Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Half-polluted or Half-protected?

Credit: Marquil



Natural Gas Drilling: Another Truck Overturns

Photo Credit:  Jason Fox, The Leader

What is toxic drilling waste doing being transported from Pennsylvania to New York State anyway?  As a NYS resident, I do not want PA toxic waste dumped in NYS.  For that matter, I do not want toxic drilling waste dumped anywhere.

Early in the afternoon of August 30th, a dump truck carrying gas well drill cuttings bound for a landfill crashed, spilling its toxic cargo over an embankment to the edge of a stream which feeds into the Conhocton River near where it meets the Chemung River.  The load of drilling mud was mixed with sawdust, as is the custom, to solidify the "stuff."  What ended up where it shouldn't have- these drill cuttings- is the mess that comes up out of the wellbore during drilling, some of it consisting of materials from deep within the earth.  This very gross-looking stuff contains radioactive materials and a lot of toxic chemicals as they are mixed in the drilling process.  This is a very serious accident.  Sadly these kinds of accidents are becoming more and more numerous. 

Read the story here.

Photo credit:  Jason Fox

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Natural Gas Industry: Is Chesapeake Energy Just a Good Neighbor?

Photo credit: Frank Finan

Chesapeake Energy has contracted out road work in Bradford County, PA. Is this just a generous kindness on their part?  No.  They decided that it would be cheaper better to upgrade the roads for their heavy trucks now rather than demolish the roads and then have to continuously fix them.  Most of these back roads, actually none of them, were ever meant for heavy trucks the likes of these.  The bridges are having to be strengthened, too.  You will see signs saying, "Ten ton limit" everywhere.  Even empty, most of these vehicles weigh three times that.

Read more here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We Are All One

Check out this link from Global Community:


Natural Gas Drilling: A Little Leak in PA

A local observer reports: "This is on PA Route 29 about a half mile south of the village in Dimock, PA. The waste pit liner at Cabot's Hibbard site had a leak in the liner, and the waste made it's way down to Route 29. The leak was discovered in the early spring and is still being cleaned up. What ever comes down the hill from where the pit was (up the hill behind the house) gets pumped in a waste truck and hauled away. This is what I saw on Monday. I went by on Tuesday, and the hose was repaired."

This incident is more than likely way below the radar screen. But it is so typical of the things that happen in the gas drilling process. I was at this very spot a while back and saw this machine and the hoses. It looked to me like there was a drainage ditch right there by the driveway. So the fluids leaking, spurting, out of this hose were going somewhere where they shouldn't be going. Will people or animals be hurt?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Water Tanker Truck Rolls Over in Asylum Township (PA)

[Photo Credit: James Loewenstein, Towanda Daily Review]

Yet another accident involving a water tanker truck has occurred in Bradford County, PA.  Last night a Towanda man says he could easily have been killed when a huge water tanker truck lost control of his vehicle about 6:30 p.m., causing the truck to roll over as it came out of a sharp right-hand curve, narrowly missing this man who was driving a minivan.  The truck had the words "Excalibur Energy Service, Inc." on it. (Excalibur Energy is a firm out of Dallas, TX.)  The driver of the minivan said it was the scariest situation he has ever been in, according to the article in the Towanda Daily Review. He had to quickly speed up and veer off the road to avoid being hit.  Had there been a guard rail there, he thinks he would have been killed. 

Read the whole article here.

Note from this blogger:  I have driven on this road and turned at this very curve quite a few times.  I can attest to the fact that it is an extremely sharp curve, and I can also attest to the fact that these truck drivers do not handle their vehicles in a safe manner much of the time.  It is very dangerous to be on the road with these trucks.  A couple of times I have become really alarmed and thought I might have to drive off the road to avoid them.  And in Asylum Township, driving off the road often means driving into a ditch.  These are narrow rural roads, and many of them are all torn up from the heavy gas drilling trucks, making it even more dangerous to drive around there.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wyoming County, PA, Commissioners Concerned About Gas Industry Incidents

This truck is spraying something on a dirt road in Bradford County.  Mr. Dirt, the company that owns this truck, said it was spraying sodium chloride.
[Photo: Carol Manuel]
The Wyoming County EMS Director Gene Dziak says there has been a five-fold increase in gas industry related incidents in the past month.  These include spills from trucks as well as accidents on well pads. What is being spilled on roads is not always easy to identify.  Dziak also said that, unlike other utilities and mining endeavors, the natural gas industry is not regulated by anyone.  He wants more regulation.

Read the article from the Rocket-Courier, Wyalusing, PA,  here.


Chesapeake Energy Cited by DEP For Methane Contamination in Bradford County, PA

[Footage from WNEP-TV, Scranton, PA] 
A few residents in Bradford County are dealing with methane gas in their water wells. Now, state investigators are looking into whether drilling for natural gas caused the problems near Towanda. Chesapeake Energy officials said this all started almost two weeks ago so much methane gas built up in a drinking water well that the lid blew off. The gas company is now investigating, along with state environmental crews, after the same gas was found in other wells at neighboring homes.

According to its website, Chesapeake Energy is one of the largest natural gas producers and the largest active driller of new gas wells in the country.

On Monday, Newswatch 16 found workers monitoring gas levels at a home along Brocktown Road in Monroe Township, near Towanda. It is one of three homes officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection believe has been affected by methane gas problems in drinking water wells. While Chesapeake Energy has not taken responsibility for the issues, the company has hired the inspectors to find the source of methane gas. Chesapeake has even provided the homeowners with drinking water and vents for their wells.

"Concerns me, my renters, they're safe," said property owner Paul Sites. "The people Chesapeake hired are doing a good job, but they're not telling us anything." Sites owns two of the rental properties affected. He points out that Chesapeake has merely drilled three natural gas wells nearby and has not started hydraulic fracturing. If that's the source of the methane gas, Sites is worried what could happen next. "They didn't frack it yet, so that's my major concern," he says. "Now they're drilling a methane bubble down. What happens when they frack it?"

Even though the problem is confined to three properties, people who live in this area want to be assured the gas in the water well issues are not a sign of things to come. "Just waiting for Chesapeake," says Sites. "Guess they're trying to take care of the problem, but they ain't telling us nothing. That's what's scary about it. As long as they take care of the problem, we're happy about it."

A spokesperson for the DEP says Chesapeake Energy has been sent a notice of violation. That means even though the source of the methane gas in Bradford County has not been officially determined, DEP is asking the company how it plans to fix any problems at its natural gas wells.
Credit: Jim Hamill, WNEP-TV, Scranton, PA

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Methane Found In Well Water In Monroe Twp, Bradford County, PA

Photo credit: James Loewenstein, The Towanda Daily Review

A Monroe Township resident stands on her lawn in front of a water tank, known as a water buffalo, which contains water trucked in from the Towanda Municipal Authority.  Chesapeake Energy is supplying this water after methane was found in her water well last week, although Chesapeake does not take any responsibility for having caused the water contamination. They are just trying to be "good neighbors." The pipe in the picture is a vent to help dissipate methane from her well, hopefully preventing an explosion.

Who would want to live with this vent pipe right next to your house?  How tranquil can you feel, knowing that an explosive gas is moving around in the ground under your feet and you know not where or in what concentration?  The people who live around natural gas wells are having to live like this right now as we speak. And how many wells need to become contaminated in Bradford County, PA, or in Dimock, Susquehanna County, PA, or anywhere else for that matter, before we put a stop to gas drilling?   Stop the drilling for now, and don't resume unless it can be deemed safe for human beings, animals, and plants.  And don't forget the environment! 

Read the whole article here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Secretary Hanger Is Mad

PA Secretary John Hanger of the DEP

Find out why John Hanger is upset with the New York State Senators.  The NY State Senate voted by an overwhelming majority to put a moratorium on permits to hydrofrack in NY State until next May.  Will Pennsylvania do the same?  They should.  It is never too late to thwart this huge destructive gas drilling machine.  Read more here.

Church Steeple Fire Caused By Lightening: French Azilum. PA

My beloved "Little White Church" suffered a fire on Thursday, July 29, in the early morning hours.  A resident of French Azilum was walking his dog when he noticed the flames and called in the alarm.  Thank heaven for that!  Only the steeple, which had been replaced only a few years ago, was destroyed.  My family has worshipped in this church every summer ever since 1930 when my greatgrandparents bought land there.

This beautiful place we call Frenchtown is destined to be a sacrifice zone in the very near future.  Chesapeake Energy has leased almost every inch of the place, except for our 11 acres which they will never get their hands on it if I have anything to say about it.

The beautiful young lady interviewed at the end of this report is my cousin Margaret.  She had planned on having the memorial service for her mother (who died last month ) at the "Little White Church," as we have done for so many of our family for decades.  Many of our forebears are buried in the cemetery which is located next to the church.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"What Chesapeake claims is a crock..."

Well water from Dimock, PA

George Turner, a licensed professional geologist from Tunkhannock, has a strong message for the citizens of Bradford County.  He warns everyone that they must test their water before drilling begins, and they must follow protocol called "chain of custody."  The homeowner must prove that contaminated well water was caused by drilling and was not present before drilling was done.  Drilling companies notoriously claim, "We did not cause this," as their first line of defense.  Unless a homeowner has documented water tests, the gas company can get off the hook easily.Turner says that Chesapeake Energy's claims of pre-existing conditions on Paradise Road in Terry Township are, in his words, "a crock." 

Chesapeake says that pre-drilling water quality testing in the area was done by an independent lab and showed that nearly 70% of the residential wells had pre-existing  methane saturarion and 30% of the wells exceeded acceptable EPA standards for arsenic, iron, or mangenese.  Turner takes exception to this.
What Chesapeake claims is a crock. I've done testing in Terry Township and I haven't found any of that. I haven't found any examples of methane saturation at all in Terry Township. What they're trying to do is lay the groundwork for saying: 'We didn't do it.' That's the same thing that Cabot (in Dimock) did when people came to them about water contamination. First thing they said was: 'We didn't do it.' Well, Chesapeake is saying the same thing: 'We didn't do it.'
A resident on Paradise Road is able to ingnite the water coming out of his tap in his kitchen. According to Turner, this indicates that methane saturation has occurred- about 25-26 milligrams per liter of water. He stresses that, regardless of dramatic evidence, a well owner has to obtain documents that will stand up in court.
Read the whole article here.

Back story from SPLASHDOWN, Towanda's most reliable source of news, is here.

Breaking news:  Residents of Paradise Road were evacuated yesterday (8/4). Reported by the Rocket Courier.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Bradford County Children Go To Foster Homes: Gas Drillers Push Rents Sky High

Boomtown rents go up sky high.  Poor people cannot compete and get pushed out so landlords can charge more rent.  Gas drillers have the money to pay.  This year 6 children have been put in foster care, not because their parents were bad parents, but because their parents could not afford the rising rent costs and were evicted from their homes.  They can't find new affordable housing in Bradford County (PA).  This is an intolerable by-product of the natural gas industry which will become worse in the years to come if something isn't done about it.  We must fund efforts to make affordable housing available to those less fortunate.
Read the whole article here.