Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Truck Accident in Pennsylvania Results In Spill of Frack Fluid

Only a tiny article in the Star-Gazette mentioned this accident involving two trucks, tractor-trailers, and resulted in a toxic spill into a creek. The accident occurred early Monday afternoon, December 28, on Route 287 in Mifflin Township, PA. Accidents like this happen and will continue to happen over and over again. The natural gas industry is too dangerous to continue to grow and expand all over the country and the world.  It must be stopped.

Read the short article here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sandra Steingraber Testifies at NY Senate Committee in December 2011

Sandra Steingraber, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College, Environmental Biologist and author. NYS Public Hearing, Senate Standing Committee on Energy Conservation. Sponsored by NYS Senators Mark Grisanti and Patrick Gallivan to examine waste water produced by hydraulic fracturing. The Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, NY December 12, 2011.

“So, imagine standing in front of the Niagara Falls for 35 hours. Now imagine that all the cascading water you see is radioactive and full of toxic chemicals, and your job is to figure out where to put it so that it won’t come in contact with any person or any other body or water or the soil or the air. Forever.”

Walter Hang Tesitifies at Senate Standing Committee On Energy Conservation Hearing

Walter Hang, president, Toxics Targeting. NYS Public Hearing, Senate Standing Committee on Energy Conservation. Sponsored by NYS Senators Mark Grisanti and Patrick Gallivan to examine waste water produced by hydraulic fracturing. The Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, NY December 12, 2011.

Email Governor Cuomo:

Call Governor Cuomo:

Albany: 518-474-8390
New York City: 212-681-4580
Binghamton: 607-721-8367

Twitter: @NYGovCuomo


A Gift Idea For the Person Who Has Everything

Monday, December 19, 2011

SRBC: OM- We Honor the River

Another way we can honor the Susquehanna River and try to change the hearts and minds of the people who sit on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. This Commission is not listening to the citizens of New York, Maryland, and New Jersey. When will they start listening?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Senate Passes a Bill With Strings Attached: Keystone Pipeline

The Senate has passed a bill onto the President which forces him to make a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days. All eyes are now focused on the oval office. Help us get the word out that the crucial decision we've all worked so hard for is now rapidly approaching.

Photo: Amy Dewan— with Deborah Dee Jacobs.

White House Comment Line:

SRBC Testimony: Will you be good Germans?

Rabbi Mordechi Liebling testified recently at the SRBC hearing in Wikes-Barre, PA. His impassioned remarks were totally ignored by the commission.

Here are more details about the hearing:

A powerful public comment was ignored at the SRBC meeting in Wilkes-Barre on December 15, 2011.

The manager of project review for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Dehoff - with the help of his staff - is responsible for recommending to the commission whether to approve water withdrawals from the basin. That includes suggesting whether the commission should allow natural gas companies to withdraw water used for the controversial drilling and hydraulic fracturing of gas wells.

In front of more than 50 people at the commission's meeting Thursday morning at the East Mountain Inn just outside of Wilkes-Barre, Dehoff made it about halfway through his recommendations before the cacophony of boos and chanting forced commission Chairwoman Kelly Heffner to threaten to clear the room, hastily adopt all of Dehoff's recommendations and adjourn the meeting early.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fracking Hollenbeck Gas Well: Susquehanna County, PA

This video by Vera really puts me in the Christmas Spirit. No. The worst part of this video, not counting the environmental devastation which is taking place here, is seeing the house within spitting distance of this well pad. I guess this family has their Christmas tree up now and is planning to have a normal holiday celebration (if they celebrate Christmas- I don't know, of course). I don't know how I would manage to be oblivious to the noise, light, and other disturbances associated with this fracking operation. How does anyone maintain a normal life with this? Can it be done?

I appreciate Vera's willingness to put herself in harm's way potentially so that others can see the realities of this terrible method of keeping us all addicted to gas and oil. Only a very few people benefit while most of us suffer ill effects, at times deadly. Will this oppression bring us peace?

Gas Drilling Gone Bad: This just in from West Virginia....

A well pad in West Virginia, the Marshall pad, has been shut down by the state's DEP.  Violations include chemical releases into adjacent streams.  Read the whole sordid story here.

SRBC Hearing: Citizens Oppose Water Withdrawals, Then Commission Approves Permits Anyway!

The Susquehanna River in French Azilum, Bradford County, PA
Photo: Carol Manuel

Jay Sweeney's testimony before the members of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission at the hearing in Wilkes-Barre, PA, December 15th:

"The mission of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which is defined in the Compact, is to enhance public welfare through comprehensive planning, water supply allocation, and management of the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.

 DEP reports over 1300 wells were drilled in 2010 and over 300 in the first quarter of this year. At 5 million gallons per fracked well, that is approximately 8 billion gallons of water used in the hydrofracking process in 16 months. The International Lake Environment Committee estimates the volume of Harvey’s Lake at .03 cubic kilometers or 8 billion gallons. In less that 2 years time, the equivalent of Pennsylvania’s largest natural lake by volume will have been squandered, turned into untreatable radioactive wastewater. This does not enhance the public welfare. It is a threat to the public welfare. This is unconscionable!

 We are tired of hearing pandering politicians, insulting industry insiders and radio, television and print advertizing trying to convince us that the natural gas industry is here to create jobs and benefit our community when in reality, they are here to rape, pillage and plunder our natural resources. make their profits and leave a devastated environment in their wake.

 The SRBC has been culpable in this travesty. Pennsylvania’s water is our commonwealth property. It is time for SRBC to live up to its mission.
We the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania say, stop stealing our water! Stop selling it to an industry that turns it into radioactive sludge! Stop dumping it into our rivers and streams! No more permits! No more withdrawals!

From The Times Leader report:

"Opponents of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process used to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, urged SRBC not to approve 26 applications for water withdrawal permits within the Susquehanna River Basin on its agenda, most of which were submitted by gas drillers.
SRBC regulates water withdrawals within the basin through permitting.
The commissioners approved 24 of those applications, denying one driller’s application and deferring another from an individual, and in doing so prompted angry shouts:
This proceeding is a joke! You’re not taking our water!
The meeting closed with protestors chanting an apparently prepared statement read from cards and nearly chasing commission members from the room.
“Members of the Susquehanna River community, this is a crisis,” they chanted.
The Susquehanna River is being sacrificed. Natural gas drilling is poisoning our water. We know this. We will stop this. We have no choice. We will protect our water. We are here to help, and everyone must help. Our future depends on it. We honor the river; we honor our lives.

Click here to see photos of the members of the SRBC.

The SRBC is a rubber stamper .
They are not protecting the Susquehanna River or the people who live near it. It's shameful!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SRBC Meets in Wilkes-Barre Today: Hurray To the Protesters!

At a meeting on December 15, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) was to consider several water withdrawal applications from gas operators, and vote on proposed regulations that speed up approvals of gas development projects and the transport of hazardous drilling wastewater.

Jay Sweeney, who testified at the hearing, filed this report: "There was about an hour or two of awesome testimony. All opposing the withdrawals. After a break they began reviewing the applications one by one. One was recommended to be denied and a couple reduced volumes of water withdrawal, but, when they continued to recommend applications the crowd got confrontational. There were questions, calling out, finally a mic check. It ended in shouts of "Whose water?" "Our water". The chairwoman called for a motion to approve the applications. There was a motion, a second, a vote and the meeting was adjourned. "

Then a demonstration ensued!  This is what happened (see video above). People care about the river, and they care about water. Today they spoke up.

Background: The Susquehanna River Basin Commission coordinates the use of water resources among Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania—the three states across which the river flows for over 400 miles—and the federal government. The Commission’s work is governed by a Compact adopted in 1970 by the U.S. Congress and legislatures of the three member states.

In November, the SRBC received a letter signed by more than 40 organizations across the region urging the Commission to stop its rulemaking on gas drilling until it conducts necessary comprehensive environmental studies.
Our grandson fishing in the Susquehanna River in Bradford County, PA

Thanks to Don Williams for providing this video.

Nearly 2000 Staffers at the NY DEC Send a Strong Message To New Yorkers at the DEC Hearings

Stephanie Low brings a message from a DEC staff person to the hearing in New York City.  She ended her comments with a plea:

Say no to fracking in New York State!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Questionable Economics of Shale Gas

Photo: “American Gasland,” artwork by River Side (marcellusprotest/Flickr)
So is unconventional tight gas going to generate enormous profits?  Isn't that the message that we hear frequently?  This article by Chris Nelder ( casts serious doubt about the economic benefits of natural gas drilling. Nelder claims that, our shale gas resources, "while much ballyhooed in the press, are far from certain."  We have only an 11-year supply of gas on the books, but beyond that, the future of natural gas is only "probable, possible, and speculative."  The US, he writes, could become a net gas importer by 2035.  Admittedly, he says, we are producing a lot of gas for the moment, but it may come at the cost of profitability.

The article asserts that on an averaged annual basis, shale has been unprofitable since 2008.  As to why there is so much drilling activity, read the entire article.
The uncomfortable truth is that, at this point, we simply don't know how big our shale gas resources are, how much of the gas can be technically or economically produced, or how profitable producing the gas actually is.  And that should give us pause.

I'll say!   Don't believe everything you hear! 


Saturday, December 10, 2011

News from the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa: Rajendra Pachauri

One of the world’s most prominent experts on climate science, Rajendra Pachauri, is criticizing negotiators at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban for not paying enough attention to science. Pachauri is chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore.
"What we have done is we have increased the concentration of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere far beyond what has taken place over the last 650,000 years," Pachauri says.
"As a result, during the 20th century, we had average warming of about 0.74 degrees Celsius, sea-level rise of about 17 centimeters, and a whole range of impacts, as I mentioned, on human health, on agriculture, on ecosystems... The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report had clearly brought out that if we want to limit temperature increase to two degrees or thereabouts, two to 2.4 degrees Celsius, and if we want to do it at least cost, then emissions will have to peak no later than 2015. And we are now talking about 2020. That means the world will incur a much larger expense in reducing emissions. And in the meantime, we’ll also suffer far more serious impacts of climate change." When asked about the position of the United States in the negotiation, Pachauri says,
"I would also ask President Obama to listen to the voice of science. And he has an absolutely outstanding science adviser in John Holdren. Maybe he should get John to organize a meeting of the scientists soon after he’s re-elected—if he’s re-elected—and then determine U.S. policy, as should be the case with every country in the world, based on the scientific evidence that’s available."
Pachauri continued,
"Actually, to be honest, nobody over here [at COP 17] is paying any attention to science."

Get It Done: Urging Climate Justice, Youth Delegate Anjali Appadurai Mic Checks UN Summit

"Deep cuts now. Get it done." Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference on behalf of youth delegates. "What's radical is to completely alter the planet's climate, to betray the future of my generation, and to condemn millions to death by climate change."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Man charged in spill near PA gas-drilling site (With Update)

You can read all about it here. (There's a picture here which says it ALL.)

In essence, a Georgia man has admitted to PA State Police that he dumped approximately 800 gallons of dangerous materials from a Bradford County gas well site onto  state game lands early Thursday morning.  He now sits in a West Burlington correctional facility with bail set at $100,000.

The discovery was made by a man as he pulled out of his driveway and saw the pool of viscous black liquid.  It was described as a gooey, black material which was about 3 inches deep, covering approximately 100 X 30 feet.  The man who discovered the problem said he believes the liquid was dumped Wednesday night.
Tire tracks likely tell the story, he said. What it looks like to me is a tanker truck pulled out in there.  It looks to me like they were going to go out into a field and dump, and they got stuck, so they just dumped it there and just left.

This will be happening more and more in gas fields everywhere.

Latest Update:  (12/03/2011)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Craig Sautner Speaks Out About Water (Gas Drilling Contamination)

Listen to Mr. Sautner's comments about the victory in delaying drilling in the Delaware Watershed and also about his dilemma in Dimock, PA, where Cabot Oil destroyed his water supply.  November 30th is the day when Cabot will no longer deliver fresh water to his home. His contaminated well has never been restored.

How Taxpayers Help the Gas Industry: Free Services

Photo: The Rocket Courier
The Bradford County Prothonotary Sally Vaughn shows a stack of paperwork she and her staff must attend to for the gas industry. Our tax dollars at work. The impact the gas industry has made on county services is substantial and puts an enormous burden on the prothonotary office. This stack of forms in the picture represents at least two weeks work by a county employee. Ms.Vaughan reported that a fulltime employee is needed in the front office almost continuously just to assist title searchers with computers and other machinery that often incur mechanical problems.

Sandra Steingraber: The Ecosystem Beneath Our Feet and Other Concerns from Hydrofracking

Sandra Steingraber is an acclaimed ecologist, cancer survivor, and author of "Living Downsteam" and "Raising Elijah". She gave a fascinating account of the apos;extremoophileapos; bacteria that feed in the hydrocarbon rich shale layer which are responsible for fouling up the works when the shale is fracked. Biocides are one constituent of fracking fluid that poses an unacceptible risk to our health. What is the ecological relationships of the subterranean biota to the rest of life on the planet? No one knows. She was the fourth speaker at the public forum "Fracking the Fingerlakes: The Rest of the Story" held in Hammondsport, NY on September 15, 2011.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is high-volume, slick water hydrofracking constitutional in PA?

Article I, section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution

Sec. 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.

This amendment, which was adopted in 1972, encompasses two basic principles. First, Pennsylvanians have a right to a decent environment, and second, Pennsylvania government has a trusteeship responsibility to protect that environment on behalf of future generations.

Is hydrofracking constitutional in PA?

Dallas, PA, School Compressor Station

How about a nice compressor station right next to your child's school? Perfect.

Denmark Aims For 100% Renewable Energy By 2050

So Americans are told that we cannot do without fossil fuels. We must have fossil fuels to live. Then why can Denmark exist on renewables, possibly by 2050? Do they know something we don't know?

Read more....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sandra Steingraber on Democracy Now!: Health Crisis and Shale Gas

About 30 states allow hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the natural gas drilling process that injects millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth in order to break up shale rock and release natural gas. New York has imposed a partial moratorium on the drilling process pending the outcome of an environmental impact study this July. Yesterday, New York state lawmakers held a hearing on the health impacts of fracking, an issue that until now has received little media attention. We talk with Sandra Steingraber, a biologist who testified at the hearing. She is author of Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.

Sandra Steingraber, biologist who has testified on natural gas hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) at state and federal hearings and before the European parliament. She is the author of several books that link the U.S. reliance on fossil fuels with environmental hazards and the climate crisis, including Living Downstream and her latest, Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.

May 27, 2011

Sandra Steingraber Talks About Shale Ecosystems

Sandra's poetry and science combine brilliantly in this beautiful short talk in a Binghamton music club on November 17: the relationship of deep ecosystems to our wellbeing on the sunlit surface of the planet.

Bringing a human rights approach to the environmental crisis, Dr. Steingraber urges governments to adopt policies that safeguard the healthy development of children and the abiding ecological systems on which their lives depend. Dr. Steingraber has deployed her rare combination of abilities as a lyrical writer, disciplined scientist and passionate advocate to the pursuit of a healthier world for us all, saying, "What we love we must protect."
What we love, we must protect!

Methane Still Bubbling in Susquehanna at Sugar Run, PA: Day 444

Today it will be 444 days since methane began bubbling up in the Susquehanna River at Sugar Run in Bradford County. Still no resolution to the problem. Where is it coming from? When will it be stopped? Unanswered questions.

And another video:

From the Wyoming County Press Examiner, CLICK HERE.

And from Don Williams, filmed on July 17, 2011:


When will we get this problem resolved?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mic Check at DEC Hearings in Binghamton November 17

In Occupy Wall Street style, a citizen uses the Mic Check technique for his 3-minute comment. Note what the DEC rep said after the man was finished. It seems he did not approve of the presentation!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Colbert Report: Stephen Tackles Hydrofracking

You won't want to miss Stephen Colbert's discussion on hydrofracking and the Talisman Coloring Book.

Gas Drilling in New York State: We Must Stop This From Happening

From Shaleshock, a short video with a powerful message that must be heard. Please send this to your friends. Attend one of the NY DEC hearings coming up starting next week. (The video has the information on where and when.)


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gas Rush Stories: Farmers Tell Their Stories About Gas Drilling

Gas Rush stories is a series of short documentaries on gas drilling. Gas Rush Stories examines the effects of gas drilling on people's lives and environment from different perspectives. Only by putting ourselves in the other person's situation can we begin to see the bigger picture of this complex issue.
Gas Rush Stories, part 2: A Farmer is a story of Terry Greenwood, a small-scale cattle farmer from southwestern Pennsylvania. Based on his own experiences with gas drilling Greenwood is concerned about the food safety when agricultural lands are turned into drilling fields.

Please help me tell new Gas Rush Stories and support my Kickstarter project.​projects/​kirsi/​gas-rush-stories

Another link:

This film maker needs donations to make three more short documentaries by the end of this year.
More info:​Gas_Rush_Stories.html

Biologist Sandra Steingraber at Shale Gas Outrage Conference

Ecologist Sandra Steingraber at Shale Gas Outrage Conference (10 min) from Kirsi Jansa on Vimeo.

Dr.Steingraber gives the keynote address in Philadelphia at the Shale Gas Outrage Conference on September 8, 2011.  She states that science tells us we could be off fossil fuels in 30 years by switching to solar and wind (not nuclear).  Japan and Europe are planning on this.  She also describes fracking as a form of substance abuse.  She gives us hope as well as food for thought.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with Chip Northrup: Can natural gas drilling be done safely in NY?

Chip Northrup

Check out this short interview with Chip Northrup, a 30-year veteran of the gas industry in Texas, who now spends a good part of the year in Cooperstown, NY, and is telling all of us about the real truth about the gas industry and its harmful effects on the environment and human health.  The interviewer from YNN does a superb job of asking great questions.  She obviously had done her homework.

Urgent Message About the Delaware Watershed

This is an urgent call to the fans of GASLAND and to the fracking movement across the nation, please act now to Save the Delaware River. On November 21st, the Delaware River Basin commission will vote on a plan to allow 20,000 gas wells in the Delaware River basin. We need calls to come from all over the nation and we need people from all over the region to come out in protest on November 21st.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Hydrofracking: Rochester, NY, Forum, October 2011

This is the quick way to look at the Rochester forum held at Temple B'rith Kodesh, October 23, 2011. You can click on selected portions of the forum for easy viewing as time permits. This was an excellent forum, full of information we all need. Time is of the essence, friends. The NY DEC is in the process of deciding our future. Will high-volume, slick water horizontal hydrofracking be allowed in New York State? Permitting may commence as soon as early 2012.

How Hydraulic Fracturing Will Impact Rochester (NY)
Panelists: Anthony Ingraffea, PhD, PE, professor, Cornell University
                 Jannette Barth, PhD, economist
                 Roger Downs, NYS lobbyist for the Sierra Club, Atlantic

Click here to check it out.

Visit R-CAUSE   (Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale gas Extraction), organizers of this event.

For help in writing your letter to the NY DEC, click here.  The public comment period has begun and will continue through December 12, 2011.  I am working on my comment, and I encourage everyone to submit something, too.  We are encouraged to address only one issue.  So pick the one you are most concerned about.

Submit your letter to the NY DEC ASAP!

Living the Drill: Bradford County Farmers Share Gas Drilling Experiences (Part 3))

Part 3 of a talk by Carol French and Carolyn Knapp, both of Bradford County, PA, who have been severely impacted by the natural gas industry. They both leased their property. Are they happy they leased? Watch and decide for yourself! Bottom line: They know whereof they speak, and they are passionate about the topic. Why? Because their lives are affected on a daily basis and their livelihoods depend on the success of their farms.

Video from Essential Dissent.

Living the Drill: Bradford County Farmers Speak Out (Video Part 2)

Carol French and Carolyn Knapp, dairy farmers from Bradford County PA, describe how gas drilling has affected their lives, families, farms, and community, and relay warnings and advice to New York residents.

Video from Essential Dissent.

Living the Drill (video): Deposit, NY, Meeting on Gas Drilling

State Theatre
Deposit, NY

Introduction by Mark Ohe.

Despite some initial rowdiness (and a couple of F-Bombs) from the audience, Laurie Stratton gives a preliminary presentation as to how leaseholders and local communities can expect to be treated by gas drilling companies.

[With apologies for the sound interference- It's worth watching inspite of that!]

I admire Laurie's composure in the face of rude, crude people. The disruptive people did get sorted out very quickly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gas Worker Drinks Tainted Coffee: Treated Frack Water Used To Brew!

If you work on a well site, you might want to buy your coffee off-site.  A gas worker inadvertently put a jug of treated frack water in the break room at a Dimock worksite in June.  Coffee was brewed using this toxic water.  It made a worker sick for about 5 days.

Read the story here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homicide Charge In Crash That Killed Elmira Woman

On Friday morning, October 21st, Lauralee Michelle Widmer of Elmira lost her life to a drunk driver. She was 36 years old.

Jackson Township, Pa. — A Texas man is facing a vehicular homicide charge in connection with Friday morning’s crash in Tioga County, Pa. that killed an Elmira woman...Davidson works in the natural gas industry and is an employee of T3 Energy Services, located in Elmira, according to Pennsylvania State Police. He was driving a company truck at the time of the accident, according to police... (The Corning Leader)

Read more here.

Yes, I know that accidents happen everywhere.  Yes, I know that people other than gas drillers drive drunk and abuse drugs.  Yes, I know that this accident is not the fault of the gas industry- not directly anyway.  So please refrain from posting comments that say these things.  I've heard it all quite a few times.  These gas employees work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off.  They have a lot of time on their hands.  They are far away from their families.  They populate the local bars.  The police in Bradford County have said so.  These jobs invite problems.  The gas industry does add many problems to living in gasfields. 

Check here and here.

A quote from the DA of Bradford County: (August 2011)

In Bradford County, Pa., drunken driving arrests are up 60 percent. Criminal sentencing was up 35 percent in 2010. And in Towanda, the county seat, DUI arrests were up 50 percent.
Why? The frenzy of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, which has boosted the economies of some of Pennsylvania's smallest and most rural counties in recent years, has also led to rapid population swells and -- by extension -- more crime.

"Economic boom equals crime boom," said Daniel J. Barrett, the district attorney of Bradford County, which borders southern New York.

Read more:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Zombies Occupy Dimock: A Halloween Walk

Exploding water wells, broken promises, gas drilling gone bad!

Sunday, October 30th, 4 p.m.
Meet at Dimock Baptist Church

PADEP has agreed to allow Cabot Oil & Gas to stop providing fresh water to the people in Dimock who have contaminated water. This sets a precedence for water contamination cases in PA.
What if this was YOUR water?
All Zombies are invited to Dimock to join in a walk to illustrate what happens when the gas industry leads State policy.  Come in a costume or come as you are. We will meet for Kabot Kool-aid at the Dimock Baptist Church at 4 and walk down Carter Rd. to the site where a water well blew up on New Year's morning, Jan 1, 2009. We will then return to the church for a viewing of the film" Frac Attack!" and refreshments.  Shuttles will be available from the church to Carter Rd. and back.  Map for the church location can be found here.
Dimock Baptist Church
State Route 2024
Dimock, PA 18816
More information here.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sandra Steingraber Speaks: Living Downstream Highlights

Common Hour: Living Downstream (Highlights) from Franklin & Marshall College on Vimeo.

"Every other breath you take is brought to you by the ocean's plankton." Find out why this matters to those in an audience in central Pennsylvania - or anywhere on earth. Franklin & Marshall College has posted both a two-minute "highlights" video as well as Sandra's recent full hour-long talk. Short video linked here; full-length talk to follow.
Ecologist, cancer survivor and author, Sandra Steingraber is an authority on the environmental links to cancer and human health and presents cancer as a human rights issue.

To watch a full version, click here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Join the Scavenger Hunt To Find Abandoned Wells in PA

There are thousands of unmapped, abandoned oil and gas wells in PA.  Help find them!  Kick off is November 1st! 

The hunt will end when every abandoned well is properly plugged in Pennsylvania!
Help locate and photograph these wells!

The mission is:

To promote awareness by photographing these wells and matching the photos with the GPS locations on a Google map that will be easily accessible for online viewing.

To call upon our state government to recognize the hazards posed by these wells and provide the resources to plug them adequately.

Pennsylvania is home to thousands of orphan, abandoned, and un-plugged oil and gas wells. Over the years thousands have been left behind, abandoned by the oil and gas industry. Many have been left unplugged. Some wells were inadequately plugged years ago with pine trees or cement that has deteriorated or cracked over time.

Orphan, abandoned, unplugged, or improperly-plugged wells may and often do act as a conduit, or pathway, allowing methane or other fluids to travel to the surface. These wells have the potential to significantly contaminate and harm the environment. Many abandoned wells have not been located. The DEP has records on just over 140,500 wells.

Some experts estimate that more than 325,000 wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania since 1859.
You will need a digital camera and a GPS device (or a GPS-enabled mobile phone) so that you can record the GPS coordinates of the well. You will also need to consult the following link to Pennsylvania's DEP map of these orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells.
(Note: many of these wells have the GPS coordinates listed.)
You can also view the location of the known Orphan and Abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania by visiting the map here.
To view the GPS coordinates on the Fractracker map, click on the "i" next to the magnifying glass and then click on a marker.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Huge Conflagration in Waxahachie, TX: Fracking Chemicals Explode

The Magnablend plant in Waxahachie, TX, was the scene of a huge explosion and fire on Monday, October 10th. Management at the plant may have tried to downplay the severity of the emergency. EPA officials said no harmful chemicals had been detected in the air. But a day later on Tuesday, more information was coming out. The plant was primarily producing a dangerous cocktail of chemicals blended specifically for hydrofracking, according to out of Dallas/Fort Worth.

The fire is under investigation. No specifics about the cause of the fire is being disclosed yet. News 8 reporters noticed 8 railroad tanker cars parked next to the burned out plant. Hazardous materials placards on 7 of them indicated that volatile chemicals may have been involved. The plant owner, a Mr. Pendery, was not interested in answering questions about these toxic chemicals. He ignored the reporter's questions as he walked to his car and got in.

Even the Waxahachie Fire-Rescue Chief was not aware that 80% of what Magnablend produces is fracking chemicals. EPA officials said they had no idea what was produced at this site. Furthermore, in violation of federal law, the company has not filed a risk management plan.

Read the article here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kerr Well Pad at Night: Susquehanna County

Do you want to see what fracking operations really look like?
The workers tried to get Vera, the videographer, to stop filming, told her she couldn't because they didn't want negative media. She was standing by the side of a public road, and was not trespassing.

Taken at night at 10:15 on 10-8-11. Lots of smoke and hellish scene and sounds.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Another Explosion on PA Well Pad: Second Accident in Two Days

By Jim Hamill

5:18 p.m. EDT, October 7, 2011
For the second time in two days there has been an emergency at a
natural gas drilling site.

Thursday's was in Bradford County. Today there was one in Lycoming
County. State environmental officials said there was an explosion at an Anadarko well pad north of Jersey Shore. Emergency crews responded along Dam Run Road at the Larry's Creek Fishing and Hunting Club a little after noon.

Authorities said a gas production unit, something similar in size to a
backyard shed, exploded. A spokesperson for Anadarko Petroleum said no one was hurt in the explosion and all operations were taken offline.

DEP officials said some gas escaped, but soon after the equipment
safety mechanisms worked. Newswatch 16 was not able to see the site, but the Larry's Creek site has six gas well pads.

According to Anadarko, production at the entire site has been shut down until a complete investigation is done to make sure it is safe. DEP and Anadarko are looking into what caused the explosion and what if any impacts it's had on the environment.

Larrys Creek

Accident on PA Well Pad Injures Worker

A gas well worker was airlifted to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, PA, October 6th, after an emission of gas under pressure, described by Chesapeake Energy as "an inadvertent release of pressure."  The incident occurred in Terry Township, Bradford County, PA.

Well, I would be surprised if Chesapeake would say this was done on purpose.  Of course, it was inadvertent, just like all spills and accidents resulting in injuries, deaths, and illness.  Does that make it more acceptable?

The newspaper article described what a resident close to the accident felt:
Spring Lake Road resident Larry Shenk, who lives about a half mile away from the well site, said he was walking out of his house onto his porch, when he heard a loud boom, followed by about 15 seconds of a whooshing sound, which sounded like air blowing.
I believe this well was put in in 2009 and was a producing well.  The injured man was performing routine maintenance at the site. 

Read the whole article here.

The road near our summer homestead
Photo: Carol Manuel
Note:  This incident is personal for me because it happened just 10 miles south of our family summer homestead in French Azilum.  French Azilum is being destroyed by gas drilling.  I say this because any beautiful place which is turned into an industrial zone is, by definition,  destroyed.  It becomes a Sacrifice Zone.  There are many such zones in our country and more on the way.  All for greed and profit.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Flood Victims in PA Can't Find or Afford Housing

Pennsylvania residents who lost their homes to Tropical Storm Lee more than three weeks ago are having a tough time finding affordable housing, or any housing at all, because workers in the area's natural gas drilling boom have filled nearly every room, this according to an article by Michael Rubinkam, Associated Press.  Read the article here.

I find this to be reprehensible.  The problem has been there for a long time, but the storm has exacerbated it to extreme levels.  Gas workers are taking up almost all motel rooms and apartments and houses.  The gas companies hoard entire motels, such as the Towanda Motel.  They lease the rooms for extended periods.  Drive by the parking lots of many motels and you will see license plates from Texas and Oklahoma.  It is a real occupation.  I find this to be unacceptable.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

David Rovics Performs His Song "No Fracking Way"

From Garden-concert at Alværn, Nesoddden by the Oslofjord August 8. 2011.

More about David Rovics here.

I just came home from a concert by David Rovics in Rochester, NY.   If you haven't experienced a Rovics concert,  you must try to catch up with him.  His songs are riveting, intense, and show a thorough knowledge and understanding of world events, both current and in history.  David Rovics is a class act.

No Seismic Testing Sign

Click the sign to enlarge.

This sign is by law, a binding and sufficient legal notice that will hold up in court. If you don't want seismic testing contucted on, or under, your property, post it. Never be afraid to stand up for your rights.

If you've signed a seismic testing letter and no longer wish them to do this testing on your property just contact the company.

It is also recommended that you post signs on your property that prohibit seismic testing so there is no error by Geokinetics or any other company as to your wishes.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Transition Lancaster Visits PA Gasland

Concerned citizens from Lancaster, PA, trek up to Northern PA to witness natural gas rigs, well pads, storage facilities, and transport trucks in action. They visit with fellow Pennsylvanian land owners effected by the drilling and subsequent contamination of local waterways and diminishing air quality; who are standing up for their constitutional and human rights to clean air and clean water.

Spraying roads in Terry Township Route 187
Photo: Carol Manuel

So when we see a gas truck labeled brine or fresh water, do we really know what is in that vehicle?  I don't trust the markings on those trucks.

What is Transition Lancaster? Click here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Trouble With Health Problems Near Gas Fracking: NPR Interview

Read the article here.

If you go for a walk in the country and there are gas wells around,  can you feel safe?  Can you be sure that you won't inhale toxic chemicals or become contaminated in some way while you are strolling by? This story tells of a woman from Parachute, Colorado,  who became very ill while working on her property in 2005.  She didn't think about the connection to gas wells until she began talkng to some of her neighbors.  They had problems, too, in some cases.  Now she believes the gas drilling was the cause of her illness.  We simply do not have enough data yet to be sure we are safe from negative gas drilling effects.  Until we have data, we can assume we are at risk.

In loving memory of my Dad
The Reverend Robert F. Shippee
November 29, 1922-September 29, 2010
He loved the Earth and opposed natural gas drilling until his dying day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Pipeline Comes To Town: Dallas, PA

In Dallas, PA, this pipeline preparation gouges the forest, plucking up the old trees like matchsticks and hauls them off as if they are of no value. A resident who treasured this place wrote:

Every school day for 8 years, I traveled past this corner . Admiring the beautiful stone walls on the property - wondering: who built them, how did they build such magnificent perfect walls, where did the stone come from, how long did it take to build it.... now it's all gone. Breaks my heart.

Check out Susquehanna River Sentinel.  Excellent views about the gas drilling industry from a PA resident.

Retirement Ruined: Personal Story of Truman Burnett (2009)

Mr. Burnett's simple story of how his beautiful property was ruined forever by gas drilling spills nearby speaks for itself. The gas corporation that is responsible for this tragedy? Chesapeake Energy. Our good neighbors.

More Floods in PA This Week

Last night (Sept. 27) the rains came again to an area of PA near Scranton.  Flash flooding caused traffic nightmares and more nervous businesses and homeowners as streams and creeks swelled and heavy rain came down.  Some areas got as much as 5 inches of rain in a matter of 5 hours.  The region was already saturated from recent weather events:  Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. 

An employee of a local mart and gas station in South Abington, PA, said she's been through this before.  "Too many times," she said.  In Clarks Green Borough, the council president said "This is a major water event for an area that is already saturated."

Read the Times-Tribune article here.

Do we have emergency plans in place for gas wells and other gas facilities when these quite common weather events occur?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Michael Moore @ Occupy Wall Street (YouTube)

By now you have heard, I hope, about the occupation of Wall Street. Connecting the dots is always essential to any view of history. We must connect the dots from what has happened on Wall Street with what is happening on gas well pads. Corporations rule in this country. That must change.

Hear what Michael Moore has to say. His words are being repeated by the crowd because they have no microphones, and Michael wanted everyone to hear what he was saying. It worked beautifully!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Berry Tales: Personal Stories from Gardendale, Texas (Video)

"Berry Tales" are real, first-hand accounts of how residents of Gardendale have been treated by Berry Oil and their 'landman' representative, Gray Surface Specialties. In this segment, long-time Gardendale residents with a thriving horse farm are virtually put out of business by Berry Oil.

Berry Tales: How can they do this? (video)

"Berry Tales" are real, first-hand accounts of how residents of Gardendale, TX, have been treated by Berry Oil and their 'landman' representative, Gray Surface Specialties. This segment was excerpted from a lengthy interview with a 77 year old widow suffering from a heart condition. Including her home, she lives on 12 acres of land. Berry Oil has staked 2 oil wells on her 12 acres.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Real Cost of Fracking: Angela and Wayne

Angela and Wayne Smith live in Clearville, PA. They have beef cattle and grow bluberries. In 2007 gas companies put in storage wells near the Smiths. Water pollution ensued. A horse died an agonizing death (*footage disturbing), followed by the deaths of a cow, a dog, and a chicken. The Smiths suffered headaches. They had to install and pay for an $11,000 water treatment system. A compressor station was built near them which blew up, spraying everything with oil. Their blueberry sales went down. They had wanted to give the farm to their grandchildren eventually. Angela says, "Why give death to our grandchildren, because that's what this is. Who would want to live here?"

Video filmed and edited by Kellan Davidson. For more information, go to Coalition To Protect New York.

The Real Cost Of Fracking: Jenny

Jenny and her family live in Punxsutawney, PA. In 1983, she and her fiance bought a farm. They got married on their farm and gave birth to their children at home there. They have an organic garden and grow blueberries. Their neighbor, who does not live in PA, but rather lives in Colorado, leased to EOG Resources. Jenny found out some bad things about what was coming to the land next to hers. She called the PA DEP and asked them not to approve the permit. But, of course, the DEP told her it was there duty to approve the permit as long as the gas company met all requirements.

Listen to this short video and hear what Jenny is worried about.

The video was filmed and edited by Kellan Davidson. For more information, go to the Coalition To Protect New York.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fracking the Finger Lakes (NY): Sandra Steingraber (video)

Sandra Steingraber gives a talk in Hammondsport, New York, on September 15, 2011.  She describes the earth below the surface as a living eco-system, especially in the Marcellus Shale.  It is not a dead, inert place, just rock and dirt, as many of us might assume.  She tells the story of how New York State was formed.
Then she addresses the effects of natural gas drilling on air, water, food production, tourism, and road safety.  She explains that the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement that is now being vetted does not even mention these impacts.

 She says, inspite of gas industry representatives' claims to the contrary, there are now 1000 documented cases of ground and/or surface water contamination from the natural gas drilling process.  That contamination includes the carcinogen benzene.
If you have 40 minutes, please watch this talk.  At the end, she shows some visual aids which are presented in a very poignant and clever way.

RIP Troy Anthony Davis: Abolish the Death Penalty

Troy Davis and his mother
Violence in all its forms must end on this planet.  The legal murder, listed as homicide on the death certificate, of a very possibly innocent man (there is too much doubt about his guilt),  is a macabre,  grisly act carried out, in this case, by the State of Georgia.  The purposeful act of injecting a drug into the arm of a human being in order to stop his heart from beating is something that must be stopped from ever happening again.  Georgia has 104 more people on death row.  How many more Troy Davises will there be?  Killing a man who is in prison and therefore helpless is a barbaric act.

The rape of the Earth by hydrofracking is another violence which pervades our world and must be stopped.  Capital punishment and environmental destruction are related.  Our belief in the sacredness of all life touches both the execution of a human being and the killing of the environment,  human beings, and animals with toxic chemicals.  We are putting toxic fluids into the Earth just as lethal fluids were injected into the arm of Troy Davis on September 21, 2011.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now covered the execution of Troy Davis live, the only media to do so.  Go to for more on this tragic killing.

Our hearts go out to the family of Mark MacPhail, the young man who was killed in 1989.  We also pray for the family of Troy Davis who have suffered, too.

I am Troy Davis.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Don't Get Fracked: NRDC Has New Website For Citizens

Click on the map to enlarge
NRDC is very pleased to announce the launch of Don't Get Fracked, a toolkit for citizens around the country looking for sources of information on the permitting and drilling processes, legal rights, environmental information, health resources, local organizations working on these issues, and more.

From the Overview of the toolkit:

Drilling for natural gas is growing across the United States. The use of hydraulic fracturing has opened up gas shale resources in many parts of the country where drilling was not previously occurring. Although drilling can create jobs and income, many fear the effects of drilling on their health, land and quality of life. Current laws need to be changed to catch up with the drilling explosion.

In the meantime, you can act now to protect yourself and your family. These pages provide tools to learn about
  • The drilling planned for your community
  • The harm drilling can cause
  • Steps you can take to limit the dangers to yourself and your family
  • Resources in each state in which drilling is or is likely to occur.
Here are the categories in the Toolkit:
  • Overview
  • Health Effects
  • Your Rights
  • Environmental Impacts
  • Pollution
  • Resources by State
This website is worth a look.  Amy Mall of NRDC asks that people send information as well so that everyone can benefit from the experiences of others.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Letter To the Editor From the Past: Floodplains

A road floods in Sugar Run, Terry Township, PA
September 2011
A friend of mine wrote this LTE years ago, but it has significance now as well. In light of the devastating flood in PA September 8th,  would we not be wise to re-evaluate the safety or risk of natural gas drilling in floodplains? My cousin, a resident of Wysox, PA, is now facing a major reconstruction of his home on the Susquehanna River after 5-6 feet of water flowed into his home uninvited last week.  Floods are not the least bit uncommon in that area.  Will frack wastewater be released into raging rivers and streams in the future?  It could happen. Can we prevent that from happening?

Dear Editor:

Floods happen. They are an integral and permanent part of a river's natural cycle. Even with dams, levees and all the engineering innovations of the past, the present & the morrow...rivers will continue to inundate their floodplains until the end of time. Man may delay the outcome, but nature always prevails.  People construct homes and buildings of commerce on floodplains. After  each flood, these same people cry for more protection. "Raise the levees -  dredge the river"...not realizing neither action will prevent future floods. Prior to the 1700's, Pennsylvania - "Penn's Woods" - was covered by forests from the Delaware River to Lake Erie. It was once written that a  squirrel could travel from the Atlantic shores to the Mississippi River without ever having to touch the ground. And amidst the forests were the swamps, a.k.a. wetlands. More than half the wetlands are gone, and even today the forests are sold to the highest bidder behind closed doors.

Think about the travels of a raindrop back then. It would first contact the upper reaches of the arboreal canopy maybe 150 feet above the forest  floor. Layer upon layer of pine, oak, hemlock and maple would slow its descent. When it eventually reached the ground, which was cooled by almost constant
shade, it would slowly seep into the dense humus-rich soils and percolate into and become part of the water table. Any dust or impurities were removed either by chemical or physical processes. The forests & wetlands acted as buffers, reservoirs and filters. How was water quality back then? You can't even imagine.

Picture that same raindrop hitting a parking lot, driveway or city  landscape of today. Surface runoff - storm drain - sewer system - stream. It gets to the nearest waterway a lot faster, dirtier and warmer than its counterpart of yesteryear. Envision that same area covered by thousands of umbrellas at various levels, with the ground itself covered with sponges wrapped in fine, porous filters. A very simple example, yes. But that's what is missing today. The forests and wetlands were nature's flood protection and water purification system for hundreds of thousands of years. Today, we pay for a far inferior substitute that once was perfectly free.

The Army Corps of Engineers knows it...they just won't tell you. As more land is developed, as more forests are felled, wetlands filled and streams channelized...floods along the Susquehanna are going to increase in magnitude. If an event equal to Hurricane Agnes in 1972 occurred  today...the newly raised levees in the Wyoming Valley would not provide the level of protection anticipated. In the last 30 years, people have been very busy upstream - and they have not been planting trees and saving wetlands.


Don Williams
H*******, PA

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gas Wells in Floodplains Should Be Banned: CBF and TU

Flooded well pad next to Wyalusing Creek
Stone Energy
January 26, 2010
Photo: Susquehanna River Sentinel
February 18, 2009
Press Release

CBF and TU Call for Ban on Marcellus Gas Wells in Floodplains

Hydrofracking in Floodplains is an Environmental Disaster Waiting to Happen

(HARRISBURG, PA)—In the rush to develop the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania, natural gas wells are being permitted and drilled in floodplains. Two such wells, one operated by Stone Energy along Wyalusing Creek in Rush Township, Susquehanna County, and one operated by XTO along Muncy Creek in Shrewsbury Township, Lycoming County are already experienced flooding events. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Trout Unlimited (TU) call upon the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to remedy this clear environmental and public health hazard.

"The handling of fracking chemicals and highly contaminated drilling wastewater in floodplains is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. It has to stop," said Matt Ehrhart, Executive Director of CBF's Pennsylvania Office. "Permitting well pads in floodplains causes a very serious threat of pollution. We call upon DEP to use its authority under the Clean Streams Law to order the companies operating these wells to permanently cap and abandon them, and then reclaim the sites to their natural condition."

While current regulations do not allow well pads to be located within 100 feet of streams or within the floodway without an encroachment permit, neither the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act nor its regulations prohibit siting wells in floodplains. Because horizontal drilling technology is used to drill into Marcellus shale, the gas underneath streams and floodplains can easily be accessed from a pad location in an upland area, avoiding risk of flooding and catastrophic pollution to Pennsylvania's rivers and streams. There is no reason to site wells in floodplains.

"This loophole must be closed immediately," said Dave Rothrock, President of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited.

In late January, heavy rains hit northern Pennsylvania and several streams and rivers experienced flooding events, including Wyalusing and Muncy Creeks. Both the Stone Energy and the XTO sites were flooded as a result of these events.

"The risk of pollution to our streams will increase exponentially in a matter of weeks," said Rothrock. "As we head into the season of snowmelt and spring rains, there should be absolutely no more well drilling activity in floodplains anywhere in Pennsylvania."

The Stone Energy site was permitted along Wyalusing Creek by DEP without the necessary encroachment permits. While DEP issued a notice of violation to the company the week before the flood, the agency should have never issued the well drilling permit in the first place. CBF has previously highlighted serious flaws in the fast track permitting process implemented by DEP since April 2009, where permit applications do not receive careful environmental review but are instead pushed quickly out the door.

In August 2009, CBF appealed three erosion and sediment control permits issued by DEP for drilling sites in Tioga County. CBF's appeals resulted in a DEP review of the plans and revocation of all three permits because of serious deficiencies.

"The Stone Energy site is yet another example of permits being issued without the necessary review," said Ehrhart. "DEP should not have issued a drilling permit that close to the creek, plain and simple. If the agency was spending any time looking at the proposed location, it would have known that."

Governor Rendell recently announced plans to hire 68 new DEP staff to bolster inspection and environmental compliance as Marcellus shale development expands, and DEP announced plans to open a new regional office in Scranton to increase its presence in the northeast, where much drilling is already taking place.

"We are glad Pennsylvania has taken these actions," said Ehrhart. "We hope that DEP will take advantage of these new staff and resources to ensure more careful review of permits."

Credit: Don Williams
Susquehanna River Sentinel

A History of Flooding in the Susquehanna River Basin

Bradford County, PA, Flood 2011

Chesapeake CEO McClendon Has Harsh Words For Protestors

Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon
Why is he smiling?  We know.
Billionaire Aubrey McClendon smiles because he is filthy rich.  He gets millions and millions of dollars every year for being CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, a company that drills and drills and drills into our Mother Earth to get the final dribs and drabs of un-natural gas out of her before we all have to develop sustainable energy.  He minimizes Mother Earth's agony and the suffering of human beings because, well, he really is more focused on money.  Here are some of the sensitive, caring  (and inaccurate) things he said a few days ago in Philadelphia at a big gas conference:
“Looking back, was anybody hurt? Was there any permanent or even temporary environmental damage? No, no and no. Some folks were inconvenienced, for sure, and for that we're deeply sorry,” McClendon said. But he said the industry's benefits — including lower home-heating bills, tens of thousands of new jobs, and millions of dollars of landowner wealth — more than outweigh the isolated cases of contamination.

“We moved into an area that hadn't seen a lot of drilling, that had pretty unusual surface geology,” he said. “We had some problems in the beginning. We think we've got them fixed.”

“Remind me: What value have the protesters outside created? What jobs have they created? You know the answer and so do I,” he said. “So it's time that we contrast what we do for a living with what they do for a living.”

“What a glorious vision of the future: It's cold, it's dark and we're all hungry,” said McClendon, who co-founded Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, the most active gas driller in the Marcellus Shale and nationwide. “I have no interest in turning the clock back to the dark ages like our opponents do.”

Read the article here.