Monday, July 25, 2011

Danger: Pipelines

Pipeline in Bradford County, PA (2009)
Photo: Carol Manuel

If you are like me,  the millions of gas pipelines, a virtual web,  which lay beneath our feet have been no cause for concern in the past.  I never gave them a thought.  But now, gas pipelines have been more and more in the news as old ones explode and new ones have poor safety records.  Just Google pipeline accidents, and you will see what I mean.

It was reported in the Times Herald-Record online article July 23rd that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is investigating the Columbia Gas Transmission Line Company for a "possible pollution event" in Pike County, PA. The investigation will center around the Clean Streams Law.

Susan Beecher, executive director of the Pike County Conservation District, reports that there have been problems with this pipeline project from the very beginning.  Columbia is replacing a 14-inch diameter gas line installed in 1947 with new 20-inch pipes. So far at least 11 violations of the Clean Streams Law have been noted since June 27. 

Beecher asked the PA DEP to issue a compliance order to stop work on the project.  But that did not happen.  The DEP suggested that there be a conference to talk about the problem.  That took place July 8.  So now the Columbia Gas Company is making an effort to ensure more erosion control measures. I think it is troubling that gas companies get so many chances to fix accidents and are rarely fined.  When fines are levied, they are so small that it is a joke.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Footage of Susquehanna River Bubbling

Don Williams of Wyalusing, PA, kayaked at Sugar Run July 17th and took this footage.  Click on the link:


Why are these bubbles coming up from the river bed?  Where are they coming from? And why can't the gas companies do something about it?  Well, I think it is because, despite claims by gas drillers that what they are doing is safe and predictable,  we are still forced to live by the geology of the region which means we have no way of knowing where methane and other chemicals used in gas drilling, especially hydrofracking, go after they are put down the hole under immense pressure.  Not even half of the chemicals ever come back to the surface.  Where do they go?  They go wherever they find a pathway, and no one can even guess about that. 

Gas drilling is not a safe operation.  Too many unknowns.  And that is true no matter how many regulations and safeguards are followed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Susquehanna River Still Bubbling

Susquehanna River, Wilmot Township, Bradford County, PA
Photo: Don Williams

Don Williams checked out this spot on July 17.  The bubbling is still going on in the Susquehanna River.  Know one seems to know how the bubbles got there or what to do about it.  We do know that these are methane bubbles.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gas Industry: Great Jobs?

Vera Scroggins in Dimock, PA

Comments from Vera Scroggins:
Believe me, you won't be wanting these "great" jobs for your families--
12 hour days with 14 days on and 14 days off  with rates of $10 to $13 an hour
and exposed to dirty conditions with exposure to possible toxins
and dangers--
not something I want my children involved in or our husbands, dads, etc..--
the gas companies think we are so desperate here in Susquehanna County that
we will take any kind of low-level, donkey work--

the better, choicer jobs are for the out-of-staters--  
and they're not so great either--
The Gas Companies can't get enough people interested in their offerings--
I wonder why ?? !! 
and they have the nerve to say our people don't want to work--
I told them to offer humane jobs and conditions--
that went over their heads!!
Vera Scroggins
Citizens for Clean Water

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This American Life: Game Changer

This episode of This American Life presents the issues surrounding natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Click here to listen to the podcast.


Host Ira Glass tells the stories of two professors, each making a calculation that no one had made before. One gets acclaim. One ends up out of a job. The first, Terry Engelder, a geologist at Penn State, was estimating the amount of natural gas that's recoverable from the Marcellus shale, a giant rock formation that's under Pennsylvania and several other Eastern states. The second, Conrad "Dan" Volz, at the University of Pittsburg, estimated how much toxic crap—chemicals and pollution from gas exploration—might be getting into water supplies. (6 1/2 minutes)

Act One. You've Got Shale.

Producer Sarah Koenig continues the story Terry Engelder and Dan Volz, their rival calculations about natural gas in Pennsylvania, and how each was treated by his university. She explains how Pennsylvania's universities, politicans and industry have united to develop natural gas. Other states have been more cautious. (26 1/2 minutes)

Act Two. Ground War.

Sarah takes us to Mt. Pleasant, PA, where a gas exploration company called Range Resources has leased 95% of the township's land. This led to a standoff between Mt. Pleasant and Range, starting with zoning disputes and ending in a full scale PR war—a war in which the town was seriously outgunned. (23 1/2 minutes)

Exposing the Oil and Gas Industry: Ponzi Scheme?

Food and Water Watch has created a new video exposing the oil and gas industry for its misleading claims and calling on Governor Cuomo to ban fracking in New York.

Click here to find out more.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This Picture Is Changing Due To Gas Wells and MARC1 Pipeline

Join 22,000 other people who’ve already spoken out against the construction of a huge gas pipeline that would ruin the beauty of Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains – a region of rolling green hills, farms, covered bridges, and waterfalls. Trouble is brewing as developers plan a massive 39-mile gas pipeline, known as the MARC 1 Hub Line Project, that would cut through 610 acres in Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming Counties and bring with it heavy machinery, roads, and other unwanted development.  It will cross high quality streams as well and spur gas drilling in previously undeveloped areas while threatening public health and the environment. 

EarthJustice hopes to persuade a court that a full environmental impact statement is necessary to approve the MARC 1 pipeline.  If this effort is successful, it will be the FIRST such study of Marcellus Shale impacts in Pennsylvania.

Click here to go to the EarthJustice page. There is a map of the pipeline there.  Look for the Take Action button to take you to the page where you can click on "Which do you like better? Picnics or Pipelines?  You can add your name to those opposed!

Take action now before the July 11th deadline!

The photo above: You are looking down at French Azilum in Bradford County as seen from Route 6 at the Marie Antoinette Lookout.  Why do we need to destroy this view?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Frack Truck Impacts On NY Villages and Towns

Click here to see this presentation by Chip Northrup and Jeff Reynolds about frack trucks and what they will do to your town if you don't have good road use ordinances in place.  When dealing with the gas industry, think local.  The federal and state governments and regulatory agencies do not address road and land use. Yet the potential for terrible problems looms large on the horizon for any area where hydrofracking is being done.  We must give this issue our full attention.

Shale Gas Industrialization: What a New York Town Should Do

This 20-minute presentation by Chip Northrup could mean the difference between a good future for your town and a disastrous situation for you and all your neighbors.  In New York State, towns are allowed by law to limit heavy industry in numerous ways.  What about massive truck traffic, hazardous materials, compressor stations, waste disposal wells, waste processing?  These are all subject to local control under NY State law.

We will get NO help from the EPA.   The DEC regulations don't address land use and road use ordinances at all.  Albany doesn't get any money out of this gas industry.  Governor Cuomo will not help us.  President Obama will not help us.  It all comes down to local LAND USE PLANS.

Protect your own town!  Look at your town boards.  If your board has individuals who do not support adequate land use plans, then throw them out and replace them, so says Chip Northrup.

This presentation lays out concrete, doable actions we must take now before it is too late.  Slide 27 lists local control resources.  Pause there and write down the names!

Click here to see the presentation.  It only takes 20 minutes!

Land & Road Laws in New York State: What We Can Do To Protect Ourselves Against Fracking

Chip Northrup commends this presentation to all of us in New York State:
"Excellent summary. Covers all the key points of using land use controls in New York to prohibit shale gas industrialization."

Click here to watch this short power point presentation.  You can pause the slides to read them carefully.  No voice or music.  Just plain good information!


Why Home Rule Matters: New York State Will Be Fracked Unless......

Do you have about 35 minutes to spare?  Learn more about what will happen in New York State if localities do not hurry up and get land use and road use ordinances in place NOW!  We will be fracked.  No question.  Watch this excellent power point presentation narrated by Chip Northrup of Cooperstown, NY.  He tells it like it is.

Here is the link.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New York State DEC Releases Revised Report on Hydrofracking

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens declares that slick water, high volume hydrofracking can be done safely, but not in the watersheds of New York City and Syracuse.  Why is that?  If it is safe, it should be OK for the whole state.   Joe Martens is wrong in my view.  Hydrofracking CANNOT be done safely.  Therefore it should be banned permanently everywhere.

T. Boone Pickens Wants Your Water

Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens

Water- is it a commodity or is it a resource for all of us?  T. Boone Pickens is making a fortune by stealing water and selling it.  Politics for profit.  Water isn't for drinking anymore.  It's for profit.  Them that has the money gets the water.  Isn't access to clean water a human right?  Natural resources for profit?  How is this a good thing?

Read more.....

Natural Gas: A Giant Ponzi Scheme?

A well head

According to the New York Times article published June 25th,  the gas industry may be overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves.  Are gas wells just a giant Ponzi scheme? Do the economics work?  Read more...

This article is a show stopper.  It brings up questions like:  Do wells produce for 30-50 years?  Now it looks like pure speculation.  The most gas is extracted in the first year.  Will lease holders experience a reversal of fortune? This is a boom-and-bust scenario. Are investors being misled?  Will this end up being an Enron moment?  A former Enron executive wrote in 2009 while working at an energy company:
I wonder when they will start telling people these wells are just not what they thought they were going to be?
In Texas where the Barnett Shale has been drilled for ten plus years, a review of more than 9,000 wells (2003-2009) shows that less than 10% of the wells had recouped their estimated costs by the time they were seven years old.