Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PA Streambed Moving: A Strange Sight

Don writes, "Folks, there should be solid rock in the streambed under my feet. It's anything but solid." He describes the creek bed: "I found sediment several feet deep that shakes like pudding."

More on this story HERE.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson Biography
Biologist, Writer, Ecologist, 1907-1964
“The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man.”

Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania, and spent her childhood on a farm. She studied English and Zoology at Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) and received her M.S. degree in Marine Biology from Johns Hopkins University. She taught Zoology at the University of Maryland before going to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where, in 1949, she became chief editor of publications. In 1952 she purchased land on the Sheepscot River in West Southport, Maine.

If the courage of a single human voice can be measured by the ferocity of the attempts to silence it, the writer of The Silent Spring (1962) stands as a truthteller of exceptional courage and insight. Her carefully researched exposure of the environmental damage caused by widespread use of pesticides was vigorously attacked by chemical corporations. In 1992 a panel of distinguished Americans voted The Silent Spring the most influential book of the past fifty years. Today Rachel Carson is revered as the founder of the environmental movement in America.
Her earlier books include Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea. In 1954 she wrote: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

After the publication of The Silent Spring Rachel Carson wrote to a friend: “The beauty of the living world I was trying to save has always been uppermost in my mind—that, and anger at the senseless, brutish things that were being done. I have felt bound by a solemn obligation to do what I could---if I didn’t at least try I could never be happy again in nature.”

Leroy Blowout (PA): Just Another "Unintended Return"?

Just so we're all clear: THIS IS NOT A SURFACE SPILL! This crap erupted from beneath the surface. The spray pattern on vegetation surrounding ground zero for this eruption spreads out at LEAST 25 feet or more in all directions. More to follow. Thank you, Don Williams, for this video report. This is a nightmare. Related news: LINK DEP issues statement...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Riverdale Community Being Thrown Out of Their Homes

Published on May 21, 2012 by GADCLuzerneCounty Residents of the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Piatt Township, Pa. are facing evictions on June 1 to make way for an enormous water withdrawal facility. If Aqua gets its way, the company will be allowed to remove 3 million gallons per day from the Susquehanna and kick out longtime residents who have nowhere else to go. The water will then be transported via pipeline to fracking sites all over Lycoming County, Pa., where it will be mixed with poisonous chemicals and injected into the earth.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mitchell Gas Well Site In PA: Flaring

Taken from the road, Bailey Rd., Franklin Twp., Susquehanna County, Pa., on 5-16-12.

Mitchell home is just below the site. WPX Energy is the gas company involved.

Video taken by Vera Scroggins.  Vera writes:
"See what it's like to live next to flaring of two wells; fortunately, it's the owners of this site that live next to it and have to experience this and see how they like it and whether they want all their neighbors to experience it, like they do. Their neighbors up to 3 miles away or more are hearing this throughout the whole day for days. [24/7]
Thanks, for disturbing our peace and country life and turning it into a gas field."
More here and here.
Flaring is the practice of burning gas that is deemed uneconomical to collect and sell. Flaring is also used to burn gases that would otherwise present a safety problem. It is common to flare natural gas that contains hydrogen sulfide (i.e., sour gas), in order to convert the highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas into less toxic compounds.

Flares emit a host of air pollutants, depending on the chemical composition of the gas being burned and the efficiency and temperature of the flare. Flaring results in hydrogen sulfide emissions if hydrogen sulfide is present in large enough amounts in the natural gas. There may also be additional by-products formed if some of the chemicals used during the drilling or hydraulic fracturing process are converted to a gaseous form and are burned along with the natural gas.

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, in California has estimated that the following air pollutants may be released from natural gas flares: benzene, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, including naphthalene), acetaldehyde, acrolein, propylene, toluene, xylenes, ethyl benzene and hexane. Researchers in Canada have measured more than 60 air pollutants downwind of natural gas flares.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Politics of the Pipeline

An interesting piece on how politics is being brought to bear on the Keystone XL pipeline project.  Will it be attached to unrelated bills in Congress by Senate Republicans, or will some of these obstinate lawmakers hold off in order to gain an edge during the campaign? Is the destruction of our environment and aquifers something we should use as a campaign strategy?   

Charles Pierce in Esquire.
Here's the link.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Snake Creek Bubbling With Methane In Susquehanna County, PA

Went to Snake Creek today, 5-18-12, and taped these bubbles streaming up and put a barbecue lighter to them which ignited the bubbles---watch -- this is in Franklin Forks near the swimming hole rope hanging from a large tree-- about 35 feet from the tree along the bank. Next to Snake Creek Marina , off route 29 , Franklin Forks, Susquehanna County, Pa. I've written and called the DEP and other regulatory agencies to investigate this. This is also near the 4 homes that recently since March were publicly equipped with methane venting stacks for high methane in their water wells. This is down the road from a gas drilling pad with four gas wells.

Anti-fracking Warrior
Susquehanna County, PA

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Albany, NY, Anti-Fracking Rally May 15th

Published on May 16, 2012 by veraduerga
Taped 5-15-12. Great Speakers and Music. Fourteen PA. people came and Mark Ruffalo there. Speakers are Onondaga Nation Turtle Clan Mother, Sandra Steingraber- Biologist, Sen. Avella and his SB 4220 for a ban, Julia Walsh, Food and Water Watch, Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Ben and Elaine Perkus, Mark Ruffalo, Victoria Switzer of Dimock, Pa., Craig and Julie Sautner of Dimock, Pa., The Mohawk Ahkwesasne Women Singers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gas Drilling: Deadliest Danger Isn't At the Rig, But On the Road

Truck traffic in Bradford County, PA

"After working 17 hours straight at a natural gas well in Ohio, Timothy Roth and three other crew members climbed into their company truck around 10 o’clock one night last July and began their four-hour drive back to their drilling service company’s shop in West Virginia.

When they were just 10 minutes from home, the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The truck veered off the highway and slammed into a sign that sheared off part of the vehicle’s side, killing Mr. Roth.

About two months before the fatal crash, Mr. Roth nearly died in a similar accident when another co-worker with the same company fell asleep at the wheel after a long shift and ran the company’s truck into a pole. In 2009, Mr. Roth’s employer was penalized in New York, Pennsylvania and Utah for violations like “requiring or permitting” its oil field truckers to drive after working for 14 hours, the legal limit.

Over the past decade, more than 300 oil and gas workers like Mr. Roth were killed in highway crashes, the largest cause of fatalities in the industry. Many of these deaths were due in part to oil field exemptions from highway safety rules that allow truckers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries, according to safety and health experts.

Many oil field truckers say that while these exemptions help them earn more money, they are routinely used to pressure workers into driving after shifts that are 20 hours or longer."

Read the entire New York Times article here: Link

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Luzerne County Mud Blowout: Pipeline Installation Accident

This drilling mud blowout is .2 miles behind Kunkle Motors of Route 309 in Dallas Township Pennsylvania.

Drilling blowout in Back Mountain

Published: May 8, 2012
The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a blowout at a natural gas pipeline installation near Leonards Creek in the Kunkle section of Dallas Township.

Chief Gathering LLC, which was recently bought out by PVR Partners, is laying a natural gas pipeline from wells in Susquehanna County to connect to the Transco interstate pipeline in Dallas.

The blowout occurred last week as contractors were boring beneath wetlands and some of the mud they were using blew out into the creek,  according to state Department of Environmental Protection Spokeswoman Colleen Connolly. She did not know how much mud got into the creek.

The mud is being sucked up with hay bales and a vacuum pump. Connolly said the mud will be tested to see what, if any, chemicals it contains. "It doesn't look like anything dangerous at this point, but we'll take a look and see," she said.

Hot Off the Press: The No Frack Almanac Spring Issue!

Hot off the press from Susquehanna County, PA, and environs! Don't miss the Spring 2012 issue just out! Click here for great journalism.

Three Questions About Fracking

Five Stories and a Trailer Park:  Gerri Kane, Carol French, Carolyn Knapp, Bill Pabst, and Matthew and Tammy Manning have experienced problems related to gas drilling.  Read more...

The Fracker Family Closet

Betrayal: Article by Sandra Steingraber

Ten Ways Frackwater Can Get Into Everyone's Water

And much more........................

Amazing Fact: Under current SEC rules, gas companies can sweeten their balance sheets by claiming reserves that have never been independently proven to exist!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ode To the Angered Angler

Here is the link to the original.

Up in the north where the Susquehanna grows
And the pipelines follow south where it flows
And the deer herd dwindles -- especially the does
Is the land of the angered angler.
Deep in the endless mountains, they say
If you look close enough, still to this day
You can still see the footprints, the forked laurel branch
Left by the angler, who could not, would not stay.
Where was the angler -- where could he be?
And why was he angry? Why did he flee?
From up in the north where the Susquehanna flows?
The old fracker still lives here.
Ask him. He knows.
You won't see the fracker.
He's not very big.
He hides in the crown block on top of his rig.
He lurks in that crown block, as high as a crow
And warms his brown socks while dodging the snow
Using the gas that he pilfered from way down below.
Go ask him, I tell you, go ask him today.
He'll tell you, he will,
if you're willing to pay.
Why the angler was angered and went far away.
It all started way back, such a long, long time back …
Way back in the day when the river was clean
And the bass had no lesions, their eyesight still keen
And the trees were all dense, the critters content
That's the day he arrived and set up his tent.
In that pristine wilderness, he started to dig
Using equipment bigger than big
And plowed through the trees,
Knocked them all flat
He could have cared less for such habitat.
Suddenly, with the sound of a cast
And a zinging brown fly that flew right on past,
The angler was there with barbed hooks galore
He walked to the rig, he knocked on the door.
And he demanded the fracker drill there no more.
"I," said the angler, "speak for the fish
Which you seem to pollute as much as you wish
The bass are all splotchy, the snakes have no home
You ran them all over with trucks caked with chrome
And the deer have less room to graze and to roam."
"You fool," said the fracker, "stop griping -- stop grumping."
And on he continued with digging and dumping.
The river glazed over, the creeks slowly died
The bass couldn't breed, their organs all fried.
The squirrels and the chipmunks, the deer and the snails
The eagles, the salamanders and a few cottontails
They all fled the land, looking for food.
While the fracker drilled there, all greedy and rude.
As the angler got angry, the fracker cashed in
Until all the gas, and his wallet, got thin.
And then, only then, did he see his mistake
As he walked past a poisoned and decaying snake
And faced the angler, who was red in the face.
"Look what I've done to this wonderful place!
I've turned it into a home of great waste!"
The angler, he left -- he just disappeared
Leaving the fracker alone, stroking his beard
When he realized something both ironic and weird:
Everyone, he thought, loved the fracked gas
They used it for heating, for cooking their bass
They shelled out their money, they made him mad rich
And he drilled them more gas, all without hitch
And they all were blind to the one glaring glitch.
Everyone, that is, but that guy with the hooks
The one who gave him such not-so-nice looks
The angler was the one who tried taking a stand
Who stood for the fish, who stood for the land.
If only there were more who together would band …
The sportsmen, the anglers, the hunters, the trappers
The campers, the farmers, the trail-bound horsebackers
All of them united, all with one voice.
Do you, faithful reader, plan to make the right choice?
Then join in the cause, save the Valley's outdoors
Before our natural treasures are heard from no more!

 by John Zaktansky

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Unplugged Well In Allegheny National Forest: Wildlife Watering Hole?

Published on May 6, 2012 by
The Allegheny National Forest is plagued with abandoned,wells that have been left behind, unplugged by oil and gas operators. Not only are many of these wells spewing methane into the atmosphere, but fluids are being released from these wells and are being consumed by game and wildlife.

A deer drinks contaminated water from unplugged well

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Too Much Natural Gas Is Going Up In Flames

Photo: Lynn Senick

Exclusive: Shale causes rise in waste gas pollution

· By Henning Gloystein and Alessandra Prentice

LONDON | Wed May 2, 2012 1:18pm EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - The shale energy boom is fuelling a rise in the burning of waste gas after years of decline, a World Bank source told Reuters ahead of the release of new data, giving environmentalists more ammunition against the industry.

Global gas flaring crept up by 4.5 percent in 2011, the first rise since 2008 and equivalent to the annual gas use of Denmark, preliminary data from the World Bank shows.

The increase is mostly due to the rise in shale oil exploration in North Dakota, propelling the United States into the top 10 gas flaring countries along with Russia, Nigeria and Iraq.

The preliminary data - which will be released in detail later in May - shows that global gas flaring crept up to around 140 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2011, up from 134 bcm the previous year.

Flaring is used to eliminate gas at mineral exploration sites, and is released via pressure relief valves to ease the strain on equipment.

"The challenge in North Dakota is that there is a lot of initial exploration and production going on, and often some flaring is necessary at that stage," the source at the World Bank's Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) said.

"We are hopeful that when the full data is released, both policymakers and companies in North Dakota will pay more attention to this issue and take the necessary steps to minimize flaring."

The data will draw further criticism to the industry, which some activists already condemn on environmental grounds.

"Environmental regulations to stop flaring are taking a real kick in the teeth because the financial crisis has put the emphasis on increasing competitiveness, while anything that is seen as diminishing competitiveness is not getting any political traction," Charlie Kronick, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace, said.

Britain's annual gas consumption is just under 100 bcm, and Norway's yearly production just above that - which makes the 140 bcm flared globally over a third more than Europe's top consumer and producer, respectively.

In current market terms, 140 bcm of gas would be worth over $100 billion in barrels of oil equivalent.


Gas flaring has fallen more than 20 bcm since 2006 - despite a slight increase between 2008/2009 - but the rise in 2011 indicates that companies and countries must continue to scale up their efforts to reduce global flaring, the GGFR said.

Despite massive oil and gas reserves, many top flaring countries suffer from chronic power shortages and stagnating gas export volumes which experts say could be addressed if they used the gas instead of burning it.

"It is key to show producers and governments that there is a win-win solution - in many cases you're saving the gas and putting it to a positive use and sometimes you're building energy infrastructure that can be a catalyst for future economic benefit," Michael Farina of U.S. energy engineering group GE Energy said.

In Iraq, the World Bank says that the gas flared is enough to fuel all of the country's electric power needs, most of which is unmet or generated by heavy fuel and crude oils, while Nigeria also faces substantial losses from flaring.

"Nigeria loses billions of naira to wasted gas while the nation's power projects are crippled as a result of lack of gas supply," Nigerian pressure group Social Action said.

The wasted gas also causes immense environmental damage, both locally and on a global scale.

The World Bank estimates that the flaring of gas adds some 360 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in annual emissions, almost the same as France puts into the atmosphere each year or the equivalent to the yearly emissions from around 70 million cars.

If this waste were to take place within the European Union's carbon emissions trading scheme, the flaring would cost some 2.5 billion euros ($3.30 billion) at current market value of 7 euros per metric ton of CO2.

Estimating that flaring amounts to around 4.5 percent of global industrial emissions, environmental group Greenpeace says current legislation fails to tackle the issue.

"The problem is that international oil companies are not penalized for flaring gas," Greenpeace's Kronick said.

The damage flaring does to local communities is also immense.

Social groups in Nigeria say that flaring in the Niger Delta, where some 30 million people live, has gone on for 40 years and led to acid rains, causing many illnesses.

"Flaring of gas endangers human health and reduces agricultural productivity," Nigeria's Social Action group said. ($1 = 0.7571 euros)

(Additional reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic, editing by William Hardy)

Read more here at The Marcellus Effect.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Poem for the Marcellus

Steingraber's latest book: A must read!

From Sandra Steingraber, a new poem for the Marcellus Shale:

Click here.

A very powerful poem.  Take a moment to read it.

Sandra Steingraber of Ithaca, NY, shares her poetic language and combines it with her vast knowledge of shale science.  It is a stunning combination.