Friday, December 3, 2010

Do you support the moratorium in NY State? Please Vote

Support the bill which asks for no new permits for natural gas drilling in NY State at least through May 2011.

Please vote here:

Also call Governor Paterson and urge him to sign the bill:


NY State Assembly Bill  A-11443

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NY State Assembly Passes Moratorium Bill

The bill which passed in the NY State Assembly this week is a moratorium bill on permits for natural gas drilling which would require hydraulic fracturing.  It does not stop ALL drilling for natural gas in NY State, only drilling of new wells.  And it expires in six months.  It awaits Governor Paterson's signature.  Read the bill here:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SPLASHDOWN Flicks: Bradford County, PA, Gas Drilling

This video was filmed by Karen Korell of Towanda, PA.  She was an artist and an environmental activist all her life.  She died last August after a long illness.  I miss her so much.  She would be doing more videos if she were still with us.  Her last blog post was written only two weeks before she died.  She kept up the fight as long as she possibly could. 

This video shows the well pad on Vial Hill Road, Bradford County, PA.  NOMAC Rig #117.  I watched this well site go up.  It is a hideous blemish on a beautiful landscape.
In memory of Karen Korell
She loved the Earth.

Friday, November 19, 2010

PA Constitution: Is gas drilling constitutional?

William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania


of the


Article I, Section 27

Natural Resources and the Public Estate
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the
preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values
of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources
are the common property of all the people, including
generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the
Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the
benefit of all the people.

Well, what do you think?  Is the gas drilling industry following this article in the PA Constitution?  Do the citizens of Pennsylvania have clean air and clean water? Are their natural resources and historic areas being preserved?  What part is the gas industry playing in this?


White Pick-up Truck Plows Through Old Cemetery in PA

Hanover Township, PA-  A truck driver apparently fell asleep while driving his white pick-up truck and hit a telephone pole before continuing on through an historic cemetery, damaging large headstones in the process.  The accident happened between 3 and 4 a.m., but the driver, still asleep behind the wheel, was not discovered until around 5:45 a.m.  Police who responded to the scene after receiving a call from a passer-by said that alcohol and excessive speed appear to have been factors in the accident. The truck was owned by a company involved in natural gas drilling.

Watch the video:

My comment is this:  Yes, accidents happen everywhere.  However, gas drillers are subjected to long hours.  They are often without their families for weeks, months at a time. They have been known to have above average use of drugs and alcohol.  They have also been known to drive too fast, causing injury and death.  So when a person lives in an area with gas drilling, one must watch out for these drivers and take precautions, especially with little children.  No judgement here, just plain common sense.  Be on the lookout.

Chesapeake Energy: We want water 24/7!

Water extraction site in Ulster, PA, near Susquehanna River
Chesapeake Energy wants more...more hours to steal  extract fresh water from the Chemung River on Route 199 in Athens, PA.  This water use has been approved by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.  The term is "consumptive use" because the water will never be suitable to return to the hydrologic cycle.  It will be turned into contaminated water of one form or another (brine, flowback, frack waste, etc.).  At present, Chesapeake can only withdraw water at the Barrett site in Athens 12 hours a day.  They wanted that extended to 24 hours a day, but the board of supervisors granted only a 4-hour extension.  

Having visited a water withdrawal site in Ulster, I can attest that the truck traffic is relentless.  It's noisy, kicks up a lot of dust, and is a blot on the landscape of otherwise beautiful rural communities. It's an ugly place.  Imagine the bright headlights at night.  The Athens supervisors requested that Chesapeake install a chain link fence with slats at the Barrett site to help deflect headlight and noise from the residential properties along Route 199 nearby.  Oh yes, there are homes nearby.  The facility was built near where people live.  And what do these huge trucks run on?  DIESEL!  Air pollution. 

And that's just a small problem compared to the environmental destruction caused by actual drilling.  The negative effects of trucks used in the gas industry just adds insult to injury.  One more way our quality of life and the future of our children and grandchildren are degraded.
(Read more...)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chesapeake Energy: Goodwill Ambassadors???

One of the things that really gets my dander up are the efforts of gas drillers to appear philanthropic.  Puhleeeez!  The Rocket-Courier (Wyalusing, PA, newspaper) reports that Chesapeake Energy has donated $100,000 to Sayre House of Hope.  Of course, that amount of money is chump change to Chesapeake Energy.  But to average middle class people in Pennsylvania (like you and me) it looks like a lot of money.  Social agencies are suffering everywhere.  Donations are accepted gladly no matter where they originate. 

This is nothing short of a bribe, my friends.  That is what the gas industry does at every turn.  These donations are bribes in exchange for allowing the industry to literally destroy the lives of the local people: their health, their environment, their soil, their air, their water, their livelihoods.  And just as important: their SILENCE.  Who is going to complain when these corporations of mass destruction have given money to charity, sponsored fall festivals, held pleasant town meetings with refreshments, and fixed the roads they have demolished or will demolish?   These nice gestures ease the pain of life during and after drilling.  Never mind that it is the essence of condescension and perhaps even contempt.  Our lands have something they want which is going to make them extremely rich.  They can afford to be very nice.

The mission of the house is to alleviate the additional emotional burden on patients and their familes while enduring a medical crisis.  While it is good that people in need will be helped, it is still tainted money.  It is almost like a poison apple. Perhaps it is appropriate that Chesapeake Energy give this money since its presence is making people sick with all manner of ailments, many serious, some fatal.  In recognition of this gift, Chesapeake will be named the title sponsor of the Guthrie Gala for the next five years.  I find this to be so objectionable!  Don't let this corporation lull us into thinking they are doing us any favors.  They aren't.

Read more.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pittsburgh Says No To Gas Drilling

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Hurrah for the City Council of Pittsburgh!  They have voted to ban gas drilling in their city.
The vote was 8-0. 

Read more....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hydraulic Fracturing Expert Speaks

DEP personnel find methane bubbling in the Susquehanna River at Sugar Run in Bradford County, PA
Kudos to Wes Skillings and The Wyalusing Rocket-Courier (PA) for printing this article about the problems and dangers of hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania.  I think it is refreshing to see this information in a newspaper in an area that often promotes gas drilling without providing a balance.

Read what Cornell University professor, Dr. Tony Ingraffea, said about hydrofracking at a recent gathering in Browntown, PA.
...the industry claims a success rate of 98.5%, which is essentially at least one accident waiting to happen for about every 150 wells drilled. That is totally unacceptable from an engineering standpoint.
Do people realize what is happening in an area where drilling is occuring? Dr. Ingraffea told his audience that
...there are all kinds of ways for natural gas to migrate into groundwater acquifers. We're dealing with Mother Nature in a way that we can't see what we're doing, smell what we're doing, hear what we're doing, and we can't taste what we're doing, because it's thousands of feet down there...
He also pointed out a very important fact: Hydraulic fracturing in the unconventional gas drilling being done on the Marcellus is a very specific kind of fracking that had never been done in the Commonwealth of PA before 2004. It had never been done anywhere before 1997.

There is lots more easy-to -understand (the kind I like) information in this article.  We all should read it!  Thanks again to the Rocket-Courier and Mr. Skillings!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Marcellus Shale: Crime Is Increasing in Bradford County, PA

This report from the Towanda Daily Review claims that crime is on the rise in Bradford County.  The state police are receiving many more calls than in the past.  More money is needed to hire another officer.  Will local taxes go up to pay for this?

Read more....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Natural Gas Drilling: Nineteen Minutes in Dimock, PA

Hundreds of diesel truck trips are required to service each gas well, polluting the air with noxious compounds in diesel exhaust fumes. This quick little film captures 58 trucks on one road on one Fall afternoon in Dimock PA over a 19-minute period of real time. One truck, poignantly, carries fresh drinking water for a Dimock family whose water has been ruined by gas fracking.

Guitar music by Jason Shaw at, "Plantation" and "Mountain Sun," permission for use licensed under Creative Commons by Jason Shaw.

"19 Minutes in Dimock" © 2010 by Jane Prettyman, host of 'Public Comment' (username 'Dissenta'):

Friday, November 5, 2010

Natural Gas Industry: "I can't stop the truck!"

Tractor-trailer Hits Antique Shop in Ulster, PA
Photo: Brian Bishop, The Towanda Daily Review
Cindy Chase was closing her store Thursday afternoon in Ulster, PA, when she heard someone yelling at her to get out of the way.  She turned and saw a huge truck coming right for her.  Read more...

This is just one more example of the danger we face.  Even the trucks on our roads pose a significant risk, to say nothing of what happens on well sites themselves in terms of contamination of our water, soil, and air.  Cindy Chase was able to jump out of the way.  What if there had been a child there or an elderly person walking along the sidewalk?  The impact was so great that it appeared to have shifted the building off its foundation slightly. 

The truck involved in the crash was presumably owned by Washita Valley Enterprises, Inc., a company headquartered in Springtown, Texas.  Where are the local jobs we were promised?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

PBS Station Airs "Marcellus Shale: The Price of Progress"

Chris and Stephanie Hallowich of Hickory, PA
Photo: National Geographic
Used by permission.
Some say it's the answer to an energy-hungry nation's needs, and that properly monitored it's a boon to the economy. But people who live on or near Marcellus Shale drilling sites say the process has ruined their drinking water and property values. WQED's Chris Moore examines the promise and heartbreak of Marcellus Shale drilling in the Pittsburgh region.

Watch this video.  Chris and Stephanie Hallowich and other homeowners tell the real story.  The Hallowich home, which they built, is now worthless and unsellable.  They are forced to leave their home due to health risks and lack of safe drinking water, not to mention air pollution, noise pollution, and truck traffic.
From WQED TV, Pittsburgh

To read an excellent article from National Geographic about the Hallowich family and their personal tragedy caused by gas drilling, click here.

"I could smell his brakes, and I knew he was in trouble..."

Runaway truck crashes in Camptown, PA
Photo credit: David Keeler, Rocket-Courier
UPDATE:  The driver of this tanker was driving too fast.  His brakes had NOT failed as initially assumed.  The Towanda Daily Review report is here.

So it's 8:30 at night.  Rich and Hope Minyon were at home near Brewer Hollow Road on Route 409.  They heard the sound.  They ran to the other side of the house- away from the road.  The runaway water tanker had lost its brakes and was speeding downhill toward the Minyon home.  It flipped on its side, slid down the road, and careened over a small embankment, coming to rest in front of the Minyon's house.  Read more...

I am familiar with the terrain in Bradford County, PA.  There are many houses at the bottom of many hills on narrow country roads.  These houses are sitting ducks.  These large tankers are too big to drive on these winding, hilly roads.  Everyone knows that.  It is also known that the drivers of these trucks often drive too fast.  They drive while drowsy.  They drive while on drugs.  This is a formula for more accidents and injuries and deaths.  How many deaths will it take?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Susquehanna Still Bubbling in Bradford County, PA

More claims of gas drilling contaminating drinking water have prompted a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy in Bradford County. Some believe the proof is in the Susquehanna River.

In loving Memory of Robert Shippee
He loved the river.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hydrofracking: "It's Like Exploding a Bomb Underground"

James Northrup, who worked for years in the gas industry in Texas, appeared in Skaneatelas, NY, on a local news report. Northrup is now retired and resides in Cooperstown, NY.

For more information about Northrup and hydrofracking in New York State, click here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just One Little Pig Can Hurt You

Pipelines have been with us for years, and most people are a bit blase about them.  I have heard, "Oh, that pipeline was put in 40 years ago, and it has never caused any problem."  However, pipelines deteriorate from the inside out and are not easily monitored.  (My town of Greece, NY, is replacing old pipes right now.) Old pipelines have been causing problems lately. Because they are underground, we don't think about them, but they are everywhere under our feet, our homes, our roads, our schools- everywhere, like a spider's web.

There is a new worry after a very scary incident in Texas.  On October 15th, in Grand Prairie, a "pig" was accidently discharged out of the end of a pipe being installed.  This device was being used to test pressure in the pipe.  The 150-pound pig went right through the wall of a home 500 away and landed in the owner's bedroom.  No one was hurt. But that was just luck.  It could have killed somebody.  According to the homeowner, the incident was not even reported to the Texas Railroad Commission until Wednesday (6 days after it happened) and only after a TV news reporter began asking questions.  The rule is that such incidents must be reported within two hours. The TRC is charged with regulating and overseeing the natural gas industry in Texas.

Want to know more about pigging?  Click here.  One explanation of the term "pig" is that it is short for Pipeline Inspection Gauge.  There are quite a few uses for these devices and other theories as to how they got their name.  But what is clear is they can be very dangerous.  With thousands of new pipelines going in for natural gas transport, the dangers are compounded by the sheer numbers and their close proximity to homes, schools, and other areas where people are.

Here is Texas Sharon's 2007 comment on the Railroad Commission. She's not a fan.

Wonder what a PIG looks like?  Here is a picture of one:
A PIG like this flew through the air and landed in a near-by house in Texas!
Here is a LINK to the article, "When Pigs Fly," provided by one of my favorite blogs, Un-Natural Gas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don't Frack Me, Bro

This is an excellent video by Shaleshock Media.  Something to remember while you watch it:  Hydrofracking is not the only way that water wells are contaminated by gas drilling.  In Dimock, for instance, the wells that were ruined were ruined by the initial vertical drilling before the horizontal hydrofracking was done.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gas Pipeline Going In Near Wyalusing, PA

Pipeline going in near the village of Merryall, Wyalusing Township, PA
Photo credit:  David Keeler
The Rocket-Courier
A feeder pipeline is being installed in the Camptown area (PA) and will eventually connect to the Spring Hill compressor station. The 30-inch pipeline, known as the Chaffee Line, will pass by the Lime Hill area where a number of gas wells are in the works.  It will continue on and end near Totem Lake.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Compressor Stations: Coming To a Neighborhood Near You in PA

With compressor stations being built in PA as gas drilling gets into full swing, are we fully aware of the dangers in the air? Watch these videos provided by to see what is being released into the air in Texas (Barnett Shale). We can't even see it with our eyes except with special cameras. However, it is well known that many chemicals used by the gas drilling industry do go airborne and are very toxic. The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) has been able to study this issue in depth and has uncovered some very disturbing information which you can check out. TEDX discovered in their research a few years ago that, of 54 chemicals identified as being used in fracking fluid (and there are more than that), 21 are readily airborne and can cause harm to eyes, skin, the respiratory system, and the gastrointestinal tract or liver.

With gas wells come compressor stations, gathering lines, meter stations, water extraction facilities, water treatment plants, among other potentially harmful structures.  Here are a few links to information which may interest you:


Towanda, PA, Looking For More Drinking Water

Something just doesn't sound right here.  The Towanda Daily Review reported today that for more than 10 years the Towanda Municipal Authority (TMA) has been searching for a suitable location for an additional municipal water well.   A 1996 study commissioned by the TWA showed that more water was needed to supplement the two existing wells (one in North Towanda and one in Laddsburg).  No solution, no location has been found in all this time.  One reason is a high manganese level in the ground water.  Another problem is the regulation of the DEP which requires a water protection zone 400 feet around a water well.  Most suitable land has already been developed.  So the TMA is now looking for a place along the Susquehanna River.  There is even talk about two smaller wells which would not require the larger water protection zone.  Another solution may be to build a water filtration plant on the river and use river water as a drinking water source.  Other municipalities drink treated river water, according to Tom Fairchild, TWA manager.

Well, this sounds all well (no pun intended) and good, except for one small thing. 
If safe drinking water is a worry, and more is apparently needed,  why have local authorities allowed the natural gas industry to come into the area and suck millions of gallons of water out of the river every single day?
 Every gas well requires anywhere from one to seven million gallons of water per hydro-frack, and each well can be fracked multiple times in order to produce the maximum volume of gas.  It is no secret that many problems have occurred in the water wells of local residents since the deep gas wells have been drilled in the last few years.  So the water supply, springs, aquifers, are being compromised as we speak.  Yet local authorities have supported the consumptive use of precious water in order to supply Chesapeake Energy, Talisman, and other gas corporations, who have as their primary goal making millions and billions of dollars while stealing  taking water out of PA streams and rivers by the truckload every day. This is a travesty.

The Susquehanna River has its own life cycle.  It is higher in the spring, lower in times of drought.  There are regulations in place presumably which monitor water levels.  However,  it would seem to me that, if there is a shortage of water at the present time, and has been a worry for more than a decade,  it follows that no private business should be allowed to use enormous amounts of water, especially since this water can never be returned to the hydrologic cycle.  This water tainted by the gas industry is gone forever.  Where will this lead? 
Should not water, a finite resource, be used in responsible ways for the good of people, especially since water is necessary for sustaining life?
I think that the TMA is ignoring the elephant in the room.  If there is a serious water shortage problem,  stop giving the gas industry carte blanche.  Put people first.  We can't drink natural gas.  We need water.  Help us conserve our water supply.  Stop gas drilling!

Our Dear Susquehanna River
Please love her and take care of her.
In loving memory of Robert Shippee
He loved the river.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Methane Found In Bradford County (PA) Water Wells

More methane was reportedly found in more water wells in Bradford County, PA. The PA DEP (Department of Eventual Pollution Department of Environmental Protection) has confirmed the presence of methane in Alba, a town in the far western part of the county near Canton. How is this impacting the local people? Well, the employees of the local Dandy Mini Mart could not prepare or sell any food. Why? Because they didn't have any good water with which to sanitize or cook. Customers were upset.

DEP officials said they are working with Talisman Energy and "are trying to find a way to stop this from happening again."

Is this the joke of the day?  Trying to find a way to stop this from happening again?  How about closing down Talisman Energy until they can operate safely?  Wouldn't that work?


In memory of The Rev. Robert F. Shippee
He loved the beauty of Pennsylvania and especially the Susquehanna River.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Waterfall Removal (West Virginia)

Chesapeake Energy advertises that they are "A Champion of Natural Beauty."  Now watch as their white pickup trucks drive down this "road" which used to be a beautiful stream and waterfall.
  What is wrong with this picture?

The source of this video wrote:
"Several waterfalls were removed from Blake Run to make a gas development road in Blake Run. The pictured waterfall is at 39°42'17.3" North and 80°41'21.3" West, datum NAD83. The video shows the company's advertisement followed by before and after pictures and company traffic on Blake Run."


Compressor Equipment Moving In To a Neighborhood Near You?

Huge equipment is hauled in to build a compressor station in West Virginia.  Another industrial zone is born.

Natural Gas Industry: Speeding and Pollution on Country Roads in West VA

Several individuals reported speeding and dangerous driving by a brine hauler called Carpers. Reported behavior to Chesapeake on June 30, 2010, July 3 and July 6. This video was taken on July 9. Residents have had to keep their windows shut because of pollution similar to this. This convoy hit 45 MPH + on sections of Route 89 posted for 35 MPH.

This video was taken in West Virginia.  Notice the vehicle that is almost run off the road by these two trucks.  Look at the pollution spewing from these trucks.  Watch them take sharp corners at unsafe speeds.

Pennsylvanians and New Yorkers,  be very scared.  This happens ANYWHERE there is gas drilling.  I have experienced dangerous conditions on the roads of PA firsthand, compliments of the gas drilling industry.  I have read about fatal and near-fatal accidents involving gas drilling vehicles.  This is a daily reality for local people wherever gas drilling is in progress.

Dumping Waste Water on Roads: It's Just Not Right!

The photographer wrote:
The above picture is of a Hawg Hauler tanker truck dumping waste water on Blake Ridge. The license number of the truck is AF65647 and the truck number is 125. We have seen many incidents of this type in the past, but this is the first time we were able to get a picture. You can see dark stains on the road and in the ditch from this type of activity. The picture was taken on September 27, 2010.

Wetzel County, West Virginia

Click here to view more incredible pictures and videos from West Virginia.

In memory of The Rev. Robert F. Shippee
He loved the Earth.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rocket-Courier Letter To the Editor From a Montrose Resident

Dimock Water
Dimock Rumors Meant to Be Divisive
by Lynn Senick - 10/14/2010

Dear Editor:
The gas companies came here with the white trucks and figuratively wearing the white hats of the good guys. They love our community and they want the best for us. They want to make money and they want us to prosper. Gas is good for all of us. And then they made sure every arrangement protected their interests and reduced their costs of doing business. They have passed the costs of their industry onto our community. This is standard good business practice, right? Everyone looks for a bargain. Doesn’t every business proposition that ever existed operate this way? You would be a fool not to.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves. We are going to have to be tough and protect ourselves, something that so many did not do when blindly signing on the dotted line with a completely trusting, or if not trusting, completely unquestioning attitude. You can decide if this was a measure of our communal honesty and integrity or our stupidity.

I read and hear the assertion that the water in Susquehanna County always had contamination problems. Why does the community bear the brunt for testing and proving that we have no pre-existing water problem when we all lived here without any water buffaloes and vent pipes popping up in our yards?

I have been told it is our responsibility to prove we have good water before drilling starts. I have purchased properties in Susquehanna County and no one suggested that I should have my water tested as a condition of sale. I have municipal water now, and it is inferior in quality to the spring water I had on my small farm. I did get my water tested when I lived there. Not the extensive cradle to grave tests that are now required to prove and prepare in case of a future lawsuit, but the regular tests for nitrates, colliform bacteria, heavy metals...the usual suspect things in a region like ours. My water was always good. I have not heard of widespread problems with water in our county before this time of drilling. In fact, the water was known for its abundance and purity; it was our greatest natural resource before gas drilling, and I assert, our most valuable, far more valuable than shale gas.

I find it disturbing, saddening and maddening that the people in the affected area in Dimock, who like mostly everyone else signed a lease without a thought of a need to defend against the industry, are now being blamed and accused for their bad fortune.

The water in Dimock was affected during the vertical drilling, before gas production had started, and yet I hear rumors that the Dimock residents are suing because their royalties have dropped off. How is it known who gets royalties and who does not? And how much they receive?

I hear rumors that the folks who are suing are all from “other” areas and were not born here. Yes, some were and some were not. Susquehanna County has had an influx from other regions for many years; this is now the test for truthfulness?

I hear rumors that the residents blew up their own well or poisoned their own wells, that they only want the money. Why does anyone sign a lease if not for money? You don’t expect to get rich by falsifying your water quality, do you? Are these accusations credible considering all the residents have been through and the fact that the gas companies are well financed to fight a lawsuit that may drag through the courts for years? If a gas company will not abide by the DEP findings, then who will regulate their activity? Who will protect us if gas companies disregard the PA DEP?

Why do the Dimock residents stand as the accused in the court of public opinion? Why are they expected to publicly explain themselves and defend themselves from suspicion when the gas companies have planned everything to escape liability?

I have countered these and other accusations many times by extending the offer to introduce the accusing person to an affected Dimock resident. Let them come and ask the questions and see the situation and make a decision about the truth of this matter. No accuser has ever taken me up on the offer.

I say to the folks who happen to be lucky enough so far to have experienced no problems with drilling, “Congratulations and I hope it never happens to you.” But if you do develop a problem, do not expect my support if you have cast unproven, reckless aspersions on your more unfortunate neighbors.

This is just what the gas industry loves, pitting us against each other. In the words of Mayor Calvin Tillman of Dish, TX, “United We Bargain; Divided We Beg.”

Lynn Senick


A Message From Pete Seeger To All New Yorkers



Another Wastewater Spill in West Virginia

A tanker truck carrying drilling wastewater in Brooke County, West Virginia, spilled 500 gallons of the extremely slick brine October 13th.  The spill covered nearly three miles of heavily traveled roadway, turning it into a very hazardous road, so slippery it was like a layer of black ice. The tanker came from a nearby natural gas drilling site.  It was reported that the driver of the truck had no idea his truck was leaking.  Apparently other motorists saw the leak and called 911.


My question:  Even though the EMA director said the brine is not considered a major environmental threat, he did say that the clean-up crews didn't know all of the chemicals they were dealing with.  If we don't know what is in the brine, how can anyone say it is not an environmental threat? 

Natural Gas Truck Spills Chemicals in Hughesville, PA

HUGHESVILLE - A truck carrying chemicals from a natural gas drilling site spilled a friction-reducing fluid along Routes 118 and 220 Friday afternoon, in Lycoming County forcing police to close sections of roadway for cleanup. The spill posed no environmental hazard, but crews were worried about the safety of the roadway as it was very slippery. PennDOT and police kept the road closed while crews figured out how to remove the mess.

Jim Diehl (WGRC)

My question:  Why hasn't this incident which occurred on October the 8th been reported in the Towanda Daily Review or the Rocket-Courier?  

In memory of The Rev. Robert F. Shippee
He opposed the gas drilling industry to his dying day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Proposed Frac Fluid Treatment Plant in Wysox, PA

A frac fluid water treatment plant is being proposed for Wysox, PA.  Why am I unhappy about this?  Because my family's summer home is just downriver from this treatment plant.  See arrows. Our dear Susquehanna River is in mortal danger.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fracking Waste Water Will Likely Be Treated In New Plant In Wysox, PA

Hearings set on Wysox treatment plant for hydraulic fracturing waste water


Published: October 4, 2010

WYSOX TOWNSHIP - Two public hearings will be conducted this week on the proposed construction of a treatment plant off Leisure Drive in Wysox Township, which would process waste water from hydraulic fracturing, according to legal ads that were recently published in The Daily Review.

Eureka Resources LLC of Williamsport is proposing to construct the treatment plant on property that is currently owned by the Central Bradford Progress Authority, according to a copy of the Eureka's notice of application for a special exception permit to construct the facility, which was filed with the township. The plant would be located between Leisure Drive and the Susquehanna River, according to one of the legal ads. Bradford County Economic Development Manager Brian Driscoll, who works for the Progress Authority, said the entrance to the plant would be some distance from U.S. Route 6. "We're probably talking 200 to 300 yards from Route 6," he said. "I don't know the exact amount." "I believe they (Eureka Resources) have an option to purchase the property" for the treatment plant, he said.

As long as the township boards are in favor of granting the special exception permit for the plant, "we don't want to stand in the way of it," he said. Driscoll said he did not believe that any of the treated water would be pumped to the Towanda Municipal Authority's sewage treatment plant for further processing. "I think it (the treatment) would consist of a total recycling process," he said. Daniel Ertel, who is one of the owners of Eureka Resources and who serves as a spokesman for the company, was not available for comment, as he is on vacation until Monday.

The Wysox Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Eureka's application for the special exception permit for the treatment plant at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Wysox Township Municipal Building.
The Wysox Township Zoning Hearing Board will conduct a hearing on Eureka's application for the special exception permit for the treatment plant at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Wysox Township Municipal Building. The zoning board's hearing is open to the public. Eureka Resources owns and operates a treatment plant in Williamsport.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail:

Reader comment:
notafanofdrilling  wrote:

As many people as possible should attend this hearing. Whether you live, work, shop, or just pass through Wysox you will be affected. Not only do we have a river water withdrawal point on Leisure Drive which brings water trucks into Wysox to clog our intersections and roads, now we will have additional residual waste trucks clogging Route 6, further tying up the intersections and dumping their nasty loads into this new facility to be treated, either fully or partially. The article doesn't say what the special exception permit is concerning. An update on this point would be good to have in tomorrow's paper so people know what aspects of the permitting to comment on in the public hearing, since only those aspects of comments which are relevent to the special exception permit will have impact on the decision. An additional article could also cover just what the plant capacity is so that we know just how many more trucks we are in for. Let's think ahead to the future of Wysox and deny this permit for what will be just one more gas infrastructure project which will not serve our community in the long term. Wysox is becoming an industrial wasteland, and will be no place to live, work or shop in the future. I wouldn't even want to stay in the new 40 room Riverstone hotel addition with passing residual waste trucks and a water treatment facility just down the road. I guess it is better to stay at the new hotel though, than to have to live in one of the approximately 5 RV's parked discretely behind the long yellowish building behind Shoney's Restaurant. These RV's are likely not an approved land use for the lot, and sit next to approximately 23 red dumpsters which were recently brought in with unknown contents. Several tanker trucks complete the pretty picture. The RV's look occupied based on the vehicles sitting near them, and other indicators of habitation. At least in the days of the coal barons, miners were given substandard shack housing to live in. We as a community have relegated gas workers to living in RV's wherever anyone can conveniently, discretely, and most often, illegally tuck one. Though I am not a fan of drilling, even I think that our area's guest workers deserve better. Planning by the townships and county must be at rock bottom to allow these "facilities" to go unnoticed for the most part.

LINK (to the above article in the Towanda Daily Review)

For more information about the problems with disposal of frack fluid (also known as flowback or brine), click here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

R.I.P. Robert Shippee: He opposed natural gas drilling.

The Rev. Robert Shippee with his wife Ruth Betty and great grandson Alex
July 2010
Robert Shippee was a veteran of World War II, a retired United Methodist minister, father of six children, grandfather of 12 , great grandfather of 9, peace advocate, and he loved the Earth.  He hated what natural gas drilling was doing to Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Texas, and other areas of our country.  He once resided in Niagara Falls, NY, during the Love Canal disaster in the late 70's.  He welcomed Lois Gibbs to his church in Niagara Falls and made it possible for her to hold her meetings there.  He joined the fight against Hooker Chemical which had caused the Love Canal pollution. In the last few years, his heart grieved for Pennsylvania.  His family has a summer home in French Azilum, Bradford County, PA.  He loved that place on the Susquehanna River.  He loved to fish there. But he knew that Pennsylvania is being destroyed one gas well at a time.  He would say to me, "The gas industry must be stopped!"  He died of a stroke on September 29, 2010, at the age of 87.  Rest in peace, Dad.  We'll keep fighting.

In memory of Robert Shippee
He cared about people and the Earth.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Marcellus Shale: Cabot May Be Forced To Bring Water To Dimock, PA

A glass of refreshing Dimock well water
The PA Department of Eventual Pollution Environmental Protection is going after Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation.  The DEP Secretary John Hanger wants Cabot to provide a permanent solution to the water issues in Dimock, PA, the little town in Susquehanna County that has been turned into an industrial zone by the gas industry in the last two years.  Hanger is calling for a public water extension from Montrose.  Dimock is 6.5 miles from Montrose, making this project a huge undertaking.  Cabot was found responsible for contaminating 14 residential water wells in Dimock.

Water buffaloes sit in a yard in Spring Lake, Bradford County, PA
Photo: Karen Korell
Secretary Hanger plans to meet with Dimock residents soon, perhaps as early as September 29th, to discuss how he intends to solve their water problems.  Cabot is still claiming no responsibility for the methane contamination, which it says was due to natural causes.  The company likes to talk about the wonderful filtration systems they have so graciously installed in some homes in Dimock, but some residents are not at all satisfied with these systems and have declined to have them in their homes.



Monday, September 27, 2010

Susquehanna River, Bradford County, PA: This Bubbly Is Not Fun

Bubbling Waters 2 - Susquehanna River from Don Williams on Vimeo.

Don Williams of the fantastic blog Susquehanna River Sentinal shows video of the Susquehanna River bubbling with methane in Sugar Run, Bradford County, PA.

In memory of a dear friend
Karen Korell

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Victoria Switzer: Dimock Warrior Speaks Out In Harrisburg

Victoria Switzer, a resident of Dimock, PA, spoke at a rally in Harrisburg, PA, on September 21, 2010.  She lives within walking distance of nearly 100 gas wells. Her water well is ruined.  She has to use water brought in by Cabot Oil.  Thirty-two families in Dimock now use what is called "replacement water,"  delivered every day by truck.  Gas companies, says Switzer, deny any culpability for contaminated water wells, and they bring water to Dimock residents as a good neighbor gesture.  It is okay with the gas drillers for people to simply disconnect from their aquifer forever.  Then what goes on underground on their properties becomes a non-issue- supposedly.

Ms. Switzer has had her water tested by independent labs for several years.  In 2008 she had good water.  In April 2010 4 deadly chemicals were found in her water which only could have gotten there through methane migration of chemicals used in the drilling process.  This is a hugely significant discovery and very damning against the gas industry. 

Switzer has coined a new phrase:  Marcellus Madness.  It is madness.  It is insanity of the first order to destroy our water- a vital resource which cannot be replaced once it is gone.  Have we gone crazy?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Don't Drink the Water

News from The River Reporter, Narrowsburg, NY

In far away Pavilion, Wyoming, it is confirmed that the water is not fit for human consumption.  A few weeks ago, representatives of the EPA said that at least 20 wells in the Pavilion, WY, area were contaminated with an array of substances and that residents should not drink OR cook with the water.  Local residents have known this for more than two years and suspect that nearby gas drilling operations had fouled their drinking water.

Now travel east to New York State.  People are wondering:  Does frack fluid migrate to the surface? Industry supporters say it is impossible.  Opponents say that the vast majority of water wells near gas drilling operations have never been tested.  And fracking chemicals are proprietary, so how does anyone know what to test for anyway?  James Northrup, a native of Texas, and a summer resident of Upstate NY, says the very nature of the Marcellus Shale allows gas migration.  He says it is likely that frack fluids will migrate to the surface.  He says the shale contains many faults, some of which go from the bedrock to the surface.  To make matters worse, there is not a lot of seismic data in Upstate NY.  No one knows where these faults are located.  So how can any gas driller claim they have everything under control? 
To listen to James Northrup, click here.

In memory of Karen Korell

Natural Gas Drilling: Think, baby, think!

Water guzzler trucks line up at a water extraction site in Ulster, PA, on the Susquehanna River
Photo: Carol Manuel (2010)
The numbers can be deceiving. That is what the gas companies are counting on. They make a habit of using rhetoric for their own purposes. Words can be misleading. Take, for example, the idea of water trucks stealing taking 3,570,000 gallons of water out of rivers and streams in Susquehanna County, PA. Cabot Oil recently filed a request with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, indicating their intention of procuring this volume of water for what is called "consumptive use." This means that the water is never returned to the environment- gone forever. The average person, like you and me, would have a hard time visualizing just what this means for the surrounding community.  Gerald Salmon, a resident of Vestal, NY, writes on
Hard for you to picture what 3.6 million gallons looks like? An 18-wheeled Hess tanker truck delivering gasoline to a station on the Vestal Parkway holds about 9,000 gallons of gas; 10 trucks would hold 90,000 gallons of gas, and 100 of them would hold 900,000 gallons. So, it would take 400 such trucks to hold the 3.6 million gallons of water Cabot wants to use each day.
And Salmon goes on from there, developing the picture further, painting the image of almost 5 miles of trucks end to end. Next he puts the "only one-half of 1 percent additive," proudly proclaimed by the "good neighbor" gas companies as an advantage, into perspective. Gas driller public relations people will stand in front of local citizen groups and say that the amount of deadly, toxic chemicals used in the drilling process is so minimal as to not be significant. Salmon does the math for us: two full tankers filled with 18,000 gallons of a "witch's brew of toxins, chemicals, and carcinogens guaranteed to poison its associated drilling water forever. That's the one-half of one percent we're talking about. Unless laws are changed, these chemicals do not have to be made known to the public. It is proprietary- a company secret.

Read the article in full here.

Towanda, PA: Big white pickup involved in hit and run accident

I am only asking the question:  Who was the driver in the large white pickup truck?  And who owned that truck?  Why would the driver not stop for a simple accident?  No one was hurt.  Just an ordinary fender bender.  Why would a driver flee the scene?  I am very suspicious for some reason.  Who drives big white pickup trucks?  Well, most of the pickup trucks I have seen in Bradford County, and they are all over the place, are gas drilling-related vehicles.  Not to jump to conclusions................

Police Briefs 9/8/2010 (from the Rocket-Courier, Wyalusing, PA)

Published: September 8, 2010

Hit-and-run crash occurs in Towanda

Towanda police said they are trying to determine the identity of the hit-and-run driver who was involved in an accident Tuesday afternoon on Main Street in Towanda. The accident occurred at approximately 2:55 p.m., when a 1995 Subaru wagon, which was traveling south on Main Street, was stopped in the right-hand lane at the red light at the intersection with Franklin Street, police said. At the time, a white full-size pickup truck, which was also traveling south on Main Street, was stopped at the same light, but in the turning lane, police said. When the light turned green, both vehicles began moving forward, but the pickup truck apparently made a wide turn, traveled into the Subaru's lane and struck the rear of the Subaru, police said. The driver of the pickup truck did not stop and exchange information with the other driver, and instead drove across the Veterans Memorial Bridge into Wysox Township, police said. At the time of the crash, the pickup truck was towing a white, enclosed trailer, police said. The Subaru sustained minor damage in the crash, police said. No one in the Subaru was injured, police said. Anyone with information about the accident is asked to contact the Towanda police at (570) 265-2522.

In memory of Karen Korell
Artist, Activist, and Friend

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gas Well Pads Are Extremely Dangerous Places

A well explodes in Forth Worth, Texas
Beware!  Do not go near gas drilling well pads. 


Subject: Details of the Carmichaels Gas Site Accident: Greene County (PA) Incident

On August 20, we received a report of an accident at an East Resources site on South Muddy Creek Road, Carmichaels (Greene County) .  The report claimed that a worker's flashlight set off a methane explosion from a "brine tank" (industry buzzword for flowback water?)  It was very strange that there was no word of this from DEP or the media. Finally, on August 26, we received this confirmation from DEP via Kathy Davis:

“There was an incident where a water hauler was on the top of a tank and he said when he checked the tank with a flashlight, it flashed on him. Burning him on the hands and face. He went to the hospital and was treated and released. The company contacted our Greene county oil and gas inspector and we were notified of the incident.  The cause of the ignition was never proven and new protocols have been initiated by the company including no water transfers after hours, no flashlights, lighters or anything that is not intrinsically safe.  The department is supplying our inspectors with intrinsically safe flashlights and related equipment as needed.  Ignoring the fact that no unauthorized people should ever be on a well location, tank or anywhere near the wellhead themselves. Gas wells, locations and the equipment used on the locations by their very nature must be assumed to be flammable atmospheres. One should never be discharging a firearm, smoking, burning, taking pictures, using a cell phone, running gasoline or diesel engines anywhere on or near the location without the proper protocols being put in place.  And just to be clear, no one should ever be hunting from the top of any brine, oil or fluids tanks associated with any oil or gas wells in the commonwealth or anywhere in the country for that matter. . . “
Michael H. Arch, PG
Oil and Gas Inspector Supervisor

Dick Martin, Coordinator

The Pennsylvania Forest Coalition is a unique alliance of hunters, hikers, anglers, landowners, wildlife-watchers, paddlers, bikers, churches and conservation groups who are united in our concern for the good stewardship of our public lands.

Caring for what God has created  You can give up eating Gulf Coast shrimp, but you can't give up drinking Pennsylvania water.

In Memory of Karen Korrell

Energy Independence? American LNG Headed For Overseas

The US has too much natural gas.  Liquified natural gas will be sold overseas to the highest bidder.  Wasn't all this shale gas extraction supposed to produce energy for us?  Now we have so much, we have to sell it abroad?  Here is an article from The Wall Street Journal:

Cheniere Wins Approval to Export U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas

* SEPTEMBER 9, 2010, 7:59 P.M. ET


HOUSTON—The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday it has granted approval to Cheniere Energy Partners LP's bid to export liquefied natural gas produced in North America from a terminal in Louisiana.
The approval, granted Sept. 7, puts the terminal in Cameron Parish one step closer to becoming the first facility to export natural gas produced in the Lower 48 states, drawing supply from the burgeoning
unconventional gas fields in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The proposal underscores how the natural-gas supply picture in the U.S. has turned from scarcity to overabundance, thanks to the exploitation of rock formations called shales. It also marks a radical shift in the plans of companies such as Cheniere, which once planned to profit from building multibillion-dollar liquefaction terminals in different U.S. coastal locations. But the natural-gas shale boom brought those plans to a halt. North America's new gas wealth has prompted other export projects, such as Apache Corp.'s proposed facility in British Columbia, which aims to supply Asia with large quantities of Canadian natural gas. Natural gas, usually shipped through pipelines, has traditionally been a regional market, but when it is converted into liquid, it can be shipped overseas. Through its Sabine Pass Liquefaction subsidiary, Cheniere asked the Department of Energy in early August for permission to export up to 16 million metric tons annually for 30 years. It also filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build, in
phases, a liquefaction facility that would eventually handle an average of 2.6 billion cubic feet a day from four liquefied natural gas, or LNG, trains.

The Department of Energy's approval allows Cheniere's unit to export LNG to any nation that has the capacity to import the fuel and with which the U.S. has entered, or may in the future enter, into a Free
Trade Agreement, including Canada, Mexico, Chile and Singapore,
according to the order from the Department of Energy.

Gas-bearing rock formations known as shales have changed the view that domestic U.S. natural-gas output would decline and that new supplies would have to come into the U.S. from other countries. In fact, these
new supplies have depressed gas prices, discouraging gas imports that were once thought critical to feed growing demand for the fuel. Prolific onshore gas fields in Texas and Oklahoma, and the well-
documented unconventional gas fields in the Barnett, Haynesville, Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, Woodford and Bossier basins in Texas and Louisiana, would represent the most likely sources of physical supply for the Sabine Pass, Cheniere's unit said in its application.

The Sabine Pass LNG terminal is already an import facility. With a total send-out capacity of four billion cubic feet a day and 16.8 billion cubic feet of storage capacity, it is the largest receiving terminal, by regasification capacity, in the world, according to Cheniere's website. The FERC recently allowed Sabine Pass to use the terminal for the additional purpose of exporting foreign-sourced LNG. Cheniere will soon file a separate application for authorization to export LNG to countries with which a Free Trade Agreement applicable to natural gas and LNG isn't in effect, according to the application it filed in August. The second application will be subject to more rigorous public-interest review and analysis by the Department of
Energy, the company has said in the application.
—Jason Womack contributed to this article.

In Memory of Karen Korell

Gas Drilling Bad For Business in Bradford County, PA

A water tanker spews dust as it drives along North Street recently.  Jackie Vanderpool says some of the customers at her hair styling business are reluctant to venture out in the dust after an appointment.
Photo: The Rocket-Courier, Wyalusing, PA

Road construction and heavy truck traffic on North Street in Terry Township have not been kind to Jackie Vanderpool and her business.  Road work has hurt her business immensely she says.  Other small business owners have experienced similar problems- lost business.

Vanderpool says that the entrance to her salon used to be level with the road, but now there is a steep incline to traverse in order to get to her walkway.  Some of her elderly clients have a lot of trouble now, and they are afraid of falling.  She says,
All I want is for it to be fixed somehow.  I worry about my customers falling down and hurting themselves.
Customers have started calling the salon to see if road conditions are good or bad. Roads being worked on are sometimes closed off. Vanderpool has asked the construction company if her customers can be allowed to go through to get to her salon. Some of her clients just want their hair cut instead of the usual wash, set, and style. They feel like it is futile to get their hair styled only to go outside and be enveloped in dust.
It's sometimes so thick you can't even see across the street.

While it is nice that the construction workers have offered to come and help customers get back to their cars safely, that solution seems undesirable. Who wants to have a sweaty, road crew member in full battle array take a hold of your arm?

Vanderpool told the reporter, Cain Chamberlin, that it takes her two or three weeks to make the same amount of money that she used to make in only one week.

In memory of Karen Korell