Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celebrate Fossil Fool's Day Where You Are

Here is an interesting way to celebrate April Fool's Day:

Fossil Fool's Day! April 1st, 2010

The fossil fools ain't no joke - but that doesn't mean we can't fight them with one!

The Fossil Fuel Empire is real and it's here. The stakes couldn't be higher: destabilization of the global climate, communities from Alaska to Alberta to Appalachia being destroyed by dirty energy extraction and combustion, devastating super hurricanes, droughts, flooding, the list goes on...

Last December in Copenhagen, the politicians sold us out to the fossil fools, corporate lobbyists and big banks. Now we're left with "green capitalism," carbon market shenanigans and continued assaults on our communities and ecosystems.
If we’re going to stop climate change, the only real solution is to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

This April, join Rising Tide North America as we pull some pranks that pack a punch. Use the simply subversive to the downright disruptive: office occupations, banner drops, road blockades, clownish parades, spoof product launches, sub-vertising, leaflets, street theater, lock-downs and laugh-ins. Whatever works for you and your group!

Climate change is no laughing matter, but we can’t take things too seriously all the time. Join us this Fossil Fools Day as we employ our senses of humor to hatch some harebrained schemes that will strike a blow to fossil foolery everywhere!

And remember what Abbie Hoffman said: "The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it."

Let us know if your group wants to endorse or co-sponsor!

WHAT: Actions, Jokes and Pranks Galore to Stop the Fossil Fools
WHERE: Your Town North America
WHEN; April 1st, 2010


More information here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TV Report on the Problems in Dimock, PA: Another Spill, Citizens Protest

Vera Scroggins of Citizens For Clean Water is interviewed by media. A spill this week along Route 29 prompted a concerned citizens response. Dimock, Pennsylvania, currently has 75 wells in operation with more on the way. Susquehanna County has one inspector to oversee the entire county. The DEP is planning to hire more inspectors.

News from WBNG Binghamton: Dimock's Plight Worsens

Citizens for Clean Water protested this week in Dimock, Pennsylvania.

One group is taking its contamination concerns to the streets.
Protesters are concerned about possible spills and leaks contaminating the area's water supply. They say the State of Pennsylvania needs to re-evaluate the drilling laws and make stricter regulations to protect the water. The Department of Environmental Protection says it is actively investigating possible spills in the area, and are waiting for results. Every morning, Ronald Carter and his wife wake up to the sights and sounds of a hydro-fracking site next door. He says he's concerned about contamination.
"The stuff that's leaking on the ground is the biggest concern, we don't know what's in it," says Carter.
Protesters from the Citizens for Clean Water came out to voice their fears of water contamination. They say Pennsylvania needs more safety measures put in place.
"We're protesting continual allowing of the gas drilling despite all of the pollutions and problems that we've had." says Vera Scroggins, Citizens for Clean Water.
Representatives from Cabot Gas Drilling say they've taken samples from nearby streams and haven't found any contamination. The DEP says the company has conducted some precautionary measures this week. It used a large vacuum truck, like this one seen here, to collect a grayish colored liquid discharge here on Route 29. Protesters say they if the water was really safe from hydrofracking, why would they need measures like this in place?
"What price can we put on health and the environment? We can't. It's priceless," says Rebecca Roter from Brooklyn, PA.
The DEP collected samples from the site last week. It expects to have the results later this week. It's also awaiting results from Cabot's tests as well.

The Latest From Dimock, Pennsylvania

The latest news about the spill in Dimock, the residents of Carter Road whose water has been ruined, and concerned citzens who protested this week.

FOX 40 WICZ TV - News, Sports, Weather, Contests and More - Binghamton, NY

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kill the Drill in New York!


New York's clean water is unique and precious.  Support this effort to keep New York's water safe and drinkable.  It may be up to us, the people.

Friday, March 26, 2010

NOW on PBS Tackles Hydrofracking Tonight

Take a few moments and listen to this well-done interview with film maker Josh Fox who won an award at Sundance Film Fesitival for his film, "Gasland."

Bradford County, PA: Gas Drilling Truck Accident du Jour

Another serious traffic accident- no serious injuries thankfully.  A tractor trailer water tanker truck overturned on Wednesday, March 24th, in Franklin Township, Bradford County, PA.  The driver lost control of the truck on a curve in the road and suffered minor injuries,  a gash in the head, according to a resident who lives near the site of the accident, heard the crash, and went out to assist the injured driver and called 911.  The truck had "Excalibur Energy Service, Inc." on its side.  Excalibur is a Delaware corporation located in Dallas, Texas.  Another accident involving a gas drilling vehicle.

Two local residents have written to the Editor of the Towanda Daily Review, commenting on the seemingly troubling rise in the number of accidents and poor driving practices of drilling trucks:

"I don't want you to stop covering these accident stories. So please don't get me wrong. But you are starting to frighten some of us out here. There seems to be a major truck accident every day. And people are dying in some cases. This is not why I always have loved living in Bradford County. At the very least, this kind of thing is going to drive up all of our auto insurance rates. Has anyone out there even considered that maybe this is not a good or desirable thing to have going on? Personally, I think this is madness."
"I'll tell you why he lost control: because he was going too damn fast, that's why. Doesn't take a genious or "accident scene reconstruction specialist" to figure that out. TO THE FOLKS WORKING FOR THE GAS COMPANIES AND DRIVING THESE BIG TANKERS AND RIGS AND TRAVELING OUR ROADS: PLEASE SLOW DOWN BEFORE YOU CAUSE AN ACCIDENT AND KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE!"
Will the gas drilling companies be able to hire drivers who will observe speed limits and weight limit signs?  Or do the paltry fines and no serious consequences make it possible for them to ignore the problem?

Read the article article in the Towanda Daily Review (3/25/2010) by James Loewenstein, staff writer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Fine For a Gas Drilling Company in Bradford County, PA

Southwestern Energy Production Company was recently fined $50,000 by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) because they violated regulations on or about January 8th.  What did Southwestern do?  They started construction at a well pad without a permit.  They installed a well conductor pipe, used to move water, before obtaining permission from SRBC.  All water-related construction activities at these kinds of sites require SRBC prior approval.  The $50,000 has been termed a "payment in lieu of a penalty."

Another example of the rampant disregard for the law.  My suggestion for such an incident:  Shut down the company immediately.  How many "oopsy" things would happen if the penalties were more severe?

Read the whole article which appeared in the Towanda Daily Review on March 24.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pennsylvania Woman Killed In Tioga County Crash: Gas Drilling Truck Driver At Fault

A tanker truck hauling water for natural gas drilling reportedly rear-ended a car Saturday in Putnam Township, killing a 74-year-old Lock Haven woman who was wearing her seat belt.  There have been many reports from many areas of gas drillers driving huge trucks unsafely.  Though this is considered an accident,  how many more private citizens will be injured or killed by these big gas trucks?  My sincere condolences to the family of this woman who was probably someone's grandmother.

Read further details reported by "The Express," Patrick Donlin, writer.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. Fined For Water Withdrawal Violations

I guess the folks at Chesapeake Energy Corp. have trouble determining just how much water they are permitted to take out of the Susquehanna River in Bradford and Sullivan counties.  Is this believable?  You back your huge truck up to the river's edge and pump too much water into your truck- BY ACCIDENT?  Don't you just look at your clipboard and check the permit?  Aren't there gauges on those vehicles?

Chesapeake was fined $20,000 for 47 violations from April-December 2009.  A mere $425 per violation! The gas company spokesman Brian Grove says they regret the overdraws. Is this acceptable?  Is the "Just say you're sorry" approach enough?  Now the company has added "additional sourcing alternatives that will incorporate real-time automated control systems equipped with automatic shutdown protocols ensuring adherence to daily permitted withdrawal limits."  Well, it's about time.

Is it just me, or could we have reasonably assumed that Chesapeake Energy would already have had control systems in place by this time?  This isn't rocket science, is it?  If the gas drillers can't even figure out how much water they are taking out of our rivers, how can they be expected to handle much more serious operational tasks which can have lethal consequences?

We are in big trouble.

Read an article from the Towanda Daily Review (3/23/2010) by Staff Writer James Loewenstein.


Chesapeake Energy Sets Sights On New York State: Hires Lobbyist From The Nature Conservancy

There is a new employee at Chesapeake Energy. Paul Hartman started work for Chesapeake Energy last week. Title: Director of State Government Relations for New York. He has previously held a similar position with the Nature Conservancy. According to Cheaspeake's announcement,
Hartman will lead the company's efforts to work with elected officials and other interested groups in explaining the benefits of natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale. He will work collaboratively with government leaders to ensure development of the Marcellus Shale benefits New York both economically and environmentally.
Lobbyist Hartman believes that natural gas can provide a cleaner energy solution for New Yorkers. Tom Price, Senior Vice President of the American Heart Association, where Hartman once worked, said
He will play a crucial role helping others understand that drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is an environmentally sound practice...
"Benefits of natural gas production, economic and environmental benefits for New York, clean energy, responsible drilling, environmentally sound practice?" My head is already spinning. Haven't we heard these nice sounding phrases before? I hope New Yorkers, especially those in Albany, will beware. Listen to people who have already been through hell with gas drilling- like Texans and the citizens of Dimock, PA.

Read the article "From Nature to Gas Drilling," from

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bradford County, PA: This Is a Paved Road?????

Roads are going to pot, quite literally speaking in Bradford County, PA. According to an article in the Rocket Courier newspaper, this is a paved road.  This picture (photo by Wes Skillings) shows a section of North Street just off Route 187 in Terry Township, Bradford County, PA.  The road you see here was supposedly filled in and smoothed out a week or so before this picture was taken.  As you can see, the road repairs didn't seem to make a big difference.

In Bradford County, as in most counties I would imagine, there are township roads, county roads, and state roads, and all of these roads are maintained by these different public entities.  It must be difficult to deal with this problem of deteriorating road conditions when you must first find out who maintains the road in question: town, county, or state.  Tina Pickett, who represents the county in Washington, says the townships should hold the gas companies accountable.  However, if a ruined road is a state road, the county has no control over it. 

No one is suggesting that the gas companies aren't trying to repair the roads, but the scale of the problem is so great and getting worse, that the gas companies can't keep up.  There is also a problem getting enough gravel and other materials and a problem finding enough workers.  It seems everyone underestimated  the severity of this crisis.  In addition, as the Burlington Township Supervisor Ed Grant said recently,  "Nobody is really in charge and taking a comprehensive view.  Nobody has control over any one thing."

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko has noted that the summer months will probably produce a major dust problem on the roadways.  Then there are the complaints about the trucks going too fast, hogging the roads and making life more miserable for local drivers.  Some residents of Terry Township reportedly have been frustrated due to lack of response to their complaints of speeding and wreckless trucks.

Since gas drilling operations are only in the beginning stages,  these problems do not bode well.  The situation will only get much worse as time goes on.

A Local Bradford County Citizen Speaks Out On the Downsides of Gas Drilling

Below is a letter to the Editor of The Towanda Daily Review (3/22/2010):

Another hurdle relative to the roads will be for the townships to deal with the question of how the gas pipeline crossings will be made in their townships. Townships without water, sewer, or natural gas service to their residents do not have standards already in place relative to how a road crossing will be done. Many townships will be dealing with this question, maybe COG or Bradford County Planning could provide some leadership so that the townships who would like to can all go work together to set the standards, rather than each township setting its own standards, or worse yet, having no standards at all. There is also a massive 16" fresh river water pipeline being planned to cross several counties and many townships. This water line would connect a river source like the Susquehanna to the water impoundments that are being built. The system would require booster pumps to pump the water. Private ROW agreements will be sought for this line, right now the people don't know what the going rate for such a facility should be. The water line would be buried 4 feet underground to frostproof it so building it is a major undertaking. This line would have to cross many roads to get across the many townships it will serve. The line is expected to be technically temporary but will serve for 10 years or more. I'd like to see Bradford County Planning involved in the siting of this line, rather than just finding out where it is going and putting in on the maps that they are keeping up. Engineering support for this project is contacting the townships to get copies of their ordinances which might relate to this project. No one has said how wide the clear cut for this water line will be, but between the gas gathering lines and these 16" river water lines, forest fragmentation will clearly become an issue of the future. Runoff from the deforested areas will change, and again roads will be impacted.

But worse than the road impacts is the looming potential of drinking water issues. These impacts when they occur on a house by house basis in the rural environment are shattering, since there is no infrastructure for the townships to use to supply those impacted. And what will we do if an entire town's water source became undrinkable?


Friday, March 19, 2010

Waterville, PA, Spill: Airfoam HD Is Dangerous

Airfoam HD is dangerous, contrary to what the PA DEP is claiming in Waterville, PA, after a spill this week. A gas company spokesman called the spill "soap." However, AIRFOAM HD has 2-BE in it. Dr. Theo Colborn of Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc. (TEDX) researched 2-BE and reported the following:

2-BE is a highly soluble, colorless liquid with a very faint, ether-like odor. It has a low volatility, vaporizes slowly when mixed with water and remains well dissolved throughout the water column. It mobilizes in soil and can easily leach into groundwater. It could remain entrapped underground for years.
She noted that it is readily absorbed by the skin and can easily be inhaled as it off-gasses in the home. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Profile lists the following effects of 2-BE:
kidney damage, kidney failure, toxicity to the spleen, the bones in the spinal column and bone marrow, liver cancer, anemia, female fertility reduction, embryo mortality, and the biggie- elevated numbers of combined malignant and non-malignant tumors of the adrenal gland.
A family in Colorado found out the hard way about 2-BE. The mom developed a serious illness- Primary Hyper Aldosteronism, a very rare condition of a tumor on her adrenal gland. Her doctors could not figure out how she could have acquired such a rare disease. You can read her tragic story here.

The PA DEP spokesman, Daniel Spadoni, told Waterville residents this week that AIRFOAM HD is not listed as dangerous. He appears to be wrong. Why does he not know about this dangerous substance? The information is available to the public. Did Mr. Spadoni take a little time to do some research? It's very disturbing that people in authority tell people not to worry about a substance that is known to be very toxic and causes illness.

Nastassja Noell has written an article (11/18/2009) about industrial foam used in natural gas production which was found in Schaeffer Creek in Bedford County, PA. Read about Wayne and Angel Smith of Clearville, PA. Their experience on their farm is heartbreaking.


PennDOT Gets Tough On Gas Companies

PennDOT is hiring three more inspectors for Bradford County to provide more oversight for road damage caused by heavy truck traffic. Gas drilling companies have been put on notice that their road permits will be pulled if roads are not kept passable and safe. Maintenance services manager Brian Toseki said at a meeting of the Bradford County Gas Advisory Committee in Towanda March 17th,
If they need to have a road crew on every road every day (repairing the road), then that's what they'll have to do.
The Bradford County Commissioners (Smith, Sullivan, and McLinko), representatives from Senator Yaw's and Representative Pickett's offices, Chesapeake Energy officials, Toseki, and several township supervirors were in attendance.

Commissioner Mark Smith said that road problems are real. People are not getting mail delivered, and there is a worry about emergency vehicles being able to get where they need to go. Just two years ago there were only 30 state routes in Bradford County that were posted with weight limits. Today there are more than 130 state roads posted- a total of 320 miles of state routes in the county. Smaller vehicles, such as delivery trucks, school buses, and trucks making fuel deliveries to homes are exempt.

The three new inspectors will do nothing but inspect posted roads and bonded roads, according to Toseki. Chesapeake Energy reports that they have hired 16 contractors to work on repairing roads in Bradford County. There are approximately 22 road crews working on road repairs. Commissioner Smith, however, says that according to his sources there are not enough contractors available to do the work and not enough local quarries to supply the material for road repair.

If local residents find problems on state roads, such as potholes and crumbled pavement, they should report them by calling PennDOT at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

Read the article from the Daily Review here.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

PA DEP: Gas Industry Treatment Behind Discharge on Hillside

Monday, March 15th, there was a white soapy-looking substance flowing from a spring, down a slope, under the road, and into Pine Creek in Waterville, PA, according to Daniel Spadoni of the DEP, northcentral regional office. Officials were notified, and geologist, Cheryl Sinclair, came immediately to collect samples. Spadoni said that this problem was not caused by hydrofracking. The foamy substance was a surfactant known as Airfoam HD, used to treat Pennsylvania General Energy wells. The gas well company was using the whitening substance as a lubricant that lowers the surface tension between air and water. It is not listed on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) as being dangerous. And, while Spadoni claimed that people in the area could continue to drink their tap water in their homes, he also said that

We don't know for sure what its chemical composition is.
He indicated that there may be more than one suspect discharge.

This blogger, Peacegirl, wonders, based on this story, how anyone can know for sure that one is safe or that our children are safe. There are too many questions unanswered as usual. Just as the head of the EPA director, Christine Whitman, gave the green light after 9/11 and told everyone they could return to Ground Zero and that it was safe, we are told not to worry over and over again as spills and other pollution occur with gas drilling. The people who trusted Ms. Whitman, some of them, later died and are still dying from lung disease. They were given the wrong information. The gas drilling industry is doing the same thing wherever they operate. It cannot be trusted. Local officials, while trying to cope, do not always know the answers. They cannot always help when things go wrong. So what are people to do?

An update on this spill can be found at the SunGazette site here. This is an excerpt from that update:

Dave Mashek, a public relations consultant for PGE, explained: "Natural geologic fissures can result in the migration of a small amount of this material from the very top section of the wellbore during initial stages of drilling. This past weekend's rainfall of nearly 2 inches may have provided adequate saturation to force this residual drilling soap into natural fissures that reached the surface."
The PA DEP spokesman Daniel Spadoni, however, declined to term the substance as "soap." Samples have been sent to a Harrisburg DEP lab, results of which should be available in a few days.

Note: Waterville is in Cumming Township, Lycoming County. It is considered part of the Williamsport metropolitan area. Pine Creek flows into the Western Branch of the Susquehanna River.

[Photo: Mark Nance/Sun-Gazette]


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chesapeake Energy Lease Signing "Event" in Wysox, PA

Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.

Saturday is party day in Wysox, PA. Letters have gone out from Chesapeake Energy to landowners from Towanda, North Towanda, Wysox, Standing Stone, Monroeton, Asylum, Wyalusing, and Herrick, requesting their presence at the lease signing event at the Wysox Fire Hall. Chesapeake is offering 10-year oil and gas leases that would pay $5,000 per acre with a 20% royalty on gas that is extracted. What a great marketing device! Have a party, get everyone together, serve refreshments, and try to make people feel like they'd be foolish not to sign a gas lease. Brian Grove, Chesapeake spokesman, said the response has been good to the letters.
We are glad that so many in Bradford County are ready to partner with us to develop their gas rights.
Signing bonuses were higher last year, ranging from $5750-$6500. Why has the offer gone down?

This blogger would not use the word "partner" in describing the relationship between a landowner and a gas driller. In her experience, it is more like "We've got you now, sucker. Deal with it." A partnership connotes a good relationship based on mutual respect and benefits.

Here is the article from the Daily Review (3/17/2010).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Report From Texas: The Ill Effects of Gas Drilling on Public Health

Below is a report delivered by Sharon Wilson on behalf of the Texas Oil and Gas Project and the Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Operations.

Hello. My name is Sharon Wilson. This afternoon, I'm making a joint statement on behalf of the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project and Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Operations. Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project has put forth Drill-Right Texas, the best oil and gas development practices for Texas.

Texas OGAP considers the new ozone standard one of several essential tools needed in a regional plan to clean our air. Tougher standards will prevent natural gas extraction from continuing to foul our air and harm our health. A 2009 study by SMU found that emissions from Barnett Shale natural gas extraction were as much as vehicular emissions in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth region. This study was based on text book examples but the reality could be a much worse picture. Researchers at Rice University followed the SMU study to see whether Barnett Shale gas production could be affecting our air quality. Using both condensate production data and ambient air data from Denton County, those researchers found a strong correlation between natural gas production and what was showing up in the air.

This really isn't news. In 2003, atmospheric researchers from the University of California were surprised to find extraordinarily high hydrocarbon levels in North Texas at concentrations higher than what they expected for the entire country. We know that fugitive emissions occur at every stage of production from flow lines and gathering lines, from vents and condensate tanks, dehydrators and compressors, metering stations and valves. A single compression facility can emit six times the volatile organic compounds as a cement plant.

Natural gas is methane, and methane is the most powerful greenhouse gas—at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And methane is a surrogate gas that carries a host of bad guy carcinogens and neurotoxins with it.
From cradle to grave, the extraction process is filthy and brings with it its own intense source of on-road and off-road diesel and NOx emissions. In Texas, the permit by rule process is abused allowing all these emissions to go unchecked. Eleven compression stations and 4 metering stations operate side-by-side in Dish, Texas, each considered a separate source. Residents suffer a host of ailments including irritated skin, eyes, nose throat and lungs, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, weakness and irregular heartbeats. A whopping 61% of those health effects were directly attributed to the emissions. And throughout the Shale, children suffer stunning asthma rates -- 25% of 8 and 9 year-olds have asthma -- compared to 7 percent of children statewide.

TCEQ knows our air is bad! When asked about the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's testing in the Barnett Shale, Shannon Ethridge, TCEQ toxicologist, said they had seen some of the highest benzene concentrations they have monitored in the state. She compared the DFW area emissions to those found in the highly industrialized Houston Ship Channel area. Michael Honeycutt, chief of TCEQ's toxicology division, told Channel 8 News that air samplings around some gas wells revealed high levels of cancerous toxins.
"That would be equivalent to opening a can of gasoline and holding it up under your nose."

He added that a year or more of exposure to benzene can lead to health problems including anemia, immune disorders and leukemia. We're way past that one year mark. The technology is there to reduce the emissions and industry can afford to implement it but they wont unless its mandated. We are depending on you to protect public health by mandating and enforcing vigorous new regional ozone standards.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Towanda Daily Review Editorial Reveals Crisis: Roads Are Crumbling

This is not a dirt road, dear readers. This is a paved road- Fallbrook Road- in Troy, PA. As spring approaches, the country roads of Bradford County are in deplorable condition.

This year the roads in Bradford County are far worse than ever before. The Daily Review is sounding the alarm.
More roads are in far worse shape than perhaps ever before, in large part because of the battering from heavy trucks, many of which are in the area tending to the burgeoning natural gas industry...Where is our leadership? Where is our lightning rod? Entangled in politics? Individual road masters, township supervisors and residents are left to howl in the wind. There is no coordination. Who will step up with thoughtful, reasoned insight?
Last Thursday at the county commission meeting (March 11) a Burlington town supervisor by the name of Mr. Grant came to speak, seeking relief from this serious problem. The commissioners, according to the Daily Review editorial, suggested that Mr. Grant go to a county committee meeting on natural gas next week. It sounds like the Bradford County commissioners, Mark Smith, John Sullivan, and Douglas McLinko, would like to avoid dealing with this road demolition taking place in their county. The DR editorial is not at all satisfied with this approach:
Meanwhile, the county crumbles. Safety is imperiled. Lifestyles are jeopardized.
This isn't just a question of a little inconvenience. Sure, drivers can slow down and dodge the potholes. No, this is a safety issue for drivers. "Safety for cars, safety for small trucks, safety for school busses carting children, and safety for big trucks, farm equipment and other vehicles."

Strangely, the DR claims that no one foresaw such a rapid expansion of prospecting and drilling- and infrastructure deterioration. This is very hard to believe! Everyone in Bradford County knows about the bad roads even without factoring gas drilling. Everyone knows about the hard winters and spring thaws which have always had a huge impact on the condition of the roads. It's no secret that many of the rural roads are subject to a ten-ton limit. How are these huge trucks to get back and forth to the well pads? By flying through the air? Weight restriction signs are popping up like mushrooms everywhere. PennDOT says more than 60 county roads are posted to date. But are there enough police to enforce these weight limits? Are there enough police to arrest speeders from the gas industry? It is doubtful. Well pads and pipelines are in the planning stages right now. The problems of road wear and tear and the inevitability of accidents and fatalities are with us now.
Behemoths lumber down the highways, somw oversized, some overweight and, in too many cases, going too fast. They include 5,500 gallon and larger water tankers, flat beds to haul equipment, and dump trucks to haul material, all of which clog the roads, and grind the pavement. Crashes are more and more common. State police are levying unheard of fines for illegal loads running in the tens of thousands of dollars.
What will it take to address this crisis? Why is a severance tax on gas drillers even a debatable issue? The county leased public lands to the gas industry. It's time for action to protect the public against this very destructive pursuit- that of extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale.

Read the whole editorial from the Towanda Daily Review here.


Video of Truck Accident Near Troy, PA

The accident on Fallbrook Road near Troy, PA, is seen here in this video. The truck was hauling waste from a well pad.

Marcellus Shale: How To Ruin a Perfectly Good Farm (Part Two)

Ron Gulla of Hickory, PA, tells about what is happening to him as a result of signing a gas lease with Range Resources. He has become an activist and advocate for others who are also victims of the gas industry like he is. Currently in court with Range Resources, Mr. Gulla has vowed to fight for his rights to the bitter end.


Marcellus Shale: How To Ruin a Perfectly Good Farm (Part One)

This is a must see video filmed March 12, 2010. Featured is landowner Ron Gulla (goo-lah) whose farm in Hickory, PA, was ruined by the gas drilling industry. His riveting story will leave you speechless. How could his story be true? Yet it is all true. Mr. Gulla leased his land in 2002. He got $7.50 per acre and 13.5% royalties. Listen to his story about what happened to him and his family: theft, breaking and entering, court appearances, gas drillers defecating all over his property, garbage strewn everywhere. Would you expect this on your property if you signed a lease? I wouldn't. But this is the norm. Gas drillers say that they value the relationship with the landowners on whose property they are operating. However, Ron Gulla's story proves this is not the case. There is no such thing as respect or cooperation. Leased land is used up and destroyed, never to be the same again.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tap Water Burns in Granville Township Home (PA)

Let's say you turn your water on at your kitchen sink and the water spits out. You happen to mention this to a local well driller who suggests you try lighting your water to see if it will ignite. You follow his suggestion and discover that, yes, your tap water lights up. You notice that your water fizzles "like Alka Seltzer" when you fill a plastic bottle. This happened to a resident of Granville Summit, PA, last December (2009). Shana Spencer said she was shocked to see a flame shoot out of her tap water after she took a match to it. She says she will never drink her well water again. Also she says her home has depreciated in value now that methane has been found in her water.

Talisman Energy, formerly Fortuna, has responded to Mrs. Spencer and her husband Chad. They are denying that there is any cause and effect relationship between its drilling operations 2400 feet from the Spencers' home and the appearance of methane in the Spencers' water. However, the company is providing gallon jugs of bottled water and several 2 and a half gallon jugs. They are also planning to dig up the Spencers' well, extend it above ground, and install a vent to try to resolve the problem.

Dan Spadoni, community relations coordinator with the PA DEP said:

The danger of methane in water is that it can ignite, causing a fire or an explosion.
Is this an acceptable risk? What does a homeowner do in a case like this? Just carry on with life as usual, knowing that an explosion or fire could occur in her home?

The Spencers' water was tested December 16, 2008, at their request. At that time there was methane, measuring 67.4 per million of methane in the water. February 1st, according to the report in the Towanda Daily Review (Eric Hrin, staff writer), the level of methane was 50 parts per million. Another test, taken March 6th, is still in process. An interesting fact is that Mrs. Spencer claims she did not get the results of the 2008 test until January 25, 2010, 13 months after the test was done. In addition, a Talisman spokesman, Mark Scheuerman, who had previously said that the December 2008 testing was done prior to any drilling activity, has since admitted that the test on Spencer's well water was done 3-4 weeks after drilling activities had begun in the area. All of this shows how difficult it is to get at the truth in situations like this. Home owners are almost at the mercy of the gas companies when trying to verify dates, what was done and when, etc.

The DEP sent letters to residents in the Granville Summit area February 23rd, advising them to equip their water wells "with working vents to vent out gases like methane and help them from being concentrated in an area where, if ignited, would be a threat to life or property."

Would you be okay with getting a letter like this? Wouldn't you become anxious that, even if you took these precautions, perhaps not all your neighbors would, thus placing you in jeopardy?

To read another account of similar problems in Leroy in southern Bradford County, go to this article published March 11, 2010 in the Morning Times (Sayre, PA). Well worth checking out!

To read the entire article in the Towanda Daily Review, click here.
For a map showing Granville Summit in Bradford County, click here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fatality At Gas Drilling Rig in Towanda, PA

A sad day in Towanda, PA. A worker on a gas well rig fell 20 feet to his death on March 11th- 31 years old. The gas industry is a very dangerous industry. This accident may have been prevented perhaps by the use of a safety belt.

The rig is owned by Nomac Drilling, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy Corporation.

A resident of the area where the well pad is located reported that she saw an ambulence and emergency crews when she got home. Her property overlooks the well site.

Accidents accompany this industry: fires, spills, traffic accidents, falls, chemical contamination of air, soil, and water, to name a few. Are these harmful effects worth it to get tight gas out of the shale? At what cost will we proceed with hydrofracking? With gas drilling activities so near homes, schools, nursing homes, and in state parks, these scenes will be repeated over and over. In addition to the basic environmental and human health concerns, there is the psychological and emotional impact of looking out one's window or from one's porch and witnessing death and destruction firsthand. In many cases, young families will be trying to explain what happened just across the road or over the back fence to their little children. Close encounters with emergencies, ambulences, flashing lights in the night, and sirens blaring can be very disturbing to children. They won't forget. Their homes will seem less safe.

Read the article from The Daily Review, Towanda, PA.
[The above photo by C. J. Marshall]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marcellus Shale: Dump Truck Crashes Near Troy, PA

A dump truck hauling residual waste from a gas well pad crashed on a road outside of Troy, PA, on Monday morning, March 8th. The driver was not hurt, thankfully. The accident occurred along a steep portion of the road coming down Armenia Mountain. The truck was traveling downhill, and was hauling residual waste away from a gas well on Sweeney Road. The waste spilled onto the ground as a result of the crash. Residual waste is non-hazardous. However, it can contain near hazardous waste. For more information about residual waste in PA, click here.

Peacegirl, this blog's moderator, has personally witnessed how these large trucks are driven in Bradford County, PA. They go extremely fast, exceeding speed limits on a regular basis on the narrow back country roads, often putting other drivers in jeopardy. She has nearly been forced into a ditch on two occasions. It is no surprise to her that a dump truck went off the road. The accidents involving vehicles being used in the gas industry will increase in numbers as more and more wells are put in. Many will involve hazardous waste. Do PennDOT and fire and rescue services have the knowledge they need to handle these mishaps? In some cases, the chemicals used in hydrofracking are not always made public.

Read the article from the Towanda Daily Review.

[The picture shows the afermath of the accident on Fallbrook Road near Troy, PA.]