of the station said they were disappointed in the findings and the lack of a fine. Paul Karpich, who lives about half a mile from the facility, said the state could have been more forceful in its response.
"Hopefully, there isn't any future incident," he said. "That could have been disastrous."
A spokesman for the Clean Air Council, which advocates for stricter enforcement of air pollution laws, said the DEP "lacked the courage" to order the station to remain shut down for inspections last year so it is now "no surprise" the agency is not issuing any violations or fines.
"Clean Air Council rejects DEP's argument that they do not have the authority to hold companies fully accountable for the pollution that they emit or compliance with DEP oversight," Matt Walker said.
No fine for compressor station operator.
BY LAURA LEGERE (STAFF WRITER)
9. 200,000 Gallons Spilled in Wyoming County, PA
“On March 13, an equipment failure on a Carrizo well pad spewed about 200,000 gallons of toxic frack fluids onto the ground and a ditch that receives shallow groundwater in a wetland in Wyoming County, PA. Three homes were evacuated. Carrizo was cited for violating environmental laws regarding fluid containment, surface water protection, waste management, well control, and “failure to notify DEP of pollution incident. No phone call made forthwith” and other
violations. T. Carrizo reported
The Houston based company has been cited 48 times in the state of PA and paid $20.6K in fines. Carrizo made profits of $92,000,000 during the 2Q of 2013.”
10. Allegheny Forest Before and After –From Allegheny Defense Project
These photos were taken in the same location. The photo on the left was taken in 2010 while the photo on the right was taken in 2013. What was once a forested area in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest is now a Marcellus shale gas well site. Scenes like this are unfortunately becoming all too common across Pennsylvania’s forests and farmlands as the oil and gas industry pushes full steam ahead in the “shale gas rush.”
This is an uphill battle. And thanks to a recent federal court ruling in the Allegheny National Forest, our work just got harder. A federal judge in Erie, PA recently ruled that oil and gas drilling in the Allegheny National Forest is not subject to environmental analysis or public commenting requirements because the Forest Service does not own the mineral rights under most of the forest. Essentially, the court removed the “public” from “public land.” Allegheny Defense Project is currently appealing this decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and remains hopeful that the decision will be overturned.
In the meantime, we need your continued support to keep up the fight against the continued onslaught of Marcellus Shale gas drilling and industrial logging in the Allegheny, both in and out of the courtroom. With help from our members and supporters we have also discovered and documented synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) in the Allegheny, a rare species that needs mature woods, darkness, and cool temps to survive. Synchronous fireflies are a significant tourist attraction in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we are working with researchers and local businesses to bring that kind of sustainable business opportunity to the Allegheny region.”
From Allegheny Defense Project
11. Act 13-Still Waiting
“The corruption conviction of Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her ensuing resignation from Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court might have caused a delay in the Act 13 decision, according to attorney Jordan Yeager.
In March 2012, Nockamixon, Yardley and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network teamed up with several Western PA communities to file a lawsuit against Act 13, claiming it strips away the constitutional rights of citizens and local municipalities.
In July 2012, the Commonwealth Court declared the zoning provisions of Act 13 null, void and unenforceable, and the case proceeded to Pennsylvania Supreme Court on appeal.
In October 2012, the panel of seven justices heard oral arguments from both sides. Though the high court does not have a timeline as to when it must render a decision, attorneys anticipated a ruling by January.
They are still awaiting a decision.
At Nockamixon’s board of supervisors meeting last week, township solicitor Yeager told the board that the Act 13 case is believed to be among a handful of cases that is lingering in a 3-3 split decision among the remaining six justices.
“A 3-3 decision for us is a victory because the issuance of the Commonwealth Court stands,” he said.
According to recent press reports, the justices continue to work on these 3-3 decisions to see if any of them will change their vote, said Yeager.
In the coming months, the state’s top court could render a split decision, it could continue to work toward a majority decision or it could wait for a seventh justice to be appointed, who would weigh in on the Act 13 case.
“We really don’t know. We’re reading the tea leaves,” said Yeager. “Bottom line is that we don’t have a decision, and we don’t know when we will.”
By Amanda Cregan Staff Writer http://www.phillyburbs.com/my_town/palisades/pa-
12. The Harmed-Washington PA
From Bob -Name not released
“CNX has a large red pipe system 30'x10' on the adjacent hillside. They have been releasing a liquid from it during the week of April 15th and several other times in April. I have a few videos of the releases. On Thursday April 18th I was sitting in my yard when they released two areas of the pipe. These two large geysers shot up approx. 20 feet in to the air. It sounds like a jet engine in my yard. Later that evening my eyebrows began to get itchy and red. I thought nothing of it. The next morning I woke up with a rash on the left side of my face (side of my face that was downwind of the release area), eyebrows, hairline and all over my chest and a few spots on my wrists. The top of my head was also very itchy. I thought I had poison ivy and did not want my face to swell up over the weekend. I made an appointment with the Dr who assured me the rash was NOT poison ivy. He was unable to diagnose the rash and gave me prednisone and told me to take Benadryl. I informed him of the release of a liquid substance and he seemed concerned.”
“When I returned home I decided to stop by the site of the red pipe to show the rash to the gas well employees and to ask what was in the ADLER tanks. The supervisor on site assured me that they were NOT releasing anything from the red pipes. I told him that I had video of it. He then agreed that if I saw anything coming out of the tanks that it was only natural gas. I showed him the rash on my face and neck and asked him what was in the red tanks. He mumbled a few things, one being something about fresh water and something about sand. I figured I would not get anything else out of him and left.”
“I called the DEP minutes after leaving the site. Carrie Valor came out today to look at the red pipe system. She has to do some research on what the name of the system is called. It collects the gas from gas well site NV 42 and sends it to the seller line. She said they were performing a "blowout" to release the liquids in the natural gas and also the gas itself that was in the line. I asked what liquids would be in the gas line. She replied all of the liquids that would be in the newly drilled NV42 well. She mentioned hydrates.”
“I have videos of this liquid gas coming straight for my house!”
“My face and neck felt better yesterday. The rash had gone away but showed up on my wrists and ears. Today the rash is back on my neck and left side of my face and on my wrists. I have a headache and my stomach is upset. My throat also hurts slightly but only when the rash is on my face.”
“Carrie said that they should not be releasing the gas on a regular basis. I am praying it will never happen again.”
“My son also has a small area on his stomach.”
13. “Bednarski Impoundment Already Has Violations”-Washington County
Site Name: BEDNARSKI IMPOUNDMENT DAM PERMIT 95-7-60915-1
RANGE RESOURCES APPALACHIA LLC (141142)
Hopewell Twp, Washington County
Centralized Impoundment Damn 05/14/2009 Issued 06/24/2009
Violation 640369 05/18/2012 Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.
Violation 615315 03/30/2011 Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.
Violation 615314 03/30/2011 Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.
Violation 584168 03/17/2010 There is a potential for polluting substance(s) reaching Waters of the Commonwealth and may require a permit.
West Virginia Wild and Wonderful? Photo by Bob Donan (sorry, did not copy-see newsletter)
14)How The Kochs Are Fracking America
“The right-wing Koch brothers have developed a vertical empire designed to extract wealth from every point in the hydrocarbon lifecycle. A small fraction of their profits is funneled into corrupting our political system, in order to prevent government from protecting society against the costs of the waste products.
From Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney to the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity, the Koch political network has been furiously attempting to block any oversight or regulation of the pollution and risks associated with fracking, no matter the danger to the American public.
And ….Koch Brothers Plan to Buy up Eight Major Newspapers
– At a recent seminar in Aspen, one attendee reported that the brothers — infamous for bankrolling conservative candidates and causes — put forth the question of, “How do we make sure our voice is being heard?” Their answer, it seems, will be to purchase the entire Tribune company, which constitutes a huge swath of American print media. In total, the Tribune company is responsible for eight print publications.
Charles and David Koch’s money has been instrumental in getting anti-climate politicians into office, and in funding anti-climate science studies. The brothers have also funded the secretive conservative network ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), which has crafted “model legislation” for voter ID laws that limit voting rights, particularly for low-income people of color. The brothers also tried to influence the latest election by warning some 45,000 employees that there would be “consequences” if they didn’t vote for Republicans.”
15. Senator Bob Casey Questions Lack of Notification of Spill That Went Into Mahoning River
By Rachel Morgan ShaleReporter.com | 2 comments
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Scranton, announced that he wrote a letter to the National Response Center, urging them to improve their notification system and after the PA DEP didn’t receive notice of the illegal dumping of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater into a storm sewer that led to the Mahoning River, which eventually leads to the Beaver River.
The Beaver Valley Municipal Authority, the first municipal plant downstream of the dump, also didn’t receive notice of the incident. The authority provides water for 17,000 customers in 22 communities in Beaver County, as well as Zelienople. Jim Riggio, authority general manager, said March 4 it could have taken as little as two or three hours for the thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater dumped to completely bypass the system, had the authority been notified.
“Quick and timely notification is essential to protecting public health. In this instance, the National Response Center’s efforts to notify agencies did not make it to the right people,” Casey said.
However, in a past interview, the response center told The Times that the state DEP was not signed up to directly receive its notifications. Center officials also said that according to the incident report, the Ohio EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 office and PEMA were notified. But PEMA officials said on March 6 they did not have any record of the response center's notification.
State DEP officials confirmed they were not signed up for the alerts at the time of the incident, but said Thursday they have since done so.
“DEP has relied on PEMA forwarding emergency notifications that are relevant to Pennsylvania and our agency, and this process has worked extremely well,” said DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday in a past interview. …the report from the NRC contained vague, and at times, contradictory information.”
This vague information included “zero” and “unknown” listed for the amount of pollutants released. There was no mile marker on the river identified for the location of the dumping, which would signify its proximity to Pennsylvania. The report said “no” in the water supply contamination field, which indicates that no water supply was compromised.
Sunday also said Pennsylvania officials did not hear directly from those in Ohio until nearly 20 days after the dumping incident.
Casey’s letter comes on the heels of a local state senator also asking questions about the situation.
Midland’s municipal water authority also was not warned, Vogel said in his release. He and Baker called for a review of the incident and recommendations to improve the notification system.
"It is not acceptable that the drinking water authorities were not contacted," Vogel said. "This could have been a very dangerous situation, and those in charge of supplying our residents with clean water need to be among the first contacted."
Times writer Patrick O’Shea contributed to this report.
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