Living on Earth: Disposal of Fracking Wastewater Polluting PA Rivers

Living on Earth: Disposal of Fracking Wastewater Polluting PA Rivers.

The Fracturing of Pennsylvania –

The Fracturing of Pennsylvania –

Driller OK to halt water to Pa. town | Associated Press | The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton PA – Associated Press

APNewsBreak: Driller OK to halt water to Pa. town | Associated Press | The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton PA – Associated Press.

DEP Announces Public Comment Period for Guidance on Air Aggregation Determinations Newsroom | DEP

DEP Announces Public Comment Period for Guidance on Air Aggregation Determinations   10-12-11  Newsroom | DEP.

State pushes for legal end to shale wastewater discharges – News – The Times-Tribune

State pushes for legal end to shale wastewater discharges – News – The Times-Tribune.

DEP Fines Chesapeake More than $1 Million

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




Katy Gresh, Department of Environmental Protection


*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.”

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Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Oil and Gas Inspectors

Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Oil and Gas Inspectors

And the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote today:
Pennsylvania environment chief now must approve any shale-drilling citations

In an unprecedented policy shift, inspectors in Pennsylvania have been ordered to stop issuing violations against drillers without prior approval from Gov. Corbett’s new environmental chief.

The change, ordered last week in response to complaints by the drilling industry and its supporters in the Pennsylvania legislature, dismayed ground-level staff in the Department of Environmental Protection and drew a chorus of outrage from environmental advocates.

“I could not believe it,” said John Hanger, the last DEP secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell. “It’s extraordinarily unwise. It’s going to cause the public in droves to lose confidence in the inspection process.”  The order applies only to enforcement actions in the Marcellus Shale….

read more: fully story =

This outrageous news follows hard on the heels of President Obama’s speech indicating his support for natural gas extraction, which means fracking with all its environmental destruction and harms to public health.  Natural gas stocks rose overnight.  But read this cogent analysis of the President’s “non-plan”:
Protectors, this news is a call to action.
1.  HOLD THE DATE: Saturday April 23rd, “River to River” march here in Philatelphia (Schuylkill to Delaware) to protect our waters — to reclaim our democracy and express our outrage about horizontal hydrofracking and the “Gasocracy” trying blatantly to take over our state.  We the people need clean air, water, earth: we won’t stand for this!
2.  USE TODAY’S NEWS AS AN ORGANIZING TOOL:  don’t “read it and weep,” get angry and organized.  Make your personal plan to get five, fifty, or 500 more people, businesses, and organizations to comment to the DRBC between now and April 12th using our new letter HERE: (Finally, it’s easy)!
Forward widely!  We will print and HAND DELIVER ALL E-LETTERS directly to the DRBC as long as they come in by April 12th midnight.
We can then galvanize all these letter-writers to speak out in an organized way to protect the whole state and region!
3.  FYI: where POW will be tonight, 7 pm, Drexel: (you can pick up lit. from our table here if you want to do outreach):
Closing thought for the day from Protecting Our Waters organizers Gerald Kaufman, a former Pennsylvania legislator himself:
“This is important. Reading this [Obama’s non-plan] and the morning Inky regarding the DEP shale inspectors needing to get permission from the Secretary’s office to issue a violation is energizing me. I think back to the 60s and 70s and how we were able to impact the direction of the country because we were so well organized. We had mass involvement in the civil rights, anti war and women’s movements and it was the beginning of the environmental movement. Now we have a country ruled by the oligarchs and the only movement involving large numbers is the Tea Party. So instead of feeling depressed I feel energized and and am happy to be part of a larger movement that POW represents. I think the DEP article today is a great organizing tool.”   –Gerald Kaufman

Iris Marie Bloom
Director, Protecting Our Waters

c (215) 840-6489