Friday, October 18, 2013

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates                       October 17, 2013

*  For articles and updates or to just vent, visit us on facebook;     
*  To view permanent documents, past updates, reports, general information and meeting information
* Our email address:
*  To contact your state legislator:
                For the email address, click on the envelope under the photo
*  For information on PA state gas legislation and local control:      


WMCG Thank Yous
                              *Thank you to contributors to our Updates: Debbie Borowiec, Lou Pochet, Ron Gulla, Marian Szmyd, Bob Donnan, Gloria Forouzan, Elizabeth Donahue, Bob Schmetzer.
               *Thank you to Cynthia Walter and Mike Atherton for accompanying young adults who are here in Pittsburgh with Power Shift.  Kathryn Hilton of the Mt Watershed organized a flyering for the weekend in Crabtree and North Derry.
               *Thank you to Joe and Judy Evans for their kind donation of the printing of  fracking tri-folds  that we have been distributing.




*** WMCG Steering Committee Meeting  We meet the second Tuesday of every month at 7:30 PM in Greensburg.   Email Jan for directions. All are invited.


***Youth Power Shift -Oct 18-21

               “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:

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 or <605-553-8327>

Be a part in helping Shift the Power! We can’t do this without you!”

Power Shift


*** Oct 19   March for Our County Parks- Allegheny Co.- In conjunction with the 2013 Power Shift gathering.

2:00 pm. Saturday October 19

Start at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and proceed up Grant Street to the Allegheny County Courthouse.


***Oct. 25 - Mike Stout - Benefit Concert for Protect our Parks-Allegheny Co.  To stop plans to frack Allegheny County's parks.


***Oct. 30- Sen. Ferlo with Protect Our Parks to hold a Town Hall Meeting – Allegheny Co.


*** 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

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, PA  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  I’d like to have replies by 10/9/2013 to ensure we have adequate time to prepare.

 Suggested sessions:

-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 calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:



Take Action!!

Volunteers Needed!!


We need volunteers who will take an hour or so to distribute flyers in Westmoreland Neighborhoods.  You can help to inform your own area or we can suggest an area where people are leasing. Some rural areas are best reached by car and flyers can be put in paper boxes.  Please contact Jan if you would be able to distribute flyers. Meetings are good venues for distributing flyers as well—church meetings, political, parent groups, etc. If you can only pass out fifteen, that is fifteen people who may not have been reached.



The following petitions are still active.

***   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,

Randy Francisco

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)

Petition Background

               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

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.


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”


***Legislation Would Make 300,000 Acres of State Forest Land             Available For Gas Development

(From the Forest Coalition)

               “The bill says "Bridge Safety", but would require DCNR to make 300,000 acres of our State Forest land available for natural gas development.

               Rep. Rick Saccone has asked House members to cosponsor the legislation that would end the moratorium on drilling on DCNR lands.  Money from the leases would not go to DCNR, but to PennDOT. .

               The natural gas industry would smile over that, because the recent weight restrictions on 1,000 structurally deficient bridges resulted in some gas drillers being hit with detours for their 80,000 lb. rigs.

               It would hurt DCNR and the public because ending the Rendell Moratorium on new gas leases would be selling resources that belong to the people and irrevocably damage our State Forests. Former DCNR Secretary John Quigley had compared this to burning the furniture to heat the house.

               See DCNR's study, which concluded that there just isn't any DCNR land available for drilling:

 Click here for a copy of the draft legislation.


Call or email your representative (see link for addresses at the top of this newsletter)

Please tell your State Representative to not co-sponsor or support this legislation and to inform you of every action taken on the HB 1717.  And let us know what they say.”


***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



(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.


and then find your member’s email address by clicking on their photo in the member’s 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

Sign the ‘No Fracking in Our Parks’ PETITION.




Frack Links

***  (part of Sourcewatch) is a new clearing house for information on all things frack related. Both Coalswarm 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.

                              A new Shale Truth segment featuring various speakers,  can be seen on The Delaware Riverkeeper Network's YouTube channel every Wednesday at


***PA has only seen tip of  Fracking Iceberg-Dr Ingraffea

Dr Ingraffea explains that fracking has just begun, far more is planned, and consequently related impacts. 30-40% of all gas wells are leaking presently and this will be the case in the future.

5-10% leak immediately.  Of all wells drilled between 2010 and today in PA, 10 % are leaking.

Over 1000 people in PA have said their water was affected by fracking. . DEP has confirmed 161 incidents.


***A simple explanation of fracking


***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.


***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



*** Report:   Fracking by the Numbers

Environment America Research & Policy Center

Elizabeth Ridlington Frontier Group


*** Report: UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health

Authors: Kyle Ferrar, Jill Kriesky, Ph.D.; Charles Christen, Dr.P.H.; Lynne Marshall; Samantha Malone, M.P.H., C.P.H.; Ravi Sharma, Ph.D.; and Drew Michanowicz, M.P.H., C.P.H., all of Pitt Public Health.

Health Effects of Fracking There are cancer and non-cancer risks from exposure to fracking-related chemicals. But there is also a health risk from merely the fear of exposure. “

National Environmental and Public Health Impacts of Fracking

Fracking Wells since 2005-   82,000

Toxic Wastewater Produced in 2012 (billion gallons)-  280

Water Used since 2005 (billion gallons)-   250

Chemicals Used since 2005 (billion gallons)-  2

Air Pollution in One Year (tons)-  450,000

Global Warming Pollution since 2005 (million metric tons CO2-equivalent)-  100

Land Directly Damaged since 2005- (acres)-360,000


Skytruth Alert- An example of violations published

           Chevron Appalachia Llc

Violation Type        Administrative

Violation Date        2013-10-01

Violation Code       78.56PITCNST - Impoundment not structurally sound, impermeable, 3rd party protected, greater than 20" of seasonal high ground water table

Violation ID  679523

Permit API    129-28820

Unconventional      Y

County          Westmoreland

Municipality  Sewickley Twp

Inspection Type      Routine/Complete Inspection

Inspection Date      2013-10-01

Comments    At the time of inspection the well has been drilled and stimulated. The Operator was in the process of equipping the wells for production. The Department notes that the Drill Pit located onsite has been backfilled. The final report addressing the torn pit liner and the subsequent release of pollutional material has been reviewed. The following violations are issued for the Operators failure to detect and address a compromised pit liner, which resulted in a spill to ground and the addition of Portland cement to drill cuttings without prior approval.




All articles are excerpted. Please use the links to read the full article.


1.   Allegheny County Parks Fracking Update

               “On October 8 County Executive Rich Fitzgerald presented his budget proposal for 2014 to County Council, with a 2 percent increase in spending but no reliance on revenue from drilling or mining in County Parks. The Executive did propose outsourcing the ski operations in Boyce Park and introducing naming rights for park pavilions.

               After Mr. Fitzgerald left, seven people continued testimony related to shale gas drilling and coal mining in the County Parks. Several people focused on the recent discovery of radioactive waste water from drilling, another mentioned the need for an Environmental Impact Statement before any leasing of mineral rights is decided, and a stand-alone, sustainable 10-year funding plan was recommended for the regional park system. In response to a Councilwoman’s question it was stated that the 3-year moratorium resolution will be reported out of committee before November 1.”


2.  Industry Meeting Informs Local Officials in Smith Twp.

          Public and Representative Jesse White Not Invited       


               “While more than 100 local officials convened inside the Slovan VFW building in Smith Township Thursday for an invitation-only Marcellus Shale Coalition event;  four anti-fracking activists waged their own discussion outside.

               Craig Stevens of Montrose, who kept a hand-held copy of the Constitution in his back pocket, decried the event, arguing officials were not being educated by the coalition, but rather “indoctrinated” by the Marcellus Shale industry.

               At times, the conversation grew heated, as Stevens confronted Steve Forde, vice president of policy and communications for the coalition and asked him about water contamination. Stevens held out a stack of fake bills and asked, “How much can I pay you to poison your own kids?”

               Forde slapped the bills out of his hand and said, “I appreciate you telling me how to raise my children.” Smith Township police Chief Bernie LaRue stood by during the exchange, but all parties kept the peace, and the discussion continued without incident.

               Inside, Officials from more than 25 municipalities across Washington County listened to presentations on the state Act 13 and impact fees, and afterward had the chance to ask questions about the industry. Joy Ruff, community outreach manager of the coalition, described the sessions as “educational workshops” the coalition holds periodically throughout the region. Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, who helped organize the event hosted by Smith Township, said similar briefings have been held over the past month in Greene County and the mid-Mon Valley.

               Solobay said the purpose of the event was to discuss impact fees and ensure local officials were “aware of the funding that has been presented, what has been part of the Act 13 dollars that are coming back to the municipalities, how it’s divided, how it can be used and then ask if there’s any questions that anybody is having, whether good, bad or indifferent as far as the industry itself.”

                              According to Act 13, impact fees generated by natural gas drilling could be used by townships for infrastructure, recreational facilities or social services, to name a few options.

               Despite being open to government officials, State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, said he never received an invitation and only heard about the event from other officials. White sent one of his staff members to attend the event in his place, but questioned why his opponent, Paul Walsh, a Burgettstown attorney, was invited despite not being an elected official.

               “That was the thing that mystified me,” White said. “On the one hand, we’re being told it was for elected officials only, and then, lo and behold, my announced opponent is there working the room, and he’s not an elected official at all. To me, it’s been more like a Tim Solobay–sponsored political event.”

               Solobay said Thursday that a few independent contractors and representatives from the MarkWest natural gas processing plant in Chartiers Township were also at the event.

               Stevens, along with activists Ray Kemble, of Dimock, Robert Lee McCaslin, of Bath, N.Y., and Randy Moyer, of Portage, said he travels around the region to raise awareness about environmental and property issues pertaining to Marcellus Shale drilling.

               Stevens said they were not planning a protest, but wanted to attend the event to speak with elected officials.

               “We try to come and ask a few serious questions at meetings in front of elected officials and guess what we get – thrown out,” Stevens said.”          


3. DEP Approves Fracking Permit For Unleased Property

Shared by Melissa Troutman on October 17, 2013 · Public Herald

               “The (DEP) has issued a permit to Talisman Energy to drill a natural gas well under unleased property in Susquehanna County, according to landowners Steve and Joyce Libal and state documents provided to Public Herald. The permit would allow for fracking.

               “The only reason we know about the permit concerning our property is because a guy stopped by our farm to buy beans…thank God this man’s wife likes to pickle beans,” the Libals wrote in an announcement posted in an online natural gas forum. Their bean customer, Grove Dody, turned out to be a councilman of the neighboring borough of Friendsville.

               According to Pennsylvania oil and gas law, drilling companies must notify municipal officials of plans to drill for natural gas. However they aren’t required to notify nearby or even adjacent landowners.

               “Neither Talisman Energy nor the DEP notified us of this application,” wrote the Libals, who doubled checked their property deed again just to be safe. They own all of their mineral rights, and have turned down companies looking to lease their land. But, they are surrounded by leased properties.


Steve attended the local township meeting and asked to see Talisman’s  application packet. It contained a map showing 12 wells. One of the wells is routed right through Libals’ unleased property. They immediately notified DEP via email on September 18th and sent certified letters to DEP Office of Chief Counsel Richard Morrison, Deputy Secretary of Oil and Gas Scott Perry, and geologist Mark Ansell, who conducted the technical approval for Talisman’s permit.

               After a week of silence, emails were sent to Ansell again on September 26th. He replied, “The application has been the subject of much discussion within the Department.  Presently the situation is under review by the Legal Staff.”

The Libals also contacted Talisman Energy. But according to the couple, instead of an explanation or apology, a landman claiming to represent Talisman called to ask how much money it would take for them to lease their gas rights. The Libals couldn’t be bought out, and Talisman went missing.

               On October 7th, they emailed Ansell again requesting the status of Talisman’s permit approval process. The next day Ansell forwarded an email from DEP’s Geologist Manager, Brian Babb:

“[I]t has been determined that the Department does not concern itself with lease issues on wells that are not subject to the Conservation Law. As is stated in the standard conditions of the permit, the permit does not give any rights the applicant doesn’t already have.  Neither the Oil and Gas Act nor Chapter 78 address leasing issues. Our review is based on the Act and the Regulations, which is exclusive of leasing issues.

“If an operator fails to acquire necessary rights before drilling, the operator could be subject to the laws of trespass as applicable.”

This requires the Libals to hire an attorney and take Talisman to court for the permit DEP approved.

(Note: Pennsylvania’s Conservation Law does not apply to wells drilled into the Marcellus Shale. It does apply to Utica Shale drilling.)

DEP Issues Permit Despite Libals’ Complaint

October 11th, DEP issued the permit to Talisman for the company’s plans to drill the Olympic Lakes Estates 9H wells, which included a route under the Libals’ property. According to the Libals, they received a letter from DEP on October 15th stating that if they had a complaint about the permit to contact the state Environmental Hearing Board within 30 days.

In an email to Public Herald, Oil and Gas Deputy Secretary Scott Perry wrote, “DEP does not have the statutory authority to deny a well permit based on a property rights dispute.” He added, “the landowner could certainly appeal the issuance of the well permit to the EHB if they wanted to. A better course of action would be to seek some kind of injunction in county court.” Perry believes his  agency would not “be liable for the trespass and or theft by the well driller.”

Spilling The Beans

               In the month Councilman Dody ‘spilled the beans’ the Libals’ have been consumed by worry and their own search for answers — and they’re not alone. After sharing their story online, the couple got an email from John Hotvedt, who alleges that in February he learned that drilling company WPX has plans to drill under his property without his knowledge.

               In an email offering advice to the Libals, Hotvedt wrote, “We learned through our lawyer that DEP never involves itself in lease disputes…DEP seems to have issues with regulating anything that isn’t strictly an environmental concern.  But it sure seems to me to be a prudent regulatory step for some agency.”

.Both Hotvedt and the Libals think state law should be changed to prevent unnecessary and unfair costs to landowners.

We hope Pennsylvania’s state legislators will prevent the DEP from doing this to other landowners by immediately working to modify existing laws or make new laws that do the following: 1) Prevent DEP from conducting reviews of gas-well permits that include unleased property, 2) Enact penalties upon any gas company that submits a gas-well application for unleased land, [and] 3) Require gas companies to notify all landowners whose property is included in a gas-well application,” suggest the Libals.

               “What if we had been in negotiations to sell our house while all of this was going on unbeknownst to us? Certainly we couldn’t have disclosed what we were unaware of to a potential buyer. What would have happened if that person had purchased the property and later discovered a gas well had been approved to run through it?”

               The Libals’ sent letters to PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane and PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale as well. Attorney General Kane’s Assistant Press Secretary, Carolyn Myers, confirmed receipt of the Libals’ letter in an email to Public Herald. “The referenced matter is under DEP’s umbrella…You may want to contact that agency,” wrote Myers in response to a question about whether DEP or any other state agency handled property rights issues associated with such cases.

Auditor General DePasquale, who’s currently investigating DEP’s procedures for handling water contamination cases, did not reply to Public Herald’s request for comment.

               DEP’s Scott Perry wrote to Public Herald on October 14th that Talisman would be withdrawing the permit application. However, the Libals’ haven’t heard anything from DEP or Talisman since receiving their letter about the approved permit.”


About Melissa Troutman

Melissa Troutman is a Public Herald co-founder. She has experience as a traditional print and multimedia journalist and has a passion for photography, teaching, songwriting, and dance. As Managing Editor for Public Herald, Melissa strives to unearth, or sometimes dust off and reorganize, stories that are valuable to all readers. You can email her at Follow on twitter: @melissat22 View all posts by Melissa Troutman »



 4. Political Booth at Cecil Festival Sparks Two           Resignations

               Booth solicits signatures to remove Rep Jesse White

               “Two members of the Cecil Township Parks and Recreation Board have resigned over an ideological divide sparked by a controversial political booth at the township’s Fall Festival last weekend. Al DePaoli resigned Monday over the stir caused by the booth, which was manned by the “Concerned Citizens of the 46th District.”

               “I resigned because I joined the park board to help the park, and not to fight political issues,” said DePaoli, who has served on the board for almost one year. “We’ve made some terrific progress improving the parks and doing much-needed work, so it’s unfortunate this issue came up.” Jean Gardner, who served on the board for three months, also resigned, but declined to comment. Volunteers operating the Concerned Citizens booth solicited signatures for a petition to remove state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, from office.”


Bob Donnan Commentary---Background on the story…

               “If one were to guess, they would have to suspect that Cecil Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden was directly involved in this latest effort since she has taken such a lead role in the past, even travelling all the way to Harrisburg to campaign for Jesse White’s removal from office. “

               June 18th TV news report on Cowden’s trip to the state capitol:

               “ PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Cecil Township Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden had a very personal reason for making the four-hour trip from Washington County to Harrisburg Tuesday. “He should be removed by the Democratic caucus or he should resign,” said Cowden.”

5. Fracking Shallow Wells-Westmoreland County

               “Horizontal Exploration LLC  has drilled 3 horizontal wells so far and has permits for 8 more in PA. The wells are approximately 2,000 feet deep and extend 3,300 to 5,300 feet horizontally and use about 120,000 gallons of fluid to frack the shallow wells. The cost is about $800,000 to $900,000 per well.

               By contrast a Marcellus well costs from $4 million to $10 million and requires about 5 million gallons of water.  Horizontal Exp. LLC       Shallower wells are opportunities for smaller gas companies “Conventional laterals will never produce anywhere near the amount of oil and gas coming out of the deeper Marcellus wells” said Mr. Thompson, founder of Horizontal Exploration  LLC, but  LLC  is hoping for at least 10 times the bounty of a traditional vertical shallow well and a quicker payback period of about 18 months compared to 4 years.

               Shale rock is considered relatively impermeable, but sandstone is porous and gas flows easily through its tunnels so the pressure needed to frack is far less than what’s required for deep shale drilling.

               Penneco in Delmont has been fracking horizontal shallow wells for several years now at a depth of about  3,200 feet.

               The wells are closer to the surface and water aquifers but DEP says there’s no reason to think the frack fluids or fuel will reach water. “We certainly have less history on these wells, but so far no problems, said Alan Eichler, DEP SW regional gas/oil program manager.”

(Post Gazette, Sept 22, Anya Litvak, Directional Drilling)


6. Salem, WVA  Residents Sue Antero

          Quality of Life Suit


“CLARKSBURG — Twenty-four Salem area residents have sued Antero Resources Corp. and a leasing partner, claiming the Denver energy company’s operations have substantially hindered their quality of life.

               The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the residents by the Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler law firm of Charleston. Defendants are Antero Resources, Antero Resources Blueston and Hall Drilling LLC.

               “Since living in Harrison County, the Plaintiffs had come to expect and enjoy the quiet, fresh air, fresh water, privacy, darkness of night and overall peacefulness of the area,” the lawsuit contends.

               Antero’s hydraulic fracturing ventures have ruined water wells, damaged roads and homes (the latter through vibration) and created excessive traffic, light, noise and diesel fumes, the lawsuit alleges.

               Additionally, some of the defendants’ employees have harassed or menaced the residents, the lawsuit alleges. The plaintiffs are requesting a jury trial seeking damages. The case has been assigned to Harrison Chief Judge James A. Matish.”



7. Panama Canal Expanded to Transport  US Liquid Gas

               The many LNG export projects planned on the US Gulf Coast are relying on transit through the canal to reach Asia where customers pay the world’s highest prices for their gas.

               Global energy flows are set to be transformed by the $5.6 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, vastly expanding the volume of gas that will reach Asia from the US and raising pressure on the $100 billion-plus of proposed Australian liquefied natural gas projects to lift competitiveness.

               While the opening of the deepened and widened canal in 18 months’ time will enable increased volumes of coal exports from the US to Asia, the major impact will be on LNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

               The enlargement of the canal will enable large gas tankers and LNG vessels to pass through the crucial transit point for the first time, cutting shipping days from the US east coast to Asia from 41 days at present (via South America’s Cape Horn) to 25 days.

               Freight costs could be almost halved, putting the US on a par with the Middle East for transport to Asia.

               “While the opening of the Panama Canal will lead to unexpected changes to energy trade flows, it will surely accelerate energy arbitrage between the US and Asia,” Mr. Beveridge said. “The opportunities appear to be more related to LNG and LPG rather than coal and oil.”



8. Drilling Water Wells One Way to Foil Frackers

               “ It's been called the "water well gambit" -- the 11th-hour drilling of a private water well on the very spot a company has staked for commercial gas production. Sometimes the tactic used by landowners as a way to stop, or at least delay, gas development works. Sometimes it doesn't. Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. is hoping it's the latter case as the company battles landowners for the bounty that's found underneath their properties.

               The blocking strategy has been used in West Virginia for years, according to David McMahon, a West Virginia attorney who co-runs a website counseling landowners on matters such as how to stop unwanted gas activity. In a battle with oil and gas companies, "You don't have much on your side," he said. "They've got the money, they've got the experience, they've got the lawyers, and the element of surprise. And so one of the ways you can stand up for your rights, to have some reasonable use of your surface, is to drill a water well," he said. "Some gas companies may think that's not fair. We don't think fairness has ever been the standard on what gas companies can do to surface owners."


9. Voters in 4 Colorado Cities Will Decide On Timeout On           Fracking

Oct 13 - Front Range residents are forcing faceoffs over oil/ gas drilling in their midst, challenging the power of state regulators charged with balancing drilling and protection of health and the environment. Four ballot measures put forth by residents of Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins and Lafayette will give voters the chance to declare timeout — and, in one case, ban new drilling and industry-waste disposal.

               This resistance reflects Colorado's emergence as a battle zone for hashing out the national problem of wanting increased domestic energy production but also an environmentally sustainable future. Proponents say they're driven by health and environmental concerns as companies operating about 51,000 gas and oil wells around Colorado invest billions to expand — including drilling near neighborhoods and rivers.”


10. North Dakota-- Huge 865,000 Gallon Oil Spill Not           Reported Due To Government Shut down

                              “Over 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota in one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history.

               Though the spill occurred on September 29, the U.S. National Response Center - tasked with responding to chemical and oil spills - did not make the report available until October 8 due to the ongoing government shutdown.

               "The center generally makes such reports available on its website within 24 hours of their filing, but services were interrupted last week because of the U.S. government shutdown," explained Reuters.

               At more than 20,600 barrels - equivalent to 865,200 gallons - the spill was bigger than the April 2013 ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline spill, which spewed 5,000-7,000 barrels of tar sands into a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas.

               So far, only 1,285 barrels have been cleaned, and the oil is spread out over a 7.3 acre land mass.

               Kris Roberts, environmental geologist for the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Water Quality told the Williston Herald, "the leak was caused by a hole that deteriorated in the side of the pipe."



11. Fracking Company Sent Packing in Rockingham Co.           Virginia

(Note that in Virginia, the supervisor went to W VA to visit a fracking site and to become better informed. In Westmoreland County, supervisors and commissioners  have refused to attend informational meetings or do their homework . That absence of concern and willingness to be educated is negatively impacting  our environment, property values, and health. Let’s question candidates about where they stand on fracking and vote accordingly.  Jan)

Rockingham County, VA: Rockingham County had a problem. A fracking company had leased a swath of land. Residents were concerned that fracking for gas in their backyards would jeopardize their health, their water and land, and the local infrastructure. But the community rallied together and sent the oil and gas company packing.



               How did they do it? Education is key, according to Chris Bolgiano, who refers to herself as a “mildly amusing nature writer.” She says that Carrizo, the oil and gas company that came to the area with a 2010 permit application to drill a natural gas well in Bergton, originally intended to drill in a small, pastoral area of the county.

               “There had been gas drilling in these parts since 1935 and people thought they knew what gas drilling was all about,” says Chris, “so lots of people signed leases that allowed companies to drill on their land. These people thought a drilling rig would come in then pipe or truck the gas away. You could simply plant a tree in front of the well head and it wouldn’t be seen. But times change.

               “We had a few leaders in our community put together public meetings to explain what fracking is all about,” Chris explains. “Then a district supervisor (who had been pro-fracking) visited a hydro-fracking site in West Virginia: He was appalled by what he saw and is now fervently opposed to fracking.”


Chris says that several things changed the supervisor’s mind about fracking.

1.     The extent of the industrialization. He saw massive sites; instead of just one well pad there were many different kinds of pads, from compressor pads to truck transfer stations that had totally fragmented and torn up the countryside.

2.     Truck traffic. The supervisor had been fighting to improve the roads; now the trucks were tearing them up physically. Add to the fray noise and air pollution - 24/7. Only if the county enforces some kind of indemnity could they hope to get something back. In other words, the county has to have regulations in place so that the gas and oil companies fix their mess, otherwise the county has to cough it up, adding insult to injury. And accidents occur. Some towns even reported that children were killed in truck and pedestrian accidents. Trucks spilled fracking fluid into creeks, killing wildlife. Some counties allow the gas company to spray fracking fluid on the road to keep down the dust, making people ill.

3.     The  fracking companies promised employment. The supervisor looked at the license plates of workers, and very few locals were hired. Most company employees are transients - they follow the drilling rigs. A huge cohort of relatively young men bring with them alcohol and drug problems, prostitution and crime.

The fracking companies also promised that the community would benefit economically by renting out rooms, bring business to local restaurants and grocery stores, etc. But that boom to rural towns is temporary. “The increased job scene that fracking promises is a myth,” says Chris. “When I toured and researched West Virginia, I concluded that you are undertaking an enormous risk when you frack and for what? To make a few people rich. And now they want to export it!”

How to say NO to Fracking

               Chris advises people to start with neighborhood meetings and share information. “When people sign leases, the gas companies will offer you the absolute lowest amount of money for a lease and there can be enormous discrepancies,” she says. “For instance, your neighbor could get ten times more money than you. But if you all band together and decide not to sign, you will deny them access. Now they might go down the road to another community, or even to another state.

            “When it comes to horizontal drilling, they might be drilling under your land if your neighbor signs a lease. You may not even know it is happening. It depends on the kinds of laws and ordinances your particular community has, so find someone - ideally at your town hall - who can explain the laws and what is permitted.”

               Generally before a company is granted a permit to drill there is a public hearing. Again this depends on the locality. Chris suggests the role of education comes into play before they consider giving a drilling permit or not. “Of course the request to drill is what generates interest so there may not be much time to act,” she adds. “Be proactive and go to those meetings, and if you are living in a community on top of those shale formations, you really should start looking at the issue long before a company comes in.

“Most people in these parts own their own land. If the owner signs a lease and a drilling company comes in, everyone in that area can potentially be impacted. Gas and oil companies are moving closer to towns, and on campuses. Start by protesting.”

               Carrizo, the oil and gas company that was sent packing, had a permit application in 2010, and leased more than 7,100 acres of private land in the county. It gave up on gas drilling in Rockingham County, and is not renewing any of its local oil and gas leases.

Chris is right: on its website, Carrizo states: The company has accumulated significant expertise in the drilling and completion of complex extended reach horizontal wells in resource shales located in densely populated urban areas and difficult terrains. Our business strategy is to leverage this core competency in pursuing exploitation and development opportunities in the most prospective North American resource shale regions.
Richard Thompson, Carrizo’s vice-president for investor relations, said that pressure from residents combined with low natural gas prices prompted the company to leave Rockingham County and it has no plans to return.

(I received this encouraging story from a friend. It was published in a newsletter for lawyers.



12. Arizona Solar Farm Ready to Power 70,000 Homes

               “A $2 billion solar farm in southern Arizona is ready to power nearly 70,000 households.


               Spanish company Abengoa announced this week that its massive Solana solar farm passed a series of commercial operation tests and is ready to go live. Solana is located about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix. The farm has 280-megawatt capacity and is the first solar farm in the country with thermal energy storage.

               The company believes Solana is the world’s largest parabolic trough plant. The farm contains 3,200 mirrored trough collectors that are 500 feet long, 25 feet wide and 10 feet high. The mirrors are mounted on structures that track the sun and concentrate its heat, later transforming water into steam to power a steam turbine. The thermal storage will provide six hours of energy for use after sunset or if conditions are cloudy.

               “These six hours will satisfy Arizona’s peak electricity demands during the summer evenings and early night time hours,” according to the company. “Dispatchability also eliminates intermittency issues that other renewables, such as wind and photovoltaics, contend with, providing stability to the grid and thus increasing the value of the energy generated by Concentrating Solar Power.”

               The U.S. Department of Energy loaned Abengoa $1.45 billion in 2010. Construction of the three-square-mile farm provided more than 2,000 jobs since building began three years ago. Construction required a supply chain that spanned 29 states, the company said.

               In addition to 65 full-time jobs for plant operation, Abengoa guarantees $420 million in tax revenues over the next three decades.”


13. Norway Invests in Renewables

               “With more than $750 billion of holdings in its sovereign wealth fund, Norway is on the brink of potentially making renewable energy investments around the world.

               Erna Solberg, who will be named Norway’s second female prime minister, has already heard proposals from her government to use sovereign wealth fund money to invest in sustainable companies and projects in developing countries, Climate News Network reported today. Leader of the conservative party, Solberg won the election in September.

               World Wildlife Fund is calling for more investment in renewable energy and decrease investment in coal, oil and gas. She hasn’t publicly discussed the specific companies and projects the country might invest in, but there are already high hopes.

               “If Norway actually does this, it will be an unprecedented shift in the global investment community and also for tangible action on climate change,” said Samantha Smith, head of the global climate and energy initiative at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

               Financial analysts predict that other nations will follow Norway’s lead and also invest in renewable energy projects. Pension funds in Denmark and the Netherlands already support the renewables sector.

               Legally, Norway’s fund can invest 60 percent of its money in stocks, 35 percent in bonds and up to 5 percent in real estate around the world. The fund owns large portions of some of Europe’s leading companies. Experts estimate that one in every $80 invested in global equities is owned by Norwegians.”


14. Vagt Steps Down as Head of Heinz Endowments

               “Formerly the president of Davidson College in North Carolina, Mr. Vagt came under fire from environmentalists earlier this year for his connections as a board member and stockholder in a Texas pipeline company. Critics said he didn't fully disclose his ties to the oil and gas industry as the endowments launched the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, a coalition of foundations, environmental groups and gas developers.

               In August, the endowments fired two key staff members, including its top environmental officer, Caren Glotfelty. Speculation swirled at that time about whether Mr. Vagt might also leave the philanthropy. Environmentalists criticized the endowments and said Mr. Vagt had a conflict of interest because he is a board director and stockholder in Kinder Morgan, an energy business based in Houston, Texas, that either has an ownership stake or operates a total 80,000 miles of gas and petroleum pipelines. He spent 17 years with oil and gas companies in New York and Texas before becoming president of his alma mater.”


15. French Court Upholds Ban on Fracking                 

“France's constitutional council has upheld a law banning fracking in France, keeping in place a law that had been a centerpiece of the Socialist president's campaign.

               Activists say fracking is disastrous for the environment, spewing dirty water, fouling the air and sickening people and animals. France banned the practice in 2011 over the objections of the oil industry. European Union lawmakers voted to require environmental studies from companies that want to use fracking.”


16. Romania Anti-fracking Protesters Block Chevron test Drilling

               “Pungesti — Hundreds of Romanian villagers opposed to fracking blocked a convoy of vehicles intending to start test drilling for US energy giant Chevron.

Around 400 inhabitants of the eastern village of Pungesti, including many children and women, rallied on a nearby field where Chevron plans to start drilling its first exploration well.

               The convoy was forced to turn around as protesters, some of whom had come in horse-drawn carts, called on Chevron to "go home".

               ."We will not let them drill here if we must die for this," said one of the villagers, Gheorghe Hrum, a retired forest warden.

"They came with policemen and bodyguards to scare us but all we want is to be left alone, even if we are poor," he added.

               The protesters also called on Prime Minister Victor Ponta to resign, accusing him going back on pledges to block shale gas drilling before he took power by granting Chevron exploration permits.”


17.  Gas Production Decline

From Bob Donnan

“After hearing Deborah Rogers speak a couple years ago, I decided to track nearly 200 Marcellus Shale wells to see if they resembled the same rapid decline in production that has been seen in Barnett Shale wells.  As I recently reported to you in “Dropping like a Rock” -- they do.  Deborah Rogers is set to speak in Colorado next week, and this recent post by Texas Sharon lends more details:


Analysis of more than 60,000 oil and gas wells shows:

- Shale well production declines more rapidly than predicted.

-  The rate of drilling must increase to maintain current production.

-  Shale gas production has become uneconomical in many areas at current prices.

-  Wall Street has played a key behind-the-scenes role in hyping the fracking boom.

- Industry is largely unwilling to invest in future shale development.”


For more information:

  Read the research at


18.  Kevin Begos-The Industry’s Reporter

(“I filed an ethics complaint regarding Kevin Begos with the head of AP, Pennsylvania, concerning the hatchet job he did on me; thin on facts, loaded with errors, and laced with innuendo.” Bob Donnan.)


 Editorial from “Times On Line”    Oct. 14


The Slippery Business of Fracking

 By the Editor

 “If you are concerned about the effects of fracking, why shouldn’t you talk to AP reporters Kevin Begos and Mike Rubinkam? Because you might end up like Bob Donnan, Victoria Switzer and Rebecca Roter.

               Donnan, a long-time anti-fracking veteran, was well aware of Begos’s reputation as an industry-friendly “reporter” and refused to speak to him when Begos and co-writer Michael Rubinkam were creating “Anti-Drilling Activists Change Tactics, Tone.” Published October 6, it should have been titled “Pro-Drilling Reporters Maintain Tactics, Tone.”

               Since Donnan refused to speak to Begos, Begos simply made things up about him. Since Switzer and Rotor did speak to Rubinkam, Rubinkam merely slanted their words and actions to portray the gas industry in a more favorable light, while making the occasional factual error.

               According to the article, anti-fracking activists are now rushing to embrace the gas industry. They do this either 1) because they‘ve come to realize that the industry, deep in its heart, really wants to protect our air and water, or 2) because they’ve made sneaky-Pete leasing deals behind everyone’s back.

               Switzer and Rotor, supposedly in the former category, are members of Breathe Easy Susquehanna County, a new organization founded and fueled by desperation. Surrounded by drilling rigs, their air and water already contaminated by chemicals, exhausted from shouting into the deaf ears of Pennsylvania’s pro-fracking politicians, BESQ was formed by its founders in what they considered to be a last-ditch attempt to work with the gas companies to safeguard already-compromised public health.

               “I support a moratorium and a ban,” writes Roter on the BESQ website. “But best technology and strict well-enforced regulations are what we need now as our air impacted 24/7. We live in the sacrifice zone… the poster children… and no one is saving us.”

               Note to Begos/Rubinkam: BESQ was formed by over 20 residents of Susquehanna County, not by Switzer and Rotor; Roter does not live in Dimock; and, according to Roter, “Mike Rubinkam twisted my words and story.”

 According to the article, Bob Donnan, an outspoken fracking opponent, sold out to Range Resources in February, then continued to badmouth the industry while raking in the fracking dollars. In reality, in late 2012 Donnan discovered that his family-owned 74-acre parcel of land was already in the process of being drilled by Range Resources, even though no one in the multi-member family had signed a lease.

               Oh yes, said Range Resources, two members of the family had signed a lease, and that was enough to start drilling. Donnan soon discovered that the two signers were not, in fact, related to him at all; when he decided to sue, not only did he realize how much it would cost him, but he also learned that should he do so, the legally-equipped Range Resources could simply blame it on an error of the landman.

               Meanwhile, spooked by Range Resources’s heavy-handed approach and the idea that one family member could sign a lease and destroy the entire property – of which she owned most of the surface rights – Donnan’s cousin hired a lawyer to draft the most protective lease possible. Donnan, who owned 1.5 acres out of the 74, was given a choice: sign the lease and receive royalties from Range Resources, or don’t sign the lease and let the company pocket his money.

               And that is how Bob Donnan sold out to the gas industry. I urge you to read more details on Bob’s blog, and here is an aerial video of what Range Resources has done to nearby Cross Creek County Park.

               Note to Begos/Rubinkam: Donnan “has” been an outspoken critic of drilling in general, not “had;” he is not a member of the anti-drilling group Marcellus Protest; and he did not speak to you because, according to Donnan, “I knew all they would do is twist my words around, and we’re talking about my family.”

               I am an opinion writer, which means my opinion can be so slanted it almost aligns with the horizontal pipes the gas industry is installing beneath most of Pennsylvania. Kevin Begos and Michael Rubinkam, however, are reporters, which means they are not supposed to have opinions. Or, for that matter, to make stuff up.

               Whoops! It must have been a slip of the pipe. I mean, the pen. Slippery business, this fracking.”




 Photos By Bob Donnan

These images leave little doubt about the rapidly expanding infrastructure and wet gas processing in the tri-state area.


Please see newsletter to view photos!

MARCELLUS AIR-Photos by Bob Donnan



Westmoreland Marcellus Citizen’s GroupMission Statement
   To raise the public’s general awareness and understanding of the impacts of Marcellus drilling on the natural environment, health, and long-term economies of local communities.
Officers: President-Jan Milburn
                 Treasurer and Thomas Merton Society Liason-Lou Pochet
                 Secretary-Ron Nordstrom
                 Facebook Coordinator-Elizabeth Nordstrom
                 Blogsite –April Jackman
                 Science Subcommittee-Dr. Cynthia Walter