Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates October 3, 2013
To view photos, please sign up for newsletter at: firstname.lastname@example.org
* For articles and updates or to just vent, visit us on facebook;
* To view permanent documents, past updates, reports, general information and meeting information http://westmorelandmarcellus.blogspot.com/
* Our email address: email@example.com
* To discuss candidates: http://www.facebook.com/groups/VoteProEarth/
* To contact your state legislator:
For the email address, click on the envelope under the photo
* For information on the state gas legislation and local control: http://pajustpowers.org/aboutthebills.html-
*** WMCG Steering Committee Meeting This month we will meet the third Tuesday of the month---October 15, 7:30 PM at Mike and Cindy’s, Greensburg. Email jan for directions. All are invited.
***Southwest PA Solar Tour-Oct. 12
See Pittsburgh's best solar homes and businesses Saturday
Join The Sierra Club and PennFuture for a free, self-guided tour of local homes and businesses that use solar energy and other green technologies.
There are 22 different locations in Pittsburgh and across western PA on the tour, so feel free to visit as few or as many as you'd like. The 2013 tour is FREE, but you will need to register so that we can send you the guidebook and a link to the Google map to plan your solar tour. Come out for a fun fall day and see solar in action in Southwest PA.
WHO: You and solar owners who want to show off their homes and businesses
WHAT: Southwestern PA Solar Tour
WHEN: Saturday, October 12, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: All around the Pittsburgh region (map)
Questions: Contact Randy Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org
You'll find something spectacular around every corner - from the greatest new modern green homes and facilities, to Pittsburgh area classics that have undergone green renovations. From backyard solar farms to farms that use solar to power nearly everything. Stay in the city or wander the countryside.
Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,
Randy Francisco PA Organizing Representative Sierra Club
***Fracking Speaker Series: “Fracking and Your Health”, October 9
October 9, 2013 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Presentation and Q&A with workers from the shalefields
Speakers will address the jobs in the Marcellus Shale
This is the first in a series of talks about the perils of fracking, made possible by public donations at the premiere showing of Gasland II. Please join us for an insider look at the jobs in the Marcellus gas drilling patch, along with a Q&A session.
120 51st Street, Pittsburgh 15201
Free to the public. Bring your friends and family! For more information, contact Steve at email@example.com or 724-485-9835.
Sponsors include Marcellus Protest along with Clean Water Action, Marcellus Outreach Butler, PennEnvironment, and Sierra Club-Allegheny Group.
***Youth Power Shift Needs Housing
“This fall, the largest gathering of social change makers in 2013 will happen in Pittsburgh at Power Shift 2013, and we could really use your support. More specifically, support in housing participants. Youth leaders from across the country are counting on the Pittsburgh community to make their experience a welcoming and empowering memory.
On October 18th-21st, Power Shift 2013 will have over 10,000 young people converge at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. For the first time ever, Power Shift is being hosted outside of Washington, DC.
This year we are coming to Pittsburgh, a city at the crossroads of the fight for a clean and just energy future – at the center of building the green economy, yet also directly in the crosshairs of the coal and fracking industries. At Power Shift we will not just tackle environmental issues, but also encompass other social movements from LGBTQ to student debt to food politics to fight systemic oppression. Here’s how you can help:
Open your home.
Community is a huge focus at Power Shift and we want to emphasize the importance of returning the empowerment attendees feel afterwards to contribute to their communities. Pittsburgh’s collective power fighting for clean energy is the same momentum we want our attendees to push when they return home.
A housing board is set up for folks in the Pittsburgh community who are able and willing to open their homes to Power Shift 2013 participants. A $10 discount code is now available for Pittsburgh locals registering to attend Power Shift. Please push this housing board link out to your network and connections: http://www.wearepowershift.org/travel/housing-board
Community Spaces, Religious Institutions, etc.
Anybody with connections to places with available floor space to house a larger group of people over the weekend should get in touch with Jenna Grey Eagle our coordinator for housing. We realize that requesting this type of space over night can lead to extra work, so the option of requiring a fee is open. Any available space would be posted on our website with information on what supplies students should bring (sleeping bag, towels, etc.), what rules they should abide by, payment options, and any other vital information to be included.
If you are aware of other types of housing opportunities or have connections within your community that can help out, please contact Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org or <605-553-8327>
Be a part in helping Shift the Power! We can’t do this without you!”
*** Pittsburgh Environment and Health Conference-Oct 25
At the Pittsburgh Environment & Health Conference we will talk about the links between the environment and your health. They don't just affect you; they affect your entire community.
The conference includes lunch, and you will leave with information that can help you live a greener, healthier life. With small changes, you can help your kids and their kids live healthier.
Featuring Keynote Speakers:
Nancy Alderman - Environment and Human Health, Inc.
Cecil Corbin-Mark - WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Lois Gibbs - Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Edward Humes - Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist & Author
Richard Louv - Children and Nature Network
David Orr - Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College
Ted Schettler, MD - Science and Environmental Health Network
During afternoon workshops you will hear from and interact with local experts who will address a series of environmental and health-related topics and describe the work that is taking place right in our communities.
Space is limited! Click here to register today! http://pittsburghenvironmenthealth.org/
Where & When
David Lawrence Convention Center
1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
October 25, 2013
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
***Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering,
Cornell University -November 21- Butler On the science, safety and
debate over hydraulic fracturing. More information to follow.
*** Facing the Challenges-- Duquesne University-- Nov 25, 26 Researchers present on: Air and water, Animal and Human Health, Geological, Biological investigations.
***Fall Summit, North Park- November 17
Hey folks! Thank you to everyone who made our 2013 Summer Summit a success. To all who were unable to attend, I hope this next adventure works for you! With fall finally here, it is time for our next gathering. On November 17, 2013 we will hold our 1st annual Fall Shindig at North Park in Allison Park, PA. We anticipate the day running from 9-5pm. I’ve attached a save the date for your use. The building has a capacity of 150 persons and we want to have great regional representation so please, invite your friends and colleagues. We do anticipate a $10 registration fee to cover the building and food. More details to come!!
Because we want this to be an event YOU want to attend the steering committee would like to have some feedback on the type of workshops that would be helpful. Below is a running list of suggestions. Please either choose your top 3 workshops, or write in your own and e-mail them back to mailto:email@example.com. I’d like to have replies by 10/9/2013 to ensure we have adequate time to prepare.
-Communications, social media instructions
-Building connections across state and regionally
-Creative expression, Art Therapy
-Frac Water Treatment/where does the waste go
-Pipelines and pipeline monitoring
-Non Violent Communication
-Air quality predictions/limiting exposure
-Natural Gas power plants
Peace and solidarity,
Kathryn Hilton, Community Organizer, Mountain Watershed Association
For a full calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:
*** Call--- For renewable energy jobs in Pennsylvania! (Sierra Club)
You can help fight climate change here in Pennsylvania today!
State Senator Daylin Leach is about to introduce a bill to increase the amount of electricity provided by renewable sources to 15% by 2023. Even better, it would prioritize wind energy produced in Pennsylvania!
Climate change is a big problem, but the solutions are simple -- invest in homegrown renewable energy that creates jobs for Pennsylvania families and stimulates a growing industry. To make that happen we need to let our elected officials know there's strong public demand to get Senator Leach's bill passed!
Will you call your state senator urging them to co-sponsor Senator Leach's bill?
In a state the size of Pennsylvania we can make a big difference for renewable energy and climate protection. Pennsylvania produces 1% of the entire planet's greenhouse gas emissions!
We've seen renewable energy projects create good family-sustaining jobs in the wind and solar industries, as a result of the stimulus created by the original passage of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard in 2005. But since that time many of our neighboring states have adopted stronger renewable energy policies while we have languished. As a result, the good green jobs created by our AEPS are being lost to states like New Jersey, Delaware and New York. Let's make Pennsylvania a leader in true renewable energy sources like wind and solar again, not climate disrupting natural gas.
You can help protect the climate and bring more renewable energy jobs to Pennsylvania by urging your state senator to support Senator Leach's bill.
Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,
Pennsylvania Organizing Representative Sierra Club
P.S. After you take action, be sure to forward this alert to your friends and colleagues!
***Stop NPR from Accepting Natural Gas Industry $
(From Move on)
NPR receives underwriting funds from the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). In exchange, NPR airs misleading ads promoting further development of natural gas, which must now be mined by the environmentally damaging extreme extraction process, “fracking”. This path would commit the US to decades more of increasing dependence on fossil fuels. NPR refuses to disclose its policy on how it selects sponsors from which to accept funding. (For a detailed account of my two-year unsuccessful attempt to get through NPR’s corporate wall of secrecy surrounding its underwriting practices go to http://wp.me/pJm45-33d.)
NPR (National Public Radio) should stop accepting funds and airing underwriting announcements from the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). NPR must be transparent and accountable with its sponsorship practices.
*** Take Action On PA Endangered Species (Sierra Club)
Just when you thought the special interests couldn't find another way to eliminate environmental protection in Pennsylvania, "there they go again......" This time they are going after the protectors of Pennsylvania's threatened and endangered species, such as the osprey, the great egret, the bog turtle and the banded sunfish.
The mining, gas drilling, and timber industries want to undermine the independence of the PA Fish and Boat Commission and the PA Game Commission to administer Pennsylvania's endangered species laws.
House Bill 1576 would send the Commissions' endangered species lists to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission -- an agency dominated by the legislature -- for additional scrutiny.
These changes proposed in the bill blunt the effect of the Commissions' list of threatened and endangered species of fish and wildlife, allowing more mining, drilling and clear-cutting in Pennsylvania's lands. The Commissions would have to go through a very cumbersome regulatory review process. To make matters even worse, under the current versions of the bills the agencies would only be allowed to protect fish and wildlife already listed by the federal government.
At the same time, permit applications for mining, oil and gas drilling, and timbering would be approved, without any on-the-ground check for their impacts on the PA endangered species.
This week, Sierra Club's Conservation Chair Tom Au testified before a Joint House Committees hearing urging opposition to HB 1576. He pointed out that the agencies' scientists are better judges of the threats to wildlife and aquatic life. He explained that the agencies make decisions proposals for protecting rare, threatened, or endangered species in an open, transparent manner. The agencies publish the scientific data collected, have it reviewed by other scientists, publish proposed lists and protection plans, accept public comment, and hold public hearings. It is hard to find fault with this deliberative process.
TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO OPPOSE HB 1576.
Don't let the mining, drilling, and timber industries drive our precious wildlife, fish and plants into extinction in Pennsylvania!
Thanks, Jeff Schmidt, Director, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter
***Ask Pres. Obama to Resume Fracking Studies
From Food and Water Watch
“Last week, there was breaking news from EPA whistle-blowers that in 2012 the EPA abandoned an investigation of fracking-related water contamination in Dimock, Pennsylvania after an EPA staff member raised the flag that it was likely caused by fracking¹.
There's an unfortunate trend here, because they've also abandoned their fracking-related water contamination investigations in Pavillion, Wyoming² and Weatherford, Texas³. This is unbelievable, and totally unacceptable.
1. Parker County, TX – The EPA began an investigation after a homeowner reported that his drinking water was bubbling like champagne. But after fracking company Range Resources threatened not to participate in another study in March 2012, the EPA set aside the "smoking gun" report connecting methane migration to fracking. EPA halted 'fracking' case after gas company protested. USA Today, January 16, 2013.
2. Dimock, PA – The mid-Atlantic EPA began testing water in Dimock, PA after residents complained that their drinking water was contaminated from nearby fracking operations. But the federal EPA closed the investigation in July 2012 even after the staff members who had been testing the water warned of methane, manganese and arsenic contamination. (Internal EPA report highlights disputes over fracking and well water. LA Times, July 27, 2013.)
3. Pavilion, WY – The EPA released a draft report in 2011 linking fracking to contamination of an underground aquifer. After drawing criticism from the oil and gas industry, the EPA handed the investigation over to the state of Wyoming in June 2013 to be completed with funding from EnCana, the drilling company charged with contaminating the water wells in the first place. (EPA Drops Fracking Probe in Wyoming. Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2013.)
The EPA abandoned citizens when they needed them most. This is no coincidence.
Tell President Obama and the new EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, to immediately reopen these investigations and deliver safe drinking water to the residents of these communities while the investigations commence.
We're up against a powerful industry, but Americans know how dangerous fracking is — and they're fighting back. Last month, along with our partners we delivered over 600,000 petitions to President Obama to ban fracking on federal lands. In the last two weeks, Los Angeles city council members introduced a fracking moratorium and Highland Park, New Jersey became the first town in the state to ban fracking. We're building a broad, powerful movement to fight back...and win.
Will you join me today in calling on President Obama and his new EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to immediately reopen these investigations and deliver safe drinking water to the residents of these communities while the investigations commence?
Thanks for taking action,
Sarah Alexander, Deputy Organizing Director, Food & Water Watch”
***Sick of Dirty Fossil Fuels? Consider Ethical Electric
From Sierra Club
“Would you rather power your home with dirty fossil fuels or clean wind power?
Now you have a choice: Ethical Electric.
The Sierra Club has partnered with Ethical Electric because they use only 100% renewable energy and they stand with the Sierra Club fighting for clean air, clean water, and protecting the environment.
Ethical Electric recently started taking customers in Pennsylvania, and we’re encouraging people like you to make the switch to clean energy now!
Ethical Electric buys wind power from local sources and provides it to your utility who then delivers it to you. You’ll take thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds of climate-changing pollutants out of the atmosphere every year that you power your home with Ethical Electric.
And, since Ethical Electric obtains power from local wind farms, you’re helping America shift to clean alternatives every time you pay your electric bill.
Switching to Ethical Electric is fast and easy. There’s no home visit. You get the same bill, same service on the same power lines. The only thing that changes for you is that your utility will be required to use local, clean electricity from our new Sierra Club partner, Ethical Electric.
Enrolling with Ethical Electric takes only a few minutes online through Ethical Electric’s website. Or call 1-888-700-6547 to get started.
Make your choice for clean energy and switch to Ethical Electric today.
Sincerely, Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
P.S. The more of us that switch to Ethical Electric, the more demand there will be for clean, local power. Choosing an Ethical Electric plan is fast and easy. Make the switch
*** ACT NOW TO PROTECT ALLEGHENY COUNTY PARKS –
(from Sierra Club)
Members of Allegheny County Council are being heavily lobbied by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Gov. Tom Corbett to vote down the call for a hold on drilling in the regional County Parks system.
CONTACTING YOUR COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER IS ESSENTIAL
Locate your County District http://www.alleghenycounty.us/council/dist/coundis.aspx
and then find your member’s email address by clicking on their photo in the members directory.
The message is simple: "Please vote YES in favor of Councilwoman Daly Danko's resolution that places a hold on any drilling within or beneath all county parks until a thorough examination of the risks and liabilities has been completed."
The important preamble to Danko's resolution is at http://alleghenysc.org/?p=14140
Sign the ‘No Fracking in Our Parks’ PETITION.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP
***FrackSwarm.org (part of Sourcewatch) is a new clearing house for information on all things frack related. Both Coaolswarm and FrackSwarm's pages are housed on SourceWatch, a 60,000-article open-source encyclopedia sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy. CoalSwarm has been widely praised by activists; it is frequently utilized by students, journalists and lawmakers. Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute says, “CoalSwarm is the central nervous system that this movement [against coal] needed.” Likewise we believe FrackSwarm will fill a similar void within the anti-racking movement, which, like the fight against coal, is diverse, dispersed and largely grassroots.
FrackSwarm's decentralized platform allows activists and others to update its content, while editors work to ensure the material is up to date, accurate and adequately sourced. Its unique in that FrackSwarm leverages the power of the grassroots: anyone can add information, all information is footnoted, the entire resource is linked smoothly from local to international content and it builds collaborative spaces among groups working on various issues related to fracking.
*** Shale Truth Series -- Dr. Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University says the gas industry has changed communities, and that many people who once lived in rural or suburban areas now find themselves living in industrial zones.
In the previous two segments with Dr. Ingraffea we heard him discuss shale gas drilling and the unique dangers it poses to communities and their drinking water. How the gas and oil industry will leave Pennsylvania a polluted landscape after it finishes tapping the Marcellus formation.
A new Shale Truth segment can be seen on The Delaware Riverkeeper Network's YouTube channel every Wednesday at http://bit.ly/ShaleTruth
***Pa has only seen tip of Fracking Iceberg-Dr Ingraffea
***To sign up for notifications of activity and violations for your area:
***List of the Harmed--There are now over 1600 residents of Pennsylvania who placed their names on the list of the harmed because they became sick after fracking began in their area. http://pennsylvaniaallianceforcleanwaterandair.wordpress.com/the-list/
***Problems with Gas?—Report It-from Clean Air Council
Clean Air Council is announcing a new auto-alert system for notifying relevant agencies about odors, noises or visible emissions that residents suspect are coming from natural gas operations in their community.
Just fill out the questions below and our system will automatically generate and send your complaint to the appropriate agencies.
Agencies that will receive your e-mail: the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Regional Office of sender and Harrisburg Office), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Take Action Here
If you witness the release of potentially hazardous material into the environment, please also use the National Response Center's online form below:
Thanks for your help.
Sincerely, Matt Walker, Community Outreach Director, Clean Air Council
***Dr. Brasch Hosts Fracking Program-- Dr. Walter Brasch, author of the critically acclaimed book, Fracking Pennsylvania, is hosting a weekly half-hour radio show about fracking. "The Frack Report" airs 7:30 p.m., Mondays (beginning July 29) and is re-run 7:30 a.m., Wednesdays, on WFTE-FM (90.3 in Mt. Cobb and 105.7 in Scranton.) The show will be also be live streamed at www.wfte.org and also available a day after the Monday night broadcast on the station's website. He will be interviewing activists, persons affected by fracking, scientists, and politicians. Each show will also feature news about fracking and the anti-fracking movement.
***Preview - Glass Half Empty: An American Water War
(A few examples of the violation reports issued daily by Skytruth. jan)
***SKYTRUTH ALERT: NRC REPORT: UNKNOWN MATERIAL NEAR HOUSTON, PA
Incident Time: 2013-09-25 21:00:00
Nearest City: Houston, PA
Location: MARKWEST CRYOGENIC PROCESSING PLANT WESTERN AVE
Medium Affected: AIR
Suspected Responsible Party: CRYOGENIC PROCESSING PLANT
///THIS REPORT WAS RECEIVED VIA THE WEB REPORTING TOOL.///EXTREMELY LOUD NOISE COMING FROM MARKWEST CRYOGENIC PROCESSING PLANT, SOUNDS LIKE AIRPLANE ENGINES. LARGE FLARING FLAMES BURNING.
***WEB REPORT 10-2*** VAST AMOUNT OF FLAME AND SMOKE RELEASED AT THE MARKWEST PLANT IN HOUSTON, PA. I DO HAVE PICTURES AS I WAS DRIVING BY WHEN THE INCIDENT WAS OCCURRING. I DID NOT REMAIN IN THE AREA FOR FEAR OF MY SAFETY. I DO HAVE PHOTOS THAT I AM ABLE TO PROVIDE.
***WEB REPORT 10-3 -2013*** BEGINNING AT APPROXIMATELY 2:15 PM THIS DATE MULTIPLE BURN OFF OCCURRING WITH LARGE AMOUNTS OF BLACK SMOKE BEING BURNED OFF OF MARKWEST CRYOGENIC PROCESSING PLANT STACKS - LAST BURN OFF OCCURRING AT 6:49 PM, WITH LARGE AMOUNTS OF BLACK CLOUDS OF SMOKE. AS OF 7:55 PM LARGE FLAMES CONTINUE TO BURN FROM THE PLANT LIGHTING THE ENTIRE SKY. EXTREMELY LOUD ENGINE NOISES ALSO COMING FROM MARKWEST CRYOGENIC PROCESSING PLANT- EXTREMELY LOUD AND ANNOYING
***Report Details Nearest City: Smithfield, PA
Incident Time: 2013-09-28 10:00:00
Location: 132 VOLEK RD
Incident Type: FIXED
Material: BRINE AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS IN THE WELL
Medium Affected: AIR
Suspected Responsible Party: ATLAS (GAS WELL)
CALLER IS REPORTING THAT THE COMPANY IS DUMPING AT THE GAS WELL WITH IS CAUSING SOLIDS TO BLOW OUT INTO THE AIR FROM THE GAS WELL. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS AND THEY ALWAYS DO THIS ON A WEEKEND. THE DEP HAS BEEN MADE AWARE. THERE ARE SEVERAL VIDEOS AVAILABLE AT REQUEST.
Imagine the widespread impacts this will have (Bob Donnan)
Applications Received under the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (32 P. S. §§ 693.1—693.27) and section 302 of the Flood Plain Management Act (32 P. S. § 679.302) and Requests for Certification under section 401(a) of the FWPCA.
WATER OBSTRUCTIONS AND ENCROACHMENTS
E03-07-002. EQT Gathering LLC, 455 Racetrack Road Washington, PA 15301-8910. Kiskiminetas, Parks, and Burrell Townships, Armstrong County, ACOE Pittsburgh District.
To construct an 8.1-mile long, 12-inch diameter natural gas pipeline and associated access roads from a proposed well pad to an existing natural gas gathering line (NITES004) in Kiskiminetas, Parks, and Burrell Townships,
Armstrong County, Pittsburgh ACOE District, State Water Plan Basin 17-E, (Leechburg, Whitesburg and Vandergrift, PA Quadrangle; Start at Latitude: N 40° 4155.27; Longitude: W 79° 28 49.43; End at N 40° 36 36.29; Longitude: W 79° 30 29.26), Crooked Creek Watershed.
The project will consist of 36 utility line crossings of 28 streams and 8 wetlands, 42 temporary road crossings of 32 streams and 10 wetlands, and additional crossings eligible for the Department’s105.12(a)(2) waiver. This project is proposed to avoid direct impacts to a 10+ acre wetlands by using directional bore method of installation. All crossings with the exception of the 10+ acre wetland utility line crossing are eligible as General Permits. A total of 0.48 acre of wet land and 737 linear feet of numerous named and unnamed tributaries to Crooked Creek (WWF) will be temporarily impacted. The applicant has submitted a Contingency Plan if the directional drill underneath the10+ acre wetland would fail. If the Contingency Plan is implemented, a permanent impact to 0.05 acre of PFO wetland would occur, and wetland mitigation would be required.
All articles are excerpted. Please use the links to read the full article.
1. Tenaska Generating Plant in Ruffsdale , Westmoreland County —There has been a delay in the permitting process as there were modeling and revisions needed that require review time on the part of DEP. This gives us more time to comment and request public hearings. Matt Walker, Clean Air Council, will keep us informed of timelines.
2. General Permit for Compressor Station-In Derry Township, Westmoreland County
(There is no comment period for this station since it is a general permit. Matt Walker, Clean Air Council)
General Plan Approval and Operating Permit Usage Authorized under the Air Pollution Control Act (35 P. S. §§ 4001—4015) and 25 Pa. Code Chapter 127 to construct, modify, reactivate or operate air contamination sources and associated air cleaning devices. Southwest Region: Air Quality Program, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4745
Contact: Mark Gorog and Barb Hatch, Environmental Engineer Managers—Telephone: 412-442-4163/5226
GP5-65-01028: EQT Gathering, LLC (EQT Plaza 625 Liberty Ave., Suite 1700, Pittsburgh, PA 15222) on September 5, 2013, to authorize the installation and operation of a natural gas compressor station consisting of three lean burn natural gas-fired compressor engines rated at 4,735 bhp each and controlled by oxidation catalysts, three tri ethylene glycol dehydrators (including reboilers) rated for 120 MMSCF/day and controlled by enclosed flares, and one 10,000 gallon produced fluids tank. Other miscellaneous sources include seven lube oil, ethylene glycol, and tri ethylene glycol storage tanks, five microturbines rated at 200 kW each, and one natural gas-fired line heater rated at 0.38 MMBtu/hr. The facility will be authorized under GP-5 for natural gas production, named Derry Compressor Station, and located in Derry Township, Westmoreland County.
From: Matt Walker Clean Air Council Community Outreach Director
215-567-4004 ext. 121
3. Cecil Board Listens to Residents On Impoundment
“September 4, 2013 – Cecil Township’s public hearing regarding the Worstell impoundment addressed the content of what was discussed at two separate private meetings with the state DEP and Range Resources.
Chairman of Township Supervisors, Cassiola, asked residents if the township should try to negotiate with Range to improve the impoundment, or to push for its elimination altogether.
A majority of those who spoke out called for the impoundment to either be shut down or monitored more closely. Several residents called for either Range Resources or the township to fund groundwater and air quality tests for properties near the impoundment.
Tom and Kathy Bullions, of Swihart Road, said they have seen smoke rising from the water they collect (I assume from the impoundment pit. Jan) . The couple, in addition to another resident, Kathleen Konechney, said the number of dead birds or birds without feathers in that area is abnormal. Casciola said that because of Act 13, the township does not have much power to administer environmental tests because that is within the DEP’s domain. State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, said he was disappointed that Range representatives did not attend, but he thought the hearing was productive.”
4. PA Creates the Market for More Fracking
by Marcellus Protest Group
“HARRISBURG: Political favors to the fracking industry didn’t end with enactment of Pennsylvania’s notorious Act 13. That law ripped our communities open for the drillers; now a new batch of legislation is being drawn up, aimed at turning our state into a captive market for fracked gas.
Under the Orwellian banner of Marcellus Works, Republicans propose to wrap layer upon layer of natural gas give-aways into state law, inviting the gas industry to feast upon Pennsylvanians for years to come.
Nine special-interest bills will be on the docket this fall. If adopted, they will suck up to $100 million per year from the state budget, using it to guarantee future consumption of natural gas across the state.
Ironically, Act 13 itself contains earmarks for “natural gas development.” In the first year of gas “impact fees”, more than 5% of such payments were plowed back into building markets for fracked gas. But the GOP now proposes to tap directly into the state’s General Fund, for ten times as much more money, while leaving Act 13’s handouts in place. The new bills include:
HB 301 (Saylor, R—York) Tax credits to fleet owners for purchase of natural gas-powered trucks. $25 million per year.
HB 302 (Moul, R—Adams) and HB 303 (Watson, R—Bucks) Grants and loans to transit agencies for natural gas vehicles and generation for electric rail service. $12.5 million per year.
HB 304 (Marshall, R—Beaver) Statutory mandate on transit agencies to buy natural gas buses. (Unspecificed cost, which will fall on local transit authorities.)
HB 305 (Denlinger, R—Lancaster) Tax credits to build vehicle refueling infrastructure. $5 million per year.
HB 306 (Pickett, R—Bradford) Redirecting “Alternative Fuel” incentive funds to natural gas vehicles. (Cost not determined.)
HB 307 (Evankovich, R—Westmoreland) Exempt natural gas vehicles from air pollution standards. (Cost not determined.)
HB 308 (Saylor, R—York) Tapping the Clean Air Fund for additional grants for natural gas vehicles. $6 million per year.
HB 309 (Grove, R—York) Establishing a “Natural Gas Vehicle Credit” program for businesses to invest in natural gas vehicles. $30 million per year.
Only vehicles using “solely … natural gas” will qualify for these programs; thus every awardee (family, business or community) becomes locked-in to buying natural gas fuel for the life of these new capital assets, regardless of how high gas prices may rise.
The implementation of these bills would involve transferring money from other state agencies to the DEP, who would administer the pro-fracking awards. As a result, DEP will be carried even further away from its role of safeguarding Pennsylvania’s air, soil and water.”
5. Draft Regulations -- EQB Hearings
First Update of PA Oil and Gas Laws in 30 Years
“This fall, the state's Environmental Quality Board will be conducting the public hearings across the state to receive comments on this proposed regulation related to surface activities on oil and gas well sites. It will be citizens' only chance to offer verbal comments about the proposed rules.
DEP and the EQB have not yet announced when and where those hearings will be held, but Vilello said he hopes that at least one of the sessions can be held in the tri-county area comprised of Clinton, Lycoming and Centre counties.
The proposed regulations represent the first comprehensive update and strengthening of Pennsylvania's oil and gas laws in almost three decades.
According to state officials, the changes are partly based on "significant input from statewide environmental organizations," along with local government groups, residents living near well sites and industry representatives.
Of particular importance to Clinton County, where 80 percent of the drilling activity is occurring on state forest lands, the draft regulations would enhance consideration of impacts to public resources, such as parks and wildlife areas, protected trout streams, hiking areas, recreational facilities and sensitive environmental areas. The new rules would require companies to notify state resource agencies where they plan to drill, so agencies can recommend ways to mitigate potential impacts - but only gives them 15 days in order to do so.
The proposed regulations also seek the prevention of spills; the management of waste, and the restoration of well sites after drilling. The proposed regulations and supporting documents are available for viewing by clicking the "Draft Oil and Gas Regulations" button on the main page of the DEP website ( http://www.dep.state.pa.us/ ).”
6. Radioactive Wastewater From Fracking Is Found in a Pennsylvania Stream
Journal Environmental Science and Technology
“New testing of treated wastewater from fracking shows that it contains high levels of radioactive radium, along with chloride and bromide. In Pennsylvania, 74 facilities treat wastewater from “fracking” and release it into streams. There’s no national set of standards that guides this treatment process—the EPA notes that the Clean Water Act’s guidelines were developed before fracking even existed, and that many of the processing plants “are not properly equipped to treat this type of wastewater”—and scientists have conducted relatively little assessment of the wastewater to ensure it’s safe after being treated.
Recently, a group of Duke University scientists decided to do some testing. They contacted the owners of one treatment plant, the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility on Blacklick Creek in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, but, “when we tried to work with them, it was very difficult getting hold of the right person,” says Avner Vengosh, an Earth scientist from Duke. “Eventually, we just went and tested water right from a public area downstream.”
Their analyses, made on water samples collected repeatedly over the course of two years, were even more concerning than we’d feared. As published today in the Journal Environmental Science and Technology, they found high concentrations of the element radium, a highly radioactive substance. The concentrations were roughly 200 times higher than background levels. In addition, amounts of chloride and bromide in the water were two to ten times greater than normal.
“Even if, today, you completely stopped disposal of the wastewater,” Vengosh says, there’s enough contamination built up that you’d still end up with a place that the U.S. would consider a radioactive waste site.”
The scientists tested wastewater released by the Josephine Water Treatment plant (black square) into Blacklick Creek, which feeds into the Allegheny River, a drinking water source for Pittsburgh.
Between 10 and 40 percent of the fluid injected during the fracking process resurfaces, presenting a treatment problem for processing plants.
Much of the concern over fracking has related to the seepage of these chemicals or methane from drilling wells into groundwater or the fact that high-pressure injection can trigger earthquakes, but the wastewater recently tested presents a separate, largely overlooked problem.
Between 10 and 40 percent of fluid sent down during fracking resurfaces, carrying contaminants with it. Some of these contaminants may be present in the fracking water to begin with. But others are leached into the fracking water from groundwater trapped in the rock it fractures.
Radium, naturally present in the shales that house natural gas, falls into the latter category—as the shale is shattered to extract the gas, groundwater trapped within the shale, rich in concentrations of the radioactive element, is freed and infiltrates the fracking wastewater.
Other states require this wastewater to be pumped back down into underground deposit wells sandwiched between impermeable layers of rock, but because Pennsylvania has few of these cavities, it is the sole state that allows fracking wastewater to be processed by normal wastewater treatment plants and released into rivers.
These plants, many scientists note, are not designed to handle the radioactive elements present in the wastewater. Neither are they required to test their effluent for radioactive elements. As a result, many researchers have suspected that the barely-studied water they release into local streams retains significant levels of radioactivity.
This new work confirms that suspicion for at least one plant—which is about an hour east of Pittsburgh, and releases effluent into the watershed that supplies the city’s drinking water—and Vengosh believes that the findings would likely be similar for many of the other facilities in Pennsylvania. Especially concerning is the fact that, apart from in the water, the team found high levels of radioactivity accumulating on the sediments at the bottom of the stream over time. Radium has a half-life of 1600 years, so unless these sediments are removed, they’ll keep releasing radiation into the water for an extremely long period.
In addition, the high levels of bromide found in the wastewater is a concern, because even in slight quantities, the compound can trigger the formation of a toxic class of chemicals called halomethanes when it’s combined with chlorine. This is a problem because in rural areas, many residents treat well water by chlorinating it.
The study—which is part of a larger Duke project studying the effect of fracking on water—doesn’t show that fracking is inherently unsafe, but does show that without proper controls, the wastewater being dumped into the environment daily represents a very real danger for local residents.
Vengosh notes that there are better methods of treating fracking wastewater (he points to the plants operated by Eureka Resources as a model for adequately removing radioactivity), but these are more expensive to operate. But currently, without the push of federal regulations, companies looking to dispose of wastewater have no incentive to pay for this type of solution.”
7. Fine Print of EPA Rules Reveal Huge Giveaways to Big Coal and Gas
“Obama can't fight 'war on coal' by giving industry $8 billion in government subsidies, say critics.
"The EPA announced new regulations for the energy industry which will limit, for the first time, the amount of carbon that gas- and coal-fired plants can emit into the atmosphere. And though many of the larger environmental groups in the country welcomed the new restrictions, more critical observers of the EPA announcement argue the rules don't go far enough in terms of limiting emissions. Meanwhile the Obama administration, in fact, is preparing to use huge amounts of public money to prop up the U.S. coal industry. Such a scheme, according to one critic, "will make only modest cuts to power plant emissions" at a moment in history when much more dramatic actions are needed.
Pushing back against the idea that Obama has somehow initiated a "war against coal"—an argument used by Republicans and Conservatives to blast the new rules and conversely used by groups like NRDC and Sierra to champion them—the Campaign for America's Future Bob Scher asked his readers to take a closer look at the proposal. Citing New York Times reporting which shows the Obama administration plans to support the fossil fuel industry with "as much as $8 billion" in order to help it build the "cleaner" plants the rules will require, Scher concludes that "Obama is not launching a war on coal. He’s bending over backwards to keep coal viable."
And the Center for Biological Diversity, striking a much more adversarial tone than its larger environmental colleagues, declared the EPA rules and Obama's effort are far too imperfect to adequately address the climate crisis facing the country and the planet. “If we’re really serious about tackling the climate crisis – and morality dictates that we must be – we just have to do more than this,” said Bill Snape, the Center’s senior counsel. “That means a stronger rule for power plants and other serious measures that lead to deep cuts in greenhouse emissions.”"
8. Municipal Authority of Westmoreland to Audit Royalties Received From Fracking Near The Reservoir
“September 20, 2013 - The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County could earn up to $6.5 million this year in royalties from shale gas drilling on its 8,000 acres. And officials want to make sure they receive every penny they are owed. So the authority board on Thursday hired a consultant to audit the books for the 32 deep wells, along with other gas-producing facilities, on its properties.
Royalties from gas production have been a boon for the utility, which sells water to more than 125,000 customers in five counties. Through the first quarter of the 2013-14 fiscal year, the money received from gas royalties has outpaced expectations and has bailed the authority out of a projected revenue shortfall. Revenues from water sales fell $750,000 short of projections for the first four months of the current fiscal year.”
9. Residents Harmed by Fracking Present Petitions In DC
“Residents personally harmed by fracking held a press conference in front of the White House and delivered 250,000 petition signatures from concerned citizens across the U.S. to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The residents—including Ray Kemble from Pennsylvania, Steve Lipsky and Shelly Perdue from Texas and John Fenton from Wyoming—were all part of the EPA fracking investigations in their respective states that the EPA abandoned despite evidence of water contamination.
The petitions were collected by Stop the Frack Attack and Americans Against Fracking and its advisory committee member, actor Mark Ruffalo. The petitions demand that the U.S. EPA reopen investigations into fracking-related drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming and provide residents with safe drinking water in the interim.
This event comes a month after Dimock, Pennsylvania resident Ray Kemble and Susquehanna County resident Craig Stevens delivered more than 50,000 petitions to the EPA asking it to reopen its investigation into the possible connection between gas drilling and water contamination in Dimock.
“For years now, I have had to live with toxic, poisoned fracked water in my home,” added Ray Kemble, a former gas industry employee and an affected Dimock area resident, who was part of the EPA investigation. “When the EPA finally stepped in and tested my water, I thought ‘Thank God. Someone is finally here to help us.’ But then it became apparent to those of us on the ground that they were playing politics. EPA officials officially told us that our water was safe to drink but then told us off-the-record not to drink it. Now the truth is out and we want justice.”
In late 2010 in Parker County, TX, the EPA’s investigations led it to issue a rare emergency order because at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate without explaining why. A subsequent Associated Press story reported that although the EPA had scientific evidence connecting the driller, Range Resources, with drinking water contamination, they changed course after political pressure from the company and its lobbyists.
“President Obama told us that we would only extract natural gas if it didn’t pollute our water,” said Steve Lipsky of Parker County, TX. “The EPA knows my water was polluted by fracking, their own investigator told them so. Now I have to truck in my drinking water. President Obama, you need to tell the EPA to reopen its investigations.”
“The purpose of the EPA is to protect us all from these types of health and safety hazards,” said Shelly Perdue, of Parker County, TX, whose water and air have also been contaminated with methane. “The methane at my house is 18 times the explosive level. It’s time for President Obama and Gina McCarthy to stand up for our communities.”
More recently, the EPA abandoned its fracking study in Pavillion, WY, which found benzene, a known carcinogen, at 50 times the level that is considered safe. However, even with this evidence, the EPA handed its investigation over to the state of Wyoming, whose lead politicians have vocally supported fracking. Moreover, this research will be funded by EnCana, the very company whose drilling and fracking operations may have caused the groundwater contamination in question.
“The EPA conducted an investigation into the contamination of our aquifer, and discovered that drilling was responsible,” said John Fenton a rancher from Pavillion. “But rather than finish, they knuckled under to political pressure and turned the investigation over to the very state and company that denied there was a problem in the first place. President Obama needs to tell the EPA to reopen its investigations.”
This action follows the one million public comments delivered to Obama Administration against fracking on public lands as part of a growing movement demanding that the Obama Administration do its job in protecting Americans from dangers of fracking.
Organizations involved in the EPA petition delivery include: Berks Gas Truth, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Center for Biological Diversity, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Earthworks, Energy Action Coalition, Environmental Action, Food and Water Watch, Frack Action, Gasland, MoveOn.org, Public Citizen and Western Organization of Resource Councils.”
10. Air Pollution Destroys Health of Texas Fracking Communities
“September 20, 2013 – In the five years since the shale boom hit, the once-beautiful hills of south Texas have been transformed into a scarred, industrial landscape. Myra Cerny, her husband Mike, and their 15-year-old son, Cameron, suffer from a plethora of symptoms, from bone pain, rashes, and migraines to daily breathing issues and chronic bronchitis. Cameron has frequent nosebleeds and suffers from joint pain and other problems rarely found in teenagers. Mike’s blinding headaches prompted his doctor to order a CT scan. They live on antibiotics, painkillers and inhalers.
The family is living in the midst of an industrial zone. Eighteen wells sit within a mile of their house, 37 wells are within two miles – a normal density for the region – and there are several processing facilities. The chemical rotten egg stench can be overpowering, making the Cernys dry heave, eyes watering. The air carried hydrogen sulfide, which can cause dizziness, headaches and breathing and heart problems; toluene, a source of fatigue, neurological problems and kidney damage; benzene, prolonged exposure to this chemical can cause leukemia; and a host of other chemicals. Proving conclusive cause and effect from environmental exposures is always difficult. But Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist and a co-author of the Earthworks report, said that the Cernys’ health complaints correlate closely with those expected from these chemicals.”
11. Fracking Chemicals May Be Unknown, Even To Gas Drillers, Lawsuit Documents
“The documents are part of an appeal that a resident of Washington County, Pa., has made to the state's Environmental Hearing Board. The plaintiff in the case alleges that a Range wastewater impoundment, which holds water left over from hydraulic fracturing operations, contaminated well water.
As part of the discovery process in this case, a judge directed Range to release the full list of chemicals used in its drilling operations, including the components of all the products that are used at every stage in the gas drilling process. But Range says in its filing that it has been unable to obtain from its suppliers the ingredients in many of the products. Range has been inquiring with its manufacturers about the ingredients in 55 different products, including lubricants, drilling fluids, slurry and surfactants, according to documents. But in many cases, Range had not yet been able to obtain the information.
One example on the list is Airfoam HD, a type of surfactant used to release gas from wells. The list indicates that Range sent an email and made a phone call seeking a full list of components of the product, but had not yet received a response. The company that provides another product known as Flo Stop P, informed Range that it doesn't actually produce the product, they just apply a label to it and resell it. The reseller could not provide additional information about the contents. Other companies said they would not provide the information without a protective order.
One company, Hi-Mar Specialties, declined to provide additional information about its defoaming agent Hi-Mar DFC-503, saying that the information was "proprietary" and disclosure "would cause substantial harm to Hi-Mar's business," according to Range's filing.
"Range admits that it does not have an all-encompassing knowledge of the complete chemical formula of every product used at the Yeager Site by Range and/or its subcontractors, as some products contain proprietary compounds which may not be known to Range and many of the MSDS do not list the non-hazardous components of products," the company's environmental engineering manager stated in another document, posted in full below.
The documents derive from a case that dates back to 2011, when Loren Kiskadden, a resident of Amwell, Pa., first asked the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to look into potential contamination of his well, which is located near a Range drilling site. In June 2011, the DEP concluded that, while chemicals like butyl alcohol, chloroform, methane and acetone were found in Kiskadden's water, they could not be directly linked to Range's drilling operations.
Kiskadden is now appealing to the state's Environmental Hearing Board, alleging that the DEP did not do adequate analysis when it made that determination. An agency scientist also testified in a deposition related to the case that when it reported its findings, the DEP omitted some data on toxic metals identified in its tests on Kiskadden's water.
"The fact that Range does not know and cannot determine all of the chemicals used at its drill sites and placed into the Pennsylvania Environment is, in and of itself, almost inconceivable," the plaintiff's lawyer argues in the filing. They also argue that the DEP is "irresponsible" in not requiring Range to provide that information, and that Range should be found in contempt of the court for failing to do so.
Amanda Witman, a spokeswoman for the DEP, said the department could not comment on the case, as litigation is pending. But she said that, under a new law governing oil and gas drilling passed in 2012, companies must provide a report to the DEP within 30 days of beginning production at a well that "includes a list of ALL the chemicals used to fracture the well," including both hazardous and non-hazardous chemical constituents, as well as information claimed as trade secrets. Before that law, companies were supposed to disclose that sort of information to the DEP as part of their spill containment and cleanup plans. Witman said that, under current law, obtaining the chemical information is "the obligation of the operator."
Critics say that the DEP can't possibly enforce that requirement if Range itself says it doesn't have a full accounting of all the chemicals used in its processes. "How can Range Resources ever claim they aren't responsible for contaminating the water and air now that they have admitted they don't even know what chemicals they're using?" said Jesse White, a state representative from the 46th district that has been a vocal critic of the natural gas industry. "If they don't know what's in there, what can they test for?"
Range was one of the first companies to announce, in July 2010, that it would voluntarily disclose all of the chemicals that it uses in the fracking process.
"It's the right thing to do morally and ethically, but it's also right for our shareholders," John Pinkerton, Range's executive chairman, said at the time.
In 2011, industry groups, with a grant from the Department of Energy, launched an online database, FracFocus, to provide companies with a platform to voluntarily disclose the chemicals they use. But independent studies have criticized FracFocus for providing incomplete information, with many wells not listed in the database at all. Fracking critics say that voluntary reporting requirements are not strong enough.
White said he plans to introduce legislation that would force companies to disclose all chemicals used throughout the fracking process, and would require the DEP to keep a list of the chemicals that companies intend to use in a database before the companies are given a permit to drill. "Range has this very well-varnished public perception that they're disclosing what they're using," White said. "Range has been bragging that they're the first to voluntarily disclose for years now, which is clearly a lie."
12. Looking For Sites To Inject Region’s Fracking Residue
‘Battelle scientists are leading a search for sites where companies can pump fracking waste underground in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The two-year project, funded by a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, is a response to the growing amount of polluted wastewater that bubbles out of fracked shale wells. Millions of barrels of the waste are pumped into disposal wells, many of which are in Ohio.
“That’s one of our objectives. Where is the injection capacity?” Gupta said.
Right now, it’s in Ohio, where more than 14.2 million barrels of fracking fluids and related waste from oil and gas wells were pumped into 190 disposal wells last year. That was a 12 percent increase over 2011.
Much of the waste — 8.16 million barrels last year — came from Pennsylvania, which has seven active disposal wells. West Virginia has 63 disposal wells.
Environmental advocates say they worry that old, poorly maintained disposal wells will leak pollutants to groundwater.
“Ohio has injected enough waste into all of the different strata,” said Teresa Mills, fracking coordinator for the Buckeye Forest Council. “They just need to stop it.”
13. Water Contamination in Parker County Texas Exceeds Explosive Limits
Range’s Water Tests Do Not Match Independent Testing
‘PARKER COUNTY — Parker County residents say their problem has gone from bad to explosive. They also say they have the test results to back up their assertions.
A handful of Parker County residents said it all started around 2009 when their tap water started to bubble and stink.
Their water wells were filling with volumes of methane gas. Logic told them two newly drilled natural gas wells near their homes were to blame.
Their complaints to state oil and gas regulators at the Texas Railroad Commission went nowhere.
Tests performed by the drillers themselves showed only minor contamination. What methane was there, they claimed, has been naturally occurring for years. They said one of the residents' wells was actually drilled 70 feet too deeply into a shallow gas-bearing formation called the Strawn.
` By 2011, the Texas Railroad Commission declared the case closed.
Unwilling to give up, homeowner Steve Lipsky has now paid for his own series of tests. He used the same instrumentation and the same kind of tests conducted two years ago. The findings now show the levels of methane coming from their water wells are off the charts.
One day earlier this month, the fumes coming out of Lipsky's water well measured 162,000 parts per million; 50,000 ppm is considered "explosive."
"And just by knowing that the methane levels normally at 50,000 parts per million is extremely explosive, this is scary,” said air monitoring technician Buddy Alexander with Stacy Systems of Fort Worth.
A few blocks away, at Shelly Perdue's water well, the same test was conducted with the same instrumentation. Inside Perdue's house with the tap water running, the technician discovered another danger — the inside ambient air detecting 63 parts per million of methane. When asked if that figure represents a dangerous level of gas in Perdue’s home, Alexander replied: “Yes it is; yes it is."
So now, more than ever, Lipsky and Perdue suspect the gas well just down the street is to blame.
An environmental scientist hired by Lipsky, Dr. Bryce Payne of Pennsylvania, witnessed the recent tests and even conducted his own. His greatest concern: A buildup of methane gas inside Perdue’s water tank.
"That holding tank was functionally a methane bomb that could ignite at any time, explosively,” Payne said.
But tests conducted in 2010 by the drilling company, Range Resources, showed only minute levels of methane around Perdue's water wellhead.
The company hired by Lipsky recorded 140,000 parts per million in that same space three years later. The air around Lipsky's water wellhead tested even higher — 158,000 parts per million of methane.
Yet the same tests done by the drilling company in 2010 recorded zero methane.
But there's more.
Last December, Duke University scientists measured methane levels in Lipsky and Perdue's water itself. Anything above 10 parts per million is considered unacceptable.
Duke’s researchers found methane levels of 41 and 54 parts per million.
Tests conducted by Range Resources measured methane levels of only 2.3 and 2.8 parts per million.
Next door to Lipsky, Elizabeth Falconer's well water is so contaminated with chloride or salt, the wellhead installed in 2000 is corroded and flaking. She has spent thousands of dollars on a water filtration system since the gas wells were drilled in 2009.
"My water was fine when we first moved here in 2000,” Falconer said. “Today, without super cleaning it, I wouldn't drink it."
Earlier this summer, News Eight obtained documents showing that one of the two nearby gas wells called the Butler Unit experienced problems right after it was drilled. Natural gas pressure was building-up at the wellhead.
News 8 later discovered that the drilling company had not sealed off all of the down well gas zones with cement, as recommended throughout the industry.
A recently released Duke University study in Pennsylvania links well water contamination with faulty gas well construction.
Dr. Payne believes failure to properly cement the well is causing the problem here in Texas. "It is my opinion that it is likely to be because the amount of the contamination, the speed of onset, and recent observations indicate that it's spreading over an area that looks like it's spreading away from location of the Teal and Butler wells," Payne said.
Lipsky said regardless of the cause, he knew the contamination was worse than was reported to the state by Range back in 2010. Now he wants the state to act.
"I don't feel any vindication until the Railroad Commission or someone comes forward and admits that this is a severe problem," he said. "Regardless of who did it or what caused it, we need to determine what's happening, what's causing it, and try to stop it."
Range Resources stands by its test results from 2010, and says evidence and testimony has proven that its operations are not causing water well contamination which, again, they say is naturally occurring in that area.
They say evidence suggests upset residents’ water wells were drilled too deeply into a shallow gas formation called the Strawn.
However, the Texas Railroad Commission has re-opened the case and plans to conduct its own air and water tests soon. ‘http://www.wfaa.com/news/investigates/Water-contamination-in--225126652.html
14. As Well Permits Decline, Wastewater Reuse Plateauing
‘As the rate of annual well permits issued in Pennsylvania decline, well operators are beginning to wonder what to do with all their wastewater. Each fracking job requires between 3 million and 5 million gallons of water per well. Finding sources for this water and dealing with wastewater left over from the operation is a constant challenge for well operators.
Yet, this ability to reuse wastewater has most likely plateaued, said Devesh Mittal, vice president with Aquatech, a Canonsburg-based company that handles water treatment for the industry. With the number of well permits in decline since 2011, "the industry is facing a waste disposal challenge," Mr. Mittal said. Dealing with salts in the wastewater will also be a challenge. University of Pittsburgh environmental engineering professor Radisav Vidic estimated that if current drilling projections hold true, 8 million tons of sodium chloride would be drawn from wastewater every year. ‘
15. Colorado Spills/Flood
“As reported on EcoWatch last week, displaced condensate tanks near Greely and Kersey, CO, used to store liquid waste from drilling operations, have tipped over and are leaking.
According to the AP, the three new spills include: 5,100 gallons of oil from a Noble Energy facility east of Kersey; 2,500 gallons from a PDC Energy location east of Greeley; and an unknown volume from a Mineral Resources operation west of LaSalle. The three new spills were discovered as flood waters began to recede. This brings the amount of crude spilled to more than 34,500 gallons, or about 822 barrels, so far since flooding began.
. “The more we know, the worse it gets, and it’s not over yet,” said Gary Wockner of Clean Water Action. “The State of Colorado needs to continue inspecting and reporting, and then testing water and soil for contamination.”
The COGCC teams are now tracking 11 “notable leaks” but continued to be hampered by wet and slow-going conditions.
“The industry needs to clean it up and be held accountable,” Wockner continued. “Afterwards, the state needs to initiate new rules for drilling and fracking near rivers and in floodplains to avert this kind of disaster in the future.”liquid leaks from a tank south of Milliken, CO, Sept. 19, as flood waters are starting to recede from last weeks floods Photo credit: AP Photo/The Denver Post/ Andy Cross
16. Report: Update on Hydrofracking
The Preventive Medicine and Family Health Committee of the Medical Society of the State of New York
Sheila Bushkin-Bedient, MD, MPH, Geoffrey E. Moore, MD, and The Preventive Medicine and Family Health Committee
of the Medical Society of the State of New York
Introduction and Background
Because of growing industrial and political interest in harvesting natural gas reserves trapped within the Marcellus Shale region, New York State physicians have expressed concern about potential short term and long term health consequences of fracking. MSSNY’s Preventive Medicine and Family Health Committee was charged with studying the subject and informing MSSNY policy on fracking, and recommended delaying the onset of operations. MSSNY Council adopted a policy on December 9, 2010 (Position Statement # 90.992) to “support a moratorium on natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until valid scientific information is available to evaluate the process for its potential effects on human health and the environment.” 1 Access this directly at: file://localhost/(http/::www.mssny.org:mssnycfm:mssnyeditor:file:2011:About:Position_Statements:2011_Position_Statements.pdf )
Following the publication of the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement by the Department of Environmental Conservation in September 2011, MSSNY responded to the request for comments on November 22, 2011. This letter reiterated MSSNY’s concerns about human health consequences and the impact on the environment. In addition, MSSNY recommended ongoing monitoring and analysis, including a Health Impact Assessment which should be conducted by the New York State Department of Health or a different, non-governmental, health organization.
The Preventive Medicine and Family Health Committee maintains the position that it is not possible to balance potential economic benefits with the risks to health and the environment until the Health Impact Assessment is completed.
Environmental Changes from Fracking and Their Impact on Human Health
Environmental changes inevitably accompany natural gas operations. Well pads must be built to support drilling rigs, and dirt roads are created to transport the millions of gallons of water, sand and hydrofracking chemicals to the drilling site. A similar volume of fracking fluid has to be hauled out, too.
These industrial activities disturb the natural environment by:
*Round-the-clock bright lights, noise pollution, and clouds of dust
*Air pollution from venting and leaking of toxic gases (including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hydrocarbons including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene
*Increased smog production (this occurs when VOCs combine with nitrogen oxides (NOx) from truck exhaust and ground-level ozone
*Deforestation and loss of land for agriculture and raising livestock
*Disturbance of wildlife
*Likely contamination of local water wells, springs, creeks and rivers
*Likely contamination of pastures, woods and backyards
*Contamination of fish and wild game from water pollution
*Loss of recreational space and clean air
*Leaking of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas
*Increasing the possibility of earthquakes
Chemicals used in Hydrofracking
….Moreover, when the resulting brine is withdrawn, there are residual compounds from the shale, including naturally-occurring radioactive materials (known as NORM). The resulting brine is toxic, and cannot be cleansed by wastewater treatment facilities. The drilling industry is exempt from being required to handle the brine as industrial waste. Thus, one important issue needing to be addressed in the Health Impact Assessment is the handling of hydrofracking wastes.
Dr. Theo Colborn and colleagues at The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) in Colorado recently studied the chemical composition of hydrofracking products used by different drilling companies in various states. They identified almost 1000 chemical products and nearly 650 individual chemicals used in hydrofracking, with at least 59 of them identified as involved in natural gas operations in New York. It is widely believed that there are many more, but these 59 are known with certainty. Using these data, 40 of the 59 chemicals (67.8%) had the potential to cause multiple adverse health effects and 19 (32.2%) were known to potentially cause deleterious effects to the environment. The complete spreadsheet of hydrofracking chemicals can be accessed here:
Potential Health Effects from Hydrofracking Chemicals
….. Many toxins cross the placenta, and newborns today are born with at least 200 to 300 chemical contaminants in their cord blood, and in meconium, amniotic fluid, placenta or in their mother’s breast milk. Furthermore, mixtures of different chemicals can act synergistically to potentiate adverse developmental effects and many serious chronic diseases including cancer, later on in life. These alarming facts caution us to pursue greater awareness and wiser, more carefully regulated approaches to future industrial endeavors such as hydrofracking.
Table 1 shows a list of 12 chemicals used in fracking, or found in the brine drawn out of the well. Most physicians will recognize that these are highly toxic substances.
(See Table 1 below, jan)
The following list briefly summarizes common effects of exposure to a wide spectrum of additional fracking chemicals.
*Neurological – behavioral and/or cognitive symptoms, may be associated with autistic disorders, behavioral and psychosocial disorders 18
*Respiratory – both acute and chronic respiratory effects, exacerbation of asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic restrictive lung disease, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer
*Cardiovascular – congenital heart disease, thickening of peripheral vessels
Gastrointestinal – nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
*Renal – acute and or chronic renal insufficiency
*Urological – Arsenic increases the risk of bladder cancer
*Reproductive – infertility, stillbirth, congenital deformities, decreased sperm production and poor sperm mobility
*Immunological – allergies, autoimmune diseases and immunosuppressant disorders
*Mucocutaneous / Dermatologic – irritant to eyes, ears, oro-pharynx, nose and sinuses
*Hematopoietic – blood dyscrasias
*Oncological – some chemicals are direct mutagens, laying the groundwork for later onset of various cancers. Other carcinogens, while not directly mutagenic or genotoxic, support the carcinogenic process by down-regulating tumor suppressor genes or by up-regulating tumor promoter genes.
*Endocrine – endocrine disruptors mimic the action of hormonal tissues or, alternatively, block endogenous hormonal activity of the thyroid, ovaries, testes.
Veterinary medicine provides a sentinel for potential human health outcomes, and reveals reason to be concerned about the effect of fracking on food supply. Animals are exposed to the same environmental challenges that we are, but are more vulnerable because they have fewer protections and more exposure. Anecdotal reports have found that both companion animals and livestock that lived in pastures or barns and drank water from nearby run-off from natural gas drilling operations have experienced direct mortality, and among survivors, failure to breed, stillborn and congenitally deformed offspring, and worsening reproductive health in successive breeding seasons. Additionally, some animals have developed unusual neurological conditions, anorexia, and liver or kidney disease 20. Some livestock that were exposed wound up in the food chain, either as feed for other animals or perhaps even on a supermarket shelf. Also, there are reports of deleterious effects on wild mule deer populations, with an increased risk of early mortality, reproductive failure, as well as weakness and death of newborns.
Table 1: Selected Toxins Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing
Route of Exposure
Effects in Humans
Effects in Animals
Severe irritation of eyes, upper
respiratory mucous membranes
and skin to very low
Permanent corneal scarring
Explosion related injuries
Highly corrosive to eyes, upper
respiratory mucous membranes
Oral – drinking contaminated water
IARC Group 1 Carcinogen:
Adenocarcinoma of the lung
Cancers of skin, digestive tract,
liver, urinary bladder, kidney,
lymphatic and hematopoietic,
Noncancer chronic effects:
Severe peripheral vascular disease, “blackfoot disease”
Arsenicosis: arsenic poisoning
Adenocarcinoma of lung
Oral –drinking contaminated water
IARC Group 1 Carcinogen:
Leukemia (acute myelogenous)
Noncancer acute effects:
Neurological: drowsiness, headaches, unconsciousness, convulsions
Skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract Irritation
GI: Nausea, vomiting
Noncancer chronic effects:
Blood dyscrasias, aplastic anemia, excessive bleeding, leukopenia
Developmental: low birth weight,
delayed bone formation
Carcinogen in experimental animals
Noncancer acute effects:
Neurologic, immunologic, hematologic
Low toxicity from inhalation
Moderate toxicity from ingestion
Noncancer chronic effects:
Similar to human findings
Severe respiratory and eye irritant,
Congestion of lungs, chronic bronchitis
Mortality at 19 ppm
Severe respiratory and eye irritant
Mortality at 150-200 ppm
(commonly known as antifreeze)
Ingestion of contaminated water
Low dose effects: eyes, nose and throat
Hepatic and renal damage
Fetotoxicity in rodents
Ingestion in contaminated water or food
IARC Group 1 Carcinogen:
Nasopharyngeal and sinonasal cancer
Noncancer acute effects:
Eye, nose and throat irritation
Noncancer chronic effects:
Eye, nose, throat
Skin irritation; contact dermatitis
Carcinogenic in experimental animals:
Nasal squamous cell carcinoma
Leiomyosarcoma of stomach, intestines
Noncancer acute and chronic effects:
Lesions on nasal epithelium and
lower respiratory system
IARC Group 2B Carcinogen:
Associated with cancer of:
Neurotoxicity (especially fetal and childhood development)
Male infertility (decreased sperm
Carcinogenic to experimental animals:
Adenocarcinoma of the kidney
Tumors of brain
IARC Group 3 Carcinogen:
(not classifiable in humans)
Non cancer acute effects:
Severe irritation to eyes, skin, mucous membranes
Damage to liver and kidneys
Mortality following high dose exposure
( 1 gram oral ingestion=lethal,
Death associated with respiratory failure)
Noncancer chronic effects:
Systemic disorders including
Carcinogenic to experimental animals:
Leukemia and lymphoma
Non cancer acute effects:
Severe irritant of eyes (immediate
corneal opacification in rabbits)
Irritant of upper respiratory
Neurotoxic to motor centers in CNS (twitching, convulsions)
Noncancer chronic effects:
Damage to lung, liver, kidneys, heart
IARC Group 3 Carcinogen
Noncancer acute effects:
Neurotoxic; fatigue, drowsiness,
headaches, nausea, unconsciousness
Oral ingestion, high dose=lethal
(associated with severe CNS
depression, pulmonary hemorrhage, myocardial necrosis, and acute tubular renal necrosis)
Noncancer chronic effects:
CNS depression, ataxia, tremors,
cerebral atrophy, impaired speech, hearing and vision
Inflammation and degeneration of
Maternal Reproductive : increased spontaneous abortions
attention deficit, cranial-facial and limb anomalies
Central nervous system depression
Immunosuppressed (increased risk of pulmonary infection)
Ingestion (food, water)
No information on acute effects.
No information on acute effects.
Inflammation of nasal mucosa
Ingestion (drinking water)
IARC Group 1 Carcinogen
No information on acute effects.
Noncancer chronic effects:
Anemia, necrosis of the jaw, brain abscess, bronchopneumonia and death (from oral ingestion)
Acute leukopenia (from inhalation)
IARC Group 1 Carcinogen
No information on acute effects.
Non cancer chronic effects:
Chronic lung disease, pneumonia,
Weight loss, hematologic disorders