Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tanker Spills Drilling Wastewater in PA Creek

Pine Creek

Jersey Shore, PA:  A tanker carrying 4,600 gallons of fracking wastewater has spilled its load near a storm drain that empties into Pine Creek, a popular fishing spot in Lycoming County.

Read the short article from The Republic here.

This incident gets very little attention, but things like this happen much too often.  Are people becoming de-sensitized?

Division of Mineral Resources (NY) Documented Oil and Gas Problems

Walter Hang speaks. When Walter speaks, people listen! Watch this!

Walter Hang Challenges the NY DEC Over Uncapped Wells

Walter Hang of Ithaca-based environmental database firm, Toxics Targeting, on Wednesday released a set of documents he says indicate shortcomings in the state DEC's regulation of conventional oil and gas drilling, and lead to questions about whether the agency is equipped to regulate hydrofracking.  The documents were taken from 25 years of annual reports from the DEC's Division of Mineral Resources and show that the DEC has been trying to deal with a slew of uncapped wells left over from decades when regulations weren't as strict. Hang and others, including Binghamton's Mayor Ryan, are calling for a complete scrapping of the SGEIS (Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Study) which has been ongoing for the last 4 years.  Hang says that this document is completely inadequate. 

Read the Ithaca Journal article here.

New York records show history of oil, gas well problems: Click here.

Protesters: Gas Industry Doen't Mix With Finger Lakes Tourism

Protest in Hector, NY, September 26th

The Corning Leader reported on a protest at Wednesday's dedication at the Hector fire hall of the Seneca Lake Scenic Byway .  A press conference was held by Gas Free Seneca and Hector Clean Waters just yards away at the Hazlitt 1852 Winery. As the ribbon was cut, opening Route 414 as a New York State scenic byway, the protestors stood in the background, unfurling banners.
The point they wanted to get across: Why designate the Seneca wine trail as a scenic byway to help bring more tourists, then allow heavy shale gas drilling and a large-scale LPG storage and distribution facility?
Read the article here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Another Visit With Activist Susan Walker In Elmira Jail

Susan Walker of Dundee, NY, is in jail after participating in an action blocking the gates of an Inergy compression station in Watkins Glen September 6th:

Hi Doug,
I thought by sending this to you, it would reach the people who want to know how Susan is doing. I DID POST IT TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE FOR SUSAN!

Her son, Zach and I went to visit tonight. Zach was very nervous about seeing his mom in jail, but as we waited and talked, he relaxed and sang songs for the others waiting to see their loved ones (one man waiting worked for the gas company). He is a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor and a GREAT singing voice.
Just as Jack reported, there is a series of doors and metal detectors and looks in our mouths and under our tongues. We waited for about 10 minutes or so for the next group of inmates to come into the visiting area. Susan had a lovely look of surprise and love on her face when she saw her son, and so did he. They hugged hello (which can only be done at the beginning and end of a visit). Having never met Susan, I must say that she looked great and was calm and even looked good in orange (the color of jail jumpsuits-this was Zach's comment).
Susan stated that she is well, feels good and is deeply moved by all of the cards and letters that she is getting. She said that she reads them to all the girls in the unit and they all feel so uplifted by the words of encouragement. So, the cards are a huge help in many ways... She stated that it is really noisy in there, and the lights are on most of the time. Susan stated that she hasn't been able to take her meds but she is doing OK about it. When I asked her if she needs anything, she said no, she has pencil and paper and two stamps. She is writing one letter to Jack and wondered who she should write to thank for all of the support.
She said the guards were telling her about the rally on Thursday and they had never seen anything like that before.
(Many of them didn't know what fracking was, so she continues her work while on the inside!) I told her that there are nightly vigils and she was stunned. We had 25 people tonight.
As a matter of fact, during the visit, some of the visitors were saying "There's a protest out there!" and the inmates were pointing to Susan saying it was for her. "She's a nice lady!" one of the female inmates said.
Susan was very touched to know that Sandra Steingraber encouraged us to wear pearls after watching Susan hand over her string ot pears to her friend while being escorted out of the courtroom last week.

Zach and his mom talked a lot, giggled and laughed and caught up on things. Zach sang to his mom and Susan, as any mother would, displayed tons of love for her son with adoring looks. You can tell they really like each other.
Susan said that she will be "released" Friday. Here is how it goes: she will be taken to Schuyler Jail at 10PM to be processed. Then, she will be let out at midnight Friday morning.
I gave lots of room for the two to visit but all three of us had a good chat. When it was time to go, Zach and Susan hugged. When outside the jail, Zach said that he felt so much better seeing his mom and knowing she was not in distress. "I'll have a relaxed ride home now! I feel so much better!".
By the way, Zach will NOT be down on Wednesday to see his mother, so that means that if two people would like to visit Susan, it can be done. I'm not sure how to determine who that would be so I'll let you decide amongst yourselves. I could call Zach to see if any family wants to visit to be on the safe side.
It was a wonderful visit. Susan is kind and soft spoken. When asked if she has any regrets, she said, without pausing "NO!".
What a fine person Susan Walker is.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Visiting With Susan Walker In Elmira Jail

Protesters chained themselves to the fence September 6th.

Susan Walker, a resident of Dundee, N.Y. and one of the Seneca Three, was arrested September 6th near Watkins Glen at a protest against Inergy.  She now sits in the Chemung County Jail.  Read more here.

A friend visited her and files this report:

Hi Folks:

I just returned from Elmira's Chemung Co. jail and visited Susan Walker of the Seneca Three from 5:30-6:30PM.
To convey a sense of the visit you wait outside with several people until you are allowed in by a guard. The guard asks you to pay a quarter and store everything on your person (except your clothes) in a storage locker. You remove the key and give it to him along with your ID (driver's license). I removed my belt and put it on a table.You go through a metal detector, my shoes triggered it, removed and then OK. The guard fully inspected my shoes. You re-belt yourself.

You are issued a piece of paper with the information to hand to a guard inside the visiting area that will identify who you are visiting. You then move into a small room, it's locked and then you wait until the door to the visiting area is opened. Then you are directed to a circular metal seat by a guard where you wait for about 20-25 minutes. Finally, before the buttocks expire, Susan arrives. Please, I'm not in any way comparing my pain to what she is enduring.

She's in good spirits and seems committed to spending her time in jail with the option that a pre-paid arranged amount of phone time would give her a way of contacting us if she changes her position. I 'm arranging that through some phone numbers for phone access that were provided by a CO at the jail. Another option is a pre-paid phone card.

I also contacted her son to update him.

She is in an individual holding cell that measures 7'x7' and the bed has a thin mattress and blanket. She gets her exercise by running in place. The visiting hours are on Monday Weds and Fri from 2:15-8:30PM. There can only be 2 one hour visits with a maximum of two people/visit/week. I'll be returning on Monday with some information she's requested and she's open to receiving other visitors. If someone else would like to accompany me on Monday please let me know by phone 607-243-7262 or 315-521-4458

Over $120 was donated by folks at the vigil this afternoon, $50 of which was spent for her in jail account to buy toiletries and other items (only fictional paperbacks are available for purchase.She is hoping to get some reading materials on health related topics from a nurse she's seen.

It looks as if she will be released early; perhaps on Thurs., which squares with what Joe Heath has stated. She's concerned that her time be beneficial to the struggle. We discussed her keeping a journal, seeing that she had gotten a pencil to keep some notes. The question is whether she will be able to leave with them. I was not allowed to keep any notes of my visit.

I was struck by the really high percentages of people of color in the visiting area; I'd guess 80% plus. The visiting area accommodated around two dozen inmates and up to twice that many visitors if everyone had two visitors. Generally there were two guards with strict rules for asking permission to stand up or reach across the middle of the face to face visiting table, which had a raised section in the middle. One by one folks were informed that their time was up and additional guards came to retrieve the inmates. Visitors left through a small locked room from which an outside guard released the visitors by actuating a release mechanism on the lock.

I haven't been in a jail in quite a few years so this was a re-education and a prompt reminder of how sweet our freedom of movement can be.

One of the folks visiting at the same time I was said her boyfriend had been fined $33 and didn't attend his hearing which prompted his bench warrent arrest and a sentence of 120 days (90 with good behavior) and a bail set at $750. I don't think this case could be defined as justice either.

The last thing I'd like to purpose is that we attempt to get folks there every day that Susan is in jail to have a hour or so vigil. She mentioned that she was aware through employees in the jail that the vigils was happening. A candlelight one around 7 each night might be nice. What are your thoughts? I'm intending to get a meeting wizard out to the lists to see what kind of response evolves.

Fracking is criminal. See draft Public Law 1 to criminalize fracking:

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. -- Mark Twain

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

-Frederick Douglass

Gov. Christie (NJ) Vetoes Frack Wastewater Bill

N. J. Gov. Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill Friday that would have banned wastewater generated by gas drilling from being treated or disposed of in New Jersey.  Read the article here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bradford County (PA) Farmers Tell Their Tragic Story: The Sacrifice

Published on Aug 25, 2012 by veraduerga

Two women dairy farmers from Bradford County, Pa., tell their stories about life with gas drilling and fracking and all the problems they have encountered the past four years. Sponsored by Sharon Springs Against Fracking, with Bob Nied introducing them.

Sandra Steingraber Speaks in Support of Susan Walker

Biologist Sandra Steingraber speaks at a press conference outside Chemung County Jail (Elmira, NY) where one of the "Seneca Three", Susan Walker, is being held for blocking the gate at Inergy's Seneca Lake gas storage facility project on September 6th of this year. Walker refused to pay a fine and was therefore incarcerated. She will remain in jail for 2 weeks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Is Chesapeake Energy Abandoning the Marcellus Shale Region?

This is huge news! 
The Marcellus Shale releases dry gas (no oil mixed in).  But dry gas is so cheap that it is not economically feasible to extract and sell.  Wet gas which contains some oil is much more profitable.  The oil separated from it can be sold for $90 a barrel.  Even T. Boone Pickens has dumped his investments in Chesapeake Energy.  Wet gas is found in the Utica Shale, a formation below the Marcellus and prevalent in SW PA and Ohio. 

The June shareholders meeting of Chesapeake Energy was tense as shareholders became aware of the difference between dry gas and wet gas.  Might they have been told of this from the beginning, they asked.  They are understandably very upset and confused.  Leaseholders are wondering if they will ever get the royalties they were promised. 

The Marcellus Shale Play is still at the speculative stage.  Now the actual figures are looking quite bad in comparison to the wildly optimistic predictions that landmen made to convince landowners to sign leases.

Read the article here.

Aubrey McClendon was stripped of his chairmanship of Chesapeake.  Now some are calling for his resignation from the Board of Directors.  Chesapeake may be headed for disaster as its cash flow dwindles by the day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dr.Sandra Steingraber narrates this slide show which tells the story of high-volume, slickwater, horizontal hydrofracking, a method of extracting tiny bubbles of natural gas from tight shale, in this case, the Marcellus Shale. In her quiet, sweet voice she describes what is happening under the ground, under our feet, and how this process is destroying our planet. Don't let her quiet voice deceive you. She is telling a devastating story that everyone should hear. This is a crisis of monumental proportions.

Summary: Author Sandra Steingraber, who is at the forefront of efforts to halt fracking across the Marcellus Shale deposits, reads excerpts from her essay about the fiftieth anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, accompanied by a full portfolio of fracking photos by Nina Berman.

A few comments from viewers: 1 Marc Mullinax on Aug 24, 2012 Last two minutes, with the author’s questions, are very powerful. They should be the same questions we pose to ourselves 2 Ellen Newton Duell on Aug 24, 2012 I am passionately devoted to preventing fracking and use of injection wells for fracking wastewater. Thank you for this excellent article. And deep gratitude to Rachel Carson. 3 joan meierotto on Aug 24, 2012 Very well done. Thank you Sandra and Rachel. 5 Angela Monti Fox, The Mothers Project on Aug 24, 2012 Thanks you Sandra for this wonderful piece that will help us all in providing another voice for this hydrofracking tragedy. An excellent teaching tool to help inform those who are still without real knowledge and truth. Angela Monti Fox 6 John Trallo on Aug 25, 2012 I mourn for my home state, Pennsylvania, the largest continuous stretch of forest land in North America, and for the future generations who will never know the asthetic beauty, pure water, clean air, and way of life that was once Pennsylvania. 7 cyril robinson on Aug 25, 2012 fracking is the pollution that Rachel Carson fought against and the way to remember her is to carry on her fight. We must think of her as ever-present urging us on as a figure likeJoan of Arc with her standard flying as she marches in front of this sacred environmental army. 8 Pauline Matt on Aug 25, 2012 Oh my, Nothing to say…just a deep hurtful cry.

Just a deep hurtful cry....

Monday, September 3, 2012

Loyalsock Creek Ruined by Pipeline Installation

Drilling "Accident" on Loyalsock Creek east of Worlds End State Park in Central Pa. Thank you Gov. Corbett, DEP, DCNR and the inept and Criminally Negligent Williams Co. and it's Contractors for fouling this pristine stream on Labor Day Weekend 2012!