Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gas Company Investigating Contaminated Water Well in PA

Uploaded by veraduerga on Mar 23, 2012

Taped 3-22-12. WPX evaluating the well structure and think this is the problem why it is erupting. Faulty well structure. I ask them to focus on isotopic testing of the water and see where this methane is coming from! Gets a bit heated....

More details here and here and here.

After watching this exchange between Vera and the gas company reps, I have to think that, although they are trying to appear calm and respectful, they don't really know what to do.  They want to give the appearance of doing all they can to be "good neighbors,"  even though they imply that this is not a problem THEY created, but rather a problem with the well.  Even so, they say they are offering to pay for repairs.  Of course, we know that other people who live nearby are also having well water problems.  So are all these wells going bad at the same time?

It appears that this gas company is grasping at straws, and the homeowner is getting a little (or a lot) of run-around. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trailer Court Sold; Residents Evicted (Jersey Shore, PA)

Young families and elderly residents alike are being evicted. They were given a few weeks to get out. They all need help.

Uploaded by GADCLuzerneCounty on Mar 22, 2012

A video by Scott Cannon
Riverdale Mobile Home Village, Jersey Shore, PA
Residents of an area mobile home park have been given a bit more time to move to make way for a proposed water withdrawal facility in Piatt Township.

Bryn Mawr-based Aqua PVR LLC has decided it will give most residents of Riverdale Mobile Home Village until June 1 to move, according to Donna P. Alston, director of communication for Aqua America, Aqua PVR's parent company.

The company plans to build a pump station on the site it recently purchased, withdraw up to 3 million gallons of water per day from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and pipe the water to natural gas drilling sites north of the township.

It originally wanted all 37 units in the park moved out by May 1 so work could begin on the project.

The company offered a financial incentive for park residents.

Originally, residents who moved by April 1 would be given $2,500. Those who moved by May 1 would receive $1,500.

Some residents of the park protested that the former deadline did not give them enough time to move.

Others said they could not afford to move or could not find a mobile home park that would take their mobile homes, many of which are older models and do not meet park or local code standards.

"We revisited the site plan for the project and figured out a way to displace fewer people initially than before," Alston said, adding, "The park will eventually need to be (completely) vacated to accommodate the project."

Alston said when work on the project begins in May, only two to four lots at the park will be impacted. One of those lots already is vacant, she said.

The financial incentive offer to residents also has been revised, Alston said.

Now, residents will receive $2,500 as long as they are out of the park by June 1, Alston said.

"We're trying to minimize the disruption and provide some assistance where we can," she said. "For some, it may not be enough. Along with the additional time, hopefully, it will make a difference for everybody."

Park resident Marshall Flanigan said the new offer will help some, but not all, residents at the park.

"It's not a 100-percent cure-all, but it helps the bleeding," he said.

Water Well Bubbling With Methane (PA)

Uploaded by veraduerga on Mar 23, 2012

taped 3-22-12. Looking inside the Manning Water Water and see the bubbling methane-laced water. Would you drink this? This is 73 inches down. I zoomed into it with camcorder. What else is coming up with the methane? This is Franklin Twp., Susquehanna County, Pa. Several gas wells surround this house and area.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is the water in Dimock (PA) safe to drink?

Uploaded by WaterDefense on Mar 21, 2012

Please donate to the Water for Dimock fund:

On March 15th 2012 families affected by fracking in Dimock got test results back from the EPA proving their water was contaminated. The EPA simultaneously put out a statement saying the water didn't pose a health threat. Why did the EPA contradict it's own findings?

Please call EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at 202-564-4700 and demand long-term water replacement for Dimock.

For more information on the situation in Dimock see the recent Propublica article by Abraham Lustgarten:

The song "Motherland" is courtesy of Natalie Merchant
Call Lisa Jackson

Wyoming Compressor Station Explodes

The Falcon natural gas compressor station south of Pinedale burns and then explodes into a column of flame midday Dec. 6. Nobody was directly injured in the fire and explosion, which was triggered by venting natural gas at the station, which is part of a system to collect natural gas from the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields. The fire was allowed to burn out, under the watchful eyes of area firefighters.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Doris Has To Move: Tales of the Marcellus Shale (PA)

Doris Fravel

Doris Fravel is 82 years old.  She has lived in the Riverdale Mobile Home Village in Jersey Shore, PA, for 38 years. Recently she got the news that the trailer park had been sold and would be made into a water withdrawal site to serve the gas industry.  Doris' lease was terminated as soon as the Susquehanna River Basin Commission approved the permit for Aqua America to steal withdraw up to 3 million gallons of water per day from the site. Doris said, "I could sit down and cry my eyes out."  She has until May 1st to vacate her home. 

Doris is only one person deeply affected by this eviction.  There are many others, including families with children, who are part of this community.  Is this really necessary?  Can we blame the land owner for wanting to sell the trailer park?  The residents speak well of him and say he is good landlord. 

Read the whole story here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marcellus Shale Reality Tour: Part Five

Uploaded by GADCLuzerneCounty on Mar 15, 2012

A video by Scott Cannon

State regulators are investigating the cause of high methane levels in three Susquehanna County water wells after residents reported gray or black sludgy water, and one home's well began to erupt water through its cap.

The Department of Environmental Protection has not yet determined if natural sources, nearby natural gas drilling operations or some other cause has mobilized methane and metals into drinking water supplies. Inspectors were in the township hamlet of Franklin Forks on Wednesday to take a second round of samples from water wells.

DEP officials originally indicated to residents in January that the likely source of the gas was a natural methane seep documented for over a century in nearby Salt Springs State Park.

But the chemical markers of the Salt Springs methane have been well characterized by scientists and the department is just now in the process of determining the signature of the gas found in the water wells to compare to the seep.

Analyzing the stable carbon isotopes - a form of chemical fingerprinting of the gas - "could prove fruitful" in this case because Salt Springs is so well documented, DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said.

The department also is considering the potential impact of nearby Marcellus Shale drilling on the water supplies.

"Everything is still part of the investigation," she said. "We're not ruling anything out."

DEP cited WPX Energy for defective casing or cement in two of the natural gas wells closest to Franklin Forks last year. The nested strings of steel casing and cement are meant to protect aquifers from gas and other fluids in the wells, but flaws in the barriers have caused methane to migrate into water supplies throughout the region, most notably in Bradford County and Dimock Twp. 15 miles south.

DEP inspectors also found gas bubbling from between the casing strings on three more WPX wells on the same two well pads - the DePue and Hollenbeck - although those wells were not cited for violations. Bubbling is often viewed by state regulators as an indication of a leak or defect in a well's construction.

WPX is an exploration and production company recently spun off from Williams Companies.

DEP is evaluating the WPX wells as part of its investigation, but it has not named any responsible party and has not ordered any company to replace or restore the water supplies, Ms. Connolly said.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Water Well In PA Exploding With Methane

Uploaded by veraduerga on Mar 11, 2012

Water Well on route 29 in Franklin Forks, Franklin Twp.,Susquehanna County, Pa., exploding with very high methane 38 mg/liter after gas drilling and fracking the past 6 months. Gas wells are one mile east and west of this property. The family and neighboring homes can not drink their water. Methane is in the house, and adults and children are living in the homes. DEP investigating. Methane and high metals found so far. Taped on 3-9-12 by Lauren Petracca.

More here....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Finishing" a gas well in Dimock, PA

(Filmed 6/22/2011)
This is the process of "finshing" a gas well in Dimock, PA as seen with the FLIR GasFindIR Optical Gas Imaging camera. According to the worker there, the valves on the wells are opened up to release pressure before the flaring process. Raw gas, as well as vaporized flack fluid and anything else down in the hole, blows out unregulated. The odor was still in the air 1.5 miles away at the Dimock Post Office. The last of the footage shows the flaring pipes, one starts to release the gasses (and ???) but is not yet lit. Go to balckbart's Picasa site to see still photos of the flaring later that night and the next day.

The wells are flared to release excess natural gas (and whatever else comes with it) before the well is capped.  After the well is capped, the gas company leaves, awaiting the time when the gas can be sold at a price which makes economic sense.  Right now natural gas is sold so cheaply in the US that we are selling it overseas at a good profit instead.

Rolling Stone Responds to Chesapeake Energy on "The Fracking Bubble"

If you have read the MUST READ article in the current issue of Rolling Stone,  you will be interested in this:

Specific points addressed by Chesapeake:
  • The "reality" of 100 years of shale gas
  • The credibility of Arthur Berman
  • Chesapeake's convoluted off-book accounting practices
  • The economic benefits of cheap natural gas
  • The credibility of Gasland
  • Fugitive methane emissions
  • The cerdibility of Deborah Rogers
  • Bias in the Duke study
  • Methane levels in the Vargson well
  • Consequences of Chesapeake's well blow-out in Bradford County
  • Fracking fluid disclosure

North Branch Land Trust (PA): Will It Be Fracked?

This is a video shot by Scott Cannon for the Bowman's Creek Watershed Association.  The video has a section on the North Branch Land Trust, the focus of this post.

Friends, this is very sad news.  The North Branch Land Trust has opened the door to natural gas drilling beneath its Wyoming County, PA, property which it had pledged to conserve.  The aim of the NBLT now seems to have changed to consider allowing subsurface drilling while prohibiting any surface drilling activity.  Douglas Ayers, one of the trust's founders, believes that leasing pristine land for subsurface drilling is unethical and fears it may lead to potential destruction of the environment and could pollute not only the water at the Howland Preserve, but the land around it.

In 2010, the Chesapeake Energy Corp. offered the trust $4000 an acre plus 20% royalties to lease The Howland Preserve, part of the NBLT.  (Ernest Howland died in 2003, willing his 667-acre property on the Vosberg Neck to the NBLT.) The board turned down the offer in June of 2010.  The very next month the board changed its policy to read: "Due to the current status of state and federal laws and regulations governing the industry and the current conditions in the industry in general, NBLT will not consider any form of lease agreement for the extraction of fossil fuels, minerals, or any other subsuface resource under any NBLT owned properties at this time."  A few weeks ago, the trust's board changed the policy to exclude that clause.  Mr. Ayers said,
I think it's extremely immoral for anyone, a private citizen, even someone who's going to lose their property, to allow gas drilling if there is a chance they will damage their neighbor's property. I would rather lose my property than hurt other people.
He also said it's naive
to think you can punch a hole a mile underground, pour in one of the most toxic substances known to mankind, and not think it's going to come back up.
Ayers said the gas companies are using the idea of drilling in the Vosberg Neck as leverage to get the land trust to sign a lease. The Susquehanna River flows through this area.

The North Branch Land Trust now has agreements to protect 10,831 acres in Bradford, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties. The question is: Will the trust really protect the land or not? When people give their precious land to the trust, isn't is reasonable for them to assume that the trust will be true to their mission and protect it forever, period?

There has been a lot of conflict on the board the past few years.  The issues continue.  For example, the trust just turned down $75,000 from UGI to run a pipeline throught the trust's land.  The trust said no. This will be an on-going process as the gas industry inhabits more and more land in PA.  This is an industrial revolution.  The trust's executive director, Paul Lumia, put it this way:
It's a crapshoot. It really is.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Our Dear Susquehanna: Please Protect Her

One of the longest rivers in America, the Susquehanna River provides over half of the freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay and drinking water to millions of people. Communities and businesses depend on the river for drinking water, commerce, hydropower generation, and recreational boating. Now this resource is at risk of contamination. Take action here.

Music: Fanfare For the Common Man by Aaron Copeland

This YouTube video was featured on the blog Susquehanna River Sentinel

The Susquehanna River was America's most endangered river in 2011.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Imagine Life With No Water....In America!

Thom Hartmann talks about the critical issue of our American infrastructure. With this dire situation, how much more damage can we sustain? What will the natural gas industry do to our already crumbling infrastructure?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How Does Barium Get Into an Aquifer During Gas Drilling Operations?

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea answered this question:

Barium occurs naturally in marcellus shale, and is also used in a drilling compound, as barium sulfate.

From either source, it can contaminate an aquifer (underground), while underground, or it can spill on the surface from either source and leach down into the aquifer.

For example, during drilling, the drilling mud containing barium sulfate, is in direct contact with the aquifer, while drilling through it.
If there is a cement failure, flowback fluid containing barium can migrate into the aquifer.

Or, frac fluid containing barium from the formation can migrate upwards through faults, abandoned wells, or the overlying formation.

My comment is this:  Did you ever think about it this way?  As the hole is drilled in the ground on the well pad, the drilling mud is in direct contact with the aquifer.  I think this flies  in the face of industry people who say they are drilling so deep that they never affect the aquifer.  They are drilling right through the aquifer.  What are they talking about?  Before the cement is put in around the well bore,  the aquifer has already been penetrated and disturbed. 

The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom

"It's not only toxic- it's driven by a right-wing billionaire who profits more from flipping land than drilling for gas." That man is Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. He dominates America's supply of natural gas the same way the Tea Party-financing Koch brothers control the nation's pipelines and refineries.....

Read more. This article appears in the March 15th issue of Rolling Stone.