Friday, July 23, 2010

Tragic Gas Well Explosion TODAY Kills Two People

Kate Sinding's Blog
Natural Resources Defense Coucil
July 23, 2010

Tragically, two people were killed on Friday when a gas well exploded in Indiana Township, Pennsylvania. Black smoke belched from the well for hours, and firefighters are still at the scene trying to salvage the area. The well is situated in a rural, wooded area-albeit only 15 miles northeast of Pittsburgh-keeping the human toll of this tragic accident thankfully low.

But this explosion is not an anomaly. Rather, it is the third explosion of the summer in the Marcellus Shale, and only one incident in a long list of accidents, spills, leaks, and unexplained health complaints. On June 3, a gas well in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, erupted into a 75-foot geyser of gas, wastewater, and sludge. It could not be controlled until after the well had spewed 35,000 gallons of waste, over the course of 16 hours. The company didn't install an appropriate pressure-control system-a basic safety requirement. Four days later, a Marcellus gas well in West Virginia, just southwest of Pittsburgh, exploded and severely burned seven people.

The gas industry is expanding voraciously in Pennsylvania, drilling more and more wells every day. Well pads, condensate tanks, waste pits, pipelines, and access roads are often placed only a few hundred feet from residential homes. A single well pad can contain 16 wells, spaced as little as 10 feet apart - shale gas drilling has industrialized countless acres of rural landscape and is already starting to encroach upon neighborhoods and schools. Reports of air pollution, water contamination, fish kills, livestock deaths, and health problems are piling up in Wyoming, Ohio, Colorado, West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, and right (here) in Pennsylvania.

... The BP Gulf disaster serves as a potent reminder of the risks associated with unchecked, unregulated fossil fuel extraction. When drillers screw up, tragedies ensue.

CLICK HERE to read more.



  1. In a written report about this tragedy by Joe Mandak with the Associated press, he reported on an email statement made by John Hanger of the DEP about this incident:

    “DEP John Hanger said in an e-mail message that the well where the accident occurred Friday is not part of the lucrative Marcellus Shale, a rock formation that drillers began tapping about two years ago.”

    I guess he is implying that this only happens to shallow gas wells? In light of this tragedy this is a very strange and insensitive statement.

  2. After battling quicksilver fracking company and city officials for over a year over four wells quicksilver wanted to put within 200 feet of our 550 home community we won the battle. Quicksilver used deceptive trade practices in obtaining waivers - they were city waivers (God blessed us with that)
    we also did a petition half the homeowners signed. We need a national petition/agenda where the federal government takes the power out of these city officials hands and allowing them to do whatever they want. There are going to be a lot of politicians out of a job come next voting day. How many millions of people in 34 states are being effected - their health and the value of their home and land - and are living under duress because of this and politicians
    lack of humane responsibility.

  3. The gas industry is prepared to surround our property now. There are homes in this rural area that have stood empty for a year already and will probably not be sold because of the eminent threats and disruption posed by gas industry operations. After 35 years we must now relocate to a "Shale Free" area in an attempt to regain the quality of life we are losing here. Pending mandentory pooling legislation in Pennsylvania won't even allow us to deny access to a corporation or refuse to sell them a commodity from the property we now own. Our home will become worthless but our biggest fear by far is for the land we leave behind and the life it supports.



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