SKYTRUTH: using remote sensing and digital mapping to educate the public and policymakers about the environmental consequences of human activities

SKYTRUTH: using remote sensing and digital mapping to educate the public and policymakers about the environmental consequences of human activities.

SkyTruth Custom Alert Feed

The following SkyTruth Alerts incidents have been reported in your selected geographical area since the last update was sent.


PA Permit Violation Issued to Southwestern Energy Prod Co in Stevens Twp, Bradford County

Administrative violation issued on 2013-02-13 to Southwestern Energy Prod Co in Stevens Twp, Bradford county. 78.12 – Oil or gas well drilled, altered or operated not in accordance with a permit or the regulations.

Tags: PADEP, frack, violation, drilling

PA Permit Violation Issued to Southwestern Energy Prod Co in Stevens Twp, Bradford County

Administrative violation issued on 2013-02-13 to Southwestern Energy Prod Co in Stevens Twp, Bradford county. 78.12 – Oil or gas well drilled, altered or operated not in accordance with a permit or the regulations.

Tags: PADEP, frack, violation, drilling

PA Permit Violation Issued to Range Resources Appalachia Llc in Jackson Twp, Lycoming County

Administrative violation issued on 2013-02-13 to Range Resources Appalachia Llc in Jackson Twp, Lycoming county. 78.56(1) – Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.

Tags: PADEP, frack, violation, drilling

PA Permit Violation Issued to Range Resources Appalachia Llc in Cogan House Twp, Lycoming County

Administrative violation issued on 2013-02-13 to Range Resources Appalachia Llc in Cogan House Twp, Lycoming county. 78.56(1) – Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.

Tags: PADEP, frack, violation, drilling

PA Permit Violation Issued to Catalyst Energy Inc in Hamilton Twp, McKean County

Environmental Health & Safety violation issued on 2013-02-05 to Catalyst Energy Inc in Hamilton Twp, McKean county. SWMA301 – Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.

Tags: PADEP, frack, violation, drilling

JAMES ALLEN CRIPE Reports Drilling Started (SPUD) in Pleasant Township

JAMES ALLEN CRIPE reports drilling started on 2013-02-15 00:00:00 at site TRAILER COURT 18 in Pleasant township, Warren county

Tags: PADEP, frack, spud, drilling, oil

CATALYST ENERGY INC Reports Drilling Started (SPUD) in Brokenstraw Township

CATALYST ENERGY INC reports drilling started on 2013-02-15 00:00:00 at site BIALCZAK LEASE 1945 in Brokenstraw township, Warren county

Tags: PADEP, frack, spud, drilling, oil

VISTA OPR INC Reports Drilling Started (SPUD) in Cranberry Township

VISTA OPR INC reports drilling started on 2013-02-15 00:00:00 at site CHAGRIN 8 17A in Cranberry township, Venango county

Tags: PADEP, frack, spud, drilling, oil

SHEFFIELD LAND & TIMBER CO Reports Drilling Started (SPUD) in Howe Township

SHEFFIELD LAND & TIMBER CO reports drilling started on 2013-02-15 00:00:00 at site WT 2980 142 in Howe township, Forest county

Tags: PADEP, frack, spud, drilling, oil

SHEFFIELD LAND & TIMBER CO Reports Drilling Started (SPUD) in Howe Township

SHEFFIELD LAND & TIMBER CO reports drilling started on 2013-02-15 00:00:00 at site WT 2980 140 in Howe township, Forest county

Tags: PADEP, frack, spud, drilling, oil

GAS & OIL MGMT ASSN INC Reports Drilling Started (SPUD) in None Township

GAS & OIL MGMT ASSN INC reports drilling started on 2013-02-15 00:00:00 at site LOT 523 12 in township, county

Tags: PADEP, frack, spud, drilling, oil


SkyTruth Custom Alert Feed

Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human health

shalegas_pe464425_en.pdf (application/pdf Object).

Impacts of shale gas and shale oil
extraction on the environment and on
human health
STUDY
Abstract
This study discusses the possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the
environment and on human health. Quantitative data and qualitative impacts
are taken from US experience since shale gas extraction in Europe still is in its
infancy, while the USA have more than 40 years of experience already having
drilled more than 50,000 wells. Greenhouse gas emissions are also assessed
based on a critical review of existing literature and own calculations. European
legislation is reviewed with respect to hydraulic fracturing activities and
recommendations for further work are given. The potential gas resources and
future availability of shale gas is discussed in face of the present conventional
gas supply and its probable future development.
IP/A/ENVI/ST/2011-07 June 2011

Study finds coal costly to U.S. economy   – Business – The Charleston Gazette – West Virginia News and Sports -

Study finds coal costly to U.S. economy   – Business – The Charleston Gazette – West Virginia News and Sports -.

Video of Vestal GasCapades June 22, 2011

Thanks to Jeff and Jodi Andrysick, Weston Wilson, Tara Meixsell, and Rick Roles for travelling a long way to present their personal experiences and knowledge of the impact of hydraulic fracturing, and to Don Glauber for calming things down when some of the audience started to get rowdy.  Videos are now online of the entire event, including the at-times confrontational question-and-answer session.  Links to the videos are below.

-Ben

GasCapades – Introduction and Jeff and Jodi Andrysick

GasCapades – Weston Wilson

GasCapades – Tara Meixsell

GasCapades – Rick Roles

GasCapades – Conclusion with Jeff and Jodi Andrysick

GasCapades – Question and Answer Session

EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan 6/11

Hydraulic Fracturing | Hydraulic Fracturing | US EPA.

Case Study Location announced.

Greg Palast on Condoleezza Rice teaming up with Chevron « Dandelion Salad

Greg Palast on Condoleezza Rice teaming up with Chevron « Dandelion Salad.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Chevron, and a think tank have teamed up to launch a new project to look at how to promote “economic development, livelihoods, and reduce poverty worldwide.” This, from an oil company that refused to pay an $8.6 billion court-ordered payout for poisoning the Ecuadorian amazon rainforest, which led to the deaths of 1400 people.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. – The Colbert Report – 6/1/11 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. – The Colbert Report – 6/1/11 – Video Clip | Comedy Central.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. says mountaintop mining is not a good thing for American democracy. (06:26)

New Film:  The Last Mountain
Tonight on Colbert while promoting his new movie exposing the horrors of mountaintop removal by the Coal industry, at the end of a list of clean alternative energy sources that we should be replacing coal with RFK clearly enumerasted Natural Gas as one of the choices.Thanks a lot, Riverkeepers.

Colbert did launch a satirical attack on energy policy and “energy independence.”

Sandra Steingraber Assembly Testimony 5/26/11

The Potential Health Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Testimony before the New York State Assembly Standing Committees

on Environmental Conservation and Health

May 26, 2011

Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.

Distinguished Scholar in Residence

Department of Environmental Studies

Ithaca College

Ithaca, New York  14850

ssteingraber@ithaca.edu

 

Chairman Sweeney, Chairman Gottfried, and distinguished members of the committees:

 

Thank you for convening this hearing on a topic that is of urgent concern to all New Yorkers.  Hydraulic fracturing relies on pressure, water, and high volumes of inherently toxic chemicals to shatter the bedrock beneath our feet and beneath our drinking water aquifers.  Once shattered, the bedrock releases more than just bubbles of natural gas.  The rock itself releases inherently toxic materials that have been bound together with the shale for 400 million of years.  As we, in New York, consider whether to permit or prohibit this form of energy extraction, it is essential that we understand the possible consequences to public health as a prerequisite for making that decision.  Once shale is shattered, it cannot be unshattered, nor groundwater unpoisoned.

 

Some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing—or liberated by it—are carcinogens.  Some are neurological poisons with suspected links to learning deficits in children.  Some are asthma triggers.  Some, especially the radioactive ones, are known to bioaccumulate in milk.  Others are reproductive toxicants that can contribute to pregnancy loss.  Cancer, miscarriage, learning disabilities, and asthma are not only devastating disorders, they are expensive.  They add rocks to the pockets of our health care system and cripple productivity.[1]  A recent analysis published in our nation’s preeminent public health journal, Health Affairs, estimates that we now spend $76.6 billion each year on health care for children exposed to toxic chemicals and air pollution.[2]

 

So it is right that we ask if hydraulic fracturing brings with it involuntary environmental exposures that may increase our disease burden here in New York.  I applaud you for initiating this conversation.  It feels like an historic moment.

 

My name is Sandra Steingraber.  I’m a distinguished scholar in residence at Ithaca College, and my Ph.D. is in biology from the University of Michigan.  More specifically, my training is in systems ecology, which means I’m interested in understanding how a dynamic web of direct and indirect interactions—from pollination to groundwater flow—helps shape the natural world.

 

Early on in my career as a biologist, I had a profound personal experience that led me to the work I do now, which is focused on understanding how the cumulative impacts of multiple environmental exposures to toxic chemicals create risks for human health.

 

At the age of 20, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, a quintessential environmental cancer with well-established links to particular classes of chemicals.  Questions about my possible chemical exposures posed to me by my own diagnosing physician led me, years later, to return to my hometown in Illinois and investigate an alleged cancer cluster there.  Among other things, I discovered the presence of dry-cleaning fluid in the drinking water wells.  That was a surprise because the underlying geology of the area should not have allowed toxic contamination to happen.  But there it was.  I came to appreciate how little we really know about the unmapped, subterranean landscape below our feet, which has intimate, unseen connections to the world above ground.  It’s not just an inert lump of rock down there.

 

My investigation of the environmental links to cancer became the topic of my book Living Downstream, which was released last year as a documentary film.  I’ve also published two books on pediatric environmental health, the most recent of which is Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.  The book’s final chapter addresses the potential health threats of hydraulic fracturing, and I’m pleased to share the results of my research with you.

 

I’ll begin by saying that a comprehensive study of the long-term, cumulative, public health impacts of fracking has not been done.  However, we do know quite a lot about the risks to human health posed by some of the chemicals used in the process or released by it.

 

 

 

Health Effects from Air Pollution

 

Because breathing is our most ecological act—we inhale a pint of atmosphere with every breath—I’ll begin with air.

 

Air pollution is an inevitable consequence of horizontal hydrofracturing.  It is not the outcome of a catastrophic accident.  It is not a hypothetical risk.  Compromised air quality is a certainty.  Because four to nine million gallons of fresh water are required to frack a single well and because wells must cover the landscape for Marcellus shale development to be profitable, fracking is a shock and awe operation.  77,000 wells are envisioned for upstate New York alone.[3]  Each well requires 1,000 truck trips.  77,000 times 1,000 equals a number with six zeroes after it.  This represents a prodigious amount of diesel exhaust.  And, of course, in addition to endless fleets of 18-wheelers, gas production requires generators, pumps, drill rigs, condensers and compressors, which also run on diesel.  At the same time, the wellheads themselves vent volatile organic chemicals—such as benzene and toluene—that are themselves highly toxic and can combine with combustion byproducts to create smog.[4]

 

This kind of air pollution is lethal.  It contains large amounts of ultrafine particles, soot, ozone, and the carcinogen benzo-a-pyrene.  In adults, these pollutants are variously linked to bladder, lung, and breast cancer, stroke, diabetes, and premature death.  In children, they are linked to premature birth, asthma, cognitive deficits, and stunted lung development.[5]

 

Again, this harm comes with economic costs.  Premature birth, which is the leading cause of disability in the United States, carries  $26 billion a year price tag. The direct and indirect costs of childhood asthma are $18 billion a year.[6]

 

What’s more, the airborne contaminants from gas drilling travel long distances, up to 200 miles.[7]  That is to say, the health costs of drilling will be borne by children living in areas where no one is benefiting financially from land leases.  Albany will be affected.  So will New York City.

 

In the gas-producing areas of Utah and Wyoming, formerly pristine air now contains more ozone than downtown Los Angeles.[8]  As the mother of a child with a history of asthma, this concerns me deeply.  New York is not Wyoming.  Our starting point here is not pristine, and our population density is much greater.  The cumulative impact of the air pollution that would be generated by hydraulic fracturing and the air pollution already here in our state is a question that, I submit, requires investigation before any permits are issued.

 

Health Effects from Water Pollution

 

We are each of us in this room 65 percent water by weight.  As such, we enjoy an exquisite communion not only with the atmosphere but with the water cycle, too.

 

Fracking turns millions of gallons of fresh water into poisonous flowback fluid that requires permanent disposal.  The technology does not exist to turn this waste into drinkable water nor remove the radioactive isotopes.  You cannot filter radioactivity.  This much we know with certainty.  The unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan illustrates the point.

 

We also know that there are many documented cases of surface and ground water contamination with compounds associated with gas extraction, including the carcinogen benzene.[9]  However, because hydraulic fracturing has been granted the environmental equivalent of diplomatic immunity—and enjoys special exemptions from both the Clean Water Act and the Clean Drinking Water Act—it is difficult for those of us in the research community to quantify the public health consequences.  Researchers lack knowledge about the behavior of groundwater, and, because of trade secrets, they also don’t know what chemicals to test for.[10]

 

We do know, from a study released earlier this month, that drinking water wells near gas extraction sites in Pennsylvania and New York have, on average, 17 times higher methane levels than wells located farther away.[11]

 

Other than possible explosions, what are the health consequences of drinking and inhaling methane?   For pregnant women?  For children?  For anybody?  We don’t know.  Those studies have never been done.  The federal government does not regulate methane in drinking water.

 

We do know that disinfection byproducts are created when water containing carbon-based contaminants is chlorinated.  These include trihalomethanes, such as chloroform, which are, in fact, linked to both bladder and colon and cancers.[12]  Can methane serve as a raw material for the creation of carcinogenic compounds during the disinfection of public drinking water?  To my knowledge, we in the scientific community don’t have an answer to that question.

 

I have brought with me a jar of water from my kitchen tap in the village of Trumansburg, which comes from a municipal well sunk into a groundwater aquifer next to Cayuga Lake, where fracking fluid from Pennsylvania has been dumped.  Every day, I pour this water into glasses and hand them to my children.  Every day, this water becomes their blood plasma.  It becomes their tears.  It becomes their cerebral spinal fluid.  According to the most recent annual Drinking Water Quality Report for my village, this water contains 29.2 parts per billion trihalomethanes.  That’s not in violation of regulatory limits, but it’s worrisome as there is no documented safe threshold level of exposure.  This water also contains nitrates, probably as the result of agricultural run-off.  Their presence in this jar is, all by itself, not a call for alarm.  But it is a sign that our municipal water, which draws from an unconfined aquifer, is vulnerable to chemical contamination.  It shows that there exist hidden connections between the surface of the earth and the watery vaults of groundwater deep beneath our feet.

 

What would happen to this water if the fields that surround my village—many of which are already leased to gas industry—become a staging ground for fossil fuel extraction?

 

This is not a hydrological experiment that I am interested in running.

 

 

 

Impact on Food

 

I have also brought with me a loaf of bread and a bag of flour.  Both are made from organic heirloom wheat and rye that is grown in my home county and milled right in my village.  You can find similar loaves of artisanal bread—made from this same flour—in Brooklyn bakeries.  This particular loaf was created by Stefan Senders of the Wide Awake Bakery in Mecklenburg, New York.  Baker Senders asked me to submit this loaf as his personal testimony to the Assembly today.  And it comes with a message:

 

“Please tell the committees that bread is mostly water.  The flour and the yeast are just a matrix to make water stand up. I can’t bake bread without a source of clean water.”

 

He also told me that the farmers who grew the organic wheat to make his flour are surrounded by leased land.  He believes whole farm-to-table enterprise is threatened by fracking.

 

Baker Stefan and his suppliers have reason to feel concern.  Organic farmers who raise food near fracking operations are facing potential boycotts and will lose their certification if their crops and animals are chemically contaminated.

 

Upstate New York was recently identified by the New York Times as a national hotspot for organic agriculture, which itself is the most rapidly expanding sector of the food production system that has continued to grow even during the economic downturn.[13]  Cows, wheat fields, vineyards, maple syrup, and apple orchards:  they are all part of a healthy human food chain.  They all require clean water, and they are all affected badly by exposure to air pollution.

 

Of course, public health is also served by employment opportunities in the form of non-toxic jobs.  The above-mentioned mill and bakery are currently hiring.  They both have plans to grow their businesses as demand for locally produced, organic bread is rising.  The grain farmers, too, are seeking additional land.  However, as baker Stefan Senders informs me, concern about the area gas leases and the possible end of the current state moratorium on horizontal drilling have negatively affected plans for locally expanding organic wheat agriculture and artisanal bread baking.  This raises a question:  is the human health of New York best served by jobs that involve organic bread production or fossil fuel extraction?

 

Conclusions

 

I fervently hope that these hearings are the beginning, not the end, of an essential conversation.  In its current incarnation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement—on which the future of hydraulic fracturing hangs—considers neither human health consequences nor the cumulative impacts of the numerous hazards that gas drilling has brought to our doors.

 

The human health impacts of fracking cannot be understood by looking at one chemical exposure by itself, one river at a time, one well pad in isolation.  We all know that it is not just the last straw that breaks the backs of camels.   I urge the Assembly to look at the all straws, employing the new tools of cumulative impacts assessment to do so.[14]  Until that work is complete, benefit of the doubt goes to New York’s children, water, cows, and wheat fields, not to things that threaten them.

 

 

 

 


[1] President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now, 2008-2009 Annual Report (National Cancer Institute, May 2010)

 

[2] L. Trasande and Y. Lui, “Reducing the Staggering Costs of Environmental Disease in Children, Estimated at $76.6 Billion in 2008,” Health Affairs 30 (5): 863-70, 5 May 2011.

 

[3] This estimate is based on assumptions about how much of the shale will be tapped over what period of time.  77,000 wells assumes that 17 New York State counties are drilled and that the shale is 70 percent developed over 50 years at a density of eight wells per square mile.  T. Engelder, “Marcellus 2008 Report Card on the Breakout Year for Gas Production in the Appalachian Basin,” Forth Worth Basin Oil and Gas Magazine, Aug. 2009, pp. 18-22, and Anthony Ingraffea, Ph.D., personal communication.

[4] C.D. Volz et al., “Potential Shale Gas Extraction Air Pollution Impacts,” FracTracker—Marcellus Shale Data Tracking, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, 24 Aug. 2010.

[5] American Lung Association, “Health Effects of Ozone and Particle Pollution,” State of the Air, 2011; President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now, 2008-2009 Annual Report (National Cancer Institute, May 2010).

[6] American Lung Association, Asthma and Children Fact Sheet, Feb. 2010; J.M. Perrin et al., “The Increase of Childhood Chronic Conditions in the United States,” Journal of the American Medical Association 297 (2007); U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2006 and “Premature Birth,” 2010.

[7] S. Kemball-Cook et al., “Ozone Impacts of Natural Gas Development in the Haynseville Shale,” Environmental Science and Technology 15 (2010): 9357-63.

 

[8] M. Bernard, “Air Pollution Becoming a Basin Concern,” Vernal Express, 5 Oct. 2010; D.M. Kargbo et al., “Natural Gas Plays in the Marcellus Shale: Challenges and Potential Opportunities,” Environmental Science & Technology 44 (2010): 5679-84.

[9] A. Lustgarten and ProPublica, “Drill for Gas, Pollute the Water,” Scientific American, 17 Nov. 2008.

[10] For example, U.S. Agency for Toxics Substances and Disease Registry, Evaluation of Contaminants in Private Residential Well Water, Pavillion, Wyoming, Fremont County, August 2010.

 

[11] S.G. Osborne et al., “Methane Contamination of Drinking Water Accompanying Gas-Well Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2011, epub before print.

[12] R.D. Morris et al., “Chlorination, Chlorination By-products and Cancer: A Meta-analysis,” American Journal of Public Health 82 (1992); H.W. Weinberg et al., “Disinfection By-Products (DBPs) of Health Concern in Drinking Water: Results of a Nationwide DBP Occurrence Study (Athens, GA: EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory, 2002).

 

[13] H. Fairfield, “The Hot Spots for Organic Food,” New York Times, 3 May 2009.

[14] “Cumulative impacts” refers to the combined effect of numerous adverse impacts on public health or ecosystems from environmental hazards.  The Science and Environmental Health Network has launched a new website that describes the latest science on cumulative impacts assessment:  www.cumulativeimpacts.org.

__._,_.___

First Person Report from PA

This is from an email sent to me by a friend in Sullivan Co, PA. She has given me permission to post it her. Sullivan Co sits at Bradford Co’s souther border. My friend lives near Dushore which is right near the border and works in Towanda. She did not lease her 5 acres but her neighbor did. Drilling began there last fall and shortly thereafter, methane showed up in my friend’s water. Fracking has not begun yet.

Here is her email:

Sorry about taking so long to get back to you.

My class that does all the talking is only 6 students. One of them is the wife of a man who supervises the well completion– which is what we’re told went wrong at Canton – the well head. (personally I suspect that they ran into a vein of gas that was much stronger than the well cap could handle but they’re not going to say this to the public. That’s the only reason I can see that they would stop all “wellhead completion actions” until they figured out what went wrong. As far as I know, they haven’t returned to the “well head” completions yet). She’s the one that told us they were stuffing paper products from the local minimart down the wellhead to get the gusher to slow down — thus my tweak that they didn’t have a back up plan for such a situation. And I wonder if they have any back up plans at all? She also said that her spouse has worked for years with the drilling going on in Texas and was transferred up to PA because of his know-how; however, he can’t move up the supervisory ladder because he doesn’t have a degree! Instead he is working under some newcomer who has a degree in HISTORY (!) that they hired as supervisor and her spouse is training him. She also said that most of the rig workers don’t know what they’re doing and are guessing at how to go about the drilling. One well, she said, was put in backwards – as in the hole was to grow smaller as it went deeper but they were drilling so it widened instead. Nice, huh. She said men are being injured all the time at the well sites because it is such physically demanding work. She also said that she has 3 children and her spouse insists that they use only bought water! She has the most to tell but I’m guessing that her spouse won’t allow her to talk publicly. I was surprised she shared this much.

Another student (an older man who is retraining since his company closed down) said that in his area where there’s lots of wells going in, he & his friends (hunters who have lived there for all their lives) noticed that there was absolutely no wildlife around last fall. He said at some point, he could hear an audible grrrrrr that felt like the sound of an earthquake deep in the ground under his house. We figured the animals felt that too and took to higher ground. (this is part of my theory about my pond fish dying from the impact of the drilling sounds within the ground – we’re talking 24/7 for at least 6 weeks for just one drilling session – there’s no escape from it while it’s happening and the sounds go right through the walls of your home. I live 2000 feet away from the drilling & there’s a woods between us and the pad yet our house resounded with the sounds for the entire time even with the windows closed.)This is no small production as they’d like you to believe. It’s the greed of military-like industry backed by outlandish amounts of money.

A student from fall semester scared me (another older man) by saying that when they frack near your home, the house will shake from the explosions so strongly that things will fall off the walls.

One girl mentioned that she had been stalked by a Mexican who figured out that she was the last one to close up at her job in the evening — she quit her job.

Another one said that they were building “man camps” near her (Sayre area) just to house the workers who will be coming. I don’t think they’ve even seriously begun yet and the rains are slowing them down for which I’m grateful. She also said that her home is surrounded by drilling pads and lately she’s noticed that their water smells – which she’s never noticed before. She was getting pretty scared about it. There are already people in Wyalusing with class action suits because their water has been destroyed.

I’m noting that as they re-create the roads around here so that it can handle the impending increase in truck traffic (I can now hear the trucks on 87 which I could never hear before), they are building them up so high that the shoulders are incredibly steep. One swerve to get away from an oncoming truck (& these trucks are driven by newly licensed CDL drivers which they are churning out like flies on shit), and my car will be irreparably damaged – if not rolled over – because the inclines are so steep and the sides of our mountain roads are all about steep hills (and curves). I’ve never been cautious of the sides of the roads before and now, even having the road to myself, I’m hypervigilant. The railings that are in place were sufficient for the minor traffic but there’s no where near enough for the heightened roads, lack of shoulders and steep hillsides. They haven’t even repaired the railing that was taken out last fall when a water truck couldn’t make the S curve and went down over the bank.

My neighbor came home one day and called the police because he and his wife were driving around a serious curve on 87 and witnessed 2 water trucks (these are massively long) driving by them in the opposite direction at breakneck speed which almost tipped over on them! My neighbor has been driving trucks for years (not affiliated with this gas industry), and he knows when they are driving too fast and what they look like when they’re about to tip. He was really seriously pissed.

It’s so disgusting on so many levels, I can only absorb so much at a time. They’re polluting our air and our water, tearing down mountains to erect gas compressor stations (NOISE – coming soon), flattening trees to make way for their 4 acre pads, scattering holding ponds for toxic wastes (?) throughout the back woods (what happens to the wildlife that drinks from them?) — destroying the peace with constant sounds (thunderous rigs, planes & helicopters), chasing the wildlife out of their homes & hitting them on the roads (deer all the time), chewing away at the earth to get gravel for their pads, gashing through the mountains for their pipelines, making driving anywhere a concern for one’s life, destroying the normal roads and constantly we are held up in traffic due to construction. Getting in and out of Towanda (due to the bridge bottleneck) during peak hours is a long wait. Just to get in and out of town yesterday, I had to take back roads all around the light. I imagine once the rains settle down, the gray dust covering the sides of the roads – from the continuous Mac trucks taking gravel to the pads – will be nauseating to view. So much for the by-the-road wildflowers that were so gorgeous to view throughout the season.

Oh, and this too — the influx of newcomers is changing the entire essence of community. Everywhere I go when I’m in Towanda, I’m seeing these tough-looking young guys with tatoos. I’m sure they’re the workers brought here from Texas and other states. They look to me like the type that could do some violence under the influence… oh and there’s drugs coming through with them. Of course. I’ve already seen several young people at public places who looked like they were near death’s door literally. It’s the inner city come to the country.

All this for economic growth? ! Then why are there men near retirement age enrolled at Lackawanna because they lost their jobs and can’t get anything without a freakin degree! And every time I hear someone spout “responsible well drilling” as the answer, I want to throttle them. It doesn’t exist at this pace — no way.

It’s so indescribable that the “natural” gas companies get away with it – singing their songs of wealth – because no one who hasn’t been there can consciously grasp the complete devastation until they are in it. This is why I’m sending out everything that’s happening around here — I really want people to have their eyes open when it sets its sights on your area. I’ve never in my life witnessed something so all-encompassingly evil though I know this kind of selfish consumptive razing been going on all over the world and now it’s literally reached my back yard. It certainly has opened my heart to the pain in our world in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to feel otherwise BUT I’ve always known the world is getting weakened by our doings and that’s exactly why I hid myself in the mountains. Now, I too, like the wildlife, am being pushed out, killed off, and dehumanized. It’s very hard to be joyful about life or to respect us as Americans right now. I have to hold my fire of fierce opposition within me just to get through the days (and distract myself with animal rescue). This is how bad it is now – just a little over a year into this travesty – and they haven’t dug in yet. They’re just getting warmed up! Think about that.

DEP Fines Chesapeake More than $1 Million

*COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection*
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

05/17/2011

CONTACT:

Katy Gresh, Department of Environmental Protection

717-787-1323

*DEP Fines Chesapeake Energy More Than $1 Million*

Penalties Address Violations in Bradford, Washington Counties

HARRISBURG — The Department of Environmental Protection today fined Chesapeake Energy $1,088,000 for violations related to natural gas drilling activities.

Under a Consent Order and Agreement, or COA, Chesapeake will pay DEP $900,000 for contaminating private water supplies in Bradford County, of which $200,000 must be dedicated to DEP’s well-plugging fund. Under a second COA, Chesapeake will pay $188,000 for a Feb. 23 tank fire at its drilling site in Avella, Washington County.

“It is important to me and to this administration that natural gas drillers are stewards of the environment, take very seriously their responsibilities to comply with our regulations, and that their actions do not risk public health and safety or the environment,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “The water well contamination fine is the largest single penalty DEP has ever assessed against an oil and gas operator, and the Avella tank fire penalty is the highest we could assess under the Oil and Gas Act. Our message to drillers and to the public is clear.”

At various times throughout 2010, DEP investigated private water well complaints from residents of Bradford County’s Tuscarora, Terry, Monroe, Towanda and Wilmot townships near Chesapeake’s shale drilling operations. DEP determined that because of improper well casing and cementing in shallow zones, natural gas from non-shale shallow gas formations had experienced localized migration into groundwater and contaminated 16 families’ drinking water supplies.

As part of the Bradford County COA, Chesapeake agrees to take multiple measures to prevent future shallow formation gas migration, including creating a plan to be approved by DEP that outlines corrective actions for the wells in question; remediating the contaminated water supplies; installing necessary equipment; and reporting water supply complaints to DEP. The well plugging fund supports DEP’s Oil and Gas program operations and can be used to mitigate historic and recent gas migration problems in cases where the source of the gas cannot be identified.

The Avella action was taken because on Feb. 23, while testing and collecting fluid from wells on a drill site in Avella, Washington County, three condensate separator tanks caught fire, injuring three subcontractors working on-site. DEP conducted an investigation and determined the cause was improper handling and management of condensate, a wet gas only found in certain geologic areas. Under the COA, Chesapeake must submit for approval to the department a Condensate Management Plan for each well site that may produce condensate.

“Natural gas drilling presents a valuable opportunity for Pennsylvania and the nation,” Krancer said. “But, with this opportunity comes responsibilities that we in Pennsylvania expect and insist are met; we have an obligation to enforce our regulations and protect our environment.”

For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us <http://www.depweb.state.pa.us

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