Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Truck Accident in Pennsylvania Results In Spill of Frack Fluid

Only a tiny article in the Star-Gazette mentioned this accident involving two trucks, tractor-trailers, and resulted in a toxic spill into a creek. The accident occurred early Monday afternoon, December 28, on Route 287 in Mifflin Township, PA. Accidents like this happen and will continue to happen over and over again. The natural gas industry is too dangerous to continue to grow and expand all over the country and the world.  It must be stopped.

Read the short article here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sandra Steingraber Testifies at NY Senate Committee in December 2011

Sandra Steingraber, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College, Environmental Biologist and author. NYS Public Hearing, Senate Standing Committee on Energy Conservation. Sponsored by NYS Senators Mark Grisanti and Patrick Gallivan to examine waste water produced by hydraulic fracturing. The Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, NY December 12, 2011.

“So, imagine standing in front of the Niagara Falls for 35 hours. Now imagine that all the cascading water you see is radioactive and full of toxic chemicals, and your job is to figure out where to put it so that it won’t come in contact with any person or any other body or water or the soil or the air. Forever.”

Walter Hang Tesitifies at Senate Standing Committee On Energy Conservation Hearing

Walter Hang, president, Toxics Targeting. NYS Public Hearing, Senate Standing Committee on Energy Conservation. Sponsored by NYS Senators Mark Grisanti and Patrick Gallivan to examine waste water produced by hydraulic fracturing. The Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, NY December 12, 2011.

Email Governor Cuomo:

Call Governor Cuomo:

Albany: 518-474-8390
New York City: 212-681-4580
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Twitter: @NYGovCuomo


A Gift Idea For the Person Who Has Everything

Monday, December 19, 2011

SRBC: OM- We Honor the River

Another way we can honor the Susquehanna River and try to change the hearts and minds of the people who sit on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. This Commission is not listening to the citizens of New York, Maryland, and New Jersey. When will they start listening?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Senate Passes a Bill With Strings Attached: Keystone Pipeline

The Senate has passed a bill onto the President which forces him to make a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days. All eyes are now focused on the oval office. Help us get the word out that the crucial decision we've all worked so hard for is now rapidly approaching.

Photo: Amy Dewan— with Deborah Dee Jacobs.

White House Comment Line:

SRBC Testimony: Will you be good Germans?

Rabbi Mordechi Liebling testified recently at the SRBC hearing in Wikes-Barre, PA. His impassioned remarks were totally ignored by the commission.

Here are more details about the hearing:

A powerful public comment was ignored at the SRBC meeting in Wilkes-Barre on December 15, 2011.

The manager of project review for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Dehoff - with the help of his staff - is responsible for recommending to the commission whether to approve water withdrawals from the basin. That includes suggesting whether the commission should allow natural gas companies to withdraw water used for the controversial drilling and hydraulic fracturing of gas wells.

In front of more than 50 people at the commission's meeting Thursday morning at the East Mountain Inn just outside of Wilkes-Barre, Dehoff made it about halfway through his recommendations before the cacophony of boos and chanting forced commission Chairwoman Kelly Heffner to threaten to clear the room, hastily adopt all of Dehoff's recommendations and adjourn the meeting early.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fracking Hollenbeck Gas Well: Susquehanna County, PA

This video by Vera really puts me in the Christmas Spirit. No. The worst part of this video, not counting the environmental devastation which is taking place here, is seeing the house within spitting distance of this well pad. I guess this family has their Christmas tree up now and is planning to have a normal holiday celebration (if they celebrate Christmas- I don't know, of course). I don't know how I would manage to be oblivious to the noise, light, and other disturbances associated with this fracking operation. How does anyone maintain a normal life with this? Can it be done?

I appreciate Vera's willingness to put herself in harm's way potentially so that others can see the realities of this terrible method of keeping us all addicted to gas and oil. Only a very few people benefit while most of us suffer ill effects, at times deadly. Will this oppression bring us peace?

Gas Drilling Gone Bad: This just in from West Virginia....

A well pad in West Virginia, the Marshall pad, has been shut down by the state's DEP.  Violations include chemical releases into adjacent streams.  Read the whole sordid story here.

SRBC Hearing: Citizens Oppose Water Withdrawals, Then Commission Approves Permits Anyway!

The Susquehanna River in French Azilum, Bradford County, PA
Photo: Carol Manuel

Jay Sweeney's testimony before the members of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission at the hearing in Wilkes-Barre, PA, December 15th:

"The mission of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which is defined in the Compact, is to enhance public welfare through comprehensive planning, water supply allocation, and management of the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.

 DEP reports over 1300 wells were drilled in 2010 and over 300 in the first quarter of this year. At 5 million gallons per fracked well, that is approximately 8 billion gallons of water used in the hydrofracking process in 16 months. The International Lake Environment Committee estimates the volume of Harvey’s Lake at .03 cubic kilometers or 8 billion gallons. In less that 2 years time, the equivalent of Pennsylvania’s largest natural lake by volume will have been squandered, turned into untreatable radioactive wastewater. This does not enhance the public welfare. It is a threat to the public welfare. This is unconscionable!

 We are tired of hearing pandering politicians, insulting industry insiders and radio, television and print advertizing trying to convince us that the natural gas industry is here to create jobs and benefit our community when in reality, they are here to rape, pillage and plunder our natural resources. make their profits and leave a devastated environment in their wake.

 The SRBC has been culpable in this travesty. Pennsylvania’s water is our commonwealth property. It is time for SRBC to live up to its mission.
We the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania say, stop stealing our water! Stop selling it to an industry that turns it into radioactive sludge! Stop dumping it into our rivers and streams! No more permits! No more withdrawals!

From The Times Leader report:

"Opponents of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process used to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, urged SRBC not to approve 26 applications for water withdrawal permits within the Susquehanna River Basin on its agenda, most of which were submitted by gas drillers.
SRBC regulates water withdrawals within the basin through permitting.
The commissioners approved 24 of those applications, denying one driller’s application and deferring another from an individual, and in doing so prompted angry shouts:
This proceeding is a joke! You’re not taking our water!
The meeting closed with protestors chanting an apparently prepared statement read from cards and nearly chasing commission members from the room.
“Members of the Susquehanna River community, this is a crisis,” they chanted.
The Susquehanna River is being sacrificed. Natural gas drilling is poisoning our water. We know this. We will stop this. We have no choice. We will protect our water. We are here to help, and everyone must help. Our future depends on it. We honor the river; we honor our lives.

Click here to see photos of the members of the SRBC.

The SRBC is a rubber stamper .
They are not protecting the Susquehanna River or the people who live near it. It's shameful!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SRBC Meets in Wilkes-Barre Today: Hurray To the Protesters!

At a meeting on December 15, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) was to consider several water withdrawal applications from gas operators, and vote on proposed regulations that speed up approvals of gas development projects and the transport of hazardous drilling wastewater.

Jay Sweeney, who testified at the hearing, filed this report: "There was about an hour or two of awesome testimony. All opposing the withdrawals. After a break they began reviewing the applications one by one. One was recommended to be denied and a couple reduced volumes of water withdrawal, but, when they continued to recommend applications the crowd got confrontational. There were questions, calling out, finally a mic check. It ended in shouts of "Whose water?" "Our water". The chairwoman called for a motion to approve the applications. There was a motion, a second, a vote and the meeting was adjourned. "

Then a demonstration ensued!  This is what happened (see video above). People care about the river, and they care about water. Today they spoke up.

Background: The Susquehanna River Basin Commission coordinates the use of water resources among Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania—the three states across which the river flows for over 400 miles—and the federal government. The Commission’s work is governed by a Compact adopted in 1970 by the U.S. Congress and legislatures of the three member states.

In November, the SRBC received a letter signed by more than 40 organizations across the region urging the Commission to stop its rulemaking on gas drilling until it conducts necessary comprehensive environmental studies.
Our grandson fishing in the Susquehanna River in Bradford County, PA

Thanks to Don Williams for providing this video.

Nearly 2000 Staffers at the NY DEC Send a Strong Message To New Yorkers at the DEC Hearings

Stephanie Low brings a message from a DEC staff person to the hearing in New York City.  She ended her comments with a plea:

Say no to fracking in New York State!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Questionable Economics of Shale Gas

Photo: “American Gasland,” artwork by River Side (marcellusprotest/Flickr)
So is unconventional tight gas going to generate enormous profits?  Isn't that the message that we hear frequently?  This article by Chris Nelder ( casts serious doubt about the economic benefits of natural gas drilling. Nelder claims that, our shale gas resources, "while much ballyhooed in the press, are far from certain."  We have only an 11-year supply of gas on the books, but beyond that, the future of natural gas is only "probable, possible, and speculative."  The US, he writes, could become a net gas importer by 2035.  Admittedly, he says, we are producing a lot of gas for the moment, but it may come at the cost of profitability.

The article asserts that on an averaged annual basis, shale has been unprofitable since 2008.  As to why there is so much drilling activity, read the entire article.
The uncomfortable truth is that, at this point, we simply don't know how big our shale gas resources are, how much of the gas can be technically or economically produced, or how profitable producing the gas actually is.  And that should give us pause.

I'll say!   Don't believe everything you hear! 


Saturday, December 10, 2011

News from the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa: Rajendra Pachauri

One of the world’s most prominent experts on climate science, Rajendra Pachauri, is criticizing negotiators at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban for not paying enough attention to science. Pachauri is chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore.
"What we have done is we have increased the concentration of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere far beyond what has taken place over the last 650,000 years," Pachauri says.
"As a result, during the 20th century, we had average warming of about 0.74 degrees Celsius, sea-level rise of about 17 centimeters, and a whole range of impacts, as I mentioned, on human health, on agriculture, on ecosystems... The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report had clearly brought out that if we want to limit temperature increase to two degrees or thereabouts, two to 2.4 degrees Celsius, and if we want to do it at least cost, then emissions will have to peak no later than 2015. And we are now talking about 2020. That means the world will incur a much larger expense in reducing emissions. And in the meantime, we’ll also suffer far more serious impacts of climate change." When asked about the position of the United States in the negotiation, Pachauri says,
"I would also ask President Obama to listen to the voice of science. And he has an absolutely outstanding science adviser in John Holdren. Maybe he should get John to organize a meeting of the scientists soon after he’s re-elected—if he’s re-elected—and then determine U.S. policy, as should be the case with every country in the world, based on the scientific evidence that’s available."
Pachauri continued,
"Actually, to be honest, nobody over here [at COP 17] is paying any attention to science."

Get It Done: Urging Climate Justice, Youth Delegate Anjali Appadurai Mic Checks UN Summit

"Deep cuts now. Get it done." Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference on behalf of youth delegates. "What's radical is to completely alter the planet's climate, to betray the future of my generation, and to condemn millions to death by climate change."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Man charged in spill near PA gas-drilling site (With Update)

You can read all about it here. (There's a picture here which says it ALL.)

In essence, a Georgia man has admitted to PA State Police that he dumped approximately 800 gallons of dangerous materials from a Bradford County gas well site onto  state game lands early Thursday morning.  He now sits in a West Burlington correctional facility with bail set at $100,000.

The discovery was made by a man as he pulled out of his driveway and saw the pool of viscous black liquid.  It was described as a gooey, black material which was about 3 inches deep, covering approximately 100 X 30 feet.  The man who discovered the problem said he believes the liquid was dumped Wednesday night.
Tire tracks likely tell the story, he said. What it looks like to me is a tanker truck pulled out in there.  It looks to me like they were going to go out into a field and dump, and they got stuck, so they just dumped it there and just left.

This will be happening more and more in gas fields everywhere.

Latest Update:  (12/03/2011)