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.