Joshua Kors: Oscar Nominee Josh Fox Speaks Out About Oil Lobby’s Efforts to Crush His Film

Joshua Kors: Oscar Nominee Josh Fox Speaks Out About Oil Lobby’s Efforts to Crush His Film.

 

Joshua Kors

Joshua Kors

Investigative Reporter, The Nation

Posted: January 27, 2011 02:03 PM

 

Josh Fox’s home sits in the woods of Milanville, Pennsylvania, near the rushing waters of the Delaware River. In May 2008, a strange letter appeared in his mailbox. A natural gas company was offering him $100,000 if he granted them permission to drill on his property.

Instead of signing, Fox decided to investigate. Armed with a video camera and a banjo, he set off on a journey up and down the Marcellus Shale, a massive reserve of natural gas that stretches 600 miles from Pennsylvania to Maryland, Virginia and into Tennessee. Known as the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” the shale contains billions of dollars in untapped fuel.

Fox wanted to know: What happened to other families who agreed to drilling on their property?

What he found was a heartbreaking collection of severely ill families whose aquifers had become so tainted by the gas, they could literally light their tap water on fire. He edited his footage into a modest documentary, Gasland, which was soon embraced by outraged viewers across the country. It won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the Lennon-Ono Peace Prize, and now has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Pennsylvania allows dumping of tainted waters from hydrofracking into drinking water streams | syracuse.com

Pennsylvania allows dumping of tainted waters from hydrofracking into drinking water streams | syracuse.com. Jan. 4, 2011

Pennsylvania alone allows waterways to serve as primary disposal sites for fracking waste
1/4/2011
Observer-Reporter

By David B. Caruso
The Associated Press
Monday, January 3, 2011

The natural gas boom gripping parts of the U.S. has a nasty byproduct: wastewater so salty, and so polluted with metals like barium and strontium, most states require drillers to get rid of the stuff by injecting it down shafts thousands of feet deep.
Not in Pennsylvania, one of the states at the center of the gas rush.

There, the liquid that gushes from gas wells is only partially treated for substances that could be environmentally harmful, then dumped into rivers and streams from which communities get their drinking water.

In the two years since the frenzy of activity began in the vast underground rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania has been the only state allowing waterways to serve as the primary disposal place for the huge amounts of wastewater produced by a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

State regulators, initially caught flat-footed, tightened the rules this year for any new water treatment plants, but allowed any existing operations to continue discharging water into rivers.

At least 3.6 million barrels of the waste were sent to treatment plants that empty into rivers during the 12 months ending June 30, according to state records. That is enough to cover a square mile with more than 81/2 inches of brine.

Researchers are still trying to figure out whether Pennsylvania’s river discharges, at their current levels, are dangerous to humans or wildlife. Several studies are under way, some under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency.

State officials, energy companies and the operators of treatment plants insist that with the right safeguards in place, the practice poses little or no risk to the environment or to the hundreds of thousands of people, especially in Western Pennsylvania, who rely on those rivers for drinking water.

But an Associated Press review found that Pennsylvania’s efforts to minimize, control and track wastewater discharges have sometimes failed.

For example:

• Of the roughly 6 million barrels of well liquids produced in a 12-month period examined by The AP, the state couldn’t account for the disposal method for 1.28 million barrels, about a fifth of the total, due to a weakness in its reporting system and incomplete filings by some energy companies.

• Some public water utilities that sit downstream from big gas wastewater treatment plants have struggled to stay under the federal maximum for contaminants known as trihalomethanes, which can cause cancer if swallowed over a long period.

• Regulations that should have kept drilling wastewater out of the important Delaware River Basin, the water supply for 15 million people in four states, were circumvented for many months.

In 2009 and part of 2010, energy company Cabot Oil & Gas trucked more than 44,000 barrels of well wastewater to a treatment facility in Hatfield Township, a Philadelphia suburb. Those liquids were then discharged through the town sewage plant into the Neshaminy Creek, which winds through Bucks and Montgomery counties on its way to the Delaware River.

Regulators put a stop to the practice in June, but the more than 300,000 residents of the 17 municipalities that get water from the creek or use it for recreation were never informed that numerous public pronouncements that the watershed was free of gas waste had been wrong.

“This is an outrage,” said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, an environmental group. “This is indicative of the lack of adequate oversight.”

The situation in Pennsylvania is also being watched carefully by regulators in other states, some of which have begun allowing some river discharges. New York also sits over the Marcellus Shale, but Gov. David Paterson has slapped a moratorium on high-volume fracking while environmental regulations are drafted. Read more of this post

SURVEY: DRINKING WATER POLLUTION CONCERNS FUELING AWARENESS AMONG AMERICANS OF ‘FRACKING’ USED TO EXTRACT NATURAL GAS

SURVEY: DRINKING WATER POLLUTION CONCERNS FUELING AWARENESS AMONG AMERICANS OF ‘FRACKING’ USED TO EXTRACT NATURAL GAS.

SURVEY: DRINKING WATER POLLUTION CONCERNS FUELING AWARENESS AMONG AMERICANS OF “FRACKING” USED TO EXTRACT NATURAL GAS

Americans Unwilling to Trade Clean Drinking Water For Dirty Energy Production; Strong Support Across Party Lines Seen For Putting Emphasis on Energy Production With Minimum of Pollution.

WASHINGTON, D.C.///December 21, 2010///Do Americans think natural gas is as “clean” as it is touted as being by the energy industry? Nearly half of Americans (45 percent) are already very or somewhat aware of the controversy about hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) drilling used to tap cheap natural gas supplies in the U.S., according to a new Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation (Infogroup/ORC) survey conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI). Among Americans who already are aware of “fracking,” more than two out of three (69 percent) are concerned about the drilling technique’s possible threat to clean drinking water.

The U.S. fracking survey conducted by CSI – the first national poll to gauge the attitudes of Americans on the subject – was released today along with two separate survey reports for more than 800 New York State/New York City residents and over 400 Pennsylvanians. The national and two state-specific reports are available at http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org.

Key findings of the national survey include the following findings:

More than three out of four Americans (78 percent) would “strongly” (49 percent) or “somewhat” (29 percent) support “tighter public disclosure requirements as well as studies of the health and environmental consequences of the chemicals used in natural gas drilling.” Fewer than one in five (16 percent) would oppose requiring such additional disclosure. More disclosure is supported across party lines by Republicans (74 percent), Independents (72 percent), and Democrats (85 percent).
Over half of Americans (56 percent) who are very/somewhat aware of fracking think state and federal officials are either “not doing as much as they should” (42 percent) or “not doing anything at all” (14 percent) to “require proper disclosure of the chemicals used in natural gas drilling.”
Nearly three out of five (72 percent) Americans say that they would tell their Member of Congress, governor or state lawmaker the following: “When it comes to energy production that requires large amounts of water or where water quality is in jeopardy as a result of the energy production, my vote would be for coming down on the side of the public’s health and the environment. We should favor cleaner energy sources that use the least water and involve the lowest possible risk to the public and environment.” Only about one in five (21 percent) would say the following: “When it comes to energy production that requires large amounts of water or where water quality is in jeopardy as a result of the energy production, my view is that energy production priorities have to come first. There is always going to be some risk involved when it comes to energy production. We have to accept that there are going to be tradeoffs when it comes to the public’s health and the environment.” Clean water is favored over energy production by Republicans (62 percent), Independents (80 percent), and Democrats (82 percent).

Pam Solo, founder and president, Civil Society Institute, said: “Clean energy production is strongly favored by Americans over energy sources that create a danger to human health and safe drinking water in particular. Fracking is a perfect illustration of the fact that Americans don’t think of an energy source as ‘cheap’ or ‘clean’ if there is a hidden price in terms of safe drinking water and human health. The message from our new survey is clear: Americans of all political persuasions prefer to see clean energy development that protects water supplies over traditional fossil fuel production that endangers safe drinking water and human health.”

Commenting on the survey, Anthony Ingraffea, PhD, P.E., Dwight C. Baum professor of engineering, Cornell University, said: “The results of this survey indicates that the public has been educated and sensitized to the issues arising from tradeoffs among energy production, the environment, and health. Americans now understand that, especially with the allure of gas production from unconventional gas plays, even ‘getting it right’ from a technical and regulatory point of view might still be wrong in terms of clean drinking water. The public is increasingly ready to commit to change in its energy use patterns, invest in its children’s energy futures, and is no longer willing to accept the notion that a corporate business plan is the same as a national strategic energy plan.”

Fracking, a technique used to extract natural gas from deep deposits, involves blasting vast amounts of water combined with chemicals and sand into the ground to release the gas from deposits. While industry experts claim that this is a relatively low-risk extraction method, there are growing concerns about the threat of contamination of drinking water supplies.

The nonprofit Civil Society Institute has carried out more than 25 major national- and state-level opinion polls on energy issues since 2003. The 100-percent independent CSI think tank receives no direct or indirect support of any kind from any natural gas industry interest, or any other energy-related company, trade group or related individual.

In addition to the national survey, the state-specific polls for Pennsylvania and New York State/City were conducted since: (1) Pennsylvania is a major site today for fracking-based efforts to access the enormous Marcellus Shale deposit stretching along the Appalachians from West Virginia up to the western half of the state of New York; and (2) concerns are rising that the use of hydraulic fracturing could lead to water contamination of the Catskill/Delaware River watershed that is a main source of drinking water for New York City and millions of other regional residents.

Survey: Water Pollution From Natural Gas ‘Fracking’ a Concern for Four Out of Five Pennsylvanians Aware of the Process

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/survey–water-pollution-from-natural-gas-fracking-a-concern-for-four-out-of-five-pennsylvanians-aware-of-the-process-112249579.html

Strong Support Across Party Lines Seen in Pennsylvania For Putting Emphasis on Energy Production With Minimum of Pollution; More than Four Out of Five Want Better Disclosure of Risks.

WASHINGTON,  Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Do Pennsylvania residents think natural gas is as “clean” as it is touted as being by the energy industry?  Three out of five Pennsylvanians are already very or somewhat aware of the controversy about hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) drilling used to tap cheap natural gas supplies in the state, according to a new Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation (Infogroup/ORC) survey of 403 state residents conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI).  Among Pennsylvanians who already are aware of “fracking,” more than four out of five are concerned about the drilling technique’s possible threat to clean drinking water.

Radon in Drinking Water | Radon | US EPA

Radon in Drinking Water | Radon | US EPA.

Public Health Standards for Radon in Drinking Water

EPA’s proposal for public health standards for radon in drinking water provided two options to States and community water systems for reducing radon health risks in both drinking water and indoor air quality, a unique multimedia framework authorized in the 1996 Amendments to the Safewater Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  Information about the proposed rule and information relating to the status of the rule can be found at http://water.epa.gov

National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report on Radon in Drinking Water “Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water.”

A report released September 15, 1998, by the National Academy of Sciences is the most comprehensive accumulation of scientific data on the public health risks of radon in drinking water.  The report was required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  The NAS report (BEIR VI) issued earlier this year confirmed that radon is a serious public health threat.  This report goes on to refine the risks of radon in drinking water and confirms that there are drinking water related cancer deaths, primarily due to lung cancer.  The report, in general, confirms earlier EPA scientific conclusions and analyses for drinking water, and presents no major changes to EPA’s 1994 risk assessment.

Safe Drinking Water Hotline

Call toll free and speak with an Information Specialist Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm eastern time at 1-800-426-4791. Local calls or International calls at (703) 412-3330. The Hotline is closed on Federal holidays, except Veteran’s Day. The Hotline is open on Veteran’s Day but closed the day after Thanksgiving.

The Safe Drinking Water Hotline telecommunications system provides only recorded messages in English and Spanish 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-426-4791. Local calls at (703) 412-3330. International calls at (703) 412-3330. Bilingual service is available. An introductory telephone message tells Spanish callers to leave a detailed message. Bilingual Information Specialists will return these calls. Write to The Safe Drinking Water Hotline, 4606M, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20460.

About the Safewater Hotline and Services Available.

CDC – Radon and Drinking Water from Private Wells – Wells – Private Water Systems – Drinking Water – Healthy Water

CDC – Radon and Drinking Water from Private Wells – Wells – Private Water Systems – Drinking Water – Healthy Water.

Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water

Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water.

States Pursue Radon Limits in Drinking Water as EPA Action Lags

States Pursue Radon Limits in Drinking Water as EPA Action Lags.

By GAYATHRI VAIDYANATHAN of Greenwire

Published: December 7, 2010

States are taking the lead with studying levels of radon in drinking water and air even as federal regulators lag, as a coincidence of geology and population density leaves some more at risk than others of suffering from the naturally occurring radioactive toxin.

Tiny protozoa may hold key to world water safety

Tiny protozoa may hold key to world water safety.  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2010, December 12). Tiny protozoa may hold key to world water safety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved

Commercial Application of SSB testing technology.  Petrel