Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates
October 24, 2013
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There have been many emails about the water problem in Westmoreland. An advisory was triggered after a filter plant evaluation Wednesday by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Households in 33 communities may be affected by a “deficiency of the filtration barrier” at the George R. Sweeney Treatment Plant in Bell Township, said Manager Chris Kerr.
All affected customers in the Beaver Run Reservoir system will be alerted via an automated phone message within 12 hours of the warning, Kerr said.
The authority asks all affected customers to boil the water for at least one minute, then let it cool before using, or use bottled water.
Any water used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation should be boiled, according to the release.
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/4943736-74/boil-customers-according#ixzz2ihRtAFrb
This is a DEP Guidance Document forwarded to the group..
“This is from the DEP's FPPE guidance document, and reflects why we got the advisory:
The regional FPPE staff will immediately conference with regional, district, and central office staff when the laboratory MPA results show that the filter plant, based on the sample analysis, is not effective in removing sufficient quantities of Giardia -sized or Cryptosporidium -sized microscopic particulates. Staff will review and discuss the filtered MPA results and onsite FPPE findings to determine if a breakdown in treatment occurred and whether a boil water advisory is
• In situations where both the filtered MPA results and the FPPE findings show that a break down in treatment occurred, the appropriate response is to issue a boil water advisory and require Tier 1 public notice. Other situations, where findings are less definitive, should be discussed in detail as a BWA may still be needed.
• If a decision is made to issue a boil water advisory, then during the same conference call, a discussion should take place concerning the steps that are needed for lifting the boil water advisory. The decision to lift a boil water advisory should not hinge solely on the results of follow-up sampling. The primary operational and physical deficiencies that caused the breakdown in treatment in the first place should be corrected before follow-up sampling occurs and before consideration to lift the boil water advisory. An on-site visit to verify reported plant improvements and review applicable performance data should also occur prior to lifting the BWA. The long-term reliability and capability of the plant should be considered when
determining follow-up actions. In addition, the distribution system should be flushed to remove any contaminated water and sampling should occur to demonstrate that the water is safe to drink.
These steps often become part of the consent order agreement if one is issued.
• Elevated chlorine is often used in conjunction with a boil water advisory as an additional level of protection against viruses, bacteria, and some protozoan. However, elevated chlorine should not be used in lieu of a boil water advisory, because elevated chlorine does not protect against Cryptosporidium Oocysts.
• The regional and district regulatory enforcement staff should take the lead with regard to contacting the water supplier, issuing the boil water advisory and requiring the Tier 1 public notice.
• Regional FPPE staff should complete a Boil Water Advisory Summary Sheet after all requirements have been met and the boil water advisory has been lifted.
*** 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.
*** Oct 25 Pittsburgh Environment and Health Conference
“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”
***Oct. 25 - Mike Stout - Benefit Concert for Protect our Parks-Allegheny Co.
Stop plans to frack Allegheny County's parks
Time to Build a New World-CD Release Party
Mike Stout is a socially conscious singer song-writer and community leader. He leads crusades against local and global economic injustice, rallying people with his music to take action.
Doors Open 6pm Show Time 7pm
Club Cafe (on the Southside)
56-58 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203
Purchase tickets online
***Oct. 30- Sen. Ferlo with Protect Our Parks to hold a Town Hall Meeting – Allegheny Co.
Join us and State Senator Jim Ferlo on Wednesday, October 30th for a discussion on the good, the bad and the ugly effects of drilling and fracking for natural gas in and around Deer Lakes Park. We need your support to ensure the protection of our county parks! Can you join us? Wednesday, October 30
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Highlands Middle School Auditorium
1350 Broadview Road
Natrona Heights, PA 15065
RSVP to attend or get more information here
Jan Jack, you know how vital our 9 County Parks are to our community. They provide free recreation and enjoyment to you, your neighbors, and county residents and are a key part of our local economy. Come join Clean Water Action at the hearing and make sure our parks are preserved for our children’s children. If we allow drilling in Deer Lakes which one of our county parks will be targeted next? Can you make it?
For Clean Water,
Tom Hoffman, Western Pennsylvania Director
Nov 12- Radioactive Drill Cuttings Reclassified - Columbus Ohio
Public forum Columbus Public Library
Tuesday Nov. 12th, 7pm.
The Ohio state legislature snuck language into the 2013 budget bill in June that reclassifies shale production drill cuttings from TENORM (Technically Enhanced Normally Occurring Radioactive Materials) to NORM (normally-occurring radioactive
materials), which makes radioactive content invisible to the regulatory environment. The "beneficial uses" clause of the bill allows these potentially radioactive materials to be used in applications, such as in landfills as clay liners.
The test case is right here in Columbus, where the Ohio EPA has permitted Ohio Soil Recycling (http://www.soilrecycling.com/services/ ) to receive drill cuttings (and according to the website, this material includes drilling muds which are still classified as TENORM) to be used as a claytopper to the Integrity Drive drum dump. This landfill is a legacy dump where barrels full of toxic wastes were buried over the past decades, and has a history of leaching toxins into the nearby Alum Creek. There are 39 licensed landfills in Ohio now susceptible to receiving these radioactive
materials which are completely de-regulated.
Presenters at the forum include -
Yuri Gorby - expert on microbe effects, particularly pertinent to the soil
remediation process used by Ohio Soil Recycling
Dr. Julie Weatherington Rice - geologist, Adjunct Faculty The Ohio State
University and Bennett & Williams
Terry Lodge, attorney from Toledo area who specializes in industrial
radiation contamination issues
There will be other speakers as well.
If you can share this with any networks that you are a part of, we would
look forward to having audience members from Pennsylvania as well.
Fresh Water Accountability Project www.fwapoh.com <http://www.fwapoh.com>;
Radioactive Waste Alert Organization www.radioactivewastealert.org
Guernsey County Citizens Support on Drilling Issues
***Nov 21 Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering,
Cornell University Butler, PA On the science, safety and debate over hydraulic fracturing. More information to follow.
*** Nov 25, 26 Facing the Challenges-- Duquesne University Researchers present on: Air and water, Animal and Human Health, Geological, Biological investigations.
***Nov 17 Fall Summit, North Park
“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:firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:
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 reaches fifteen people who may not have been informed.
The following petitions are still active.
***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: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/d_000603.pdf
Click here for a copy of the draft legislation. http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/CSM/2013/0/13205_3908.pdf
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.”
*** New Action----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 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 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 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-fracking 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 http://bit.ly/ShaleTruth
***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.
***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.
***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 when they became sick after fracking began in their area. http://pennsylvaniaallianceforcleanwaterandair.wordpress.com/the-list/
*** Report: Fracking by the Numbers
Environment America Research & Policy Center
Elizabeth Ridlington Frontier Group
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
*** 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. “
***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 )
Table 1 of the report 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.
Seismic Testing Announced in Westmoreland Co.
(Some of the seismic testing listed below is for gas drilling, some for coal mining. I have been told (since e-notice has not been working for my computer) that the 998 numbers are for seismic testing by companies affiliated with gas development . You can sign up for enotice if you would like to be alerted by the DEP about testing in your area. Jan
PA DEP to receive email notifications of permits issued for drilling: http://www.ahs2.dep.state.pa.us/eNOTICEWeb/CreateUser.aspx )
Date: October 18, 2013 Subject: eNOTICE - Changes to Tracked Permits
The following Permit Applications have changed as of Friday, October 18, 2013.
Authorization # 996095 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Subfacility ID=990311 Name=WHITESELL MINE eMapPA search
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 996241 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 996599 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 997369 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998012 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 997369 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
New Alexandria Municipality:
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
South Huntingdon Municipality:
Authorization # 993650 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Subfacility ID=1116285 Name=BONDI UNIT 1H eMapPA search
Authorization # 993651 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Subfacility ID=1116288 Name=BONDI UNIT 2H eMapPA search
Authorization # 993653 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Subfacility ID=1116292 Name=BONDI UNIT 3H eMapPA search
Authorization # 993654 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Subfacility ID=1116293 Name=BONDI UNIT 4H eMapPA search
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998044 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Authorization # 998012 has been updated on 10/16/2013.
Please note: The eMapPA search links provided in this email represent subfacilities for which DEP has collected locational information. The eMapPA system may not necessarily display data for a subfacility if there are additional security restrictions in place. Note also that the Locate button used to display a subfacility in eMapPA may only work provided you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or greater as your web browser. The DEP eNotice Application is a service provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
All articles are excerpted. Please use the links to read the full article.
1. Protesters Rail Against Drilling in Allegheny County Parks
“Oct 20 - The outdoor courtyard at the Allegheny County Courthouse is usually a quiet, restful place, but on Saturday it was the site of some seriously raucous street theater. About 250 people marched from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the courthouse to protest gas drilling in Allegheny County parks, led by county Executive Rich Fitzgerald -- in effigy. "Hey! Fitzgerald! Do not put our parks in peril!" the marchers chanted during a 15-minute walk to the courthouse, with Ben Fiorello, of O'Hara, hoisting the giant papier-mache and wood puppet of the county executive on his shoulders.
`Once they were in the courtyard, one young man shouted through a megaphone, "Everyone knows benefits from these projects only trickle down and all we get are crumbs!" "No more crumbs! No more crumbs!" the crowd shouted back. Then two people holding giant cardboard drilling rigs sporting a logo of Range Resources -- the Texas-based oil and natural gas producer -- hurled them to the ground.”
Protesters Sit-in At Fitzgerald's Office
Urge Plans to Frack County Parks Be Dropped- Deer Lakes
Monday October 21 – Pittsburgh – At around 12:30pm, 10 protesters began a sit-in at the Allegheny County Courthouse, blocking the main hallway in County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's office suite. The protesters are calling on Fitzgerald to drop plans to open up Allegheny County Parks for fracking.
The County Executive's office is currently reviewing proposals from gas drilling companies to lease the oil and gas rights under Deer Lakes Park for fracking.
“Fitzgerald is trying to cut a deal with the natural gas industry without seeking formal input from the residents of Allegheny County on this issue. There is no public participation process, so we have to create it and that's what we're doing today with this sit-in. We are bringing our message straight to Fitzgerald that the residents of Allegheny County do not want fracking in our parks.” said Ben Fiorillo of O’Hara Township.
The sit-in is part of a day of action against dirty energy to culminate the Power Shift conference. The sit-iners are joined by hundreds of supporters from Power Shift who participated in an un-permitted march to the County Courthouse following a rally on the North Shore's Allegheny Landing earlier this morning. The rally involved over 2,000 conference participants who are calling for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels
including fracked natural gas. The marchers arrived to the courthouse shortly after the sit-in began and are rallying outside in support.
Opponents to the plan to frack the parks highlight the health and safety risks associated with shale gas development.
“This plan will bring many more wells to the Deer Lakes area, and with it heavy truck traffic, noise, stadium lighting, and air pollution, all of which will impact park-goers and nearby residents, whether the well pads are in the parks or not,” according to Jessica McPherson of Pittsburgh who also joined the sit-in.
The three lakes which give Deer Lakes its name, are all fed by springs, which could also be impacted by fracking under the parks. McPherson continued, “What I'm most worried about is that fracking under the park will contaminate the groundwater which feed these three lakes. These lakes are a destination for hundreds of local residents. An accident
like that could ruin this treasured fishing hole and expose park-goers to dangerous fracking chemicals.”
2. Power Shift Marches In Pittsburgh
“More than 2,500 youth activists at Power Shift 2013 marched through the streets of Pittsburgh to confront corporate polluters and demand they join the fight for a clean and just economy.
“Big corporations, and elected officials all the way up to President Obama should know that our generation will use political and financial power to stop financing fossil fuels and permitting dangerous fracking,” said Maura Cowley, executive director of Energy Action Coalition, “We’re marching to demand PNC and elected officials stop being complicit in fossil fuel destruction like mountaintop removal and fracking, and work with us to build a strong, green economy”
Deb Thomas of the Power River Basin Resource Council in Wyoming, kicked-off the rally by enlisting the 2,500 participants to join the call on President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take real action on fracking, starting by re-opening the investigation into fracking-water contamination in Dimock, PA, Pavillion, WY and Parker County, TX. More than 270,000 petitions already been sent to the EPA by a coalition of organizations including Energy Action Coalition, Stop The Frack Attack, Americans Against Fracking, MoveOn.org, Food & Water Watch and more.
“The EPA studies in Dimock, PA, Parker County, TX, and Pavillion, WY, need to be re-opened because impacted people, who are forced to live with oil and gas development need information about what they have been exposed to. It’s critical to protect their families and their health. Our government must protect people not toxic industry” said Thomas.
The march went across the Roberto Clemente Bridge where a massive banner was dropped that said “Don’t Frack Our Water” and then marched across Pittsburgh, stopping at PNC Bank branches to demand they stop financing mountaintop removal mining, one of the most destructive forms of mining that is destroying communities in Appalachia.
The rally and march capped off Power Shift 2013, a national convergence of nearly 8,000 student and youth activists working on climate change, environmental justice and building a clean energy economy.”
3. Report: Know Your Driller- Shell
A project of Energy Justice Network
“This report analyzes data provided by PA DEP regarding violations cited for gas development by Shell Oil Co. subsidiaries through the end of 2012.
Key findings include:
Shell has a 5:6 violation-to-well ratio. Out of 603 wells drilled, we found that Shell subsidiaries, East Resources Inc., East Resources Mgmt. LLC and SWEPI LP, were cited for 494 violations by PA DEP. (I believe this statistic is reversed and should be 6:5, wells to violations. Jan)
90 percent of Shell’s violations were environmental in nature. Out of 494 violations, we identified 443 that were environmental in nature, which have, or are likely to cause harm to the environment.
Shell has been cited for a casing failure rate of about one percent of wells for a total of six citations. It is important to note that well casings are meant to protect aquifers from contamination by chemicals used in the “fracking” , process.
Shell was cited violations 45 times for Improper Construction of Waste Impoundments, 37 times for Faulty Pollution Prevention Practices, 25 times for Discharge of Industrial Waste. This presents imminent danger to surface and ground water supplies.
` The PA DEP classifies violations using two categories, “Environmental Health and Safety” and “Administrative”. Shell’s Environmental Health and Safety violations in Pennsylvania through December 31, 2012 totaled 298.
Of the 196 violations PA DEP classified as Administrative, 145 were environmental in nature (Table 1). In other words, nearly three quarters of all Administrative violations addressed issues capable of negatively affecting the environment.
Administrative violations were not counted as environmental in nature in this research if they were classified as “General”, “Failure to Notify Landowners/PA DEP of Activity Prior to Commencement of Drilling”, or “Operating Without the Proper Permits”.
The goal of this report is to provide a frame through which decision makers at an institutional, local, state and federal level can review the frequency and categories of violations Shell Oil Co. subsidiaries have accrued in Pennsylvania. It does not take into account air quality, microeconomic, macroeconomic, public health, midstream, or downstream concerns related to the gas industry.
Most urgently, Shell is drilling in proximity to Slippery Rock University and Mansfield University where university presidents now hold discretion as to whether or not to lease state-owned campus land for drilling. We hope that this report informs those campus communities, as well as our neighbors, about the risks of doing business with Shell.”
4. Research Study: Gas/Oil Air Pollution Associated with Leukemia and
“Our study was designed to test what kinds of concentrations could be encountered on the ground during a random visit downwind of various facilities. We’re seeing elevated levels of carcinogens and other gases in the same area where we’re seeing excess cancers known to be caused by these chemicals,” said UC Irvine chemist Isobel Simpson, lead author of the paper in Atmospheric Environment. “Our main point is that it would be good to proactively lower these emissions of known carcinogens. You can study it and study it, but at some point you just have to say, ‘Let’s reduce it.’ “
Carcinogens detected in emissions downwind of ‘Industrial Heartland’
Journal: Atmospheric Environment
“ Levels of contaminants higher than in some of the world's most polluted cities have been found downwind of Canada's largest oil, gas and tar sands processing zone, in a rural area where men suffer elevated rates of cancers linked to such chemicals.
The findings by UC Irvine and University of Michigan scientists, published online this week, reveal high levels of the carcinogens 1,3-butadiene and benzene and other airborne pollutants. The researchers also obtained health records spanning more than a decade that showed the number of men with leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was greater in communities closest to the pollution plumes than in neighboring counties. The work is a dramatic illustration of a new World Health Organization report that outdoor air pollution is a leading cause of cancer.
While the scientists stopped short of saying that the pollutants they documented were definitely causing the male cancers, they strongly recommended that the industrial emissions be decreased to protect both workers and nearby residents.
"Our study was designed to test what kinds of concentrations could be encountered on the ground during a random visit downwind of various facilities. We're seeing elevated levels of carcinogens and other gases in the same area where we're seeing excess cancers known to be caused by these chemicals," said UC Irvine chemist Isobel Simpson, lead author of the paper in Atmospheric Environment. "Our main point is that it would be good to proactively lower these emissions of known carcinogens. You can study it and study it, but at some point you just have to say, 'Let's reduce it.' "
Co-author Stuart Batterman, a University of Michigan professor of environmental health sciences, agreed: "These levels, found over a broad area, are clearly associated with industrial emissions. They also are evidence of major regulatory gaps in monitoring and controlling such emissions and in public health surveillance."
The researchers captured emissions in the rural Fort Saskatchewan area downwind of major refineries, chemical manufacturers and tar sands processors owned by BP, Dow, Shell and other companies in the so-called "Industrial Heartland" of Alberta, Canada. They took one-minute samples at random times in 2008, 2010 and 2012. All showed similar results. Amounts of some dangerous volatile organic compounds were 6,000 times higher than normal.
The team compared the Alberta plumes to heavily polluted megacities. To their surprise, the scientists saw that levels of some chemicals were higher than in Mexico City during the 1990s or in the still polluted Houston-Galveston area.
"For any community downwind of heavy industrial activity, I would say it's certainly prudent to conduct surveys of both air quality – especially carcinogens – and human health," Simpson said.
"For decades, we've known that exposure to outdoor air pollutants can cause respiratory and cardiovascular disease," Batterman said. "The World Health Organization has now also formally recognized that outdoor air pollution is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths."
Longtime residents near industrial Alberta have struggled to bring attention to bad odors, health threats and related concerns. The peer-reviewed study is one of few in the region and more investigation of the large and complex facilities is needed.
For example, Simpson said, it appeared in some cases that the companies were not reporting all of the tons of chemicals they release. She and her colleagues documented high levels of 1,3-butadiene that could only have come from one facility, but she said the company had not reported any such emissions.”
Other authors are Josette Marrero, Simone Meinardi, Barbara Barletta and Donald Blake, all of UC Irvine.
5. Air Pollution Officially Recognized as Carcinogen
(Reuters) - The air we breathe is laced with cancer-causing substances and is being officially classified as carcinogenic to humans, according to the World Health Organization's cancer agency .
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cited data indicating that in 2010, 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution, and said there was also convincing evidence it increases the risk of bladder cancer.
In a statement released after reviewing the literature, the Lyon-based agency said both air pollution and "particulate matter" - a major component of it - would now be classified among its Group 1 human carcinogens.
That ranks them alongside more than 100 other known cancer-causing substances in IARC's Group 1, including asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.
Wild said he hoped the comprehensive evidence would help the WHO, which is revising its global 2005 guidelines on air quality. The U.N. agency makes on recommendations on public health issues to its 193 member states.
Asked why it had taken so long to reach the conclusion, he said that one problem was the time lag between exposure to polluted air and the onset of cancer.
"Often we're looking at two, three or four decades once an exposure is introduced before there is sufficient impact on the burden of cancer in the population to be able to study this type of question," he said.”
6. Review by ‘Stronger’ Praises DEP GAS/Oil Regulations But…..
The Only Staff Member of ‘Stronger” is James Erb Who Runs the Reviews
Erb Worked for DEP Oil and Gas and Now Works For the Petroleum Institute
DEP’s Scott Perry Serves on the Board of Stronger
“A review of the Pennsylvania DEP’s oil and gas regulations has given the agency high marks. This was the fifth such evaluation of the DEP, conducted by the nonprofit organization, STRONGER Inc. (State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations).
“Pennsylvanians can be assured that DEP is protecting their health and environment while oil and gas operations continue to grow,” Secretary Chris Abruzzo said in a statement.
A team of six reviewers spent about five days examining the agency’s responses to a questionnaire about regulations and interviewing staff members at its Harrisburg headquarters.
The report praises the agency for its handling of the state’s recent natural gas boom: The review team commends DEP for increasing its staff levels to address additional permitting, inspection and enforcement activities related to increased unconventional gas well development. Over the past four years, as unconventional gas well development has increased in Pennsylvania, the Office of Oil and Gas Management has increased its staff from 64 to 202 employees.
STRONGER’s only current staff member, James Erb, was the director of the DEP’s Oil and Gas Bureau from 1984 to 2004. He helped found STRONGER in 1999. Since then, it’s conducted similar reviews in 22 states.
“I established the [DEP's oil and gas] program back in the 1980′s,” says Erb. ”It’s changed since I retired, with the Marcellus. I think they have a pretty good program in place.”
Erb now works as independent consultant for the American Petroleum Institute and the Independent Petroleum Association of America, in addition to his job with STRONGER.
“I run the reviews and do the training sessions and run work groups that develop the guidelines,” he says.
While Erb is the facilitator for the evaluations, the reviewers for this report were a mix of two representatives each from environmental groups, government, and industry.
The current head of the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas Management, Scott Perry, also serves as a STRONGER board member.
The reviews are voluntary and free for states. STRONGER is funded through grants from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, as well as grants from the American Petroleum Institute.
Despite the overall high marks, the report did find areas the agency could improve, including making its websites more user-friendly and issuing violations more consistently:
The review team has determined that DEP has not historically used a consistent method for issuing violations, making it difficult to evaluate compliance with regulations and DEP performance over time.
The report also notes that although the agency has increased its staff significantly in recent years, “certain sections of DEP’s Oil and Gas Bureau remain understaffed.”
7. Forced Pooling Case-First in PA
From Jim Rosenberg
*** WE NEED HELP! *** The only attorneys currently in the case are representing the driller, Hilcorp Energy, and the DEP. There ARE landowners who will be force-pooled against their will if Hilcorp wins this case, and they cannot afford an attorney. The activist on the ground there in Lawrence & Mercer Counties is:
Carrie Hahn, <email@example.com>
If you want to help, please either contact Carrie or me. We are hoping to get a pro bono attorney, but so far no luck. (Yes, we have contacted Deborah Goldberg; Earth Justice doesn't have the capacity.)
Speaking personally, I am not fond of holding my hand out and asking people for money, but it's looking like a fundraiser may be necessary. This is a really important case, and we don't want to mess it up. Jim Rosenberg
Forced Pooling Article posted by Jim Rosenberg
10/19/2013 “Most people who pay attention to Oil & Gas Law have focused almost entirely on the Oil & Gas Act, now replaced by Act 13. However, a much older law dating to 1961 called the Oil & Gas Conservation Law remains on the books.
Supposedly, the Oil & Gas Conservation Law only applies below the Marcellus Shale -- at "the Onondaga Horizon" and below, to be more specific. This law, never before invoked, includes a Forced Pooling provision. Forced Pooling amounts to a form of subsurface eminent domain, in which a driller can request "the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission" to issue a Well Spacing Order which includes an Integration Order. The Well Spacing Order allows many parcels to be developed together as a unit; the really nasty part is the Integration Order, which allows an unleased subsurface property to be integrated into the unit and fracked against the owner's will. Pennsylvania now has its first case under this law. The company asking for a Well Spacing Order is called Hilcorp Energy, a privately owned Texas company. The "producing interval" for this case is the Utica Shale.
The case has already become a bit convoluted even before getting started. The Oil & Gas Conservation Law was amended, giving the duties of "the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission" to the DER (Department of Environmental Resources). Then DER was split into today's DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) and DEP (Department of Environmental Protection). But they were a bit sloppy when the Oil & Gas Conservation Law was first amended: rather than actually changing the wording of the law to amend "the Commission" to read "the Department", the law still refers to "the Commission". Figuring out what this means was left to the reader. Readers assumed it meant the DEP. So, Hilcorp applied to DEP for its Well Spacing Order. But the DEP had a different idea. Because the power to adjudicate was given to the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB), DEP told Hilcorp to file its application there. The idea that "the Commission" meant EHB not DEP has come as a mighty big surprise to the EHB, but here we are:
At this writing, the only parties to the case are Hilcorp and the DEP. There are landowners who are not leased, do not want to lease, and are at risk of being force-pooled.”
8. First Drilling, Then Pipelines, Then Compressor Stations
Expansion of Compressor Station –Washington County
(from Bob Donnan)
(If you have noticed, the pattern is that DEP permits compressor stations then down the road, the industry requests expansion. jan )
` “This latest Pa DEP permit alert appears to be an expansion of an existing EquiTrans LP compressor station located between Finleyville and El Rama . EquiTrans is part of EQT. EQT is preparing to do some new drilling at nearby Trax Farm where Chesapeake first began drilling on the same drilling pad.
Now that a major pipeline has been brought up from the south into the Finleyville area there should be more action around there and on that side of our township where they are in the process of doing seismic testing. There is at least one other Chesapeake well in that area that is finally getting connected to a pipeline.
We’ve seen many compressor stations around Washington County begin with anywhere from one to three of these 1,350 HP compressors, with some of those stations eventually growing to 5 compressors of that same size (6,750 HP total). However, we have also seen some jumbo compressor stations built recently on each side of Burgettstown with horsepower in the 15,000 to 20,000 HP range.
My old saying is: “First comes drilling, then the pipelines, then the compressor stations.” So look for more of all three in the coming years.”
THE NEW PERMIT ALERT INCLDES 3 NEW 1,350 H.P. COMPRESSORS FOR THE EQUITRANS LP HARTSON COMPRESSOR STATION IN FINLEYVILLE (MAY HAVE INITIALLY BEEN BUILT AROUND 1997)
MAJOR FACILITY PLAN APPROVAL MACT AIR TOXICS PART 63
(4111 GASTONVILLE ELRAMA RD FINLEYVILLE, PA 15332
9. GASP’s Recent Legal Actions Reduce Compressor Station Emissions
“GASP’s (Group Against Smog and Pollution) legal team regularly comments on draft air permits and files appeals when necessary to reduce harmful emissions from natural gas compressor stations. Our recent work on two compressor stations in Southwestern Pennsylvania has helped limit air pollution from these sources and ensure that regulators are correctly applying air quality regulations.
Pa. DEP aggregates natural gas compressor station with nearby well pad
In response to comments submitted by GASP, the DEP recently aggregated a natural gas compressor station with a nearby well site for purposes of air permitting.
The Jupiter Compressor Station is located in Greene County and operated by EQT Gathering, LLC. In April, GASP submitted comments on this station’s draft operating permit. Our comments pointed out that there are a number of facilities near Jupiter whose emissions should be grouped together, or “aggregated,” and treated as a single source for air permitting purposes. Under the Clean Air Act, sources of air pollution must be aggregated if they are contiguous or adjacent to each other, under common control, and share the same Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. This rule can be challenging to apply in the oil and natural gas industries, which often involve many relatively small sources spread out over a large area.
Last October, DEP issued a guidance document explaining its policy on how these single source determinations should be made for the oil and natural gas industries. In practice, DEP has applied this policy in an overly restrictive manner that is inconsistent with the definition of a “source” under the federal Clean Air Act. DEP’s policy states that sources located within 1/4 mile of each other are presumed to be “adjacent” to each other; sources located at a greater distance may be considered adjacent on a case-by-case basis. In practice, however, DEP has tended to ignore any sources located beyond 1/4 mile, even though U.S. EPA has clearly stated that there should be no bright-line rule concerning how far apart sources can be located and still be considered adjacent to each other.
In this case, the Jupiter station and the Pyles Well Pad are located within 1/4 mile of each other; as such, under DEP’s policy, these sources are presumed to be adjacent to each other. Jupiter is operated by EQT Gathering, LLC, and the Pyles Well Pad is operated by EQT Production; these are both wholly-owned subsidiaries of EQT Corporation, and thus Jupiter and the Pyles Well Pad are considered to be under common control. These facilities also share the same two digits of their SIC codes. GASP pointed out that all three aggregation requirements were met here, and DEP agreed. As a result, emissions from the Pyles Well Pad were considered in the Jupiter station’s operating permit.
This station is the first example we have seen where DEP has aggregated a compressor station with a nearby well site in response to public comments. GASP has argued many times in comments and in litigation that similar sources should be aggregated, but DEP has not agreed with those arguments in the past. Although the decision in this instance did not result in any significant changes to Jupiter’s permit, it provides a useful example of a case where DEP has correctly aggregated these sources.
GASP appeal of Kriebel Compressor Station results in emission reductions
“In response to an appeal filed by GASP, the Allegheny County Health Department’s (ACHD) Air Quality Program and Kriebel Minerals, Inc. agreed to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the Rostraver Rt. 51 Compressor Station by 87%.
Kriebel Minerals’ Rostraver Rt. 51 facility is located in Forward Township, Allegheny County. It compresses and dehydrates gas received from nearby conventional wells. GASP appealed the permit, arguing that greater engine emissions reductions were technically and economically feasible, and required as a matter of law.
Ultimately, Kriebel Minerals and ACHD agreed. Kriebel will install a more effective engine exhaust catalyst, and maximum allowable NOx emissions from the engine will be reduced from 5.12 tons per year to 0.66 tons per year. While engines like the one operating at the Kriebel facility are relatively small, emissions from this type of source are worth the attention because there are so many small stationary engines in operation, and add-on controls to reduce their emissions are incredibly cost-effective. Better control of this category of sources has the potential to greatly improve air quality at minimal cost, and would be a wise approach for air pollution control agencies to consider as they work to meet revised National Ambient Air Quality Standards for NO2 and ozone.”
10. Pipeline- Westmoreland, Allegheny, Washington Counties
Commentary from Ken
“Again, the Tribune Review paper slants the story as to how environmentally neutral such pipelines are. To paraphrase .......”and pay a market price rent to the landowners, and what’s the big deal?”
The big deal is that fracking does untold harm to our fresh water supply. For example, ask your local elected official if its okay to inject some hospital waste into your drinking water supply? Of course not. But the myriad of chemicals used in fracking do not have to be disclosed (thank you Dick Cheney rule) and are injected into the earth. If you think that is as safe as the industry claims, then you’re ignoring the future of tainted drinking water.
It's not their water, it's all our water.” Ken
Sunoco pipeline meeting attracts friends, foes
by Joe Napsha
“The proposed 50-mile pipeline that will slice through southern and central Westmoreland County drew opponents, supporters and concerned emergency management officials to an informational session in the Hutchinson Fire Hall in Sewickley Township.
“If there is an accident (along the pipeline), I want to know how we can gain access to the site,” Paul Rupnik Jr., director of the Sewickley Township Emergency Management Agency, said as he viewed a map of the route of the Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. pipeline.
The pipeline would transport the byproducts of the region's Marcellus gas well production from the MarkWest Energy Partners L.P. gas processing plant near Houston in Washington County to Sunoco's terminal near Delmont.
From there, it would be transported by an existing pipeline to Sunoco's refinery in Marcus Hook, south of Philadelphia along the Delaware River.
The ethane, a component of natural gas, is used as a feedstock in the production of plastics.
The pipeline will affect about 400 property owners in Washington, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, said Joseph McGinn, a spokesman for Sunoco Logistics. It will cross the Monongahela River into Forward in Allegheny County, then cut through 35 miles in Westmoreland County. It will enter the county at Rostraver, cross the Youghiogheny River at Collinsburg and enter South Huntingdon. It will run through parts of Sewickley, Hempfield, Jeannette, Penn Township, Murrysville and Salem.
McGinn said that Sunoco Logistics takes a 50-foot permanent right of way for the pipeline, plus a temporary 25-foot right of way to work on the pipeline.
Michael J. Zima and his wife, Laurie, whose farm on Wachs Road in South Huntingdon would be affected by the pipeline, are fighting Sunoco Pipeline in court. An evidentiary hearing on the company's attempt to obtain a right of way through the family's property by eminent domain is scheduled for Nov. 19 in the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
“We're really upset,” said Carol Gracon, Zima's sister and one of the three defendants in Sunoco's lawsuit. Gracon said she had planned to build a house on the property where the pipeline would be placed.
Gracon said Sunoco did not try to negotiate with the family.
“In the process of negotiations (with a property owner), eminent domain is the last resort,” McGinn said.
Another informational meeting with Sunoco representatives is planned for 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Penn Township Municipal Building at 1010 Mill St., Harrison City. “
A 50-mile pipeline to cross from Washington to Westmoreland
By Tom Barnes
“Folks who live in parts of Washington and Westmoreland counties can expect to see a "big ditch" being dug across the region starting in midsummer.
Sunoco Oil Co. plans to construct an underground pipeline about 50 miles long, starting in Houston, Washington County, and stretching to Delmont, Westmoreland County. It will carry liquid products derived from natural gas, such as propane and ethane.
When they reach Delmont, the "hydrocarbon derivatives" from the natural gas will be shipped through an existing pipeline that stretches all the way across the state to the southeastern Pennsylvania town of Marcus Hook, on the border of Pennsylvania and Delaware.
The natural gas products to be shipped under high pressure through the new Houston-to-Delmont pipeline will come from the massive area of Marcellus Shale that is deep underground.
Sunoco said the pipeline is one part of a $600 million project called Mariner East. Mr. McGinn said Sunoco is "in the site survey process to determine the route of the pipeline."
The pipeline will be run just south and east of the Pittsburgh border, but the exact route and the exact properties involved haven't been disclosed yet. The precise route probably won't be known for at least two more weeks.
Construction "will follow existing utility rights-of-way wherever possible, to minimize impacts to communities," Sunoco said in a statement.
Houston Mayor James Stubenbordt said he hasn't been told which properties in his area will be affected. "Nobody has met with us to discuss this," he said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Delmont zoning enforcement officer William Heaps also said, "We haven't been told anything by anybody." He said a couple friends have told him their land in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, may be involved but he does not know anything specific.
"Outreach meetings" with officials and residents along the 50-mile route will be held at some point, according to Sunoco.
Mr. McGinn said the new pipeline will be 12 inches in diameter and is expected to be operational in the second half of 2014. The pipeline will be able to carry 70,000 barrels of liquid natural gas per day.
The majority of the ethane will be shipped overseas from Marcus Hook, while much of the propane will be used along the East Coast.”
Tom Barnes: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-623-1238.
11. Protect Our Children From the Nightmare of Dangerous Drilling
By MOB (Marcellus Outreach Butler)
“Currently, under Act 13, day care centers, schools, and hospitals are treated no differently than outhouses or industrial facilities in regards to protections from fracking. With so little known about the long-term effects of dangerous drilling and its impact on air and water quality, why would some insist on permitting toxic fracking and its associated infrastructure next to vulnerable populations? Concerned parents and community members have formed Protect Our Children to address such concerns.
On Sept 26, 30 parents and residents attended an educational meeting on the health risks of Marcellus gas drilling with presentations by Raina Ripple by Southwest PA Environmental Health Project and Dianne Arnold of MOB to discuss the recent flaring at Summit Elementary in Butler. On Oct 7, 11 people spoke out at a Slippery Rock School Board Meeting about the proposed lease of Moraine Elementary School. Protect Our Children is planning two educational events in the month of November. MOB will send out a MOB Alert when we are given more details.
A new PennEnvironment study found that there are permitted well sites within two miles of 190 day care facilities, 223 schools, and 5 hospitals in the Marcellus region. In PA, the number of day care facilities rose 60 percent from late 2010. Six different PA schools have had five or more fracking permits issued within a half-mile radius. As the drilling frenzy increases, it is clear that an increasing number of sites will be located next to vulnerable populations unless something is done to stop it.
The Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods commissioned a team of scientists and experts versed in drilling emissions and pipeline issues to study air quality around natural gas drilling sites near Fort Worth, TX schools and make recommendations. The study found significantly high levels of the pollutant carbon disulfide, which can travel over two miles from the source and is known to cause neurological, cardiovascular, behavioral and psychotic abnormalities.
They also found thousands of new sources of pollution (e.g. wellheads, tank batteries and compressor or processing sites) contributing to a steady flow of toxins. Benzene and carbon tetrachloride were key hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) at each site. Benzene is six times more likely to cause cancer in children than adults (a study conducted by the University of Texas School of Public Health in 2008).
The industry paints a rosy picture of the vigilant monitoring of activities and an unwavering commitment to safety, yet several recent revelations expose the fact that they continue to operate in the dark.
The Fort Worth study mentioned above discovered that there is no known pipeline impact radii (PIR) used when placing pipelines in communities. The PIR is the zone or area around the pipeline which will be impacted should an explosion occur. This is obviously crucial to calculate so no school falls within a potential PIR.
The early warning system failed when a 20,600-barrel pipeline spill in North Dakota was discovered by a farmer in his field. Apparently it went undetected by safety sensors that the industry often cites to reassure the public that pipelines are monitored 24/7 for even small drops in pressure that could indicate a break in the line or that oil has begun to seep out. The owner of the pipeline, Tesoro didn’t respond to questions about whether monitoring equipment was in place and working correctly on this pipeline. It took 11 days to alert the public of the spill.
In Oct. 2013, Range Resources admitted in a court filing that it doesn’t know the full list of chemicals used in 51 of the 55 compounds in its fracking fluid that is alleged to have cause contamination in Washington County, PA. When a judge ordered Range to provide a comprehensive list of the substances they use during the drilling process, they were able to procure the necessary information regarding chemical makeup for only four out of the 55 products they use. [read more below]
So if they don’t know what a safe distance is from operations, they don’t know when leaks occur until it is too late, and they don’t know what chemicals they are using, how can they guarantee the safety of those who live, work, or attend school near a fracking operation?”
Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods Recommendations For Policy Changes For Gas Drilling Near Schools, Feb. 2011
12. Seismic Testing- PA DEP Fact Sheet:
Exploration Blasting Associated with Shale Gas extraction
How are explosives used to support seismic exploration?
The small high explosives charges used in seismic exploration operations are similar to the small high explosives charges used in mining and construction to detonate larger amounts of explosives. However, the detonation of explosives used in seismic exploration is not intended to break rock as it is in mining and construction. The goal is to produce a vibration wave that will travel into the ground to help map the subsurface.
In small-scale, 2-D, seismic exploration operations 20-foot deep, 3-inch diameter holes are drilled in a line. These holes are loaded with small explosive charges. Crushed stone is placed on top of the explosives. The crushed stone confines the energy of the detonation allowing the vibration wave to travel down through the ground while reducing the energy released at the top of the hole. In 2-D exploration, the explosives are usually detonated the same day they are loaded. The charges are placed no closer than 300 feet from buildings or water supplies, including private wells or springs.
In large-scale, 3-D, seismic exploration operations 20-foot deep, 3-inch diameter holes are drilled in a rectangular pattern on an approximately 200-foot by 200-foot grid. The holes are loaded with small explosive charges and the remainder of each hole is filled with crushed stone as they are in 2-D operations. 3-D projects require the coordination of the placement of an extensive network of recording equipment over a vast area and the sequential detonation of a large number of holes by several crews of workers. Due to the scale of these operations, explosive charges may remain in the ground for months prior to detonation. During this period, the seismic exploration operator must ensure that the charges remain undisturbed and secure.
What should I expect to see at seismic exploration sites?
Seismic exploration operations that use explosives are conducted in two phases. The first phase consists of drilling boreholes and loading the explosive charges. Compact drill rigs that have all-terrain capability are used to drill the holes. These operations are usually conducted by two-man crews—a driller and an assistant. Sometimes, explosives are hauled in portable magazines mounted on the drills. Other times, explosives are supplied to the drilling or loading crew in all-terrain vehicles. Usually, there also will be some additional all-terrain vehicles to carry the material to back fill the holes after loading and to load tools and other supplies necessary to complete the operation.
The second phase of seismic exploration operations using explosives is laying out the recording equipment and detonating the explosives charges. On 2-D seismic exploration operations, and some small 3-D operations, the recording equipment is delivered to where it is used by all-terrain vehicles. On large 3-D projects, the recording equipment is delivered to where it is used by helicopters. The helicopters carry the recording equipment in large, brightly colored, usually orange or yellow, bags. The equipment is lowered to the recording crews on the ground. After the recording crews set up their grid of cables and position the portable recording devices, they detonate the explosives that were placed in the ground by the drilling or loading crews. The explosive charges are detonated sequentially. After all of the explosive charges have been detonated, the crews on the ground gather the recording equipment and prepare it for helicopter transportation.
Who regulates these activities?
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for regulating the storage, handling and use of explosives in the commonwealth. This includes explosives used during seismic exploration operations. DEP regulations cover the following aspects of seismic exploration:
*Blaster’s Licenses: Before conducting blasting operations, a blaster must obtain a blaster’s license. Candidates for a blaster’s license must have on-the-job experience, attend a blaster’s training course, and pass an exam specific to the category of license sought. On seismic exploration operations, a licensed blaster is responsible for loading explosives into the borehole or supervising the loading of explosives to ensure that the explosive products are not damaged during loading and that the charge is well confined. A licensed blaster also must be present at the detonation of explosive charges to secure an area around the detonation and ensure that the charge detonated properly.
*Blasting Activity Permits: All blasting activities in Pennsylvania, including seismic exploration operations using explosives, require a blasting activity permit (BAP). DEP’s blasting and explosives inspectors review applications for BAPs. Blasting and explosives inspectors are licensed blasters. The BAP application must include information that demonstrates that the blasting activity proposed can be conducted safely and in compliance with Pennsylvania’s blasting regulations.
*Explosives Storage Licenses: Explosives must be stored in explosives magazines approved and licensed by DEP. As with BAPs, storage license applications are reviewed by blasting and explosives inspectors. The explosives storage license application must include information that demonstrates that the explosives storage proposed can be conducted in compliance with Pennsylvania’s blasting regulations.
How do the blasting regulations protect the public?
Pennsylvania’s blasting regulations provide protection to people and property beyond the blast site as well as to personnel on the blast site. Standards are set to minimize the adverse effects of blasting to protect people and property, including those designed to reduce the risk of airborne rock and dust, propagation of near-surface ground vibrations, and limit the effects of air vibrations (airblast). The risk to people or property from seismic exploration operations is minimal due to the nature and scale of the explosives used. However, the regulations that apply to mining and construction blasting apply to seismic exploration operations as well.
Questions or complaints regarding blasting associated with shale gas exploration can be directed to the following District Mining Offices:
Knox District Office, White Memorial Building, P.O. Box 669, Knox, PA 16232, 814-797-1191 Greensburg District Office, Armbrust Professional Center, 8205 Route 819, Greensburg, PA 15601, 724-925-5500 Cambria District Office, 286 Industrial Park Road, Ebensburg, PA 15931, 814-472-1900 Moshannon District Office, 186 Enterprise Drive, Philipsburg, PA 16866, 814-342-8200 Pottsville District Office, 5 West Laurel Boulevard, Pottsville, PA 17901, 570-621-3118
For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Blasting.
13. Mt. Watershed Association:
Seismic Testing Facts and Information:
(A copy of this document is also attached to the Updates. Jan)
Seismic Testing - Protect your interests: Know your rights!
Nine steps you can take to protect yourself
1. Know your lease: If you do not own your gas rights your deed may or may not authorize seismic testing. If you own your gas rights and are leased, your lease may or not authorize seismic testing. It is important to read and understand the language of the existing oil & gas lease for clarification. If you own your mineral rights, seismic testing is your decision. The County Recorder of Deeds is where records are kept.
2. Know your tester: Seismic tests are conducted either by; A. Gas/oil companies looking to industrialize an area. B. Seismic analysts interested in selling the results to gas/oil companies looking for profitable areas to industrialize for gas/oil production–If the oil & gas lease on your property allows for seismic testing, this only applies for seismic firms authorized by the lessee.
3. Know your area: Whether or not seismic testing is happening on your property, it is important to know what is around you. Seismic Survey crews conduct archeological surveys before blasting. There is a legal obligation for the seismic company to map sensitive areas and plan accordingly. Communicate knowledge of active or abandoned oil/gas or water wells, earth disturbing activities, mines, quarries, historic buildings and sites, artesian springs, etc. to company representatives. If appropriate actions are not taken, contact the Greensburg District Mining Office: 724-925-5500.
4. Know your protections: If damage to property occurs, legal recourse requires documented proof of conditions before and after. The seismic firm may offer to complete a home survey before testing occurs, or you may ask them. Seismic firms are not required to do a pre-test survey. Requests from community members and area officials may influence a company’s offering of home surveys. To file a claim, it is necessary to have binding evidence.
5. Know your rights: Typically, agreeing to allow seismic testing does not enter one into a lease for drilling or related industrial activity on one’s property. However, it is important to read all documents carefully before signing. Consider having an attorney review any agreements for seismic testing.
6. Know their rules: Employees of seismic crews are required to carry identification. Asking for identification is your right.
7. Know their rate: If a seismic firm offers compensation, it if often marginal. The standard land use compensation per acre is $5-25 for seismic activities.
8. Know their game: If it is not in writing it is not likely enforceable.
9. Keep a copy of everything! Your detailed record keeping can protect you in the event an issue arises as a result of seismic testing. Keep detailed records of all activities and conversations and copies of all documentation in a safe place. Follow up complaints to the seismic firm with a call to the DEP. MWA assists community members by providing resources, information and support.
If you seek more information or involvement, please contact the Mountain Watershed Association at email@example.com or 724-455-4200. If you have legal questions, contact an attorney. Direct complaints and other issues to the Greensburg District Mining Office: 724-925-5500.
Information Specific to Ion Geophysical, Ground Hog 3D Blasting Activity Permit: 03124002
* Indiana, Westmoreland, Armstrong Counties.
* 30,000 holes are permitted to be loaded with explosives.
* Blasting will not occur within 200’ of an underground utility line.
* Blasting will occur within 800’ of a road.
o “When holes are drilled and loaded within 800’ of a roadway, these holes will be stemmed completely with crushed stone....With this type of loading and the 19’+ of crushed stone stemming, we are certain no debris will be ejected into the air.”
o “During detonation of holes 300’ to 800’ from a public roadway- traffic will be monitored for an all clear period and the hole will be detonated.”
o “When detonating holes within 300’ of a roadway- guards will be posted on the roads and traffic will be stopped or monitored for a clear period, prior to detonation and held until the all clear is given by the shooter.”
* Depth of holes will range from 6-20 ft; stemming (crushed rock fill) will range from 5-18 ft.
* No blasting will occur within 300’ of any dwelling, water supply or other structure.
* Sleep time for explosives loaded in the ground is 120 days.
* Notification must be given for when and where loading and detonating of holes will occur. This notification must be given to the District Mining Office which issued this Blasting Activity Permit 48 hours prior to these activities being conducted. (§211.124(a)(15))
* Explosives may not be left unattended nor be abandoned. Must be under permittee’s supervision and control and must be under continuous observation of the blaster-in-charge or a designee until safely detonated or removed from the ground. Measures must be taken to ensure the security and integrity of explosive charges that have been loaded in the ground until those charges are safely detonated. Acceptable measures include, but may not be limited to, using electronic detonators, providing 24 hour roving security personnel to check on the loaded holes, burying detonator lead wires to minimize the risk of them being tampered with, and minimizing the length of time between loading and detonating of the explosives (sleep time) to within two months of their loading is an acceptable with electric detonator use, electronic detonators are more tamper resistant and somewhat longer sleep times can be allowed with their use. Limiting sleep time with all types of detonators increases the likelihood of successful detonation of the charges as detonators are known to deteriorate over time. §211.153(e),(f),(I))
* Explosive charges should not be placed in areas subjected to ground disturbance such as areas where mining, farming, logging, construction occur. Explosives are to be kept under the permittee’s supervision and control. §211.153(e) For explosives to be under the permittee’s direct supervision and control when placed in an area subject to ground disturbance, the permittee must have the full cooperation of the person who is conducting the ground disturbance activity to ensure that the explosives charges remain unaffected, uncompromised, and not lost. Placing charges in the ground in close proximity to ground disturbance operations causes unacceptable risk for workers on those sites and the seismic explorations employees who drill the holes and load the charges as well. An additional reason seismic exploration operations must not be conducted on coal mining sites or quarries is that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and DEP have regulations that state that only individuals with MSHA approved training are permitted to be on mine sites.
*Information in this document comes directly from the Ion Integrated Seismic Solutions Blasting Activity Permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection Greensburg District Mining Office issued in October 2012 and expiring on December 31, 2013. Permit: 03124002
14. Solar Called The Solution to America’s Energy and Economic Crisis
“Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), praised the rise of the solar energy sector while attempting to galvanize its stakeholders at the Solar Power International 2013 event in Chicago.
Resch welcomed visitors to the gathering, with the following address:
“Since 2006, when the solar Investment Tax Credit first went into effect, we’ve gone from being an “upstart industry”—one that our critics predicted would fail miserably—to one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, today employing 120,000 Americans at more than 6,000 companies from coast to coast and pumping billions of dollars in the U.S. economy.
When it’s all said and done, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for America’s solar energy industry. And if we’re smart—and we keep working together as a team in the future, speaking with one powerful voice—the best is yet to come.
You know it. I know it. And a lot of people in Washington, D.C. know it, too, including the President of the U.S.
This year, America heard us roar. By the end of this year, we expect to have 13 GW of cumulative solar electric capacity installed in the U.S.—enough to power more than 2 million American homes, including the White House!
But we are just beginning. Next year, it’s estimated that an additional 5.5 GW of PV and 700 MW of CSP will be installed, which is enough to power another 1 million homes across the nation. All totaled, we’re talking about the capacity very soon to power more than 3 million American homes.
To put that in some perspective, our industry—by the end of 2014—will be cranking out enough electricity to effectively power every home in Delaware, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wyoming combined. Like I said, welcome to the Big Leagues!”
15. Thousands Worldwide Urge Leaders to Ban Fracking
“On Saturday, Oct. 19, thousands of people joined together in an international day of action, with more than 250 events on six continents, calling for a ban on fracking.
The second annual Global Frackdown 2, a project of Food & Water Watch, challenged policy makers to oppose fracking and support investment in renewable energy.
“Fracking is a global issue with significant policy and political implications both in the U.S. and overseas,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “In January, President Obama promised to take ‘bold action’ on climate change, but his plans to accelerate drilling and fracking will only exacerbate the problem. It’s time for him to be a leader on the global stage and reject fracking as many communities around the world have already done.”
A recent poll released by the Pew Research Group finds that opposition to fracking has grown significantly across most regions and demographic groups, according to Food & Water Watch. Overall, 49 percent are opposed to increased fracking, up from 38 percent in March. Scientific studies continue to confirm the inherent dangers of fracking to the environment and public health. American people are seeing through the millions of dollars being spent on advertising by the oil and gas industry, and are increasingly opposing fracking, according to Food & Water Watch.
Polls in key states such as New York, California and Pennsylvania also show high levels of opposition to fracking. A recent poll released by Siena College finds that 45 percent of New York voters oppose the state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to move forward with fracking in the Southern Tier.
“Fracking is an environmental nightmare–from contaminated water in New Mexico to residents getting sick in Pennsylvania to tons of global warming pollution released,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney at Environment America and co-author of Fracking by the Numbers: Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level. “As the truth gets out about all the damage done by this dirty drilling, more and more people are calling for a ban on fracking.”
Last week, the European Parliament voted to require energy companies to conduct environmental audits before commencing drilling and fracking, and a French court upheld a ban on fracking. Bulgaria and some Swiss and German states have also adopted a ban or a moratorium on fracking activities, and other European Union member states, such as the Czech Republic, Romania and Germany are considering a moratorium on fracking until an adequate regulatory framework has been is in place for unconventional energy projects such as shale gas, according to Food & Water Watch. To date, 383 communities in the U.S. have passed measures against fracking.
“All over the world people are rising up to say, ‘Instead of fracking for ever dirtier fuel, it’s time to tap the endless energy of the wind and sun,’” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.”
16. DCNR & DEP - A Failure to Communicate
The public is puzzled by the reluctance of the DCNR and DEP to reveal basic reports - even when required by law.
1 . The Climate Change Report which was required by Act 70 (PA Climate Change Act) was a year and a half late - and it took a Right to Know Law request to prod the administration into releasing it.
See the Patriot-news editorial. http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/10/corbett_not_eager_to_issue_global_warming_reports_required_by_state_law_editorial.html - incart_m-rpt-2
Note that the DEP Office of Policy attempted to have a section of the report deleted.
2. A second report, by DCNR, was due in the Spring of 2012. That agency's State Forest Monitoring Program was supposed to report on the Impacts of Gas Drilling on Our State Forests.
In the August 2012 State Forest Certification Audit, DCNR promised to make the report public. Upon checking with DCNR, we were told that the report "might be out this fall". . . Now we hear "it's being rewritten".
Write to your legislators and ask their help to get DCNR's report released
(cc your newspaper also).
Governor Corbett should allow his agencies to do their jobs in a timely, scientifically responsible way - without political interference.
R.Martin, coordinator www.PaForestCoalition.org
17. Fractivist barred from Cabot sites
Vera Scroggins SLAPP'd by Cabot
Bill Huston’s Blog:
“Oct 21 – Our friend and Citizen Journalist in Fracksylvania Vera Scroggins was dragged into court this morning by Cabot Oil and Gas. The relief was a temporary preliminary injunction to enjoin Vera from "trespassing on Cabot's property", because she is causing "irreparable harm to Cabot". After 4 hours of testimony and a dozen witnesses for Cabot, she was SLAPP'ed with the preliminary injunction. These kinds of nuisance lawsuits are called SLAPP suits, and are meant to intimidate people who are making a difference against corporate polluters and bullies like Cabot:
“Oct 22 - A gas driller gained a preliminary injunction Monday barring a local anti-fracking activist from trespassing onto its leased well sites and access roads. Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. filed the petition for injunction in Susquehanna County Court against natural gas opponent Vera Scroggins. A hearing date for a permanent injunction has not yet been set by the court.
In court documents filed last week, Cabot maintained that Ms. Scroggins has repeatedly trespassed onto several of the gas company's leased and owned properties, exposing herself, the company and workers on the sites to potential safety hazards. "What we've seen is an increase in frequency and also the number of visitors she is putting harm's way," said company spokesman George Stark.”
18. Will Democrats Fracture Over Fracking
“Some environmental leaders and fracktivists are hopeful the party will turn against the industry. And they have some reason for optimism. Already, Democratic governors and presidential prospects Andrew Cuomo and Martin O'Malley have upheld moratoriums on the controversial process in New York and Maryland, suggesting the issue could emerge as a potent one in a presidential primary. And this summer, the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee passed a resolution calling for all drilling to temporarily halt in the Keystone State. The resolution was nonbinding, but it was nonetheless significant in a state seen as ground zero for the country's natural-gas boom and where Democrats have been friendly to the industry.
However, any political shift within the Democratic Party won't come easily. And many party insiders and operatives think it won't come at all—because the booming industry offers too many economic benefits to too many groups, including members of the Democratic coalition. In addition, the environmental fallout, while a concern, doesn't stir as much worry as that from oil and coal.
At first glance, Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial primary next year looks like a prime opportunity for the party to swing left on natural gas. Fracking is a major issue in the state's politics. Primaries are driven by the party's base, which is friendly to environmental causes. And many of those voters live in or near Philadelphia, the one region of the state that hasn't benefited economically from the natural-gas boom. On top of all that, two of the candidates, John Hanger and Katie McGinty, are former heads of the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Department.
But operatives connected to many of the campaigns predict the campaigns won't veer left on natural gas. The politics of opposing fracking are complicated, even within the Democratic Party, they say, because most Democrats believe it brings jobs that are worth the environmental risk. "The flip side to appeasing the environmental lobby is that you open yourself up to getting roasted on killing jobs in Pennsylvania," said one Democrat working one of the campaigns.
The front-runner in the race, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, has already publicly opposed the state party's moratorium resolution. Few expect other contenders for the nomination, including Hanger, McGinty, State Treasurer Rob McCord, or businessman Tom Wolf, to take a stand in sharp opposition to the industry. The Democratic contenders will talk a lot about being sure to regulate the industry and levying larger taxes on it, said Chris Borick, a professor and pollster at Muhlenberg, but they won't go further.
Traditional members of the Democratic Party back the industry, not just in Pennsylvania but around the country. Among them are unions that stand to benefit from building the pipelines. And absent an environmental catastrophe connected to fracking, most mainstream Democratic voters haven't taken enough notice. Even Democratic leaders in deep blue, environmentally conscious states, like California Gov. Jerry Brown, have signaled they want to allow fracking.
"For the first time in my memory, you have a real live issue where environmentalists are lined up on one side, and pretty much the entire rest of the Democratic coalition is lined up the other side," said Matt McKenna, an energy lobbyist for MWR strategies.
The 2016 primary might offer a better chance for environmentalists to change the politics within the Democratic Party. Unlike Pennsylvania, voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other primary states don't benefit economically the same way those in Pennsylvania do. O'Malley and Cuomo—two of the presidential race's likely strong contenders should there be a primary fight—have already delayed allowing fracking in their states, so it's an issue that's already on the table.
"I'm not of the view that going into 2016, the entire Democratic coalition and base of the party is really 'We're happy with where we are on environmental issues.' I guarantee that's not the case," said Mark Longabaugh, a Democratic strategist with close ties to the party's environmental movement. He predicted that a Democratic candidate could push for an outright nationwide ban on fracking. "In the run-up to 2016, you may see candidates emerge pushing the party farther out there," Longabaugh said.
The Pennsylvania governor's race will offer a template for national candidates who want to move in that direction, but it will highlight the risks as well.”
19. Oil Companies Are Sued for Waste of Natural Gas
“In the sharpest challenge yet to the surge in flaring of natural gas in the Bakken shale oil field, North Dakota mineral owners filed 10 class-action lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in lost royalties from some of the nation’s largest oil companies. Roughly 1,500 fires burn above western North Dakota because of the deliberate burning of natural gas by companies rushing to drill for oil without having sufficient pipelines to transport their production. With cheap gas bubbling to the top with expensive oil, the companies do not have an economic incentive to build the necessary gas pipelines, so they flare the excess gas instead.
Bakken Flaring From Space
Flaring is environmentally less harmful than releasing raw gas into the atmosphere, but the flared gas still spews climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (And other toxic air pollutants . The group has several studies of flaring on file. Jan) The quantities of gas burned are so large that the fires rising above wheat and sunflower fields look like a small city in NASA photographs taken from satellites.
Flared gas has nearly tripled in the last two years in North Dakota, with almost 30 percent of the output in the state burned at wells, producing emissions equivalent to more than two medium-size coal-fired power plants.
The value of flared gas in the state is roughly $100 million a month, leading property owners who lease their lands to the oil companies to believe they are losing money even though they are earning increasing royalties from the fast expansion of oil production in North Dakota. Oil output has risen by 100,000 barrels a day since May alone.
“The lawsuits seek to force operators to comply with state law and pay royalties to mineral owners on the value of flared gas,” according to a statement released by one of five law firms that filed the suits, “and by so doing create a compelling economic incentive for producers to reduce and eliminate the wasteful practice of flaring.”
Companies being sued include Continental Resources, XTO Energy, SM Energy and Marathon Oil.
North Dakota regulators allow companies to seek exemptions for flaring as they connect their wells to gas-gathering lines. But the suits accuse the companies of violating deadlines and other limitations.”
20. Canadians Unite to stop Fracking in New Brunswick
“An unprecedented coalition of members of the First Nation have blockaded a compound in the Canadian town of Rexton, New Brunswick, where trucks and equipment used in the process of fracking, are stored. The company that owns the facility — SWN Resources Canada — has been conducting seismic tests as the first step in the fracking process. While the natural gas derived from the drilling would primarily be sold over the border in the United States, the impacts of extraction — namely polluted water and air — would be felt in these communities for generations to come.
In New Brunswick, the provincial government owns all underground mineral and gas rights. The local people have little influence over their own land. In some cases, citizens only receive a written notice within 24 hours of seismic testing and drilling on their land. Realizing their lack of legal power in the decision-making process, impacted landowners began organizing in New Brunswick’s Kent County about three years ago, when shale gas companies moved in to start exploration. Groups like Our Environment, Our Choice and Upriver Environment Watch began educational campaigns — including speaking tours, lobbying the provincial and local governments, and public actions such as a blue ribbon campaign for clean water, where activists tied ribbons along the major roads in the area to publicize the issue. “
Denise Vautour, a local Acadian, got involved in the Upriver group after seeing the 2010 anti-fracking documentary Gasland. As a retired medical social worker, Vautour has focused on what she perceives as the immorality of exposing the populous to fracking. Sam Koplinka-Loehr October 14, 2013”
Much of the activism so far has focused on blocking the so-called “thumper” trucks, which send vibrations through the ground — similar to an earthquake — to help determine where to drill. In June and July, 30 people were arrested for blocking backwoods testing sites. On July 24, after months of direct action, as well as standoffs with the police, the Geptin of the Mi’gmag Grand Council — the pre-contact traditional form of government in Mi’kma’ki that still exists today — issued an eviction notice to SWN.”
21. Fracking Fluid Blows Out Nearby Well
COUNSELORS, N.M. - More than 200 barrels of fracking fluid, oil and water blew out of a traditional oil well on BLM land in the San Juan Basin in late September raising questions about who is responsible for the spill. State regulators say the blowout on a Parko Oil well happened because of pressure from nearby fracking operations run by Encana Oil. On Sept. 30, one of Encana's fractures reached Parko's neighboring vertical well. The pressure was too much for the older well to handle. Encana's operations were approximately 0.5 miles from the Parko well that had the blowout.
"An Encana well, undergoing stimulation operations, may have communicated with the well of a nearby operator," said Encana spokesperson Doug Hock. "That operator's well became over-pressurized resulting in the release of fluid from both the wellhead and a nearby tank." Some fracking operations are installing wells as close as 800 feet from traditional vertical wells. "I don't understand why the state or the BLM or anyone else is letting them get so close to other wells," said Floyd Parker. New Mexico has no standard minimum spacing requirement between wells. Some experts warn New Mexico could be facing huge problems ahead with the close proximity of high-pressure fracking operations and aging wells.