Monday, January 30, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Gets Award: It's just wrong

Last fall the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce awarded Chesapeake Energy this plaque for Outstanding Steward of the community.

The irony of this award defies description.  Chesapeake Energy represents an extractive industry which turns rural and urban areas into industrial zones, often called "sacrifice zones."  Every gas well pad becomes a superfund site when the well is closed down.  Water, air, and soil pollution occur on every well pad, sometimes ruining aquifers, rivers, lakes, and streams.  The health costs to local residents are great.  People have died from illnesses caused by toxic chemicals introduced into the environment by the process known as hydrofracking.  This is not a company or an industry that deserves in any way an award for being good stewards.

What is stewardship?

National Groups Getting Involved In LeRoy Cluster Case

LeRoy, New York, is the location of a mysterious cluster illness at the Junior Senior High School.  Fifteen students have exhibited varying degrees of involuntary twitches and verbal outbursts not unlike those associated with Tourette's syndrome.  I have seen these students on the news here locally.  Absolutely NO mention has been made until yesterday (at least I have not heard about it) of the five natural gas wells owned by the LeRoy school district and ring the school building which opened in 2003.  These wells have been hydrofracked and are active wells.  Why hasn't the presence of these wells been part of the investigation to discover what is causing the illness of these young people?  In addition, there was a major train derailment there on December 6, 1970, within three miles of what is now the school site.  There are still rumors that the school is built on land that was used 42 years ago as a dump site for the contaminated soil. Thirty thousand gallons  of the solvent trichloroethylene and also one ton of cyanide crystals were spilled in this accident.  Was the school built on a toxic waste dump?  [Note: The area where the toxic spill occurred is designated as the Lehigh Valley Railroad Derailment Superfund Site.]

Read more here...

Here is the MSDS for trichloroethylene.

There has not been adequate testing at the school  It is way too soon to make any judgements as to the cause of the illness.  Erin Brockovich, known for her legal research on a huge California water contamination case many years ago, has said,
While we don't have the answers, we are suspicious that the all-clear has been sounded on the environmental side, and we don't believe that it should have been.
A long time ago Ms. Brockovich uncovered the fact that Pacific Gas and Electric had been poisoning the water of Hinkley for over 30 years.  Her story was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts.

Here is a must read article about Erin Brockovich's investigation of the rare illness in LeRoy, New York. She already has a prime suspect.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stefan Senders: Break bread, not shale!

Poppy seed bread by Stefan Senders
Trumansburg, NY


Break Bread, Not Shale!

Yesterday, along with Thor Oechsner, Neal Johnston, Sandra Steingraber, and a host of others, I spoke at the Anti-Hydrofracking Day of Action in Albany. We distributed almost 200 loaves of bread to the assembled crowd, and then we marched, led by a crowd of chanting, bread-carrying farmers, to Cuomo's office. Here is what I said:
My name is Stefan Senders, and I am a baker. Beside me are Thor Oechsner, an organic farmer, and Neal Johnston, a miller. We work together.
Today we bring bread to Albany to intervene in the self-destruction of the great State of New York. We come, Farmers, Bakers, and Millers, to remind our state and our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, that despite the promises of industry lobbyists, the exploitation of Shale Gas in New York is bad and broken economy of the worst kind.
This bread is the product of our community and our farms. The wheat, grown, tended, and harvested by our local organic farmers, is fresh from the soil of New York. The flour, ground in our local flour mill, is as fine as concerned and caring hands can make it.
To resurrect a term long since emptied by advertisers, the wheat, the flour, and the bread are wholesome: they bring our communities together, give us work, nourish us, please our senses, and make our bodies and our land more healthy.
This is good economy. It is wise economy. It is a steady economy that nourishes the State of New York.
We know that for many New Yorkers, Fracking sounds like a good idea. We have all heard the fantastic tales: Fracking, it is said, will save our state from financial ruin, release us from our dependence on “foreign oil,” and revive our rural economy by bringing cash, if not fertility, to our once vibrant farmland.
For politicians, these stories of money and growth are hard to resist: the numbers are large, deficits are unnerving, and elections are expensive.
For many farmers and land-owners, the promises of cash are dizzying, and to risk the land’s fertility to extract gas is only one step removed from risking the land’s fertility to extract a few more bushels of corn or soybeans.
But farmers might know better.
Farming has not always been, and need not be, an extractive industry. There was a time when farmers worked with a longer view, keeping in mind their role as stewards and caretakers of the land. That long view is the farmer’s wisdom, and it is as good and wise today as it ever was.
The promises of the gas industry are demonstrably false, and they miss what farmers know well: There is no independence that does not demand care and responsibility. There is no quantity of cash that can restore fertility to a poisoned field. There is no adequate monetary “compensation” for poisoned water. There is no payment, no dollar, no loan, that can restore life and community to a broken world.
Our work and the work we provide others—on the farm, at the mill, and at the bakery—depends on fertile soil, pure water, and a viable community. All of these are put at risk by Fracking.
What happens to our land in an economy bloated by gas exploitation? Prices rise, rents rise, and good arable land becomes scarce as acres once leased to farmers are set to quick development schemes—flimsy housing, storage barns, parking lots, and man-camps.
And what happens to our water when gas exploitation takes over? Storage pools, as safe as the Titanic was unsinkable, overflow, contaminating the soil; inevitable leaks in well-casings allow gasses and Frack-fluids to pass into our aquifers, into our bodies, and into the bodies of our children.
And what happens to communities held in thrall to gas exploitation? As we have seen in other parts of the country, the boom-bust cycle of the petroleum economy fractures communities, undermining our capacity to act wisely and civilly.
With every boom, a few get rich, a few do better, but all are impoverished. For every hastily built motel there are dozens of apartments with rising rents; for every newly minted millionaire there are many dozens who see nothing but the pain of rising costs and receding resources. For every short-term dollar there are hundreds in long-term losses that can never be recouped. To go for gas is to go for broke.
With this bread we are here to remind you that there is another economy, one that works.
This bread symbolizes a commitment to the health of New York State. It embodies the knowledge that good work, not a gambler’s dream, is the basis of a sound and sustainable economy.
This bread symbolizes the farmer’s simple truth that without fertile soil, without pure water, and without strong community, we go hungry.
This bread reminds us all that the promises of gas exploitation are empty: What are we to grow in fields broken by the drill and tilled with poison? What are we to feed our children when our water and wheat are unfit? Shall we grind money to make our bread?
We do have a choice. We need not poison our land to live. We need not taint our water to drink. We need not sell our future to finance our present. These are choices, not inevitabilities.
With this bread we say: take the long view; pay attention to the health of the soil and nourish it; treasure pure water; remember the value of your community and keep it whole.
If something must be broken, let it be this bread, not shale. Break bread, not shale!

Sandra Steingraber buys bread for her family from this baker.  She spoke at an anti-fracking rally in Albany, NY, January 23rd, and had this to say:
"There is no quantity of cash that can restore fertility to a poisoned field. There is no adequate monetary 'compensation' for poisoned water. There is no payment, no dollar, no loan, that can restore life and community to a broken world."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bradford County Man Dies After Fracking Operations Started Nearby

Here is the story of Carl Stiles who died this week from illness very likely caused by gas drilling contamination.

Judy and Carl Stiles lived in the Sugar Run Area of Bradford County.  Carl's death came very swiftly. He and Judy moved to the area in November of 2010.  In January of 2011 Chesapeake Energy knocked on their door and offered a lease and promised that they would not have a well, but would make a lot of money from a pipeline.  They signed.  Now Judy is very sick and Carl is dead from cancer.

Rest in Peace, Carl

by Dory Hippauf on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 3:50pm
Fracktivist Carl Stiles, of Bradford County, PA, died last night, after living with illnesses caused by shale gas drilling. Mr. Stiles was forced to move away from his Bradford County home as an environmental refugee.
Carl Stiles had intestinal cancer which he blamed on Chesapeake’s gas drilling. He and his wife abandoned their home last November at the urging of a toxicologist who found barium, arsenic, and VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) in Carl’s blood. Strontium, uranium and radium were found in their water. They’ve been told to expect to get leukemia within two years.
Call the White House NOWask Obama how many more have to die before the corporate greed is satisfied
Call Obama at 1-888-925-7006.
When you dial 888-925-7006, you'll hear a message and then be connected to the White House Comment Line. Simply tell the volunteer on the line that President Obama must protect his constituents and walk away from fracking for shale gas.
The White House Comment Line is open Monday - Friday from 9am to 5pm EST
If you did get through on the phone - WRITE A LETTER TOO


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

President's Speech Misses Mark in Addressing Concerns Over Fracking

The President Gives the State of the Union Speech January 24th
Environmental Working Group weighs in on the president's State of the Union Speech.  Read the article here.

NY Department of Environmental Conservation Fines Driller For Polluting Stream

Allegany State Park scene

This week New York environmental regulators are seeking $187,500 in fines against a gas drilling company in Pennsylvania for polluting Yeager Creek, a designated trout stream in New York's Allegany State Park.  The drilling was done by U. S. Energy Development Corp. Storm water runoff from U. S. Energy's roads and well pads in Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest washed a large quantity of mud into the creek which is located in New York's Allegany State Park.  So the problem occurred in Pennsylvania and then continued on into New York.  Mud spills know no boundaries.

Read more here.

In the above Times Union article, you will read some very interesting facts:
  • U.S. Energy has repeatedly fouled Yeager Creek since August 2010.
  • U.S. Energy agreed to fix surface drainage problems but did not do so.
  • The wells causing this pollution were vertical, not horizontally hydrofracked.
  • U.S. Energy denied any problems and will dispute the fine.
  • In July 2009, PA environmental officials fined U.S. Energy and halted drilling at most of its wells because of hundreds of "persistent and repeated" environmental violations over the previous two years.
It appears that U.S. Energy Corp. has a very bad record on environmental issues.  Repeat offenders in U.S. courts, for example, DUIs, are dealt with more harshly.  Will this gas company be allowed to go merrily on its way and continue to disregard the environmental health of our valuable forest lands?

DEC Press Release

"This enforcement action should provide a strong deterrent to other oil and gas well operators in New York and neighboring states whose operations impact New York's natural resources," said DEC Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel Steven Russo. "We will not allow U.S. Energy's actions in Pennsylvania to negatively impact New York's waters."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sandra Steingraber: "I feel like we're old friends."

Dr. Sandra Steingraber speaks at Albany Rally January 23rd


Albany rally speech, 1/23/12 “Fracking Abolition” - Sandra Steingraber

by Raising Elijah by Sandra Steingraber on Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Hi, everybody. After three years of fighting fracking together, I feel like we’re old friends.

You know my story:

How I grew up in a heavily industrialized river valley in Illinois just downwind and downstream from the state’s biggest pollutors—dirty coal, ethanol distilleries, aluminum smelters.

How my hometown drinking water wells were contaminated.

How I developed bladder cancer at the age of twenty.

How, years later, as a biologist, I learned that I was just one data point in a cluster of cancers in the zipcode that I call home.

You know that when I became a mother—the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me—I moved my children to upstate New York to get away from all that, only to find myself in the crosshairs of the world’s largest and most polluting industry, with 40 percent of the land in my county already leased for the carcinogen-depended process of fracking.

And, as if that were not enough irony for English professors, hear this: The riverside bluffs of Illinois are now going to be strip-mined for frack sand. So the remains of the beloved landscapes of my childhood can be carted off and —absent our intervention—shoved into the fractured landscape of my children’s childhood.

Beautiful grains of Illinois River sand forced into fissures of shale, forced to prop open the shattered bedrock of New York so that all manner of explosive vapors and carcinogenic materials—arsenic, radium, uranium, benzene—can come flying out like bats out of Pandora’s box.

Exposing the people I grew up with in Illinois to carcinogenic silica dust. Exposing my children here to smog and radon.

Today, friends, let’s speak plainly.

Fracking is wrong.

Fracking is unmitigatable. Sooner or later, steel and concrete disintegrates. Sooner or later, gas wells open portals of contamination between drinking water aquifers and the toxic materials held in the bedrock below. Doing fracking “right” simply means building time bombs with longer fuses.

There are no places in New York and no children in New York that we are willing to sacrifice to the fracking gods.

So. Withdraw the sGEIS fig leaf and start the hell over.

Over the past three years, we have spoken many clear and beautiful words, in testimonies, in speeches, at hearings, on the banks of the Delaware River, and as far as I can see, there is just one word left to say. I offer it to you as a torch to carry with you into all your meetings today.

It’s the answer to the riddle, “What do Harriet Tubman and the Bulgarian Parliament have in common?”

And the answer is: ABOLITION

Harriet Tubman. Citizen of Auburn, New York. The most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad.

Harriet Tubman did not advocate for state of the art slavery or for promulgating 1500 pages of regulations about slavery or for allowing a few showcase plantations in the Southern Tier to demonstrate how slavery could be done right.

Harriet Tubman settled for nothing less than a total ban, on the grounds that slave labor—however useful to the economy—is a homicidal abomination.

Last week, Bulgaria announced a total ban on fracking. The ban covers the whole nation and it is permanent and unlimited. Permits to frack, held by Chevron, have been revoked. Bulgaria has abolished fracking. The Bulgarians are fracking abolitionists.

How did they do that?

The Bulgarians marched in the streets of twelve cities. The Bulgarians blew whistles and banged on drums and played fight songs on bagpipes. The Bulgarians employed giant, winged stilt-walkers, edgy street theater, and very cool public service announcements.

And when their parliament said, “Okay, fine, here’s a temporary moratorium, the Bulgarian people said, “Not good enough! We’ll settle for nothing short of abolition,” and they marched in the streets again until their parliament voted 166 to 6 for permanent ban.

So, New York, are we meeker than the Bulgarians?

Are we more frightened?

Are we more resigned to a toxic future?

Here is a loaf of bread from a bakery in my own village of Trumansburg, New York.

You’ve seen me hold this bread before. You’ve seen me carry it into the state assembly chambers and submit it as testimony. You’ve heard me say that the flour that makes up this bread is ground at a local mill and that the heirloom wheat that makes up this flour is grown in local fields. And that the flour in this bread makes up the bodies of my children.

Well, today, we’ve brought more than a hundred loaves of this bread, a symbol of the bounty of New York, and we’re going to bring them to our governor, with the message, “Break bread! Not shale!” To tell you about this plan, I would now like to introduce to you the baker of this bread, my hero, Stefan Senders, of the Wide Awake Bakery.

Wide Awake Bakery, 4361 Buck Hill Road, S., Trumansburg, New York 14886
The millers, Greg Mol and Neil Johnston, and the farmers,
Erick Smith and Thor Oeschner, make up Farmer Ground Flour of Trumansburg.


U.S. Cuts Estimate for Marcellus Shale Gas Reserves By 66%

By Christine Buurma - Jan 23, 2012

The U.S. Energy Department cut its estimate for natural gas reserves in the Marcellus shale formation by 66 percent, citing improved data on drilling and production.

About 141 trillion cubic feet of gas can be recovered from the Marcellus shale using current technology, down from the previous estimate of 410 trillion, the department said today in its Annual Energy Outlook. About 482 trillion cubic feet can be produced from shale basins across the U.S., down 42 percent from 827 trillion in last year’s outlook.

“Drilling in the Marcellus accelerated rapidly in 2010 and 2011, so that there is far more information available today than a year ago,” the department said. The estimates represent unproved technically recoverable gas. The daily rate of Marcellus production doubled during 2011.

The estimated Marcellus reserves would meet U.S. gas demand for about six years, using 2010 consumption data, according to the Energy Department, down from 17 years in the previous outlook.
The Marcellus Shale is a rock formation stretching across the U.S. Northeast, including Pennsylvania and New York. Shale producers use a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to extract gas embedded in the rock.

Geological Data

The U.S. Geological Survey said in August that it would reduce its estimate of undiscovered Marcellus Shale natural gas by as much as 80 percent after an updated assessment by government geologists.

Shale gas will probably account for 49 percent of total U.S. dry gas production in 2035, up from 23 percent in 2010, the Energy Department said today.

Gas’s share of electric power generation will increase to 27 percent in 2035 from 24 percent in 2010, the report showed.

The department also said the U.S. may become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas in 2016 and a net exporter of natural gas in 2021. U.S. LNG exports may start with a capacity of 1.1 billion cubic feet a day in 2016 and increase by an additional 1.1 billion cubic feet per day in 2019, the department said.

LINK to article.

So the Marcellus Shale gas will provide about six years of energy?  And we are destroying huge areas of the country for this?  Six years?  Is that a worthwhile plan?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Press Conference in Dimock, PA: January 20, 2012

Today, 1-20-12, Press Conference at the Sautner House in Dimock, Pa., Susquehanna County, where Julia Walsh of of NY introduces Dimock residents with polluted water. Craig Sautner speaks, followed by Victoria Switzer, then Silver Lake resident, Craig Stevens and Josh Fox, "Gasland", Producer. EPA decides to bring water in a large tanker for polluted residents after reviewing more test data received by Cabot Gas and DEP and EPA will test 61 homes in the area starting this Monday and Tuesday and continue to bring water to several homes in Dimock. Industrial chemicals, barium , arsenic and metals, besides methane found in the water. Four EPA people were there.

Only four homes in Dimock are slated to receive clean water from the EPA so far, but there are many more homes still in need of clean water.

Friday, January 20, 2012

MARC 1 Gas Pipeline To Be Installed Near Elementary School

If your child attends the Wyalusing Valley Elementary School in Wyalusing, PA,  I suppose you will be glad to know that measures will be taken during the installation of the MARC 1 pipeline to insure your child's safety.  Noise pollution will be kept to an acceptable minimum, and the school district's water well will be protected from contamination.  Great!  No problem.  However, if you think perhaps there might still be a problem with putting in a 30-inch wide major pipeline a mere 897 feet from the school building,  you might not be so impressed with all the precautions the Central New York Oil and Gas Company is taking.  The Susquehanna River is near the school.  This pipeline operation will bore beneath the river only 40 feet underneath the river bottom.  Noise-producing equipment used to drill under the river will be located 875 feet from the school.  Central NY Oil and Gas has hired a noise consultant.  Sound barriers will be put up.  Nice touch there. And the best part- a full-time environmental inspector will be on site.  So all bases have been covered I guess.  The drilling company has assured Wyalusing residents that the pipeline would not pose any danger to students.  So don't we all feel better now?

Read the article from the Towanda Daily Review here. LINK
Read what Standing Stone resident Diane Ward said about the approval process for this pipeline.  Very interesting.  Also Google "pipeline accidents."  You might be surprised. Here's one site to start with: LINK.

And if you would like a broader perspective, here is a presentation from 2005 entitled "Restoring Public Trust in Pipeline Safety."

Pipelines are very dangerous.  They should not be installed near ANYTHING, much less an elementary school.  Are we crazy to allow this to happen?  I think we are.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Glow in the Night Sky: Liberty, PA

Liberty, PA (WBNG Binghamton) An orange glow illuminates the sky in the Northern Tier as what appears to be a contained fire erupts from a Pennsylvania gas well.

After many phones calls and e-mails from viewers wondering why the mountains appear to sparkle from Interstate 81, Action News ventured down to see the blaze and find out what neighbors have to say.

A resident near the well pad said,
"Our fire company has been dispatched to it but there is obviously nothing they can do about it," stated Crook, "I just wonder how long they're going to have it burning for and if there are any pollutants in the air from it. I don't know."

Flaring is the practice of burning gas that is deemed uneconomical to collect and sell. Flaring is also used to burn gases that would otherwise present a safety problem. It is common to flare natural gas that contains hydrogen sulfide (i.e., sour gas), in order to convert the highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas into less toxic compounds.

Flares emit a host of air pollutants, depending on the chemical composition of the gas being burned and the efficiency and temperature of the flare. Flaring results in hydrogen sulfide emissions if hydrogen sulfide is present in large enough amounts in the natural gas. There may also be additional by-products formed if some of the chemicals used during the drilling or hydraulic fracturing process are converted to a gaseous form and are burned along with the natural gas.

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, in California has estimated that the following air pollutants may be released from natural gas flares: benzene, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, including naphthalene), acetaldehyde, acrolein, propylene, toluene, xylenes, ethyl benzene and hexane. Researchers in Canada have measured more than 60 air pollutants downwind of natural gas flares.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Emotional and Traumatic Effects of Natural Gas Drilling

In November of 2011, Simone L. Perry, PhD, gave a presentation entitled, "It's Like We're Losing Our Love,"  a quote from one of the people she interviewed in Bradford County, PA, in the course of her recent and on-going research.  The subtitle of her talk was "Documenting and Evaluating Social Change in Bradford County, PA, During the Marcellus Shale Gas Boom." I have viewed this talk and highly recommend it.  A good use of 33 minutes!

Give it a look.

Gas drilling hurts people where they live in more ways than one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Great Song: You Can't Drink Money!

Jenny Morgan of Columbus, Ohio, singing her song, "You Can't Drink Money" at the fracking protest at the Ohio statehouse today.

In addition to the infamous "Halliburton Loophole" exempting fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the gas industry benefits from a host of sweeping exemptions to our most basic environmental and public health protections. Other laws that the gas industry is exempted from include key provisions of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, CERCLA (Superfund Act), Resource Conversation and Recovery Act (hazardous waste act), and the Environmental Policy Act.

Between all these exemptions, the gas industry has often been described as completely free of all federal oversight. However, federal law does still prohibit the gas industry from one particular practice: the injection of diesel fuel as a fracking fluid. While gas companies are permitted to inject hundreds of known carcinogenic compounds as fracking fluids (without informing the public of what chemicals they are using), the Safe Drinking Water Act still mandated that gas companies not use diesel fuel as a frack fluid. But on January 31, 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced their preliminary results of a year-long investigation into the practices of gas companies. The congressional investigation found that oil and gas companies injected over 32 million gallons of diesel fuel into gas wells in 19 states between 2005 and 2009—in direct violation of the one federal provision from which they were not exempt. Despite having federal laws carved to suit their profits and need for secrecy, the gas industry could not follow the one guideline it had set for itself.

Ohio House Bill 351, would regulate injection wells and create safeguards for the public and environmental health. However, House Bill 351 is stuck in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee. We need to build support for HB 315 and let our representatives know we want them to support it.

House Bill 345, and Senate Bill 213 would put a moratorium on fracking in Ohio until the US EPA completes an impact study. Help raise awareness about these bills and support the Democrats who are sponsoring them.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mysterious Earthquakes in Ohio: Caused By Injection Wells?

Youngstown, Ohio has seen 11 earthquakes since March and scientists say injection of fracking waste deep underground triggered them.

Wyoming Natural Gas Compressor Station Explodes

The Falcon natural gas compressor station south of Pinedale (Wyoming) burns and then explodes into a column of flame midday Dec. 6, 2012, in this submitted video. Nobody was directly injured in the fire and explosion, which was triggered by venting natural gas at the station, which is part of a system to collect natural gas from the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields. The fire was allowed to burn out, under the watchful eyes of area firefighters.

Read more.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Trip To Dimock, PA, Part Two

A video by Scott Cannon On January 10, 2012.  I drove to Dimock Pennsylvania to find out what's going on with the DEP and the EPA's investigation on the water well contamination alleged by Cabot Oil & Gas.

Methane in three private water wells in Lenox Twp. seeped there from a flawed natural gas well drilled by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., state environmental regulators have found.

An investigation by the Department of Environmental Protection determined that the gas migrated from at least one of three Marcellus Shale wells on the Stalter well pad about a half-mile west of Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County.

The gas was found seeping into three water supplies in August. A fourth water well for a hunting cabin is still being evaluated, DEP spokesman Daniel Spadoni said.

Video from inside one of Cabot's gas wells showed that a string of steel casing meant to seal off the aquifer from contaminants was improperly constructed, according to a notice of violation sent by DEP in September.

Methane was also found between the cemented strings of casing in all three gas wells on the Stalter pad, a sign state regulators view as evidence of flaws in a well's construction.

The dissolved methane in one nearby water supply jumped from 0.3 milligrams per liter before drilling began to 49 milligrams per liter on Aug. 16 and 57 milligrams per liter on Aug. 18, according to the violation notice.

Cabot installed methane detection alarms in three homes and vented the three affected water wells to keep the methane from accumulating and creating an explosion risk. The company is also delivering replacement drinking water to two of the homes, Mr. Spadoni said. The methane in the third water well has decreased so the home does not require an alternate water supply, he said.

Cabot spokesman George Stark said Friday that the company submitted a detailed response to the DEP and is working with regulators on the issue.

"Cabot is committed to safe and responsible operations and takes matters like this very seriously," he said. "We believe in fact-based, scientific research to guide any necessary corrective actions."

Department regulators sent Cabot a violation notice on Sept. 19, but neither the department's public eFACTS compliance database nor its monthly oil and gas violations report noted the inspection or violations until last week, when a Times-Tribune reporter asked about the investigation.

DEP policy requires the oil and gas program to update the eFACTS database within 10 working days of completing an inspection or mailing a notice of violations.

Mr. Spadoni said the missing information was "an oversight."

Part One here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

EPA To Dimock Residents: Water Is On the Way- NOT!

This weekend Dimock residents were under the impression that the EPA planned to deliver emergency water to them.  But the decision was reversed, and the reason is unclear.  The affected families literally have no water with which to cook, bathe, wash clothes, and flush toilets.  This is just wrong.
Read more.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Blowout, Rig Lost

Jan. 5th 2012 10pm

Nomac Rig #17 drilled into a shallow gas pocket soon after spudding in at a drilling depth of 900' northwest of Sweetwater, Oklahoma this evening around 6pm and burned to the ground. No injuries were reported.

Workers stated that they encountered the abnormally pressurized zone at relief time around 6pm when the relief crew was in the change house. It was first thought that they had encountered a shallow air pocket but after testing with a "sniffer" (a device to determine the presence of hydrocarbons) the well soon caught fire.

Witnesses 3/4 of a mile to the north reported hearing a loud "boom" from their residence "and then it sounded like a jet engine was right outside our home". When they drove down to the drill site to investigate the well was discharging fluid, soon after that something ignited the gas and the rig caught fire.

Bar Hoppers (used to increase the mud weight and counter downhole pressures) were not yet rigged up. A gas separator, chokes and a BOP stack were also on location and waiting to be rigged up and tested as soon as the surface portion of the hole was completed. Without these blowout prevention devices in place there is little to nothing that can be done to control the well.

It's very unusual to hit a shallow air pocket in the area and even rarer to encounter any hydrocarbons at this shallow depth above the planned surface casing.

El Reno based Nomac Drilling is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy, one of the nations most active drillers.

Read more.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Frac Sand Mine Troubles Maiden Rock (WI) Residents

Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, residents tell about what is happening near their homes. A frac sand mine has taken over their lives in many respects. It's not just gas wells that are ruining the earth. Other industries related to gas drilling are also creating enormous problems for people. This is just another example.

Signs and symptoms of silicosis:
Because chronic silicosis is slow to develop, signs and symptoms may not appear until years after exposure. Signs and symptoms include:
Dyspnea (shortness of breath) exacerbated by exertion
Cough, often persistent and sometimes severe
Tachypnea (rapid breathing) which is often labored
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Chest pain
Gradual dark shallow rifts in nails eventually leading to cracks as protein fibers within nail beds are destroyed.

Ever hear of silicosis?