Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Leroy (PA) Well Spill: Update?

Here is an excerpt from the Daily Review article published today:

Progress has been slower than anticipated due to the adverse weather conditions that were experienced throughout the weekend, hampering work efforts, according to Chesapeake spokesperson Brian Grove.

The Atgas 2H has remained in stable condition since late Thursday and is expected to continue in this state through final preparations.

Katy Gresh, community relations director for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, reported that DEP personnel remained on the scene Monday, testing the water of Towanda Creek, as well as an adjacent tributary, and where Towanda Creek empties in the Susquehanna River in Wysox 16 miles away. Gresh reported that not all testing results are back yet from the scene, but no adverse effect has been detected at this time.

My questions are several.
  •  Do gas drillers NOT realize that Pennsylvania has actual weather which can actually be adverse, especially in winter and spring?
  • What is "stable condition"?  Is this like a report on a sick patient who is expected to pull through given time?  Does it mean that no more spillage is occurring?
  • What are "final preparations"?   Is that like getting ready to kill and bury this well?
  • Why is a premature report of "no adverse effect detected at this time" even put in print?  This statement can conveniently be lifted out of context and reprinted anywhere, possibly giving people the impression that this actually caused no adverse effect at all.  Once people read that, they can feel free to go back to their lives and forget about it.  It leads to a false security which can be deadly. 
Another way to put it is this:  Media can create a baseless sense of optimism, and worse, a belief that spills and blowouts are fixable.
  When accidents happen at gas wells,  reports so often use wording like this, very vague and also bordering on or actually misleading the public.  Readers want to believe that there were no adverse effects of 30,000 gallons of frack fluid spilling out on the ground and flowing out over farmland and into streams and rivers.  We know in our heart of hearts that such a wish will not be granted in the real world.  But when the media provides only general information based on very little actual fact, or at least not enough facts, it is a disservice to us all. Will the public take the time to follow up and keep abreast of what is happening, or will people just console themselves that all is well because they saw an article in the paper or, for that matter, heard an interview on NPR?


Anonymous said...

The phrases and wording in most of these media articles are vague, at best. But not always understatements or misguiding falicies. The people of the natural gas and oil industries arent out to "pull the wool" over our eyes. Just a small amount of public education would help in an overwheming way! The biggest issues I personaly have seen, revolve around the simple fact that most people just don't know much at all about the oil and gas feild "nuesince". I could go on, but these days I feel as though I am just wasting my breath. But I will gladly check back here to see what others have to say! I do enjoy a good debate. Oh, by the way, speaking of un educated people... Frac is NOT spelled with a K!! It is short for "fracturing", not "fracking".

Peacegirl said...

Fracking is indeed spelled with a K. I realize it is short for fracturing, but you will most often see fracking, not fracing. Spelling does seem to be a problem sometimes- as in your comment containing 5 spelling errors.