Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seismic rumbles in the forests...

The sheer size and number of Marcellus Shale drill sites and their truck traffic are altering Pa. land use.

By Andrew Maykuth
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

November 22, 2009

RENOVO, Pa. - For decades, natural-gas drilling has been part of the landscape in Sproul State Forest, a vast timberland in northern Pennsylvania pocked with hundreds of shallow wells and crossed by pipelines.

But Douglas J. D'Amore, the Sproul district forester, was unprepared for the massive size of the drilling operations that have moved into his forest in recent months to tap into the Marcellus Shale, the deep formation whose bountiful yields have triggered a frenzy that is transforming the way Pennsylvania's public lands are managed.

"Just the scale of this Marcellus thing is much bigger than anything I've ever seen," D'Amore said.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. carved out four acres of red oak and maple forest, leveling a well pad about the size of three football fields to erect a 200-foot-tall drilling rig. The directional rigs are essentially mobile industrial operations: Each requires 80 trucks to transport, and it takes about a month to bore into the shale about 8,000 feet below.

"When you first see the size of the well pad - whoa!" said D'Amore.

Early-season bow hunters returning to their favorite spots this month were shocked to discover that Anadarko had already cleared about a dozen well pads in Sproul. Active rigs are posted as off-limits to hunting, and security staff ask anybody approaching the sites for identification.

"I'm sure I'll have a lot more complaints when deer-hunting season starts," after Thanksgiving, D'Amore said.

This is only the beginning.

Thus far, only three Marcellus wells have been completed on state forestland. But 660,000 acres of state forests are under lease, and state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officials expect a rapid escalation in drilling.

"A year from now, there probably will be a hundred wells operating where there are only three now," said James R. Grace, DCNR's deputy secretary for parks and forestry.

Foresters, whose staffs were cut last month because of the state budget crisis, are girding for a management nightmare. The forestry bureau now monitors a few dozen drilling operations a year.

MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer
An Anadarko Petroleum Corp. rig drills for natural gas in Sproul State Forest.

"We're going to go from 30 wells drilled a year to 800 wells a year," Grace said. "It's a whole order of magnitude."


Read more of this compelling crime against nature HERE.
And remember, this is Rendell's answer to the budgetary revenue shortfall... instead of a severance tax! Hallelujah!


No comments:

Post a Comment


Natural gas development in Colorado, the impacts on communities, environment and public health. A primer for public servants and residents of counties that care for their lifestyles.

Drilling for Gas in Bradford County, PA ... Listen!

Cattle Drinking Drilling Waste!

EPA... FDA... Hello? How many different ways are we going to have to eat this? ... Thank you TXSharon for all you do! ... Stay tuned in at


A film by Txsharon. Thank you Sharon for all you do. Click HERE to read the complete article on Bluedaze: Landfarms: Spreading Toxic Drilling Waste on Farmland

SkyTruth: Upper Green River Valley - A View From Above