Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chesapeake Energy: Cheapskate of 2009

A big truck barrels down a country road.

You have to admire companies that give gifts out of the goodness of their hearts. Or do you? Chesapeake Energy, a major player in PA's natural gas industry, and thus one of PA's destroyers, has seen fit to donate a big gas guzzling SUV to an agency serving the people of Bradford, Sullivan, and Tioga counties in NE PA. But this vehicle, a Ford Escape, is not a new model. It is vintage 2005. Couldn't they have at least sprung for a 2009 vehicle? Just another example of throwing a little bone to people to make them think Chesapeake cares about them. Actually this agency which provides mental health services and drug and alcohol treatment will need more and more help as the area takes on boomtown qualities and the need for services expands by leaps and bounds.

Read this article from the Rocket Courier.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Week's Gathering Line From The National Alliance For Drilling Reform (12/22/09)

The National Alliance for Drilling Reform wishes you Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas and plenty of clean air and safe water for all!

Gathering Line - a special pipeline that transports gas from the field to the main pipeline.

The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.

Whodunnit? The New Mexico Environment Department reached a $5.1 million settlement over "alleged" air emission violations. Find out at Northern New Mexico Conservation Project.

BARNETT SHALE GAS THREATENS HUMAN HEALTH !!! TXsharon posted the Final Results of the DISH TX health survey at Bluedaze.

Citizens for Environmental Clean-Up sets the record straight: The Exxon back out clause is purely industry spin aided by lazy journalism because there is nothing in the FRAC Act or anywhere else about banning hydraulic fracturing.

Flower Mound Town Council denies temporary suspension of Natural Gas Production until TCEQ and EPA releases their study results and recommendations. It appears Council members Dixon, Levenick, and Wallace aren't buying the recent concerns and results of the studies already conducted by the TCEQ, the Federal EPA, and Town of Dish! Read about it at

Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope has been spotted traveling around the country promoting natural gas's environmental benefits with none other than Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Read more at Marcellus Effect

Peacegirl read a powerful blog post this week from Don Young of Texas who viewed the recent film "Flame and Citron," a true story about a pair of heroic resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Denmark. The film tag-line is haunting in light of what is happening when gas drillers come to your town: "Do you remember when they came?" Check out Peacegirl's post, Do you remember when they came? and visit her blog at Gas Wells Are Not Our Friends. Gas drillers are occupiers, and they are in charge. Do you see the parallels?

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Do you remember when they came?"

Don Young, who lives in Texas and has a blog FWCANDO, has written a powerful post this week. He starts:
I saw a great movie yesterday called "Flame and Citron," a true story about a pair of heroic resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Denmark. It's WW2 and the Danish people have a mixture of fear and anger at the way the Nazis have taken over their Motherland. The tag-line of the film is: "Do you remember when they came?"
Young sees chilling parallels between then (1941) and now (2009)- to the Nazis and gas drillers.

Read his blog post here.

A patriot must always be ready to defend her city against her government.
-Edward Abbey
Thank you, Don Young, for your blog and for your tireless efforts on behalf of people affected by the harmful effects of gas drilling in Texas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Week's Gathering Line From The National Alliance For Drilling Reform

Gathering Line - a special pipeline that transports gas from the field to the main pipeline.

The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.

TXsharon @ Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS helps you follow the money to see why Governor Perry and others want Texans to keep breathing toxic air.

Some think cold weather caused this pipeline to become weak and brittleTruth be known, it's just old as the dirt it's been buried in! Read it at Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths.

Flower Mound receives applications for 18 new gas wells and a compressor station in the last 30 days. These wells will be in the same 5 mile radius area where 5 children have been diagnosed with Leukemia in the past few years. Read about it at

How can towns protect their roads and bridges once gas drilling begins?

Given the thousands of truck trips expected to develop one well site, upstate NY highway supervisors are struggling to protect taxpayer investment in infrastructure. Read about it at Marcellus Effect

Hydraulic Fracturing contaminates groundwater. Environmentalist say government slow to monitor and not looking hard enough for contamination. Citizens for Environmental Clean-Up

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Report on Horizontal Gas Drilling in NY State

(WAMC) - December 3, 2009
A coalition of environmental groups today have delivered a letter to the governor demanding that New York scrap what they call inadequate new environmental safeguards for horizontal gas drilling while the state faces pressure to find new sources of revenue. Hudson Valley bureau chief Susan Barnett reports.
© Copyright 2009, WAMC

Listen to this report here.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Day In Dimock, PA

A preview of coming attractions, brought to you by the oil and gas industry. (October 2009)

If corporations were to consider the future generations, could they rape the land and make people sick? Corporations exist to make money. The planet and the human beings who live on it now, to say nothing of the next generation or seven generations to come as the Iroquois took into account, mean nothing to corporations. We are collateral damage, nothing more.

In November, a group of families from Dimock brought a lawsuit against Cabot Oil. Read about it here.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seven generation sustainability is an ecological concept that urges the current generation of humans to live sustainably and work for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future.[1]

"In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation... even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine."

—Great Law of the Iroquois

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Make It Go National!

Drill rig on Moody Road, Bradford County, PA, July 2009
Photo: Carol Manuel

The Trouble With “Drill, Baby, Drill”

I’m not looking to host a debate about whether or not the US should do more to encourage drilling here in America.

On one side, we have the oilmen, who would look to drill enough holes to turn the entire continent into a block of Jarlsberg cheese. On the other side, there are the treehuggers who are so wrapped up in their ideology that the dangers of foreign oil dependence is entirely beyond their comprehension. My personal opinion is that the right path, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.

That said, ProPublica gives us reason for concern today…

Pennsylvania residents whose streams and fields have been damaged by toxic spills and whose drinking water has allegedly been contaminated by drilling for natural gas are suing the Houston-based energy company that drilled the wells. A worker at the company is among the 15 families bringing suit.

The civil case, filed Thursday in U.S District Court in Scranton, Pa., seeks to stop future drilling in the Marcellus Shale by Cabot Oil and Gas near the town of Dimock.

Cabot is a public company, and is one of many natural gas and oil concerns currently converging on Pennsylvania’s natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale. This is a development that could impede future projects in this and other shales should the story happen to go national.


PA Residents Sue Gas Driller (ProPublica)



Monday, November 16, 2009

The Gathering Line from The National Alliance For Drilling Reform


Gathering Line - a special pipeline that transports gas from the field to the main pipeline.

The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.

Amy Goodman interviews of Toxics Targeting, an Ithaca, NY-based environmental database firm which released a report last week, uncovering 270 documented hazardous chemical spills which occurred over the past thirty years. PA's own Department of Environmental Conservation's database contained records of fires, explosions, wastewater spills, well contamination, and ecological damage related to gas drilling. Take a moment to watch the interview Amy Goodman Interviews Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting. Mr. Hang is calling on NY Governor David Paterson to withdraw the Draft Supplemental Geologic Environmental Impact Statement, citing woefully inadequate reporting which will not come close to protecting the environment, water, and public health. This is a must-see interview! Visit Gas Wells Are Not Our Friends to find out more from Peacegirl!

Would you consider this a small footprint?See the effects of 40 years of drilling!Read it at Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths.

Gas drilling is destroying Pennsylvania's wilderness. The Pennsylvania Wilds include more than 2,000,000 acres of publicly owned virgin forest, clear mountain streams and abundant wildlife. Read about how these public lands are being violated and watch Splashdown for public action you can take soon to defend the Allegheny National Forest, part of the Pennsylvania Wilds.

TXsharon continues to follow the abuses of Aruba Petroleum in a Barnett Shale backyard and Wednesday the Wise County Messenger picked up the story--don't miss the comments. It's all on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Colleyville tables application for first well site. See story at Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling.

Sue Heavenrich writes about problems with a local compressor station in upstate New York at the "Marcellus Effect." Industrial drilling in Marcellus is impact enough, but without local zoning rural areas are open to invasion by other industrial uses too, including compressor stations. You'll find more on the "Marcellus Effect".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Amy Goodman Interviews Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting

Walter Hang, President of Toxics Targeting, an environmental database firm in Ithaca, New York, talks to Amy Goodman in this riveting video. Toxics Targeting went through the Department of Environmental Conservation’s own database of hazardous substances spills over the past thirty years. They found 270 cases documenting fires, explosions, wastewater spills, well contamination and ecological damage related to gas drilling. Many of the cases remain unresolved. The findings are contrary to repeated government assurances that existing natural gas well regulations are sufficient to safeguard the environment and public health. New York State is considering allowing for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale watershed, the source of drinking water for 15 million people, including nine million New Yorkers. Mr. Hang is calling on Gov. Paterson, who has embraced natural gas drilling as New York's best hope for economic recovery, to reject the Draft Supplemental Geologic Environmental Impact Statement just issued in October on the grounds that it is deeply flawed and does not adequately address the documented accidents and incidences which have occurred due to gas drilling activity.

The SGEIS was done because the gas drilling industry needed further review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). A Generic Environmental Impact Statement was finalized in 1992. However, new technology, referred to as slick water hydrofracking, now being used to drill in tight gas reservoirs such as the Barnett Shale (TX) and the Marcellus Shale (PA,NY,WV,OH), is causing a great deal of concern amongst environmentalists and residents who live atop these shale formations. Public hearings are now in progress for the Draft SGEIS. The public comment period has been extended to December 31, 2009. After considering public inputs, the state will decide on additional parameters to be applied to gas drilling and will then issue well permits for gas well development.

To read the testimony of John Hanger, Acting Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, speaking before the Senate Majority Policy Committee about the Marcellus Shale formation, go here.

After the findings of Toxics Targeting, will the State of New York take seriously the possible, and perhaps probable, costs of drilling on the environment, the public health, and quality of life in New York State?

Does it make sense to destroy essential resources such as water and soil in order to extract one resource- natural gas? Are we to drill first and ask questions later?

*Thinking about buying a home? Check out this free internet map, compliments of Toxics Targeting, to see if there are any toxic problems nearby.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This Week's Gathering Line from the National Alliance for Drilling Reform

Gathering Line - a special pipeline that transports gas from the field to the main pipeline.

The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.

Splashdown wants to encourage everyone to get behind the 2 Action Alerts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and all inflowing waterways. 1. You can send an easy click message to Congress to urge them to join in sponsoring this critical Clean Water legislation. 2. Beginning Nov. 9th, public input (also easy click to comment) is being sought on strategic plans for President Obama's Executive Order for cleaning up the Bay. So please, hop to it!

TXsharon continues to report from a backyard in the Barnett Shale. Despite all the local and national press on drilling related toxins, carcinogens and neurotoxins in our air, Aruba Petroleum Refuses a Simple Step to Improve Barnett Shale Air and thereby recklessly and willfully endangers public health and safety. Read it on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

The New Energy Army Pickens Proposes to force his plan upon the nation Read it at Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths.

Peacegirl writes about the situation in Clearville, PA, where compressor stations are causing serious environmental problems. Read Compressor Stations Wreak Havoc in PA. Watch two videos, and see for yourself what it looks like to have tiny oily spots on every surface, every plant, farm equipment, a pond- everywhere. It is unbelievable! See the cemetery adjacent to a Clearville compressor station where local residents hope someday to "rest in peace." They are wondering if that day will come sooner rather than later because of the serious health threats they now fear from the gas industry. Who will help the residents of Clearville? Is the PA DEP doing its job? Visit Gas Wells Are Not Our Friends. Reader comments are always welcome.

Sue Heavenrich reports on a recently released report about drilling accidents in NY 270 Drilling Accidents in NY So Far Read about that and and more at

Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling urges everyone to read the Environment Texas study to learn how excessive waste of fresh water and toxic chemicals gas drillers use in the extraction of the gas are threatening our drinking water in the Barnett Shale area.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Compressor Stations Wreak Havoc in PA

Compressor stations are causing a lot of problems in Pennsylvania. This video was taken after a release of an oily substance from Steckman Ridge Compressor in Clearville, PA, on August 23, 2009. The owners of this farm are fearful that their land is hopelessly contaminated, and they don't know what is in the oily substance they found sprinkled all over everything: their farm equipment, the hay wagon, their crops and plants, their pasture land, their blueberry bushes, their springfed pond. They found soot on their roof. The pond has an oily scum on it. Their plants wilted after this incident. They are asking: Is our farm safe or not?

Clearville farmers have watched their animals die- two cows, a horse, many cats, and all of their hens. There are three compressor stations, all within 10 miles. According to the DEP, air tests are not done around compressor stations, despite many requests from residents who live near them. Is the air safe in Clearville? The residents are worried.

Chemist Wilbra Subra calls compressor stations, used in the gas drilling process, "mini-refineries." Dr. Subra's work has included studying the air quality around compressor stations in Dish, TX, where extremely high levels of benzene, toluene, and other carcinogenic and neurotoxic compounds were found "hanging in the air." Residents of Dish have been forced to breathe in these toxins for the past few years since gas drilling has come to their community. Will Clearville develop the same problems? People want to know the answers. Does any industry have the right to "do business" if it means polluting the air, soil, and water?

An article
by Nastassja Noell reports on the incident in Mt. Pleasant, PA, when the Nancy Stewart compressor released a stream of high pressured natural gas for over an hour- a supposedly "normal operational procedure." Raw natural gas was escaping from a pipeline with such force that it caused nearby homes to shake. Martin O'Lear, who lives about a quarter mile from the compressor said,
It sounded like a rocket taking off. My eyes started to burn, and then I started to cough which lasted through the afternoon and night. I've lived here for 34 years and never before had my eyes start to burn when I stepped outside.
In another instance, Spectra CNG sprayed Omala Oil RL 329 over surrounding fields. A week later, the company told residents not to eat any of their crops and to wash their skin thoroughly. The DEP came a week later to test surface water near the compressor station and found at least two cases where toluene was present. This meant that toluene may be in the air. How are residents going to know for sure? Are their children safe? Are their animals safe?

Read more
here about the problems in Clearville and how the DEP is not willing to take serious measures to protect the public. (Warning: Strong language.)

This video shows footage of a huge compressor staton in Clearville, PA, just up the hill from a cemetery. Rest in peace, anyone?


NPR Interview Reveals Health and Environmental Concerns about Gas Drilling

Rene Montagne, host of Morning Edition, and reporter, John Burnett, raise questions about the natural gas industry on NPR.

Vast new natural gas fields have opened up thanks to an advanced drilling technique. While natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel than coal or petroleum, extracting it is still hard, dirty work. Some people who live near the massive Barnett Shale gas deposit in north Texas, have complaints. Health and environmental concerns are prompting state regulators to take a closer look.

Read the full transcript here.


Monday, November 2, 2009

This Just In: The Gathering Line From the National Alliance For Drilling Reform

Gathering Line - a special pipeline that transports gas from the field to the main pipeline.

The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.

This week's Gathering Line is too scary for Halloween

Peacegirl writes about gas drilling in Bradford County, PA. Welcome To Bradford County, PA, calls attention to an article in the Fall 2009 issue of Save the Bay, the magazine of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation which features the North Branch Susquehanna River in Bradford County. From the blog Gas Wells Are Not Our Friends where your comments are always welcome.

Aruba Petroleum is drilling a Barnett Shale gas well in the backyard of Tim and Christine. Their property was taken, it's value diminished, they were threatened and now Aruba Petroleum spilled toxic drilling waste a few feet from where their daughter plays. Another tale (with VIDEO) about the Victims of the Shale on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Allegheny State Forests Littered!! Park Management Tries To Bring Drilling To A Halt And Are Met With IntimidationRead it at Cheap

Tricks and Costly Truths.

Today’s environmental horrors could lead to a scary Sci-Fi future. Drilling Santa Fe offers an excerpt from Apocalypse Soon by Laura Paskus.

Meanwhile, Splashdown says, Kiss myGas!

Williams Petroleum wants to pipe drilling waste water under our homes in Flower Mound, TX to a huge tank farm. Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling we discovered an alternative that is safer and greener. Williams claims to be a "good neighbor." Here's their chance to prove it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Welcome To Bradford County, PA

Our family summer home in beautiful French Azilum, Bradford County
(Photo by C. Manuel)

If you were designing a brochure to entice tourists to visit Bradford County, PA, where tourism brings in nearly $2.5 billion to the region annually, it might go something like this.......

Welcome to Bradford County, "where you’ll find everything from fresh maple syrup and honey, to enthralling modern artwork. The hospitality services here are second to none, whether you want a bed and breakfast, a hotel (UPDATE: There are no rooms available right now because gas drillers occupy ALL of them), or a campground. The artisans found here follow traditional styles with new twists. Chain saw carvings, whittlers, stonewall builders, and quilters are just a few of these amazing artists that reside and work in Bradford County.

Bradford County is an agrarian society, for the most part. Farms cover a vast expanse of the county. Many Farmers in the area raise grass fed livestock, sell organic fruits and vegetables, and process dairy products organically. These products can be found on location, in local stores, and at the local farmers markets.

Bradford County is filled with local landmarks and is great for sight seeing. Set in the Appalachian Mountains' there are still traces of our history everywhere. Arrowheads found in fields give hints of Native American movements and settlements in the area. Old mines and dilapidated mining towns serve as markers and historic evidence of how mining life truly was. French Azilum Historic Site shows a never completed French settlement along the river,; a town of about forty families at its peak, that was planned to hold four hundred. Take a trip to Azilum to see the beautiful landscape, get a tour of a second generation French home, check out the archeological dig being done by a Cornell professor, or just to have lunch and see the eagle's nest. Bradford County’s history-rich background makes it a great place to spend an afternoon, a day, a week, or a lifetime." [taken from this website]

It sounds like a piece of heaven, and it is- for how long remains a big question. Now the future of tourism, fishing, hunting, camping, and just plain living in Bradford County, PA, is threatened by the corporate craving for the natural gas that lies beneath in the Marcellus Shale formation. According to a July report, there are currently eleven gas companies operating in the county, all poised to make billions of dollars while poisoning the earth and air we all require for survival. Some residents are worried about the negative effects of gas drilling: erosion and sediment and the disposal of millions of gallons of tainted (toxic!) water produced in the course of gas extraction, some of which comes back to the surface while much of it remains underground permanently. A Pennsylvania attorney for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Matt Royer, said

We're really concerned about getting protections in place here. There are serious risks to our water from the drilling- from stormwater runoff and erosion that occurs during the construction phase, and from the treatment of wastewater after the drilling phase.
The problem, as CBF Water Quality Scientist Harry Campbell explains it, is that very few treatment plants are capable of removing the salt and chemicals in the frac water, many of which are proprietary and therefore unknown except to the drilling companies. Campbell said
One of the main concerns is the high salinity of the water. If frac water gets discharged into streams in this concentrated form, it will affect aquatic life. Also,we don't have water-quality criteria for the many chemicals used in frac water, so there's no way to know if the water's being adequately treated.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the middle since it is charged with promoting income for the state while at the same time protecting the environment and public health. With state funds being slashed 25% in the 2010 state budget, it is doubtful that the money will be available to hire more inspectors to do the work of monitoring compliance with environmental regulations. Adding to the problem is the fact that the Energy Act of 2005 exempts the natural gas industry from most environmental regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act. To make matters worse, private water wells, which are the norm in much of Bradford County, are not protected by the federal regulations anyway. Industry is vehemently opposed to regulations and have a well-funded robust lobbying strategy to insure the defeat of any legislation that might thwart their pillaging of the land.

Pristine lakes and forests abound in northeastern PA, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed extends over a large part of the region, causing many people as far south as Virginia to worry about the future of the bay and the Susquehanna River which flows into it. In the process of preparing a drill pad, trees are felled, destroying countless acres of forest and animal habitat. The pipelines needed to get the gas from pad to market also swallow up vast stretches of the landscape which never return to their original beauty or ecology. Access roads carve up even more land and are paved with gravel mined from local hills and mountains. Mike Lovegreen, District Manager of the Bradford County Conservation District said,
There are two or three hundred wells in the county already, and a lot of infrastructure going up right now. We'll see frenzied activity this year.
While industry has their money-grabbing, pollution-producing frenzy, citizens of the county will undoubtedly find themselves in their own frenzy, trying to protect themselves and their familes and their property, a daunting task at best, since this is a case of Big Gas versus citizens with little financial means to fight. Ironically, some land owners are eager for the drilling to begin because they believe they will get a lot of money from the minerals beneath them. Some will (those with large land holdings); most won't in all likelihood. Especially vulnerable are those who own no land at all. These residents have nothing to say about what happens where they live. However, they must endure the effects of environmental pollution and negative health effects from water, air, and soil.

Another concerned group is the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited. Deb Nardone, a Cold Water Resource Specialist who works with the group, commented on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and DEP and the job these groups have done in trying to regulate, for example, the withdrawal of water from area waterways. She reports that they have done "a pretty good job" of oversight." However she expressed her concern about the impacts of drilling on water and wilderness areas.
...the new roads built to get to the well pads, the stream crossings, the pipelines, the truck traffic, the actual disposal of the wastewater- everything has an impact downstream. We're talking about [protecting] true wilderness areas, pritine streams where our members hunt and fish.
Read the article about PA (North Branch Susquehanna: As Gas Wells Proliferate, Water Worries Grow) in the latest issue of CBF Save the Bay here. You will have to scroll down to page 6 to find the article. The pictures are very educational, and you will find a map of the North Branch Susquehanna (page 8), showing the Marcellus Shale formation and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The author of the article is Carol Denny, editor of Save the Bay magazine and a native of Pennsylvania.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Introducing: The Gathering Line

Gathering Line - a special pipeline that transports gas from the field to the main pipeline.

The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.

WWJD on Carter Avenue? TXsharon wants to know if Chesapeake Energy or anyone in Fort Worth government has stopped to consider the answer to that question. Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Some upstate NY landowners are wondering whether they can sell their property if it has a gas lease. Check out the Marcellus Effect for a short review and a link to interviews with realtors.

NEWS FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Laceyville, PA, Getting Nearly $100,000 in Gas Revenues: Is This Good News? Peacegirl at Gas Wells Are Not Our Friends combs the newspapers of Bradford and Susquehanna Counties in Pennsylvania and talks with local people from these areas to find out what is really happening. This week the focus is on Laceyville, Wyoming County, PA. Will the people of Laceyville survive the invasion of the gas industry?

How Many Natural Gas Explosions Does It Take?!! One Too Many! Read it at Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths.

For the first time in decades, New Mexico Senators sacrificed migrating big game with their vote to allow drilling during the winter in the Jicarilla Ranger District of the Carson National Forest. Drilling Santa Fe asks if we have forgotten the high price of deregulation and offers something for consideration.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Update: Schlumberger Comes To Town

Update: Read the latest report on the Schlumberger Horseheads, NY, facility which has now been approved inspite of strong opposition from many local residents. The public hearings seem to have been for naught.

Here is the original post from August 2009:

Gas industry people are very intelligent shrewd. They hire people to deal with the public. There are employees, landmen, whose job it is to get the most land leased for the least amount of money. And then there are employees who go out into the community to build trust and confidence pacify and intimidate people into thinking that everything will work out and every effort is being made to protect them and the environment. This approach is very effective. Most citizens and landowners want to believe this fantasy, and that is why the gas industry can succeed so easily in getting them to go home feeling pretty good about the gas wells near or on their land. It helps that most of us still think that the regulatory laws and agencies are certainly not going to allow our lives to be ruined by pollution, contamination, illness, and death. How many people know that Pennsylvania and New York have fewer than 20 inspectors to oversee ALL aspects of the drilling industry? How many people realize that the gas industry is STILL exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, The Clean Air Act, and many other environmental laws?

Now the big news in Horseheads, NY, is the huge $30 million facility Schlumberger plans to build in their town. This Texas corporation provides services and materials to oil and natural gas producers robbers. They intend to supply drilling sites within a 300-mile radius, primarily in Pennsylvania's Northern Tier. The proposed Horseheads facility would become the company's North American headquarters. The buildings would be 400,000 square feet and require 90 acres of land. The gas industry gobbles up much more than just a few acres for a well pad here and there. Does Horseheads really want to give up 90 acres of good land for such a purpose as this? Stephen Harris, spokesperson for Schlumberger, says the upcoming public meeting in Horseheads will give the local citizens a chance to ask questions and perhaps express their concerns.
The purpose is to open up to local residents to give them the opportunity to answer some of the concerns that come up at town hall meetings...We hope to give people a better sense of who we are, why we chose Horseheads and what kind of corporate neighbor we hope to be. We want to open up the dialogue on a more informal level. What we'll have are different stations on key issues. If you have a concern about traffic or storm water drainage, we'll have different stations residents can come to to get information.
Perhaps they'll have a little basket of toy Schlumberger trucks for the kids to take home and play with.

And what will be happening at this facility in the Holding Point industrial park in Horseheads? Fueling, washing and maintenance areas for a fleet of trucks which service drilling sites, as well as storage areas for materials toxic chemicals used at those locations. I can just picture this. What a nightmare for Horseheads! I hope the citizens will stand firm and deny whatever permits are required for this facility to be built. But, if not Horseheads, where will Schlumberger go next, looking for a place to put this monstrosity? It will ultimately go somewhere.

Read more about the Schlumberger's plans and upcoming meetings of the Horseheads Village Board of Trustees and the Horseheads Planning Board here.

To find out about a Schlumberger open house in Horseheads, NY, this Thursday, September 3, click here.

Read about an August 11th public meeting in Horseheads here.

For your information and just so you know, when you talk about Schlumberger, it is pronounced SCHLUM-BEAR-ZHAY! It rhymes with lingerie!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Gas Well Talking Points for the Gullible

On the website, there are numerous links to many informative pages. Here is one example:

Gas Well Talking Points

  • SPICE RACK - One local gas drilling company likes to use a photo of a kitchen spice rack while discussing frac fluids. They will tell you: "We only use a few, just 4 or 5" and "This is stuff you use in your house" and "Most of it stays deep in the ground." But a spice rack example?? Frac fluids put a nurse in Colorado into organ arrest after she came in contact with a drilling worker soaked with frac fluids. The good news is that she lived. Bad news is that it took more than 30 hours for her to be released from intensive care. These gas drilling company PR guys sure must think you're stupid if you fall for their cooking spices comparison!

  • ROAD SALT - Since some people know that hydraulic fracturing fluids coming back out of the ground ('flowback') contain high levels of salt or brine, the gas drilling PR guys will address this one very simply. They tell the crowd they could drill for 10 years and not create as much salt runoff as the Pennsylvania highway department uses for de-icing roads during one winter. OK then, we need the roads salted for safety and winter transportation, but do we really need gas drillers adding that much salt to the environment, especially when most of it now gets processed and dumped back in our rivers, where we get our drinking water?

  • RESTORED TO THE SAME OR BETTER CONDITION - Drilling companies profess that they will put the land they use for gas drilling pads, frac pits, pipelines and other operations back into the same or better condition. While they might get some vegetation to grow, it will never be the same. Here's one of those reclamation jobs near the entrance to Cross Creek Park in Washington County, PA.

  • ONLY ONE CASE OF WATER CONTAMINATION - Open wide folks, because this is a BIG ONE to swallow whole! The local gas drilling company PR guy told a crowd in Hickory Pennsylvania in early 2009 that he only knew of one case of water contamination due to fracking gas wells in the entire United States, and that may have been in Arkansas, he thought. Just one week prior to his presentation, the photo below was taken of a run-off area down stream from a gas well that had just been fracked, and this was less than 10-miles from where he was giving his presentation. Do you think these guys need to get out in the field more, or just focus on the facts. How dumb do they think you are anyway?

  • MON RIVER WATER PROBLEM HAD LITTLE TO DO WITH GAS DRILLING ACTIVITIES??? - Late in 2008, about 1/3 of a million Pittsburgh area residents were treated to "chunky" water, that being tap water that was much higher than normal in TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). The PaMarcellus industry consortium commissioned a study by Tetra Tech in an attempt to show that drawing millions of gallons of water from surrounding streams and waterways had little to do with the terrible tasting drinking water. OK then, let's use their numbers, assuming the study was correct.... they say hydraulic fracturing of gas wells contributed to less than 7-percent of the chunky water problem (Keep in mind the study was done by a paid contractor). Since a Pittsburgh TV news team caught them raiding rivers that were already under a drought watch for massive quantities of water, they had to admit they played a big part (1 in 14 according to THEIR numbers). They will pump streams dry too, even though Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law makes it illegal. Gas drilling is a "wild west style" under-regulated industry, and everyone knows where that got us with coal mining.
    Photo below: Three tankers pumping water out of a stream running low due dry summer conditions on Marcellus Shale near Houston, Pa. Is gas well fracking more important than aquatic life in this stream?

    Steal the water from the fish...
    July 11, 2009 -
    Washington Firefighter Academy parking lot, Chartiers Township


Marcellus Shale gas drilling wastewater

Go to the original web page here.


PA News: Residents Report Toxic Clouds of Gas Near Compressor Station

Compressor station in Dimock, PA. Photo by Mary Sweeny

On October 20, 2009, residents of Mt. Pleasant Township, PA, reported an incident involving natural gas near the Nancy Stewart Compressor Station about 1:15 p.m. Raw natural gas was escaping from a pipeline with such force that it caused nearby homes to shake! Martin O'Lear, a local resident said,
It sounded like a rocket taking off. My eyes started to burn, and then I started to cough which lasted through the afternoon and night. I've lived here for 34 years and never had my eyes start to burn when I stepped outside.
The Department of Environmental Protection stated that the incident was "normal operating procedure." The DEP is currently performing air tests in the area. Results may be available next week.

Wilma Subra, a chemist and founder of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, said,
We [in Louisiana and Texas] frequently have compressor stations that either had an explosion or an over-pressurization.
On the same day this incident in PA was reported, Dr. Subra was interviewed on WHRW Binghamton's radio show "The Point." She spoke about her work testing the air in DISH, Texas, and about the report she gave to the New York State Senate regarding clean water.

Read the whole article by reporter Nastassja Noell here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Residents Speak Out Against Proposed "Frac Water" Processing Plant

Kudos to the Wyalusing Rocket Courier for this excellent article published today. DC Koviack reported on a hearing and meeting held Tuesday at the Tunkhannock Middle School in regard to a proposed water treatment plant that would discharge treated frac water (from natural gas wells) into Meshoppen Creek. Wyoming Somerset Regional Water Resources Corporation has applied for a permit to locate this plant in Lemon Township (Wyoming County, PA).

The area chosen for this plant has five wetlands within it, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. And it was designated a SUPERFUND SITE and slated for clean-up over a decade ago because of pollution, but was allowed to remain untreated because its wetlands have held the toxins, thus avoiding further pollution in surrounding areas. If this site were to be excavated, which is the plan, this would undoubtedly unleash all this contamination from the past, to say nothing of the contamination of a new water treatment plant..

Although this proposed treatment plant would ideally treat the water and make it 100% reusable, this cannot be done. So some of the treated water would be discharged into Meshoppen Creek, a now pristine creek which was used as a dump in the 1950's and 60's and cleaned up in the 1980's. Many citizens spoke out against dumping treated frac water into the creek and start the whole polluting process all over again. Meshoppen Creek flows into the Susquehanna River and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay. This water ecosystem provides irreplaceable biodiversity which, once destroyed, cannot be restored.

The consensus at the meeting was that the permit should be denied.

Read the article here.


Democracy Now! Interviews Charles Duhigg of the NYT: Toxic Waters

Watch this interview with New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg about the latest in his investigative series “Toxic Waters,” which examines the worsening pollution in the nation’s water systems. Duhigg appeared last month to discuss how chemical companies have violated the Clean Water Act more than 500,000 times in the last five years, most without punishment. Since then he has written articles focusing on how coal-fired power plants and large farms are threatening the nation’s drinking water.

Charles Duhigg, Award-winning reporter for the New York Times. He is the author of a new series about the worsening pollution in American waters called “Toxic Waters.”


Monday, October 19, 2009

NPR's Terry Gross: How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

An estimated one in ten Americans have been exposed to drinking water that contains dangerous chemicals, parasites, bacteria, or viruses, or fails to meet federal health standards. Terry Gross, on her radio show, Fresh Air, on NPR today, talked with journalist Charles Duhigg who says that part of the problem is that water-pollution laws are not being enforced.
If you have a half hour to spare, sit down and listen in.
Mr. Duhigg covers many areas of concern, and Ms. Gross asks those probing questions that we wish a lot more interviewers would ask!

Click here to hear this excellent interview.

Charles Duhigg is writing a series for the New York Times entitled, "Toxic Waters," a series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators' response. Check out some of his installments:

Power Plants: Cleansing the Air at the Expense of Waterways

Agricultural Runoff: Health Ills Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells

Industrial Waste: Pollution Grows With Little Fear of Punishment

Herbicides: Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your
Water Glass

Watch a remarkable short video called "From Air To Water Waste," by clicking here. The video is on the right hand side of your screen in a tiny box!