Friday, November 15, 2013

Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates
        November 14, 2013

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*  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 You

                              * Thank you to contributors to our Updates: Debbie Borowiec, Lou Pochet, Ron Gulla, Marian Szmyd, Bob Donnan, Gloria Forouzan, Elizabeth Donahue, and Bob Schmetzer.

                              * Thank you to Jenny Lisak for working with the group’s suggestions to create our logo.

                              *Thank you to community organizer Kathryn Hilton and the Mt. Watershed for their support and assistance.


Donations- Our Sincere Thanks For Your Support!
Jan Kiefer
Mary Steisslinger
Wanda and Joe Guthrie
 Lou and Dorothy Pochet for donating to group printing costs.
Joe and Judy Evans for printing costs of fracking tri-folds.
Jan and Jack Milburn for donating to group printing costs.






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


*** Fall Summit, North Park- Nov 17

               “November 17, 2013-- The 1st annual Fall Shindig at North Park in Allison Park, PA. , from 9-5pm.  The building has a capacity of 150 persons and we want to have great regional representation so please, invite your friends and colleagues.

 $10 registration fee to cover the building and food.

Peace and solidarity,

 Kathryn Hilton, Community Organizer, Mountain Watershed Association”

Register at:


***Hike at Deer Lakes-Nov 17

There will be a hike in Deer Lakes County Park on Sunday morning (Nov 17). Organized by Venture Outdoors.  Good opportunity to see this site beneath which Fracking may take place.

               Need to register at:

               "Beginners looking for an easy, rejuvenating experience outdoors will spend an afternoon in a nearby park exploring a new trail, getting some exercise and discovering something new about the natural world. With experienced guides to lead the way, participants will learn about regional trails that are fun, inspirational and easily accessible. We’ll learn about the trees, plants, flowers, birds and other creatures that live in nearby natural spaces. The pace will be slow and we'll cover 3-4 miles on each outing. (This hike is dog friendly!) - See more at:

Then report your findings to members of County Council at their Nov 19 meeting!


***Raising Our Voices on Fracking and Health- Nov 16  Edinboro

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Saturday, November 16, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM (EST)

Edinboro, PA


 Click here to register:


*** Shale Drilling and Public Health: A Day of Discovery Nov. 23, Heinz History Center

By League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania’s Shale and Public Health Committee Saturday November 23, 2013, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Heinz History Center, Fifth Floor Mueller Education Center,  1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA This event is free and open to the public

Speakers include Michelle Bamberger, Robert Oswald and Dr Ingraffea, Dr Brown (SWPA), Lenore Resick (PHD Duquesne Nursing)



*** Facing the Challenges Nov. 25, 26

Duquesne University Researchers present on: Air and water, Animal and Human Health, Geological, Biological investigations.


For a calendar of area events please see “Marcellus Protest” calendar:




We are very appreciative of donations to our group.
               With your help, we have handed out thousands of flyers on the health and environmental effects of fracking, sponsored numerous public meetings, and provided information to citizens and officials countywide. If you would like to support our efforts:  
               Checks to our group should be made out to the Thomas Merton Center/Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group. And in the Reminder line please write- Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group. The reason for this is that we are one project of 12 at Thomas Merton. You can send your check to: Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group, PO Box 1040,  Latrobe, PA, 15650. Or you can give the check or cash to Lou Pochet or Jan Milburn.
               To make a contribution to our group using a credit card, go to  Look for the contribute button, then scroll down the list of organizations to direct money to. We are listed as the Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group.
               Please be sure to write Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group on the bottom of your check so that WMCG receives the funding, since we are just one project of many of the Thomas Merton Center. You can also give your donation to any member of the steering committee.



Volunteers Needed!!

If you want to distribute information on fracking in your neighborhood, WMCG and the Mt Watershed have handouts for you.  You can help to inform your own area or we can suggest an area. Some rural areas are best reached by car and flyers can be put in paper boxes (not mailboxes) or in doors.  Please contact Jan if you would like to help. Meetings are also 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.



Take Action!!

 ***As always letters to the editor are important and one of the best ways to share information with the public. Pick any frack topic and get it in the public eye.*** 


The following petitions are active.

***Floating Toxic Frack Wastewater Down Our Rivers?

From Earthworks




Coal barge passing Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA, on the Ohio River. Photo: Brian Young


               “Fracking creates millions of gallons of wastewater that's laden with toxic and sometimes radioactive chemicals.

               Now, the Coast Guard is considering allowing fracking waste to be shipped on barges down the Ohio River.

A special oil & gas industry loophole in national environmental law exempts its waste. The result? Fracking's hazardous waste is magically called nonhazardous, even though it can contain heavy metals or benzene.

               So if fracking waste is sent down our rivers it won't be governed by the same safeguards as other toxics. It will be treated as nonhazardous.

               Unfortunately, spills are almost inevitable -- two 2013 barge accidents have already caused serious oil spills. And when spills occur, they will contaminate the drinking water of the 3 million people who get their water from the Ohio River.”

TAKE ACTION: Tell the Coast Guard to keep fracking waste off our rivers!


*** Safeguard Federal Lands from Pro-Fracking Legislation!

        “Our nation's public lands belong to all Americans, but pro-fracking members of Congress have introduced legislation to let states decide how the oil and gas industry will drill and frack our national forests, wildlife refuges, and public lands. Congress may soon vote on this terrible bill, H.R. 2728, which would turn control of dirty and dangerous fracking and drilling on our federal lands over to the states. “


***Tell FERC---Stop Rubber-Stamping Frack Pipelines

               On September 29, Steven Jensen, a farmer in North Dakota, discovered a massive 865,000-gallon fracked oil spill in a wheat field on his land. The spill, which is one of the largest inland oil-pipeline accidents in the United States ever, may have gone on for weeks unnoticed before it was discovered.

               The spill in North Dakota is not an isolated incident. Every week there are news reports about pipeline leaks and explosions that contaminate our land and water and sometimes kill. But instead of fixing its crumbling infrastructure, the oil and gas industry has embarked on a reckless spending spree. It wants to build thousands of miles of new pipelines so that it can frack America and make us dependent on dirty fossil fuels for decades to come.

               We have to speak out now to stop it. My petition, which is to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, says the following:

               America doesn’t need endless pipelines and related infrastructure that impact local communities and that choke off the development of clean, renewable energy supplies. It is time for FERC to put down its rubber stamp and place a moratorium on new fracking and oil- and gas-related infrastructure projects.

               Tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Stop approving oil and gas infrastructure.

               Private land is seized by eminent domain. Dangerous and polluting compressor stations are constructed in the middle of residential neighborhoods. One gas pipeline is slated to cut through the Gateway National Recreation Area. And now there’s a plan to build another large and potentially explosive pipeline near a nuclear reactor in one of the most densely populated areas of the country.

               How can this happen? Isn’t anyone looking out for the public’s safety and welfare?

               That "someone" should be FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It’s supposed to consider “public convenience and necessity” before permitting projects like these. But it’s fallen down on the job. Instead of critically examining all the impacts associated with oil and gas infrastructure, it’s become a rubber stamp for an industry that has shown that it doesn’t give a damn about the health and safety of the American people.

               Tell FERC that America doesn’t need endless pipelines and related infrastructure that impact local communities and choke off the development of clean, renewable energy supplies.

               Will you join me and add your name to my petition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to demand that it stop approving oil and gas infrastructure?

Thank you for your support.

Jill Wiener


*** Fossil Free Pittsburgh Petition

        “ The campaign: City of Pittsburgh: Invest in Thrive-ability - Divest from Fossil Fuel.      Add your name to this fossil fuel divestment campaign.

The divestment movement is catching on like wildfire, and with good reason: If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. We believe that educational and religious institutions, city and state governments, and other institutions that serve the public good should divest from fossil fuels.

       Every name that is added builds momentum around the divestment effort and makes it more likely for us to win.



(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

*** Health Effects of Drilling with Theo Colburn-6 minutes

Short Excerpt: “Gas in not all methane-at most 82%.  The rest of the composition is short -chained hydrocarbons and benzene-like compounds. Tons per day are emitted from just one well.  Toluene come up from the well in higher concentrations than benzene.  Toluene goes right for the brain. Workers are experiencing peripheral neuropathy which is irreversible. The government has ignored these problems completely.”


*** Ads Sponsored by Frack- Free Colorado Whistleblower Wes Wilson and Professor Ingraffea     About 2 minutes each.

*** 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 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.


***PA has only seen tip of fracking iceberg-Dr Ingraffea

Short excerpt: Dr Ingraffea explains that fracking has just begun, far more is planned, and consequently there will be increased 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.



Fracking News

1. Report:   Oil and Gas Regs Fail to Protect Communities’           Water

“The report identifies and examines the dangers to water quality posed by oil/gas production in the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.

               The report, Watered Down, shows how regulatory systems fail to protect residents and communities from the harmful effects of oil and gas development.


The report’s findings are:

*  Oil and gas drilling uses massive volumes of water and produces massive volumes of waste.

*  No federal law sets comprehensive standards for oil and gas production.

*  State regulation is piecemeal.

*  A movement toward local ordinances to provide better protections could be useful to address local concerns, but the oil and gas industry generally prefers state oversight. Many states discourage or prevent oil and gas regulation at the local level.

               Bob Leeches, a member of the Powder River Basin Resource Council and Western Organization of Resource Councils spokesperson said the report documents blowouts, pipeline breaks, increasing radioactive waste and saltwater contamination of both water and soil in the four states, including the massive oil pipeline spill near Tioga, ND, oil well blowout in southern Wyoming and new hazardous waste landfill in eastern Montana servicing radioactive drilling waste from North Dakota.

               “What is needed are strong, clear, comprehensive and enforceable national performance standards for oil and gas drilling, production and delivery—standards that would help us to protect our communities from the kind of damage outlined in this report,” LeResche said. “Critical to the success of such standards are effective monitoring systems, the capacity to enforce the law with fines that will deter carelessness, and outreach programs that encourage the public to report spills and other violations in their often remote communities.”


The report recommends:

*  Setting clear and enforceable performance standards, such as well site construction, waste stream testing and waste disposal.

*  Providing and funding comprehensive monitoring and testing systems, including pipelines.

*  States should not permit more wells than they can properly oversee. State legislatures should provide regulatory agencies with the personnel and authority to manage oil and gas development.

*  Agencies should establish, promote and adequately staff hotlines enabling residents to report problems at oil and gas sites and should respond promptly to calls from residents.

               “The extraction processes, transporting methods and disposing of the associated waste are an imperfect process that will eventually result in more cases of contamination and pollution,” said Terry Punt, a rancher from Birney, MT, and a member of Northern Plains Resource Council. “This is why our states must have stricter standards, increased transparency and less self-monitoring.”


Link to the report by Western Organization of Resource Councils:


2. Exxon & Range Resources get an F in Fracking Disclosure               

Two dozen public oil and gas producers got failing grades for not doing enough to publicly disclose the steps they take to mitigate the risks of fracking, according to a report by four leading investment groups. Ranking near the bottom were Exxon and Range Resources. None of the companies scored higher than 44 percent out of the 32 indicators and the majority only scored on 6 or less. The report was done “very fairly” because the indicators are things that investors have been asking for since at least 2009, said Lucia von Reusner, a shareholder advocate for Green Century Capital Management. Questions included management of toxic chemicals, water and waste, air emissions, community impacts and governance.

               More communities are raising concerns about air and water quality and that has investors worried, too, she said. Questions included management of toxic chemicals, water and waste, air emissions, community impacts and governance. Exxon scored a 2 out of 32. The biggest concern with Exxon was the lack of disclosure on the handling of toxic chemicals. Range Resources scored a 3 on the ranking. Water management was again the biggest concern for the investors ranking the companies.”


  3. Gas Wells/Compressor Station Study -- Air pollution Is           Present 100% of the Time

               “Dr. Deb Cowden, a family physician in Knox County, Ohio said, "I became interested in the process of shale gas drilling after we received a notice from a gas and oil company asking to lease the family farm where my husband and I live." After reviewing medical journals, Cowden became concerned enough that she read research studies providing evidence about adverse health effects on gas industry workers and people living near large wells.           


Cowden reported, "Air pollution is the main cause for concern. Sources of air pollution are the fine grain sands used in the fracking process which float in the air and, if inhaled, can cause lung disease; diesel fumes from drilling engines, fracking pumps, and truck traffic; and volatile organic chemicals that off-gas from condensate tanks, compressor stations, and evaporative pools or leak from gas lines and piping."

               Cowden summarized a Colorado study where researchers monitored air quality around gas wells and compressor stations every 6 days for 22 months. She reported, "They found a number of chemicals in the air 100 percent of the times the monitoring was done. I'm most concerned about the high concentrations of benzene, which is linked to blood cancers, and xylene, which has neurological effects. In the Colorado study, people living within a half-mile of the wells experienced the most severe health effects, although those living further away were more likely to have respiratory problems." Cowden pointed out that Ohio regulations allow drilling within 100 to 150 feet of occupied buildings.


4. Landfills Accept Radioactive Frack Waste

(Residents quoted in this article complain of odors from the landfill. Interestingly, we have recently been told that drill cuttings (that can contain toxic chemicals and be radioactive) are being used to cover odors at landfills.)  

               “Officials from the Tervita landfill in Rostraver Township insist every material disposed at their site is legal.  But that's not enough for some residents who fear the landfill is accumulating naturally radioactive byproducts from gas drilling that could cause long-term health hazards to themselves and their families.

               Michael Wood, (Tervita manager from Canada) clarified a question from last month's meeting when residents heard conflicting answers when they asked if a truck carrying Marcellus shale drill cuttings that was turned away from a South Huntington Township landfill in April could have been accepted at Tervita.

               Wood said the landfill could accept that truck, but only because the company is capable of dealing with such disposal safely and under state-mandated regulations.  “No two landfills are alike,” he said, adding his company is equipped and trained to handle such disposals.


The truck at the South Huntington landfill measured at 96 microrem, well over that landfill's limit of 10 microrem.

               But, Wood stated, the Tervita landfill is permitted to accept material up to 140 microrem.

               Microrem are miniscule units that measures radiation. The average annual radiation exposure for a person in the United States is 620,000 microrem, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

               Fought and Pricedale resident Jack Kruell brought in Therese Aigner, a retired environmental consultant who discussed potential dangers of  “cumulative” effects of low-level radioactive material at the site.

“No one knows something is wrong until they have a reaction physically to it or they see their health deteriorating because of radioactivity exposure,” she said.

               Wood said nothing the landfill has accepted has been either hazardous or toxic.

               Township Solicitor Al Gaudio said that the board cannot pass any ordinance preventing permitted business at the landfill.  However, Commissioner Andy Temoshenka said the board would be willing to hire a private firm to conduct testing around the landfill if the price was reasonable.

               He invited Wood to have his company share in the cost.

               As for the stench emanating from the landfill – the situation that sparked the controversy – Wood and John Schwalbe, regional director of operations, said they're continuing progress on vertical and horizontal well drilling that will eventually capture and burn all the gas carrying the smell offsite.

               Dr. George Felder, who owns a farm on Lenity School Road, said he was less concerned with the smell than from the burning eyes he said he's experienced the past few months.

               “I know it's within the limits of what the permits allow, but what the permits allow are going to cause people illnesses, because some people's systems aren't as strong as other people's,” Felder said.

“Between the smell and the chemical reactions going on at your landfill, you're contributing to this area's medical problem … and we're the guinea pigs.”


5. Bob Donnan Reports on Mt. Pleasant Twp. Activity  

            Residents Starting to Ask for Blood/Urine tests

                              DEP and EPA Back Down —Hope for CDC

               “I sensed the community had come together at last night’s meeting and it was impossible to miss the sense of urgency when you heard a few residents speak of blood and urine tests clearly indicating their deeply troubling levels of exposure to all the nearby fracking-around activities. How do you react when you learn you have benzene and toluene in your blood, or more importantly, when it also affects your 7-year-old child?

               Most people in that area gave up on the PA DEP years ago (..remember when one DEP inspector came to inspect Carter Impoundment complaints and was wearing monogrammed Range Resources sunglasses?), then there was great hope for the EPA riding in on a white horse, at least until they got reined-in by those up the chain of command. I learned last night that their new hope is the CDC, that’s right, the Centers for Disease Control. And unlike the PA DEP who always telegraphed their punches, the CDC does not announce when they will visit and do testing. 100 to 1 odds say that will get you more accurate data. Hopefully the CDC isn’t subject to any political influence or revolving doors like we have seen with the EPA and DEP.

               Range personnel were not at the meeting last night to support or answer questions on their ‘bundled deal’ which would make their notices of violation disappear, respond to litigants who want 2 or 3 of the township impoundments closed and restored, and possibly permit the installation of a 10-million gallon wastewater tank farm on the restored site of the Stewart Impoundment which is suspected to have caused many of the Hallowich’s water well contaminants… things like acetone and acrylonitrile. No, it wasn’t her nail polish remover.

… a supervisor said during last night’s meeting that a couple of the Range representatives stopped by the township to see him last week.

 The message they were there to deliver is that IF Mt Pleasant Township (dared to) deny their bundled package, they would begin refilling the emptied Carter Impoundment the next morning with fluids. The Carter Impoundment is the largest bone of contention in the township, mirroring some of the issues around (and beneath) the Worstell Impoundment in nearby Cecil Township and the Yeager Impoundment in Amwell Township. See a pattern?

               In closing, a take home message for all Pennsylvanians is that your legislators worked through the night in Harrisburg, hand-in-hand with the oil and gas industry, to craft the onerous Act 13, which could easily put one of Range’s impoundments within 300 feet of your front door.  Your best hope is that the Pa. Supreme Court stays deadlocked and does not overturn the Commonwealth Court’s decision that strikes this insult to all common sense zoning currently in place. Just imagine, one of these huge pits could be built in ANY zone under Act 13, including premiere R-1 high end residential zones!”

By Bob Donnan


6. Range Does Not Succeed in Mt. Pleasant    

          Supervisors Reject Impoundment Agreement

               Nov 7 – Mt. Pleasant supervisors turned down an agreement proposed by Range Resources that included closing one impoundment and converting the Stewart impoundment into an above-ground holding facility. Supervisor Larry Grimm made a motion to approve the agreement, but supervisors Bryan Smith or Arden McCartney did not second the motion. Range Resources first made the offer in September as a compromise to end ongoing zoning board hearings that began when the township issued notices of violation to Range’s four impoundments.





The proposal included a clause that would have required the township to retract its notices of violation and recognize the nonconforming status of the impoundments. The township maintains Range violated zoning ordinance by failing to restore the impoundments after completing all nearby frack wells. In June, Range filed notices of appeal regarding the notices of violation the township issued, and the appeals are pending before the Mt. Pleasant Township zoning hearing board. A hearing before the zoning hearing board will be held, as planned, Tuesday at the township fire hall.”


Exclusive video of the meeting:

Mt Pleasant Twp - Range Resources Impoundments - Special Meeting (1:25:39)

Nov 7 - Mt. Pleasant Township supervisors decide not to adopt the "Agreement for Revisions to Water Handling in Mount Pleasant Township by Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC" after hearing citizens speak and weighing their options.


Previous meeting (9-28-13) on this same topic. People have commented on how nervous Range representatives look:


7. The Silica Cloud

“Something we are probably overlooking in air quality testing around well sites is respirable crystalline silica (dust).  For those living around here, we are the ‘end users’ with silica dust billowing-off drilling pads during fracking. We have also seen a photo of silica dust clouds being created on a railroad siding right next to a youth league baseball field during sporting activities!  And when you consider the close-up, repeated exposure of frac workers, where is OSHA on this one?”

Bob Donnan


8. LPG Pipeline Explosion in Texas

          Today at 3:03 PM

Commentary by John

“Did anyone knowingly sign on to take this risk, or were asked how they felt about their children being placed in harms way?

This is exactly why it is irresponsible, if not negligent, to allow this kind of dangerous industrial activity in residential, agricultural, or recreational areas, or anywhere where people live.

               FYI: Are you aware that your homeowners insurance does not cover industrial damage, and the gas industry cannot get insurance to cover damage to private property, because of the high risk factor? But please don't take my word for it. Call your insurance representative and find out for yourself. “  


 Texas Town Evacuated ---Pipeline Explosion

Updated today at 9:59 AM

MILFORD — Emergency crews are working at the scene of a pipeline explosion where an active fire is reported south of Milford in Ellis County.

The explosion was reported near FM 308. Evacuations in the area are underway.

The fire chief in Milford has reported no known injuries.

Milford is located about 14 miles northeast of Hillsboro. The area of the explosion is a rural area.

 Milford Explosion From A Mile Away


 Hill Co. EMA Talks About Milford Explosion (10’ Pipeline)


9. Water in Wyoming Will be Pre-Tested

               “The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved a new rule that will require energy companies to test nearby water before drilling oil and  gas wells.


               Starting March 1, industry operators will have to test water quality once before drilling oil and gas wells, a second time 36 to 48 months after drilling and a third time at least 24 months after that.

               The rule identifies chemicals, bacteria and other substances that must be tested for in groundwater. The rule also specifies that if there is an increase of substances beyond specified levels, operators must notify the state and property owners.

               Groundwater subject to testing is water a half-mile from the oil and gas wellheads found in springs and wells used for domestic, livestock, industrial, municipal or irrigation purposes. If there are more than four water sources within a half mile, the rule allows operators to submit a plan to the Wyoming oil and gas supervisor to choose wells located in a radial pattern around the well.

               The rule requires that operators test for dissolved methane. The approved rule set a lower tripwire than the previous version for the tested level of dissolved methane that would require operators to notify the state and landowners of methane’s presence in the water. The change was requested by environmental groups.

               Jerimiah Rieman, a policy adviser for the governor and a member of a group that worked on the rule, said dissolved methane can appear in water naturally or be introduced by industry operations.

               “The concern is if you have methane in the water, it’s an explosion risk,” he said.

Jon Goldstein of the Environmental Defense Fund said he’s happy the threshold of dissolved methane was lowered. He said that the presence of methane at the lower levels doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem with the water, but it’s a good way to detect a potential problem.

               Nitrates will be tested under the rule. John Robitaille, vice president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming industry trade group, was unhappy with that. He said nitrates are associated with agriculture and shouldn’t be tested.

State government staffers did additional research and determined nitrates or nitrate derivatives are occasionally used in drilling, particularly with fracking, Rieman said.

“We know that some industry folks aren’t too keen on it,” Mead said. “We know some environmental folks aren’t too keen on it. The fact is- it’s been a productive opportunity to work through this.”

               Mead also said that if there are problems with the rule, the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission can always amend it.  Robitaille said he’ll hold Mead to that.”


10. WVA Citizens Speak To Health Dept.

 “Nov 13 – A group of citizens concerned with the development of a GreenHunter water treatment plant in Wheeling shared their thoughts with the Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health. Individuals expressed their concern regarding the environmental, community and health impacts of drilling and fracking. They included Patricia Jacobson of FaCT-OV/Wheeling Water Warriors. Ben Stout, a professor at Wheeling Jesuit University, then spoke of the dangers of frackwater disposal.


               Stout referenced his own study, titled "Wheeling, West Virginia Experience With Frackwater: What 'Brinewater' and 'Residual Waste' Trucks Are Really Carrying," to describe how such water can contain hazardous waste and toxic substances. Stout emphasized that Wheeling water quality should be a primary concern. He proposed that local ordinances are part of the solution to preserve the community from dangerous fracking impacts.” 


11. Pope Francis Expresses Environmental Concerns

               Good News --   It’s not Photo shopped

               “ The Pope was photographed with environmental activists holding T-shirts with anti-fracking slogans.

               The photographs were taken after a meeting in the Vatican on Monday in which the Pope spoke with a group of Argentine environmental activists to discuss fracking and water contamination. He reportedly told the group he is preparing an encyclical -- a letter addressing a part of Catholic doctrine -- about nature, humans, and environmental pollution.



In the pictures, one of the men standing with the Pope is movie director and Argentine politician Fernando 'Pino' Solanas, known for his activism against "environmental crimes" and his film "Dirty Gold" about mega-mining. In particular, Solanas is a vocal opponent of an August agreement between the Argentine government and Chevron to develop shale oil and gas, which he calls "the largest environmental disaster in the Amazon." Drilling for these resources often requires hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," which is criticized by opponents for relying on toxic fluid and posing water contamination risks.

               The Chevron deal is just one instance of American oil companies looking further and further afield to develop shale oil and gas as vast foreign reserves promise imitations of the United States' own shale oil revolution. Particularly in lower-income countries like Argentina, the promise of such a revolution is too lucrative to resist -- especially with so many betting on its potential. The United States Energy Information Administration has ranked Argentina fourth behind Russia, the United States, and China in terms of shale oil reserves. In terms of shale gas reserves, Argentina is ranked second only after China. But the government's embrace of Chevron has been met with fierce protests, some of which have prompted a brutal crackdown from police with tear gas and rubber bullets. Argentina's indigenous Mapuche Indian community has been a firebrand group behind the protests, claiming they weren't consulted on the deal as required by international treaties covering indigenous peoples.

               According to one report of the meeting, His Holiness's concern was "clear" when hearing about the Chevron deal in Argentina and other environmental disputes in the region. On Tuesday, Sarah Palin said she was shocked by the pontiff's "liberal" statements. Wait 'til she hears about his new role as the face of Argentina's environmentalist movement.” “



 12. Minnesota City First to Monitor Air for Silica

               Winona, Minn. will become the first local government in the nation to monitor air pollution that may be escaping from mounds of sand being trucked through town for delivery to fracking fields in North Dakota and elsewhere.

               The move puts the city of 28,000 people at the forefront of initial efforts to address the health effects of silica sand, an ingredient used in fracking that has been linked to lung disease. It is part of a larger trend to understand the various impacts of natural gas and oil development on communities.

               The data Winona collects will be used to determine if the city is within pollution standards set by the federal and state government, and it could help other towns build a case for monitoring frac sand pollution. ““


 13. How Gas Industry Uses Semantics to Mislead the    Public

from Skytruth

Photo: Shutterstock

The debate over fracking is distorting the public understanding of drilling practices and interfering with good decision making.

               The track record of modern fracking is shrouded in incomplete information, a misleading history and distorted by semantic arguments. We often hear statements like this from industry and pro-drilling politicians:

               America has drilled and fracked more than 1 million wells over the past 60 years, and in all that time there has never been a proven case of groundwater contamination caused by fracking.

               Upon closer examination, however, this claim is a half-truth that muddles the debate on whether natural gas can be a bridge fuel to a cleaner energy future, or a dead-end.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these claims.

               America has drilled and fracked around 1.3 million wells over the past 60 years…

               First, has fracking really been around for over 60 years? That depends on what you mean by fracking.

               In 1947, Stanolind Oil—now Halliburton—completed their first conventional hydraulic fracturing operation using 1,000 gallons of water, chemicals and sand to frack a shallow Kansas well; the first fracks used pressures as low as 700 pounds per square inch (psi). This accounts for much of fracking’s history, with small operations that were barely noticeable once they were completed.

               In 1997, Mitchell Energy completed their first high-volume, slickwater hydraulic fracture operations using an average of 800,000 gallons of fracking fluid and 200,000 tons of sand on horizontally drilled wells in the Barnett Shale of Texas. We refer to this type of fracking as “modern fracking.”

               Unlike their humble origins, modern fracking operations use millions of gallons of fluids pumped into bedrock at pressures as high as 15,000 psi to break open shale and tight sandstone formations. This is more than 20 times the pressure and 800 times the volume of the first fracking operations. Modern fracking has as much in common with early fracking as an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane has in common with the Wright Flyer. Yet advocates of modern fracking cite those decades of old-fashioned fracking as proof that modern fracking is also safe.

               …and in all that time, there has never been a proven case of groundwater contamination…

               Modern fracking was one of SkyTruth’s first projects, because satellite images and aerial photography revealed a spider’s web of roads, well pads, pipelines and other infrastructure transforming massive tracts of western public lands. But as the practice spread from relatively uninhabited wilderness to the more populated eastern U.S., media coverage of modern fracking and fracking-related accidents began to increase. Journalists and academics began to investigate claims that modern fracking had caused health problems and water contamination. Then a documentary filmmaker from Pennsylvania ignited one of the biggest environmental movements in several generations: by lighting water on fire—again.

               The truth about proven cases of contamination remains elusive for a number of reasons. For one, the EPA has repeatedly backed away from completing research on claims of polluted groundwater in Pennsylvania and Texas, and stopped short of finalizing a report that blamed modern fracking for groundwater contamination in Pavillion, WY. Also limiting our knowledge about contamination cases is the growing number of contamination claims settled out of court with strict non-disclosure agreements. One settlement with a Pennsylvania family went so far as to prevent a family, including their children aged 7 and 10, from ever publicly speaking about the issue of fracking.

               What we do know is that a growing list of individuals are coming forward with reports of illness and contaminated drinking water in the immediate vicinity of wells that that have been fracked. Is drilling and modern fracking the cause? In many cases we just don’t know because pre-drilling water quality and public health studies don’t exist, and the information is simply not available to the public.

caused by fracking.

               On these three words hinges a delicate and disingenuous argument about the safety of modern fracking. Watch congressional hearings on this subject and you will hear this qualifying statement tacked on to nearly every remark about the safety of drilling and modern fracking—but what does it mean?

               Proponents of drilling use the term “fracking” in a very narrow (and technically accurate) wayreferring exclusively to the well stimulation process known as hydraulic fracturing. Period. Based on this definition, only contamination caused by subterranean fractures that occurred during the process of hydraulic fracturing counts as contamination “caused by fracking.”


By this criteria:

               If the cement job on a well fails when it is subjected to the high pressures of modern fracking, like in Dimock, Pa., Colorado, and Ohio, the cause is bad cementing, not fracking.

               If a pond containing fracking fluid fails and dumps contaminated water into a stream, or a truck carrying fracking chemicals loses control on a narrow West Virginia road and overturns into a creek, fracking itself is not the “cause” of the contamination.

               Meanwhile, the public generally uses the term “fracking” as shorthand to cover all of the activities related to drilling and completing a well. Since more than 90 percent of the drilling being done today would not be happening if it weren’t for hydraulic fracturing, this is understandable. Unfortunately there are many documented incidents where contamination of the air, land and water can and has occurred because of oil and gas drilling. And the homeowner who can light their tap water on fire, or discovers they’ve been drinking cancer-causing benzene, probably doesn’t give a damn if the contamination was caused by a poor cement job that blew out, or by the hydraulic fracturing operation itself. That’s a word game only politicians and engineers care about.

               The bottom line is the track record of modern fracking is shrouded in incomplete information, a misleading history and distorted by semantic arguments that narrowly define what counts as contamination from fracking. While cases of contamination caused by fracking remain obscured by lack of information and tricky linguistics, we know that a growing number of citizens are reporting harm and environmental contamination in unconventional oil and gas fields, and especially from wells that have been fracked.

By David Manthos, Skytruth



14. Oklahoma Dumpsite Contaminated with Frack Waste


“The battle over a toxic Oklahoma dumpsite has taken a remarkable turn. Three years ago, Channel 6 Investigates reported about pollution problems in Bokoshe. People there claim they are being poisoned by a coal ash disposal.  But residents have just learned wastewater from fracking has added to the contamination, and they say it's reached Oklahoma's underground drinking water.. The tanker trucks that so often lined the rural roads there had been dumping hundreds of millions of gallons of fracking wastewater in Bokoshe's dumpsite.

               Channel 6 uncovered documents from 2009, tracking truckloads of fracking wastewater directly from oil and gas wells in Arkansas to Bokoshe. Documents show some of the Arkansas frack jobs used thousands of gallons of hydrochloric acid and millions more gallons of undisclosed chemicals. Officials with the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission say all fracking wastewater has to be disposed of in injection wells in that state. It cannot be dumped there.

               Dub Tolbert and his neighbors claim that pollution is putting their health at risk. As their lawsuit states, there are "significant concentrations of cancer victims" near the dumpsite. They say 14 of the people who live closest to it were diagnosed with cancer in the last seven years.”


15. Speakers: Corbett and George Bush At Pittsburgh Shale           Convention

               “The 5th DUG East (Shale Gas) conference and exhibition, scheduled November 13-15 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the premier conference focused on resource development in the Marcellus and Utica region. This event produced by Hart Energy — the creator of the DUG conference series — attracts more than 3,000 industry professionals from companies working in the Appalachian Basin.”






Westmoreland Marcellus Citizen’s GroupMission Statement
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      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.
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