Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens’ Group Updates July 17, 2014
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* 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: http://pajustpowers.org/aboutthebills.html-
WMCG Thank You
* Thank you to contributors to our Updates: Debbie Borowiec, Lou Pochet, Ron Gulla, the Pollocks, Marian Szmyd, Bob Donnan, Elizabeth Donahue, and Bob Schmetzer.
Latrobe Farm Market
Thank you to Mike Atherton and Cynthia Walter for working our TDS testing table at Latrobe Farm Market.
Thank You --Recent Donations
Thank you to April Jackman and the Shelton family for their donations that support our work to protect the health and environment of local communities.
A little Help Please --Take Action!!
***Tenaska Plant Seeks to Be Sited in South Huntingdon, Westmoreland County***
Just Use the Link
Please share the attached petition with residents of Westmoreland and all bordering counties. We ask each of you to help us by sharing the petition with your email lists and any group with which you are affiliated. As stated in the petition, Westmoreland County cannot meet air standards for several criteria. Many areas of Westmoreland County are already listed as EPA non-attainment areas for ozone and particulate matter 2.5, so the county does not have the capacity to handle additional emissions that will contribute to the burden of ozone in the area as well as health impacts. According to the American Lung Association, every county in the Pittsburgh region except for Westmoreland County had fewer bad air days for ozone and daily particle pollution compared with the previous report. Westmoreland County was the only county to score a failing grade for particulate matter.
The Tenaska gas plant will add tons of pollution to already deteriorated air and dispose of wastewater into the Youghiogheny River. Westmoreland County already has a higher incidence of disease than other counties in United States. Pollution won’t stop at the South Huntingdon Township border; it will travel to the surrounding townships and counties.
If you know of church groups or other organizations that will help with the petition please forward it and ask for their help.
Sierra Club Sues Texas Commission on Proposed Tenaska Plant
SIERRA CLUB VS TEXAS COMMISSION On ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY,
I. CASE OVERVIEW
Sierra Club seeks an order reversing Defendant’s December 29, 2010, final order in Docket No. 2009-1093-AIR.1 The order authorizes the construction and operation of a new solid fuel-fired power plant by approving the application of Tenaska Trailblazer Partners, L.L.C. (Tenaska, Trailblazer, or Applicant) for state and federal air pollution permits.
This new facility is a large solid fuel-fired electric generating unit, or power plant, to be constructed in Nolan County, Texas. The Tenaska facility will generate about 900 megawatts (MW) of electricity and is authorized to emit over 9,207 tons per year of criteria air pollutants.2
While under the jurisdiction of the State Office of Administrative Hearings, the proceedings bore SOAH docket number 582-09-6185. 2 There are several “criteria” pollutants: carbon monoxide, lead, particulate matter with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers, particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and sulfur oxides. For each of these air pollutants, National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) have been established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are adopted through the Commission’s rules. See e.g 30 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 101.21 (“The National Primary and Secondary Ambient Air Quality Standards as promulgated pursuant to section 109 of the Federal Clean Air Act, as amended, will be enforced throughout all parts of Texas.”) Criteria pollutants must be evaluated prior to obtaining a PSD permit.
Filed 11 March 14 IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS
.3 The facility will also emit an estimated 6.1 million tons per year of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2).
At the heart of this lawsuit, Sierra Club alleges the approval of the permit application was made in violation of:
a. the requirements of the Texas Administrative Procedures Act (TEX. GOV’T CODE, Chapter 2001) regarding Defendant’s authority and duties upon adoption of a final order;
b. the requirements for a preconstruction application and approval by TCEQ, including:
i) Deficient information and legal bases for the findings related to hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and the corresponding maximum achievable control technology (MACT) determination.
ii) Deficient information and legal bases for the findings related to prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) review and the corresponding best available control technology (BACT) determination.
iii) Failure to consider and minimize the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. II. DISCOVERY
1. This case is an appeal of an administrative agency’s actions, and therefore based on the administrative record. Designation of a level of discovery is not applicable. If discovery becomes necessary, it should be controlled by Level 3. TEX. R. CIV. PROC. § 190.4.
*** WMCG Group 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.
*** Free Water Screening-TDS-Latrobe Farm Market July 22 , 2:00-4:00. We will have a table at the farm market at Legion Keener playground to offer free testing and information. TDS is an indicator of water problems that can be caused by fracking. Visit us at our table.
**Delmont Community Meeting: Proposed Mariner East I Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline July 30: 6 – 7:30 p.m. Delmont Public Library, 77 Greensburg St, Delmont
Proposed Mariner East I Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline
Sign the petition for the PUC to deny Sunoco Logistics' application to be designated as a public utility corporation for the Proposed Mariner East I Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline project and require them to go before local zoning boards to receive permission for the project.
Sign here: http://petitions.moveon.org/environmental-action/sign/pa-puc-must-deny-sunoco
**Hearing: Compressor Station proposed near farms- New Sewickley Township Municipal Building July 23, 2014 - 6:30pm, 233 Miller Road, Rochester, PA 15074
Kretschmann Farm is an organic farm serving many of us in the greater Pittsburgh area. This isn't just about Kretschmann Farm, this is about ALL of the farms and their ability to continue providing us with produce that is free of frack toxin. The production of healthy food with the benefit of clean water and air is one of the values of the environment and the most treasured of resources.
THE ISSUE: 7/23/14 conditional use hearing on a Marcellus gas compressor station that would be built adjacent to Kretschmann's farm - this meeting might be the one where the supervisors grant permission for the plant.
EMAIL: the New Sewickley Board of Supervisors: firstname.lastname@example.org and cc: email@example.com
(See Article #1)
***Quadrennial Energy Review July 21 - 10 a.m.
CMU Rashid Auditorium, Forbes Ave Gates-Hillman Center, Pittsburgh, 15213
Panel discussions on natural gas infrastructure
***We Should All Submit a Written Statement
EPA Restricting Carbon From Existing Power plants---Public Hearing Pittsburgh-July 31 and August 1
from Sierra Club
It is too late to register to speak, but you can send in a statement.
–We need to have interested people at this hearing. The coal industry will be in full force!!
As a move to mitigate global warming, the EPA has proposed new rules for CO2 emissions from existing power plants. Hearings for public comment will be held in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC. The Pittsburgh hearing will be:
8:00 am to 9:00pm, Thursday, July 31, 2014
William S. Moorhead Federal Building
1000 Liberty Ave,
Pittsburgh Pa 15222
At the request of the coal industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to hold a hearing in Pittsburgh on July 31st about the new rule to restrict carbon pollution from existing power plants.
We can expect the coal industry to flood the hearing, so we will need to show the EPA - and the world - Pennsylvanian's support a strong carbon pollution rule.
Come to the press conference!
LET'S MAKE THIS THE BIGGEST CLIMATE EVENT WE'VE EVER HAD IN PA!
Supreme Court Supports EPA’s Right to Regulate Carbon Emissions from Industrial Sources
On June 23 the U.S. Supreme Court eased the way for President Obama to help mitigate climate change and create healthier air. Before the Court was the question whether the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources. In general, environmental groups welcomed the Court’s finding that the EPA has the authority to sought regulate carbon emissions from an estimated 83 pct of the stationary sources across the nation. Here are some major points:
*EPA’s authority to regulate CO2 emissions under Clean Air Act was re-affirmed.
*The Court somewhat chastised the EPA for trying to alter some standards in the Clean Air Act.
*EPA has the authority to regulate emissions that cross state borders. This is important for SW Pennsylvania.
*The Court dismissed EPA’s authority to regulate emissions on relatively small sources such as schools, apartment buildings, and shopping centers, which amount to about 3 pct of the total stationary sources in the country.
*Judge Scalia made it clear that the Court would not consider any future appeals regarding the use of the Clean Air Act for regulation of carbon emissions. This was a needed warning to Governors of coal-producing states such as Pennsylvania.
*The Court’s decision was generally accepted by both sides.
Information about testifying: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-03/pdf/2014-15664.pdf
For information about the carbon reduction plan:
Q: How long do I have to speak?
A: Each speaker is given five minutes per public hearing to speak.
Q: Can I register on the day of the hearing to speak?
A: Yes, you may register the day of the hearing to speak, although we cannot guarantee what time you will speak. Even if the speaking slots fill up, we will be accepting written comments at the hearing. Q: If I register before the hearing what do I need to do the day of the hearing?
A: You will need to check in at the registration desk prior to the time you are scheduled to speak.
Q: Can I submit written comments at the hearing site
A: We recommend that you submit your written comments to the docket. The docket number for this rule is: Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602 (for the Clean Power Plan for Existing Sources) and EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0630 (for the Carbon Pollution Standard for Modified Sources) and information on how to submit written comments is listed below. The public comment period will be open for 120 days from the time the rule is published in the Federal Register. We will be taking comments that are submitted the day of the hearing and will ensure that those get submitted to the docket.
Sierra Club recommends:
In addition to the public hearing in Pittsburgh, comments on the EPA’s new rule covering the carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants may be submitted via Email to A-and-R-Docket@epa.gov with docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602 in the subject line of the message.
What the EPA Rules Aim to Accomplish
According to the EPA , the new emission rules will:
*Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
*As a co-benefit, cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent;
*Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
*Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
Why the EPA Rules Are So Important
The folk at Think Progress have nicely explained why this action by the Obama administration is so important. Jeff Spross explained:
*It’s the first step towards a global solution
*Climate change is a threat to America and the world
*U.S. carbon emissions are a sizable part of the problem
*Congress isn’t going to do it anytime soon
And Ryan Koronowski expandedwith the following points:
*This is the most significant move any U.S. president has made to curtail carbon pollution in history.
*There is room for improvement, and time to improve it.
*The EPA is just doing what Congress (and the Supreme Court) told it to do many years ago.
*States will have huge amounts of flexibility to comply.
*Coal was on its way out and this speeds up the transition.
*This is one rule in a long string of carbon-cutting actions since President Obama took office.
*The rule won’t come into effect overnight.
*It’s not just fossil fuel companies and conservative groups that have a voice in this process.
Impact on Pennsylvania
According to the EPA, coal is currently the largest energy source for power generation in Pennsylvania (Coal – 39.0 pct, Nuclear – 33.6 pct, Natural Gas – 24.0 pct and Clean Energy – 3.4 pct). In 2012, Pennsylvania’s power sector CO2 emissions were approximately 106 million metric tons from sources covered by the proposed rule. Based on the amount of energy produced by fossil-fuel fired plants and certain low or zero emitting plants, Pennsylvania’s 2012 emission rate was 1,540 pounds/megawatt hours (lb/MWh).
The EPA is asking Pennsylvania to develop a plan to lower its carbon pollution to meet the proposed emission rate goal of 1,052 lb/MWh in 2030. The EPA is giving states considerable flexibility in how they achieve their reductions, including energy efficiency, clean energy programs, etc. It will be interesting to see what Gov. Corbett’s administration plans before the deadline of June 2016, but the Governor’s quick criticism and the failure to support programs such as the Sunshine Solar Program do not suggest enthusiastic compliance. Nor does Pennsylvania’s decision in 2005 to serve as an observer rather than active member of the northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative cap-and-trade system reflect well on our state.
Opposition to the New EPA Rules
The Obama Administration clearly anticipates strong opposition to the new rules, and the fight will take place on several grounds. Despite strong public support for the EPA’s proposed rules, the climate change deniers were quick to claim the rules were unnecessary. The national Chamber of Commerce said the costs were exorbitant, but Nobelist Paul Krugman dismisses their argument. But it is the legal challenges that will perhaps slow-down the implementation of the EPA’s rules, a delay we cannot afford.
Global Impact of the EPA Power Plant Rule
The most recent UN report concludes that there is little time left for a meaningful international agreement to be enacted. Progress towards global action on climate change has been stymied by the failure of the U.S. to demonstrate its own willingness to control CO2 emissions. The new EPA rules will now allow the U.S to take a stronger stand in the upcoming UN discussions in New York in September and in Paris next year. Some evidence of that shift came from the G7 meeting this week, and a suggestion that China will follow the U.S.’s example of CO2 emission reduction.
Shift from Coal to Natural Gas
As early as 2010 utilities were shifting away from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, partly in anticipation of eventual climate regulation but also because of lower operating costs with gas. That shift has accelerated with the greater production of fracked gas, with natural gas predicted to overtake coal as the preferred fuel by 2035. Although overall burning natural gas is cleaner than burning coal, it is by no means a ‘clean’ fuel, and that concerns environmentalists.
Given the reliance on natural gas to achieve the reduction in emissions, environmentalists will be calling for a number of actions, such as calling for removal of exemptions to the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other laws that the drillers currently enjoy. But that requires unlikely Congressional action. What the Executive branch can do is properly understand and strictly regulate air and water pollution associated with all aspects fracking.
From Peter Wray Sierra Club: MAJOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIONS COMING UP
We are organizing two buses from Pittsburgh to the PEOPLES CLIMATE MARCH in New York City, September 21. See http://alleghenysc.org/?p=19091.
*Important Public Hearing on EPA Action to Curb Climate Pollution Extended Another Day, August 1. ACTION: Provide oral testimony or send in written comment. (July 12, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=19081
*Rally to Support Curbing Climate Pollution from Power Plants, Pittsburgh, July 31. ACTION. Demonstrate your support for national climate action. (July 12, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=19099
*Join the People’s Climate March in New York City, Sept. 21. ACTION: Register now for a seat on one of the Pittsburgh buses. (July 12, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=19091
State Ethics Probe Into Deer Lakes Park Vote Expands from Futules to Kress and Fitzgerald. Financial gain and deal making probed. (July 12, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=19105
And Other Sierra Club Posts:
*Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies Gains Momentum. Churches and colleges withdrawing financial support. (July 12, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=19114
*Learn How Citizens Forced Coke Plant Cleanup in New York. Visitors will describe how they gained a record fine against polluting company, July 17 & 18. (July 10, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=19072
Supreme Court Supports EPA’s Right to Regulate Carbon Emissions from Industrial Sources. Decision eases way for Obama’s Climate Action Plan. (June 27, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=18967
Corbett Wants to Keep Fracking of Parks and Forests under Wraps. Unclear if Ohiopyle Park and Forbes Forest are threatened. (June 27, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=18962
President Obama Creates World’s Largest Marine Sanctuary. 782,000 square miles to be protected from commercial fishing. (June 22, 2014) http://alleghenysc.org/?p=18869
TAKE ACTION !!
***Letters to the editor are important and one of the best ways to share information with the public. ***
***See Tenaska Petition at the top of the Updates
***Petition- Help the Children of Mars School District
Below is a petition that a group of parents in the Mars Area School District are working very hard to get signatures. Please take a moment to look at the petition and sign it. It only takes 5 minutes. We are fighting to keep our children, teachers, and community safe here and across the state of Pennsylvania.
Please share this with your spouses, friends, family, and any organizations that would support this cause. We need 100,00 signatures immediately, as the group plans to take the petition to Harrisburg within a week.
Your support is greatly appreciated!
***Petition For Full Disclosure of Frack Chemicals
From Ron Slabe
I created a petition to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which says:
"We, the undersigned, in conjunction with the public comment period currently underway, call on the EPA to conduct public hearings in areas where fracking operations are either occurring or have occurred so that we may voice our concerns over the lack of full disclosure of the fracking chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. (Docket number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-1019)"
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
Thanks! Ron Slabe
***Forced Pooling Petition
“The PA DEP announced the first public hearing on forced pooling in PA to be held in less than two weeks. We're pushing on the DEP to postpone the hearings and address the many problems we have with their current plans. In the meantime, we're circulating a petition to the legislature calling on them to strike forced pooling from the books in PA.
Forced pooling refers to the ability to drill under private property without the owner's permission. It's legal in the Utica Shale in western PA, but the industry has not made an attempt to take advantage of it until now. Forced pooling is a clear violation of private property rights and should not be legal anywhere.
I know I've asked a lot of you. Unfortunately, we're fighting battles on many fronts and they just keep coming. But with your help, we've made lots of progress, so I'm asking you to help me again by signing and sharing this petition.”
Appreciatively, as always,
***Sunoco Eminent Domain Petition
“Sunoco has petitioned the PA PUC for public utility status, a move that would impact property owners and municipalities in the path of the Mariner East pipeline. As a public utility, Sunoco would have the power of eminent domain and would be exempt from local zoning requirements. A December 2013 PA Supreme Court ruling overruled Act 13’s evisceration of municipal zoning in gas operations and upheld our local government rights. We petition PA PUC to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution and deny public utility status to the for-profit entity, Sunoco.
That's why I signed a petition to Robert F. Powelson, Chairman, Public Utilities Commission, John F. Coleman Jr., Vice Chairman, Public Utilities Commission, James H. Cawley, Commissioner, Public Utilities Commission, Gladys M. Brown, Commissioner, Public Utilities Commission, Pamela A. Witmer, Commissioner, Public Utilities Commission, and Jan Freeman, Executive Director, Public Utilities Commission, which says:
"We, the undersigned, petition the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution and deny public utility status to the for-profit entity, Sunoco."
Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name:
***Cove Point Liquid Gas Facility--Petition
In order to ship natural gas overseas, you've got to liquefy it. The process is a very dangerous one. LNG facilities that serve domestic energy needs already exist. An incident at one of them in Plymouth, Washington in March forced everyone within a two-mile radius of the facility to evacuate. The risks it poses are not limited to the area surrounding the facility, however. Fracking to extract the gas from the shale and then moving it by pipeline to the LNG facility damage the environment and put health and safety at risk.
The ruling comes at an important time because FERC is currently in the process of downplaying the environmental impacts of the proposed Cove Point LNG export facility. FERC is currently accepting comments on the environmental review of the Cove Point project. The Department of Environmental Protection and others called for an extension of the deadline, but FERC rejected their requests yesterday. The comment period ends on Monday.
That means we only have a few more days to flood FERC with comments telling them to conduct a full, comprehensive, and credible study called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Will you add your name to my petition and share it with your friends?
Here's the URL to the petition, just in case the link doesn't work. http://petitions.moveon.org/environmental-action/sign/say-no-to-the-cove-point
Thanks so much, as always!
***Peters Township Zoning Workshop-
A discussion of Township zoning options for gas drilling after the Act 13 ruling by the Pa Supreme Court.
Thank you to John Smith and David Ball, and to Bob Donnan for posting the video.
1:49:00 -- Select the HD setting for viewing
***Link to Shalefield Stories-Personal stories of those affected by fracking http://www.friendsoftheharmed.com/
***To sign up for Skytruth notifications of activity and violations for your area:
*** List of the Harmed--There are now over 1600 residents of Pennsylvania who have 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/
All articles are excerpted. Please use links for the full article.
Special Thanks to Bob Donnan for photos.
1. Great News-- PUC Will Not Review Ordinances and Withhold Impact Fees
Other three issues are a mixed Bag
(The PUC issue was of great concern because local townships would feel pressure to weaken local ordinances for fear they would lose their impact fee.)
From John: “The main fight on this appeal was whether the PUC maintained the ability to review local ordinances for compliance with section 3302, the operations section of Act 13, and compliance with the Municipalities Planning Code MPC. By a 4-1 vote the Commonwealth Court ruled in our favor and found that the PUC has no oversight over local ordinances. Meaning sections 3305-3309 of Act 13 were tossed. It is great news. Those provisions allowed industry to challenge or threaten to challenge local oil and gas ordinances and as these provisions of Act 13 provided for the denial of impact fees and the possible payment of the industry lawyers attorneys fees. It was a significant weight on the local government's shoulders. This leverage was built into act 13 to keep oil and gas ordinances weak as the mere threat of a challenge and loss of impact fees was in some instances enough of a deterrent for local officials to enact anything but an industry blessed ordinance. That threat is now gone, at least for now pending appeal to the PA supreme court.
The medical gag provision was found not to be unconstitutional, but was a mixed bag. The Court's interpretation actually alleviated some of our concerns. The Doctor can tell his patient and other doctors the proprietary chemicals that caused an exposure as well as allowing this information to be included in medical records. As the patient has no restriction on who he/she can tell, it is better than where we started. The private water notice we lost, not because its good policy, but because the court felt it was not unconstitutional. Judge McCullough dissented on that issue finding our favor. Judge Pelligrini did subtly direct the DEP to do its job and tell people of spills regardless of the statute. Hope it helps.”
Ruling On Act 13 Issues
“Pennsylvania doctors have nothing to worry about when it comes to the so-called “gag order” on chemical exposures from oil and gas drilling. That’s the message from the Commonwealth Court today in a much-anticipated ruling on provisions of the state’s two-year-old oil and gas law. The court issued the ruling after the Supreme Court passed on the controversy, sending it back to the lower court.
The “gag rule” stems from a section of Act 13, which requires nondisclosure agreements from healthcare providers who seek information on chemical exposures, which may be deemed “confidential” by industry. The law, which was drafted without the knowledge or consultation of healthcare providers, forces doctors to sign a nondisclosure agreement, thereby agreeing not to share any ingredients in the industry’s secret sauce used to frack and drill for natural gas.
Writing for the Commonwealth Court, President Judge Dan Pellegrini says the law is not unconstitutional, and it neither prevents healthcare providers from obtaining the necessary information or sharing it with other health practitioners.
“It just reinforces the muddiness”
Governor Corbett’s administration says it is pleased with the ruling.
In a statement, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office of General Counsel said, “Pennsylvania remains one of the most progressive and transparent states in the nation with respect to hydraulic fracture disclosure.”
But some doctors say the ruling does nothing to clear up the confusion left by lawmakers.
“It just reinforces the muddiness we already have,” says Dr. Amy Pare, a plastic surgeon from Washington County.
She says the ruling doesn’t make her feel any safer signing a non-disclosure form.
“I don’t think most physicians are well-versed in the legal system to know if they are within the boundaries of the law,” says Pare. “So you just avoid it, you don’t bring it up.”
Part of the problem, says Pare, is that the language of the nondisclosure form remains a mystery.
“I can’t think of any other word for it than intimidating,” says Pare. “It’s intimidating for the doctor, and it’s intimidating for the patient.”
Not all the members of the five-judge panel agreed. Judge Patricia McCollough wrote a dissenting opinion, where she expressed concern about the larger impacts to public health.
“While the range and precise language of the confidentiality agreement is not known, it is a fair inference that a health professional will be unable to share the information in the peer-review setting, publish the clinical findings and proposed treatment plans in medical journals, or coordinate the outcome and treatment plans with other hospitals who later experience the same or a similar case.”
Court upholds other challenged sections
The Commonwealth Court also upheld eminent domain for natural gas storage facilities. And state environmental regulators do not have to notify private well owners of drilling related spills.
Environmental groups argued that the law should not treat private well owners differently than public water suppliers. Act 13 requires the Department of Environmental Protection to notify public water facilities of spills.
President Judge Pellegrini says, like health providers, private water well owners have nothing to worry about:
Even though it is not required to do so, in the event of a spill, the DEP will in all likelihood, canvas the areas to identify individuals served by private wells and notify them of the spill and aid them in getting alternative water supplies.
PUC cannot review zoning ordinances
The Commonwealth Court also ruled the state’s Public Utility Commission does not have authority to review local zoning ordinances.
In December, the state Supreme Court found that some portions of Act 13 dealing with restrictions on local zoning for natural gas development violated Pennsylvania’s constitution. Given the higher court ruling, the Commonwealth Court says any challenges to local ordinances cannot bypass local zoning boards, effectively removing the role Act 13 set up for the PUC.
Act 13 originally gave the PUC and the Commonwealth Court power to withhold a municipality’s share of the Marcellus Shale impact fee if a local ordinance was found to be in violation of the law.
Plaintiff’s attorney Jordan Yeager praised today’s decision.
“It means that this industry has to… respect local governments just like every other industry does,” he says. “And that’s a good thing for democracy, that’s a good thing for public health and the environment.”
A spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition – the state’s top drilling trade group – says the industry has always been willing to work with local communities.
John Dernbach, a professor at Widener University’s Environmental Law Center, expects both sides to appeal the ruling.
“The state and its allies I think are going to be unhappy with the continuing viability and strength of local government authority,” he says. “The citizen petitioners are going to be unhappy that some of their claims weren’t given the kind of credence that they felt like they deserved.”
A spokesman says the governor’s office is “carefully evaluating the impact of the Court’s ruling” on the PUC’s role in overseeing local zoning rules for natural gas development.
You can read StateImpact Pennsylvania’s annotated version of the ruling here at the link under the article title. Jan
2. Kretschman Organic Farm Needs Your Help- New Sewickley
From: Don Kretschmann [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
“July 15, 2014
Greetings from the Kretschmanns,
I wish I could talk about the what might shape up to be the best early potato crop in years, or how nice the tomatoes look, picture perfect fields of broccoli and cauliflower, or how excited we are to see the winter squash growing beautifully after being planted using our innovative new no-till system.
But unfortunately we are totally preoccupied with stopping a Marcellus gas compressor station from being sited on a property adjoining our farm in the rear. We are shell-shocked and beside ourselves after the surprise phone call last Wednesday from a neighbor about a meeting of the township board of supervisors at which they were to decide the issue.
In eight hours we and several other neighbors came up with enough questions for the board to delay decision and continue the hearing on 7/23 at the township building. But we are told it will be an uphill battle. The small group of neighbors calling ourselves the Bulldogs for New Sewickley Health has alerted hundreds of residents, who also knew nothing about these plans.
We don't like to bother our subscribers with issues outside our farmer to consumer relationship and deny many requests by outside groups to contact you. But this is about the future of your food supply--make no mistake.
It's about the future of our farm. Thus, we respectfully ask, beg, that you write the board of supervisors voicing your concerns about the safety and integrity of your organic food supply. As citizens of Pennsylvania, we all have "a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment." (Art.27Sec1PA Constitution) The state, and thus the township is the trustee of these common resources to preserve them for all of us.
Surely the production of healthy food with the benefit of clean water and air is one of the values of the environment and the most treasured of resources. We know you are busy-with-life. Please consider taking the time to send a letter to the supervisors insisting they fulfill their duty to protect the safety of your food supply. We are taking this very seriously and have engaged legal talent including the attorney who successfully confronted the free reign of the gas industry all the way to the PA Supreme Court. We need your help now, as the 7/23 conditional use hearing might be the one where the supervisors grant permission for the plant. If you're a parent, also appeal on behalf of your children who grow nourished by this wholesome food. If you're a doctor or health professional appeal on the basis of prudent concern for one's health. Other professionals can lend a hand as appropriate. If you know anyone who could help out in the media, political, business, or legal arenas please let us know. We certainly are not asking for this kind of response based on the basis of NIMBY--not in my backyard. It's simply that an extra-ordinary number of Pittsburgh area consumers are consuming food from our farm in a raw and unprocessed form. That's a special case and you have a right to its quality.
We will be setting up a more automated a petition line, but you can send petitions to the Board of Supervisors c/o twp manager, New Sewickley Twp. Importantly, CC us in the e-mail, or simply send it to us and we'll print and forward it. Please be respectful. Don served for many years on this board with the current Chairman. Please put "NST petition" in the subject line so we can make sure it is introduced into the official record. We thank our many subscribers who have supported us for decades by buying our organic produce and thus making us the thriving organic farm which we are.
This has allowed us to laugh at the lease agreements sought by the "land men". We haven't and won't sign. We need your help at this time in this special way. Salient talking points are the potential danger to your organically raised food supply and the farm which produces it. We are confident the public good can prevail if we all step forward together. We will be putting together more information as we get a little ahead of this breaking wave.
Busy as bees, we are sincerely,
Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew
3. Former Health Secretary: Don’t BS The Public- Their Health Comes First
PITTSBURGH – Pennsylvania’s former health secretary said the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of one of the nation’s biggest natural gas drilling booms.
Dr. Eli Avila also said the state’s current strategy is a disservice to people and even to the industry itself because health officials need to be proactive in protecting the public. “The lack of any action speaks volumes,” said Avila, who is now the public health commissioner for Orange County, New York. “Don’t BS the public. Their health comes first.”
In 2011, an advisory commission recommended the state create a public health registry to track drilling-related complaints and address concerns. The state House approved $2 million for it, but Senate GOP leaders and the governor’s office cut the funding at the last minute.
Some people have complained that nearby drilling led to headaches, nosebleeds and other problems, and there are long-term concerns about the toxic chemicals used in the fracking process that breaks the rock to free gas. But without coordinated statewide research, it’s impossible to know how widespread or dangerous the problems are or even if drilling is responsible.
Avila spoke after media outlet State Impact reported two former Health Department employees said they were told to forward certain environmental health complaints – including drilling – to the Bureau of Epidemiology and to not discuss the issues with callers. The memo included other subjects beyond drilling, such as Superfund sites, garbage dumps and mining.
Health Department spokeswoman Aimee Tysarczyk said in an email, “There was not and is not an effort to keep employees from taking Marcellus Shale-related health complaints or from following up on complaints.”
All such complaints, she said, are “immediately reported to the Bureau of Epidemiology for review and follow-up.”
Tysarczyk said the department has responded to all 51 Marcellus Shale health-related complaints it has received, and “any complaint or investigation is shared directly with the individual involved and his or her physician if the individual has seen a physician.”
The database of the complaints contains personal health information and can’t be made public because of medical privacy laws.
State Impact reports Pennsylvania, Colorado and North Dakota log drilling-related complaints in databases, but Health Departments in Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and West Virginia don’t keep track of them at all.
Avila said he thinks Corbett is a “good man” who’s being hurt politically by top advisers who don’t let the governor hear directly from qualified health experts. Avila resigned from the post in 2012 after serving two years.
T he AP asked Corbett Friday if he supported creating a health registry for drilling complaints. Corbett said he doesn’t know where the Department of Health stands on the issue now.
“I’d have to know what they’ve been talking about before I can answer that,” he said.
Another public health expert said the bigger point isn’t how the phone calls to the Health Department were handled; rather, the issue should be the ongoing lack of a rigorous program to study and respond to drilling-related health complaints.
Pennsylvania is “simply not doing” serious studies into possible health impacts of drilling, said Dr. Bernard Goldstein, who has five decades of public health experience at hospitals and universities in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Goldstein said questions about drilling and public health are not going away, and he suggested that Pennsylvania “do what their advisory commission told them to do,” since it’s not too late to start a health registry for drilling complaints.
Avila noted that “fracking’s not going anywhere. So what you really need to do is assure the public that you’re going to protect them.”
That hasn’t happened, he said.
“How can you keep the public safe if you’re not collecting data” on drilling-related complaints, he asked.
4. Range Resources’ John Day Impoundment Contaminated
The “significant” leak discovered two months ago at Range Resources’ John Day waste water impoundment in Amwell Township, Washington County, was much bigger than first thought and now has contaminated groundwater in addition to soil.
The state DEP now estimates that brine from gas drilling stored in the football-field-sized pond leaked undetected and contaminated about 15,000 tons of soil, or 650 triaxle truck loads.
In addition, the chloride that contaminated the soil also has been detected in one of the on-site groundwater monitoring wells.
“We thought from the beginning that it was a significant spill and contamination,’’ said John Poister, a DEP spokesman. ‘‘Much more soil is being removed than we originally thought.
The DEP issued a permit for construction of the impoundment in January 2010.
Mr. Poister said DEP inspectors are at the impoundment remediation site daily to monitor the cleanup and investigate why the impoundment’s two leak-detection systems did not work.
State inspectors found that the one beneath the impoundment appeared to have been crushed and was non-functional, he said.
“At no time did the systems show water coming out during the time the impoundment was active,” he said. “It’s a problem we are investigating. We’ve seen such systems work elsewhere, but this has raised questions about leak-detection systems at other impoundments of this vintage and that were constructed in this manner.”
Range received notices of violations from the DEP in February and August 2013 for erosion and sedimentation violations at the Day impoundment, but records do not indicate it paid any fines.
Don Hopey: email@example.com or 412-263-1983.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/06/12/Range-Resources-John-Day-impoundment-leak-bigger-than-first-thought/stories/201406110179#ixzz34RW1hJMx
5. Even Low Doses of Arsenic Trigger Lung Cancer
EPA delay due to Lobbying By Pesticide Companies
(Arsenic has repeatedly been found in water contaminated from fracking. A few examples:
***Center for Environmental Health (CEH) today released a new report outlining the health risks to pregnant women and young children from harmful chemicals used in fracking. The report, Toxic and Dirty Secrets: The Truth About Fracking and Your Family’s Health, Just some of the harmful substances commonly used in fracking include methane, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes), arsenic, radium, ozone, formaldehyde, radium, radon, nitrogen oxides, methylene chloride and silica sand. These substances are associated with low birth weight, birth defects, respiratory problems, and cancer and fertility problems.
**And A Texas study found elevated levels of arsenic at water wells within three kilometers of gas wells
**And A new study of 100 private water wells in and near the Barnett Shale showed elevated levels of contaminants such as arsenic and selenium closest to gas extraction sites, according to a team of researchers that was led by UT Arlington associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Kevin Schug.
By David Heathemail
“The low doses of arsenic similar to what many Americans consume in their drinking water are enough to develop tumors in mice, a new NIH study has found. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health fed mice very low doses of arsenic and were surprised to find that many of them developed lung cancer, according to a study just published. What made the results so surprising was that in previous studies, mice were fed extremely high doses of arsenic before they developed excess tumors. In the new study, mice fed lower doses of arsenic were more likely to develop tumors. The Center for Public Integrity recently exposed how lobbying by pesticide companies that sell weed killers containing arsenic has delayed the EPA from issuing its findings and taking action on them for years.
“This is the first study to show tumor development in animals exposed to very low levels of arsenic, levels similar to which humans might be exposed,” Michael Waalkes, lead author on the paper and director of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory, said in a press release. “The results are unexpected and certainly give cause for concern.”
Studies in countries such as Taiwan, Chile and Bangladesh have shown that people who drink high doses of arsenic get cancer skin, bladder and lung cancer. High levels of arsenic in well water in Bangladesh created one of the worst environmental disasters in history.
Extrapolating from those studies, scientists with the U.S. EPA have tentatively concluded that arsenic is a serious problem at low doses. A draft report on arsenic concluded that for every 100,000 women who drink the legal limit of arsenic in water each day, 730 will get lung or bladder cancer from it.
Some scientists argue that there is a threshold dose, below which arsenic is harmless. But the new study casts serious doubt on this contention.
NIH researchers fed adult mice arsenic before breeding and continued to give offspring arsenic in water throughout their two-year lives. Fifty-one percent of the male mice given arsenic at 50 parts per billion developed tumors, compared to 22 percent of mice given no arsenic. Fifty-four percent of male mice given 10 times that amount of arsenic also developed tumors. But there was no significant increase in tumors among mice given a much higher dose of 5 parts per million.
Researchers were not expecting worse effects at lower doses and say their findings raise concern about levels of arsenic to which people are exposed. The current drinking-water limit in the United States is 10 parts per billion.
“Although this is only one study, it adds to a growing body of evidence showing adverse health effects from very low exposures to arsenic, raising the possibility that no level of arsenic appears to be safe,” Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement.”
6. 24 Arrested Blocking Entrances to FERC
Cove Point Rally
WASHINGTON - July 14 - Residents impacted by shale gas infrastructure and their supporters blocked the entrances to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters today in protest of the proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility and others proposed around the country.
This is the second consecutive day of action to demand that the Obama administration take the voices of impacted communities seriously in the federal regulatory process, and that FERC reject Dominion Resources’ proposed LNG export facility in Cove Point, Maryland, just 50 miles south of the White House on the Chesapeake Bay. Over a thousand people rallied on the National Mall and marched to FERC yesterday despite scorching heat and high humidity.
Protesters linked arms and blocked the main entrance and a secondary entrance of FERC as employees came in to work this morning. A total of 24 people were arrested for the shut down, including participants from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. The protesters were arrested by Homeland Security police and then turned over to the DC Metropolitan Police for processing. They were charged with “incommoding,” or blocking a public passageway, and are being released with a citation and $50 fine.
“People ask what the connection is between Marcellus Shale and Cove Point,” said arrestee Ann Bristow from Garrett County, Maryland. “One connection is the transportation of this product. Compressor stations have been shown to be one of the most toxic sources of air emissions. Pipelines and compressor stations will only increase with more demand from Cove Point.”
If approved, the Cove Point export facility would be the linchpin tying together communities from northern Pennsylvania to central Virginia to southern Maryland that are struggling for a clean and healthy environment free of fracked gas infrastructure.
Alex Lotorto, a resident of Pike County, Pennsylvania, was among the arrestees. “There is a FERC-permitted natural gas pipeline and compressor station about to be constructed in my hometown of Milford, Pennsylvania. The exhaust is equal to over a 100 diesel school buses idling constantly next to homes where children are sleeping,” said Lotorto. “I’m here to let FERC and the company know what’s waiting for them if the permit is issued.”
Michael Bagdes-Canning from Butler County, Pennsylvania was also arrested in front of FERC’s office. “I'm willing to go to jail because my friend Susan wakes up every morning with headaches from the air she breathes from the Bluestone natural gas processing plant,” said Bagdes-Canning. “I'm willing to go to jail for the dozens of battles we are fighting in Butler County, Pennsylvania; battles that will only intensify if the international market is opened up by export facilities like Cove Point.”
Among the arrested people, their supporters, and the 150,000 people who sent in comments to FERC opposing the Cove Point project, the consensus is clear: Now is the time to stop the pollution of communities dealing with the extraction, transportation, processing and potential export of hydraulically fractured—fracked—natural gas. It’s time to get serious about shifting to clean, jobs-producing, renewable energy.
Karen Leu, a resident of Takoma Park, Maryland, was among the arrestees. “The LNG facility at Cove Point does not speak love to rural communities faced with unhealthy drinking water or a world facing a climate catastrophe,” said Leu. “What will we stand up for if not love?”
7. DEP Refuses To Hand Over Data On Radiation
Delaware Riverkeepers Hires Expert To Do Own Study
It's well established that radiation can be harmful. But is it possible that the release of information about radioactive material is dangerous as well?
That was an argument that the state DEP made when it denied a request from an environmental group for recently collected information about radiation levels in and around oil and gas well sites in the Marcellus shale region.
But that view did not fly with the state's Office of Open Records. The office on Friday ordered DEP to release the records initially requested by the Bucks County-based Delaware Riverkeeper Network and one of its research associates, Corinne Bell, in April.
The department collected samples and other information for a comprehensive study that Gov. Tom Corbett ordered last year to look at naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in by-products associated with oil and natural gas development.
That report will be made public when it is completed. The news release announcing the study indicated a 12 to 14 month timeline that led some to believe that it should have been done by now.
But department spokeswoman Lisa Kasianowitz said that 12 to 14 month period only accounted for the time the department needed to collect the samples. Now the results are being analyzed and then will be reviewed internally and by an outside consultant before the report is issued, which is expected to be later this year.
Because of the upsurge in drilling activity in the Marcellus shale region and the potential health and environmental risks that come with it, the network's deputy director Tracy Carluccio said her organization has hired an outside expert to conduct a study of its own of the department's sampling results and study about radioactivity in the environment caused by the drilling.
"It's a huge issue," she said. "It has substantial health – human health and environmental health – implications. We felt it was so important that people have the opportunity to hear from somebody outside of the agency that is permitting these activities."
But the network's effort to gain access to critical pieces of information to conduct its analysis was denied by the department.
DEP's Kasianowitz said the department is reviewing the Office of Open Records' decision and has not yet made a determination as to whether it will appeal it to Commonwealth Court.
In denying the records, DEP took the position that the public release of "preliminary unvalidated data, including sample locations," could risk harm to the public's health, pose a security risk if it falls into the wrong hands and lead to "erroneous and/or misleading characterizations of the levels and effects" of radioactive material.
It further argued that the samples it collected fall under the Right to Know Law's exemption that allows noncriminal investigative records to be kept private.
But in the Office of Open Records' appeals officer Jill Wolfe's view, the department cedes that the information is public and will released once it has the chance to "validate" the data. Besides that, she said the investigative exemption doesn't apply in this case because this Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material study by "the very name identifies it as a study" and not an investigation.
Further, she states the department incorrectly "attempts to equate the risk of radioactive material itself to the release of information about radioactive material."
The department's position is disturbing to Office of Open Records executive director Terry Mutchler. For one thing, she said, "As a practical matter, you are dealing with radiation levels in water. If that doesn't rise to the level of something the public should know, I can't think of much that would."
What's more, Mutchler said the department's denial highlights "one of the biggest issues we see" in the application of the Right to Know Law and that is the misuse of the investigative exemption.
For the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the delay in the department's release of information it requested – as well as the DEP study that the network believed based on the department's news release would have been released by this past spring – is concerning. Not only does it hinder the network's ability to perform its own study of the data, but Carluccio said "the sooner the public knows this information the better."
"Every day, millions of gallons of wastewater are produced and we know that much of the wastewater contains high levels of radioactivity. We also know the gas itself has radioactive elements in it," Carluccio said.
Pointing to her own research based on information from various federal government sources, she said there are indications that Marcellus shale contains higher levels of radioactivity than other shale being developed in the United States.
She said she hopes hidden motivations that go beyond the public's interest are not behind the department's delay.
Carluccio said, "We don't want politics to get in the way of the timely release of this report. It's certainly one that could be out and made public so the magnitude of the problem is understood."
Kasianowitz said the department had no comment on the network's suspicions.
Maya K, van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, 215 369 1188 ext 102 (rings office & cell)
Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-369-1188 x104
Just In-- Delaware River Keepers Wins Open Records Case On Radioactivity Records
Thank you Delaware River Keepers!
“Harrisburg, PA – Delaware Riverkeeper Network challenged PADEP denial of a Right to Know Law request filed by the organization for access to PADEP’s study of technologically enhanced radioactive material (TENORM) produced by oil and gas extraction.
PADEP refused to provide several documents, claiming exemption as internal, predecisional deliberations and noncriminal investigative records under the Right to Know Law. Delaware Riverkeeper Network appealed the denial to the Office of Open Records, arguing that the records are purely factual not deliberative, and not part of an inquiry or official probe, simply part of an agency study.
The Department had provided Delaware Riverkeeper Network with 294 pages of records generally describing the study and an earlier NORM study (1994), as requested by the organization. In response to Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s appeal, PADEP produced an exemption log containing 57,308 pages of information and further claimed public disclosure of the shielded records posed a threat to public safety and public security of infrastructure and a threat to personal safety.
Claiming that the data was unvalidated and preliminary and would eventually be validated in a final report issued to the public, PADEP argued that the premature release of the data would lead to “…erroneous and/or misleading characterizations of the levels and effects of NORM and/or TENORM associated with [Oil and Gas] exploration and production…” PADEP went on to assert that the release of the information would “likely result in a substantial and demonstrable risk of physical harm” resulting from the public knowing the location and quantity of the radioactive materials.
“The public’s right to know is founded on the important principle that citizens need access to information about their government’s activities to ensure openness, prohibit secrets, and promote opportunity for critical review and accountability of public officials for their actions. DEP’s attempts to hide facts about their study of radiation caused by gas development sounds disingenuous and like they are trying to hide something. Delaware Riverkeeper Network fought for this information so the sun can shine on what DEP is doing regarding this critical study and the impacts of shale gas drilling and fracking, the public has a right to know,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
The Office of Open Records determination stated:
“It is important to note that the TENORM study is the gathering of information on radioactive material that already exists from the oil and gas exploration and production activities. The Department contends that a reasonable likelihood of harm exists by releasing the information because of the risks associated with exposure to radioactive materials. In essence, the Department’s argument attempts to equate the risk of radioactive material itself to the release of information about radioactive material. The risks associated with exposure to radioactive material is not the same as any risk associated with releasing information about radioactive material”. Decision at 10.
The Office also ruled that the responsive records are “factual in character consisting of sample data collected and sample location” and not part of a deliberative process that will express legal opinions or policies. Decision at 12. The Office also decided that the information being sought is not part of a searching inquiry or official probe but rather a study, stating, among other reasons, “The very name identifies it as a study”. Decision at 7. This makes the files ineligible to be concealed as a “noncriminal investigative record”. Decision at 5. The Office points out that records are “presumed public unless exempt” and exemption is only granted “…by a preponderance of evidence”, citing 65 P.S. Section 67.708(a). Decision at 5. “The public has a great capacity for understanding facts and information, deep concern about the levels of radioactivity associated with shale gas development in the state since people are being exposed every day, and huge interest in what DEP is finding. For DEP to assert that the public can’t handle this information intelligently is an insult and is no excuse for withholding information the public has a right to,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
PADEP was ordered to provide all responsive records requested by DRN within 30 days. Under the law, the Order can be appealed by DEP to Commonwealth Court.
The Final Determination is available at http://bit.ly/1nJdKMh
Deputy Director Delaware Riverkeeper Network
8. Intersex Fish in Pa
“DEP has begun an extensive sampling of chemical contaminants in response to the discovery of intersex fish in three of the state's rivers, a department spokeswoman said.
Male fish carrying eggs were found in the Susquehanna, Delaware and Ohio river basins, a sign that the water may be tainted with chemicals, the U.S. Geological Survey found in research released Monday.
Amanda Witman, a DEP spokeswoman, said the agency is testing two tributaries of the Susquehanna River: Juniata River and Swatara Creek.
The USGS research said that two fish species, smallmouth bass and white sucker, were exhibiting intersex characteristics due to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals — hormones and hormone-mimicking chemicals that caused the male fish to produce eggs.
"The sources of estrogenic chemicals are most likely complex mixtures from both agricultural sources, such as animal wastes, pesticides and herbicides, and human sources from wastewater treatment plant effluent and other sewage discharges," said Vicki Blazer, a fish biologist and lead author of the USGS study.
Estrogenic chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, which regulates the release of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. This interferes with the fish's ability to reproduce.
Some of the compounds and contaminants found were new, and researchers had to develop new laboratory test procedures to measure them, Witman said.
"The results will provide a much better understanding of the kinds, distribution and concentrations of these compounds," she said.”
9. Exxon Mobil Faces Criminal Charges Over Wastewater Spill Thanks to Kathleen Kane
“As a defense, it is arguing that the state’s attorney general illegally singled it out to stop hydraulic fracturing.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane-D said Exxon’s claims are false.
Prosecutors allege that Exxon subsidiary XTO Energy is criminally liable for a water spill in 2010 at a fracking site in north-central Pennsylvania.
“The case involves the first criminal charges filed against a public company drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale,” the Wall Street Journal said.
About 57,000 gallons of wastewater from a fracking operation leaked from storage tanks on an XTO site and into a tributary of the Susquehanna River.
In November 2010, a Pennsylvania inspector found wastewater leaking from a partially open valve.
“XTO says it had turned over the site to contractors, didn’t cause the spill and can’t be held liable for it. The company also says that biologists from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection studied the tributary and found no impact from the spill,” the Wall Street Journal said.
A year ago, XTO paid $100,000 to settle civil charges under the federal Clean Water Act. And it agreed to do a clean up estimated to cost $20 million.
“Two months later, Pennsylvania prosecutors filed eight criminal misdemeanor charges against the company. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 a day,” the Wall Street Journal said.
XTO’s lawyers have said in court filings that the criminal charges “may be part of an arbitrary and improper law-enforcement agenda . . . to end hydro-fracturing in Pennsylvania altogether.”
Prosecutors have acknowledged that the state attorney general is opposed to fracking.
But the state denies that it has singled XTO out for improper reasons.”
10. Oklahoma-- Seven Earthquakes in 14 hours
“Drilling has been blamed for more earthquakes on the vast stretches of prairie across Texas and Oklahoma. The US Geological Survey has recorded seven small earthquakes shaking central Oklahoma in a span of about 14 hours.
The temblors are part of an increase in earthquakes across Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas that some scientists say could be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, and especially the wells in which the industry disposes of its wastewater.
Seismologists know that fracking can cause microquakes that are rarely strong enough to register on monitoring equipment.
However, fracking also generates vast amounts of wastewater, which is pumped into injection wells thousands of feet underground. Scientists wonder whether they could trigger quakes by increasing underground pressures and lubricating faults. Another concern is whether injection well operators could be pumping either too much water into the ground or pumping it at exceedingly high pressures.
Hundreds of central Oklahoma residents met with regulators and research geologists last month in Edmond, and many urged regulators to ban or severely restrict the disposal wells.”
11. Range Resources To Sell, Ship Marcellus Gas and Ethane
“Range Resources Corp. is lining up deals to ship natural gas and ethane it's pulling from the Marcellus shale to export terminals and proposed petrochemical plants.
The Fort Worth-based energy company, which has a large presence in Pennsylvania, announced Thursday it signed several agreements involving planned pipeline projects, terminals and ethane crackers. The agreements would last between five and 20 years.
The projects include:
• Energy Transfer Partners' Rover Pipeline, which is expected to connect the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia with Canada and the Gulf Coast by 2017
• The Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, La., where Cheniere Energy Inc. is building a liquefaction plant
• An unnamed, planned liquefied natural gas terminal
• A proposed petrochemical plant that an affiliate of Sasol Ltd. might build near Lake Charles, La.
• The Ascent ethane cracker that Odebrecht proposes to build in Parkersburg, W. Va.
“The Rover pipeline provides Range flexibility in selling natural gas to high demand markets in Canada and the Gulf Coast, while the LNG and ethane supply agreements further diversify and strengthen our customer base with industry leading companies,” Range CEO Jeff Ventura said in an announcement.
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6350727-74/ethane-gas-range#ixzz35mOaiN9C
12. Activists Blockade Chevron Frack Site in Eastern Romania
Twenty-five activists from across seven countries, chained themselves to the gates of a Chevron shale gas exploration well in Eastern Romania yesterday, and are calling on the government to ban fracking in the country.
The Greenpeace activists—from Romania, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany—held banners reading “Pungesti anti-Chevron quarantine area” and “Stop Fracking!” in protest of the U.S. energy giant’s exploration work on the ground.
Chevron began work on the exploration well in Pungesti, northeast of Bucharest, in December last year having postponed operations several times due to local opposition.
The protests in the village attracted widespread attention and media coverage last year as villagers, framers, protesters and the community’s religious leaders came together to block the fracking site and halt Chevron’s plans.
For more than two months, the village became the front line of a nationwide battle to stop fracking.
The protesters argue that the Romania government has failed to protect the local environment and its citizens by allowing Chevron to explore the area for shale gas and are calling on it to end it support for dirty fracking.”
13. Pipeline Threatens Our Family Land
By ANN NEUMANN JULY 12, 2014
LANCASTER, Pa. — The Tucquan Creek, home to towering tulip poplar and oak trees and the occasional red fox, rushes over natural rock dams and plunges into secluded swimming holes before it meets the Susquehanna River and continues to the Chesapeake Bay.
I know this creek, the way it tastes and sounds, because I grew up with it, playing in the ferns and wild columbine along its banks. My father moved to the hollow as a single parent in 1976. When he died 30 years later, my sister, Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck, decided to raise her two daughters in the home where we were raised.
This spring a man with a clipboard knocked on Malinda’s door. He wanted permission to survey her property for a natural gas pipeline. My sister asked what would happen if she didn’t sign. Williams Partners, an Oklahoma-based natural gas transporter, would prefer to negotiate, he cheerily said, but the company would invoke the federal right of eminent domain if she didn’t.
The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline is planned to be up to 42 inches in diameter, buried three to five feet beneath yards, fields and woods. It will connect two existing lines, and is cheaper for Williams to build than upgrading what the company already has in the ground. During construction, set to begin in June 2016, a path up to 125 feet wide will be clear cut with chain saws and bulldozers, destroying the trees we’ve always known, the dainty trillium we’ve looked for each year. “Horizontal directional” drilling could be used to run the high-pressure pipeline beneath the Tucquan Creek’s fishing holes and falls.
A permanent 50-foot-wide path will have to be kept clear of buildings and trees — and maintained not by Williams, but by landowners. Pumping, meter and deodorization stations will be built along the route, although Williams has not made a final determination of how many or where.
The Central Penn Line will slice through 178 miles, eight counties and hundreds of properties. Once it is operational, Williams will have access to the pipeline indefinitely, for maintenance and upgrades — and for cleanup after leaks or explosions. Like all major gas transport companies, Williams has a long list of violations and disasters.
Fracking, I once thought, was something that happened to other people, not mine. Hydraulic fracturing may be confined to the shale regions of the country, but the wider effects of the natural gas boom, and the pipelines being built to support it, include the feverish development of wilderness and private property.
FIRST granted 300 acres of property in 1734, my Mennonite family has lived in the same area for hundreds of years. A ninth-generation Lancastrian, Dad chose to leave farming and the church to settle in the Tucquan Glen a handful of miles from the family farm.
When a housing development threatened the township in the 1980s, he and his neighbors organized. My Reaganite father found himself shaking his fist at township meetings and selling sandwiches to raise money, all to save the hollow he loved. Today, 336 acres of the glen are in preservation. Dad’s legacy is a hiking trail that bears his name, watched over by a flock of wild turkeys, and a hollow free from the subdivisions and big-box stores that now characterize much of the northeastern United States.
Preservation, however, can’t stop companies like Williams, with the complicity of federal agencies, from seizing public and private land. The natural gas industry is creating a vast infrastructure for processing and transport, with 89,000 miles of pipelines currently proposed or in the approval process.
In Pennsylvania alone, where 2012 gas production rates increased by 69 percent over the previous year, thousands of miles of new pipelines will have to be built to support gas production. After the pipelines have bolstered corporate profit margins — many experts predict that gas reserves will last only another 35 years; the United States Energy Information Administration says 90 years — they will be left to molder below family fields, forests and streams.
Many banks, afraid of liabilities, are reluctant to refinance mortgages or provide loans for properties with pipelines. My sister asked USAA, the financial-services company that insures her home, about her policy and was told that the pipeline would change her insurance category from residential to commercial, with a higher premium.
The pipeline approval process is neither democratic nor transparent. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission works with local, state and federal agencies to produce an environmental impact statement, which determines project approval. But the statement doesn’t guarantee safety; many interstate pipelines that have leaked or exploded received an environmental impact statement beforehand. The Atlantic Sunrise Project’s impact statement has not yet been published.
Williams is required to host public meetings, but these are not exactly town halls; residents at a meeting in Lancaster last month were left to wander among information tables. Detailed maps of the route are available for inspection there, but the maps available online don’t contain property lines or owners’ names, so communities find it hard to organize. There’s a financial incentive to work with the company. A Williams’s representative told me that if a landowner negotiates, she is likely to be paid two to three times the assessed value of her property. If she fights, judges typically award eminent domain at only the assessed value.
I heard deep resignation in Steve Groff’s voice when he told me he had allowed Williams to survey his land. Steve and I grew up together. He now farms the rich corn and produce fields his father once did. As kids, Steve, Malinda and I picked baskets of tomatoes from sun-baked fields. Steve knows farmers in other parts of the country who have spent their entire savings in an unsuccessful attempt to stop pipelines. “You know how much this farm means to me,” he said. “They have all the power, and I essentially have nothing.”
On June 10, Williams proposed two alternative routes that the pipeline could take through the township. Both would bypass the lower end of the glen (and take a bigger bite of Steve’s farm). But the next day, Williams submitted its pre-filing report — essentially a formal proposal that gets a project onto the schedule — to the regulatory commission with the glen route listed as the primary one.
A project like this will always harm someone, and it’s easy for the protestations of those in the path of the pipeline to be dismissed as a Nimby — not in my backyard — lament. Residents could indeed have squabbled over whose property the pipeline should run through, but instead have banded together: The industry’s short-term economic benefit is not more important than the Tucquan watershed. The question, they say, is not where the pipeline should run, but whether the pipeline should run at all.
As Malinda, my two nieces and I walked through the Tucquan Glen last weekend, broad white rhododendron blooms with pink stamens brushed our shoulders. Why do thousands of hikers visit the glen each year? Why do we sisters, who know it so well, spend our time together there? It’s our home, yes, as much as the farm is Steve’s home, as much as this kind of preserved land belongs to all of us — until it doesn’t. “I love this place more than anywhere else,” Malinda said. “It doesn’t have a price.”
Ann Neumann is a visiting scholar at the Center for Religion and Media at New York University and the author of a forthcoming book about how Americans die.
A version of this op-ed appears in print on July 13, 2014, on page SR9 of the National edition with the headline: A Pipeline Threatens Our Family Land. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe
14. Ohio and PA Lead in Hazmat Spills
Ohio leads the country in hazardous material transportation accidents, according to a four-month Enquirer investigation. PA is second according to the chart. (Please see article for charts and graphs.) More than a quarter of Ohio's overall incidents occurred in Greater Cincinnati which experienced a hazmat spill every day on average in 2013.
The Enquirer analysis shows there have been about 5,550 hazardous waste incidents in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky over the last 10 years. After a significant dropoff caused by the shutdown of DHL's hub in Wilmington and the recession, incidents have risen over the last three years, the data shows.
In the last decade, the local incidents include 169 major spills, 94 evacuations, 16 injuries and two fatalities.
Truckers and railways aren't even required to notify communities when dangerous materials are about to ship through a town. "People really don't realize how much of this stuff actually is on our roads, and how dangerous it can be," said University of Cincinnati environmental health professor Andrew Maier.
Keep in mind, nearly one in seven Americans, or more than 48 million people, live within 300 feet of a major highway, railroad or airport, so transport of hazardous materials potentially affects people not just where they travel but where they live.
15. New York Report By Concerned Health Professionals of New York-Excerpt
This is an excellent resource. All studies are referenced. Please see the report at the link provided.
(This week I will reprint 2 sections of the report. Next week I will include water references.jan)
Threats to agriculture and soil quality
Drilling and fracking pose risks to the agricultural industry. Studies and case reports from across the country have highlighted instances of deaths, neurological disorders, aborted pregnancies, and stillbirths in cattle and goats associated with livestock coming into contact with wastewater. Potential water and air contamination puts soil quality as well as livestock health at risk. Additionally, farmers have expressed concern that nearby fracking operations can hurt the perception of agricultural quality and nullify value-added organic certification.
June 26, 2014 – Public health professionals at the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project reported significant recurrent spikes in the amount of particulate matter in the air inside of residential homes located near drilling and fracking operations. Captured by indoor air monitors, the spikes tend to occur at night when stable atmospheric conditions hold particulate matter low to the ground. Director Raina Ripple emphasized that spikes in airborne particulate matter are likely to cause acute health impacts in community members. She added, “What the long term effects are going to be, we’re not certain.” At this writing, researchers from Yale University and the University of Washington are working to collect and analyze more samples.
May 21, 2014 – Raising questions about possible links to worsening air pollution from the Uintah Basin’s 11,200 oil and gas wells, health professionals reported that infant deaths in Vernal, Utah, rose to six times the normal rate over the past three years. Physician Brian Moench said, “We know that pregnant women who breathe more air pollution have much higher rates of virtually every adverse pregnancy outcome that exists....And we know that this particular town is the center of an oil and gas boom that’s been going on for the past five or six years and has uniquely high particulate matter and high ozone.
With air quality that was formerly pristine, Uintah County, Utah received a grade “F” for ozone in the American Lung Association’s 2013 State of the Air Report, with 27.3 more high ozone days than 2007.5
May 8, 2014 – Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found high levels of methane leaks as well as benzene and smog-forming volatile organic compounds in the air over oil and gas drilling areas in Colorado. Researchers found methane emissions three times higher than previously estimated and benzene and volatile organic compound levels seven times higher than estimated by government agencies. The Denver Post noted that Colorado’s Front Range has failed to meet federal ozone air quality standards for years.
April 26, 2014 – A Texas jury awarded a family $2.8 million because, according to the lawsuit, a fracking company operating on property nearby had “created a ‘private nuisance’ by producing harmful air pollution and exposing [members of the affected family] to harmful emissions of volatile organic compounds, toxic air pollutants and diesel exhaust.” The family’s 11-year-old daughter became ill, and family members suffered a range of symptoms, including “nosebleeds, vision problems, nausea, rashes, blood pressure issues.” Because drilling did not occur on their property, the family had initially been unaware that their symptoms were caused by activities around them.
April 16, 2014 – Reviewing the peer-review literature to date of “direct pertinence to the environmental public health and environmental exposure pathways,” a U.S. team of researchers concluded: “[a] number of studies suggest that shale gas development contributes to levels of ambient air concentrations known to be associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality.”8
April 11, 2014 – A modeling study commissioned by the state of Texas made striking projections about worsening air quality in the Eagle Ford Shale. Findings included the possibility of a 281 percent increase in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some VOCs cause respiratory and neurological problems; others, like benzene, are also carcinogens. Another finding was that nitrogen oxides—which react with VOCs in
sunlight to create ground-level ozone, the main component of smog—increased 69 percent during the peak ozone season.”
March 29, 2014 – Scientists warn that current methods of collecting and analyzing emissions data do not accurately assess health risks. Researchers with the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project showed that methods do not adequately measure the intensity, frequency or durations of community exposure to the toxic chemicals routinely released from drilling and fracking activities. They found that exposures may be underestimated by an order of magnitude, mixtures of chemicals are not taken into account, and local weather conditions and vulnerable populations are ignored.
March 27, 2014 – University of Texas research pointed to “potentially false assurances” in response to community health concerns in shale gas development areas. Dramatic shortcomings in air pollution monitoring to date include no accounting for cumulative toxic emissions or children’s exposures during critical developmental stages, and the potential interactive effects of mixtures of chemicals. Chemical mixtures of concern include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes.
March 13, 2014 – Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted in Utah’s heavily drilled Uintah Basin led to 39 winter days exceeding the EPA’s eight-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards level for ozone pollutants the previous winter. “Levels above this threshold are considered to be harmful to human health, and high levels of ozone are known to cause respiratory distress and be responsible for an estimated 5,000 premature deaths in the U.S. per year,” according to researchers at the University of Colorado. Their observations “reveal a strong causal link between oil and gas emissions, accumulation of air toxics, and significant production of ozone in the atmospheric surface layer.”13 Researchers estimated that total annual VOC emissions at the fracking sites are equivalent to those of about 100 million cars.
March 3, 2014 – In a report summarizing “the current understanding of local and regional air quality impacts of natural gas extraction, production, and use,” a group of researchers from the NOAA, Stanford, Duke, and other institutions described what is known and unknown with regard to air emissions including greenhouse gases, ozone precursors (volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides), air toxics, and particulates. Crystalline silica was also discussed, including as a concern for people living near well pads and production staging areas.15
February 18, 2014 – An eight-month investigation by the Weather Channel, Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News into fracking in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas revealed that fracking is “releasing a toxic soup of chemicals into the air.” They noted very poor monitoring by the state of Texas and reported on hundreds of air complaints filed relating to air pollution associated with fracking.16
January 28, 2014 – Congenital heart defects and possibly neural tube defects in babies were associated with the density and proximity of natural gas wells within a 10-mile radius of mothers’ residences in a study of almost 25,000 births from 1996-2009 in rural Colorado. The researchers note that natural gas development emits several chemicals known to increase risk of birth defects (teratogens).
January 4, 2014 – As summarized by Bloomberg View Editorial Board’s Mark Whitehouse, preliminary data from researchers at Princeton University, Columbia University and MIT showed elevated rates of low birthweight among infants born to mothers living near drilling and fracking operations during their pregnancies.18
December 18, 2013 – An interdisciplinary group of researchers in Texas collected air samples in residential areas near shale gas extraction and production, going beyond previous Barnett Shale studies by including emissions from the whole range of production equipment. They found that most areas had “atmospheric methane concentrations considerably higher than reported urban background concentrations,” and many toxic chemicals were “strongly associated” with compressor stations.
December 10, 2013 – Health department testing at fracking sites in West Virginia revealed dangerous levels of benzene in the air. Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard Gamble stated, “The levels of benzene really pop out. The amounts they were seeing were at levels of concern. The concerns of the public are validated.”
October, 2013 – A preliminary 2013 Cornell University study of the health impacts of oil and gas extraction on infant health in Colorado found that proximity to wells—linked with air pollutants from fracking operations—was associated with reductions in average birthweight and length of pregnancy as well as increased risk for low birthweight and premature birth.21 A study by the same author, currently under review, analyzed births to Pennsylvania mothers residing close to a shale gas well in Pennsylvania from 2003-2010 also identified increased risk of adverse effects. This includes low birth weight, as well as a 26% increase in APGAR scores under 8 (APGAR—or American Pediatric Gross Assessment Record—is a measure of newborn responsiveness. Scores of less than 8 predict an increase in the need for respiratory support).22
October 11, 2013 – Air sampling before, during, and after drilling and fracking of a new natural gas well pad in rural western Colorado documented the presence of the toxic solvent methylene chloride, along with several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at “concentrations greater than those at which prenatally exposed children in urban studies had lower developmental and IQ scores.”23
September 19, 2013 – In Texas, air monitoring data in the Eagle Ford Shale area revealed potentially dangerous exposures of nearby residents to hazardous air pollutants, including cancer-causing benzene and the neurological toxicant, hydrogen sulfide.24
September 13, 2013 – A study by researchers at the University of California at Irvine found dangerous levels of volatile organic compounds in Canada's “Industrial Heartland” where there are more than 40 oil, gas and chemical facilities. The researchers noted high levels of hematopoietic cancers (leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) in men who live closer to the facilities.25
August 26, 2013 – Medical experts at a rural clinic in heavily drilled Washington County, PA reported case studies of 20 individuals with acute symptoms consistent with exposure to air contaminants known to be emitted from local fracking operations.
May 2, 2013 – Reports of symptoms commonly linked to exposure to elevated levels of ground-level ozone associated with gas drilling have been documented in shale-heavy states. In Pennsylvania in 2012, a study of more than 100 state residents living near gas facilities found that reported health symptoms closely matched the scientifically established effects of chemicals detected through air and water testing at those nearby sites, and that those negative health effects occurred at significantly higher rates in households closer to the gas facilities than those further away.28 Indicative of the growing prevalence of such health impacts in the state, a poll showed that two-thirds of Pennsylvanians support a moratorium on fracking because of concern about negative health impacts.
April 29, 2013 – Using American Lung Association data, researchers with the Environmental Defense Fund determined that air quality in rural areas with fracking was worse than air quality in urban areas.30
March, 2013 – A review of regional air quality damages in parts of Pennsylvania in 2012 from Marcellus Shale development found that air pollution was a significant concern, with regional damages ranging from $7.2 to $32 million dollars in 2011.
February 27, 2013 – In a letter from Concerned Health Professionals of New York to Governor Andrew Cuomo, a coalition of hundreds of health organizations, scientists, medical experts, elected officials and environmental organizations noted serious health concerns about the prospects of fracking in New York State, making specific note of air pollution. Signatory organizations included the American Academy of Pediatrics of New York, the American Lung Association of New York and Physicians for Social
Responsibility. The New York State Medical Society, representing 30,000 medical professionals, has issued similar statements.
January 2, 2013 – A NOAA study identified emissions from oil and gas fields in Utah as a significant source of pollutants that contribute to ozone problems. Exposure to elevated levels of ground-level ozone is known to worsen asthma and has been linked to respiratory illnesses and increased risk of stroke and heart attack.35
December 3, 2012 – A study linked a single well pad in Colorado to more than 50 airborne chemicals, 44 of which have known health effects.
July 18, 2012 – A study by the Houston Advanced Research Center modeled ozone formation from a natural gas processing facility using accepted emissions estimates and showed that regular operations could significantly raise levels of ground-level ozone (smog) in the Barnett Shale in Texas and that gas flaring further contributed to ozone levels.37
March 19, 2012 – A Colorado School of Public Health study found air pollutants near fracking sites linked to neurological and respiratory problems and cancer. The study, based on three years of monitoring at Colorado sites, found a number of “potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near gas wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.” Lisa McKenzie, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health, said, “Our data show that it is important to include air pollution in the national dialogue on natural gas development that has focused largely on water exposures to hydraulic fracturing.”
December 12, 2011 – Cancer specialists, cancer advocacy organizations, and health organizations summarized the cancer risks posed by all stages of the shale gas extraction process in a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.41
October 5, 2011 – More than 250 medical experts and health organizations reviewed the multiple health risks from fracking in a letter sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.42
April 21, 2011 – Environment & Energy (E&E) reported that ozone levels exceeding federal health standards in Utah’s Uintah Basin, as well as wintertime ozone problems in other parts of the Intermountain West, stem from oil and gas extraction. Levels reached nearly twice the federal standard, potentially dangerous even for healthy adults to breathe. Keith Guille, spokesman for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, said, “We recognize that definitely the main contributor to the emissions that are out there is the oil and gas industry....”43
March 8, 2011 – The Associated Press reported that gas drilling in some remote areas of Wyoming caused a decline of air quality from pristine mountain air to levels of smog and pollution worse than Los Angeles on its worst days, resulting in residents complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses.44
November 18, 2010 – A study of air quality in the Haynesville Shale region of east Texas, northern Louisiana, and southwestern Arkansas found that shale oil and gas extraction activities contributed significantly to ground-level ozone (smog) via high emissions of ozone precursors, including volatile organic compounds and nitrogen
oxides.45 Ozone is a key risk factor for asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.46 47 48 49
September, 2010 – A health assessment by the Colorado School of Public Health for gas development in Garfield County, Colorado determined that air pollution will likely “be high enough to cause short-term and long-term disease, especially for residents living near gas wells. Health effects may include respiratory disease, neurological problems, birth defects and cancer.”
January 27, 2010 – Of 94 drilling sites tested for benzene in air over the Barnett Shale, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) discovered two well sites emitting what they determined to be “extremely high levels” and another 19 emitting elevated levels.