Saturday, March 28, 2009

WRITE NOW! Urge Your Representative to vote FOR H.R. 7231!

RED ALERT! The Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission
is Urging Congress Not to Remove Exemption of
Hydraulic Fracturing
from Provisions Of The Safe Drinking Water Act

Text of H.R. 7231 [110th]: To repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act...

This version: Introduced in House. This is the original text of the bill as it was written by its sponsor and submitted to the House for consideration. This is the latest version of the bill available on this website.


2d Session

H. R. 7231

To repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act, and for other purposes.


September 29, 2008

Ms. DEGETTE (for herself, Mr. HINCHEY, and Mr. SALAZAR) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


To repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 1421(d)(1) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h(d)(1)) is amended by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting:

‘(B) includes the underground injection of fluids or propping agents pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities; but

‘(C) excludes the underground injection of natural gas for purposes of storage.’.

Introduced Sept. 29, 2008 by Rep. Diana DeGette [D-CO], this bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session.
Congress will next meet on Mar 30, 2009.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Asking for safe water
Published: Friday, March 27, 2009 3:14 AM EDT

TOWANDA — A Towanda resident on Thursday urged the Bradford County commissioners to take action to address the fact that hydraulic fracturing, which is used in gas drilling in Bradford County, is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Large quantities of water, which are used to hydraulically fracture the Marcellus Shale during gas drilling, contain chemicals, many of which can cause cancer, Towanda resident Donna Hemingson said in an interview.
She said she was concerned that this chemical-containing water could contaminate the water table in Bradford County.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act, which was crafted by Vice-President Dick Cheney and others who had worked for Halliburton, "exempts the hydraulic fracturing process — which is owned by Halliburton — from the requirements and regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act," Hemingson told the commissioners.

In light of the exemption that has been granted to the hydraulic fracturing process, "what have you commissioners done to ensure that we, the people, under your watch, have safe drinking water, and what recourses do we have to rectify the negative consequences — and there are going to be negative consequences, and there already have been — to our health, property values, and publicly shared environment?" Hemingson asked.

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko began to respond to Hemingson by saying that damage to roads and the preservation of safe drinking water are two of the biggest issues related gas drilling.

But Hemingson interrupted McLinko, saying: "We have no recourse legally (under the Safe Drinking Water Act, if a problem should develop), because they are exempted."

"I am not aware of that (exemption)," McLinko then told Hemingson.

"Yeah, they are exempt," Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith said.

"Oh boy, you should be aware of it, that there is no legal recourse," Hemingson told McLinko.

"I know there has been trouble in Susquehanna County, but has there been trouble locally?" McLinko asked Hemingson.

"There has been trouble across the country," Hemingson replied.

McLinko later told Hemingson: "I understand there is a big concern for drinking water. I think we should look at the way our water wells are constructed. The way water wells are put in the ground today, they can more easily become contaminated from a septic field or something, than from gas wells. Because there are many, many instances where the double-lined and double-grouted gas wells are sealed way down below the aquifers."

McLinko also told Hemingson that the commissioners can’t do anything about the Safe Drinking Water Act.

"But as commissioners, is there some way you can put forth some kind of push to get the DEP and the EPA to look into this?"

"There is something we can do," McLinko said. "If injustices have been done, we could put companies’ feet to the fire as best we can."

"But that’s all after the fact," Hemingson said.

Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of large quantities of water under high pressure into well bores to fracture the Marcellus Shale and release the gas in the shale.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail:


1. With regard to McLinko's outrageous admission above, we noted this follow-up comment:
" Regarding McLinko's saying he is unaware that fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act:
I have been emailing important gas/water news and information to Mr. McLinko, and our other commissioners... . This is news and information the people in charge of making decisions NEED to know.
It is not surprising that McLinko didn't know something as basic as the fact that the oil and gas industry is exempt from SDWA regulations.
On March 9th, in response to one such mailing I sent out, to my horror, Mr. McLinko replied: Please remove me from your mailing list…………….Thank you."

2. In August of last year, Bradford County taxpayers sent their commissioners on a fact finding mission to Wise Co. Texas, which they deemed similar to Bradford County in many ways.
Seeking information that would help keep his constituents safe, Mark Smith contacted well known environmental activist Txsharon, who arranged for local people to talk to the Bradford County Commissioners about how gas drilling has affected their lives. For the complete story, CLICK HERE.

"It's too bad the Bradford County, PA Commissioner's fact finding trip turned into fluff finding or McKlinko would have known about Big Oil [and Gas]'s MANY exemptions from our federal environmental laws," said Txsharon on her blog today.
With regard to McLinko's comments about water well construction nowadays, i.e., "The way water wells are put in the ground today, they can more easily become contaminated from a septic field or something, than from gas wells," Txsharon notes: this is the line given by industry and McKlinko learned it when he came here and got his complimentary hard hat.

She continues, and it is worth repeating:
I've written about the exemptions many times. The Domestic Drilling Agenda: How We Can Protect Ourselves From the Environmental Devastation

Oil and gas enjoys broad exemptions from our environmental laws.

* Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

* Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

* Safe Drinking Water Act

* Clean Water Act

* Clean Air Act

* National Environmental Policy Act

* Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

There is plenty county commissioners can do to protect citizens from oil & gas. One thing our commissioners could have done before they allowed Wise County to have the most injection wells of any other county, is adopt a resolution to protest every injection well permit like Hood County, TX commissioners did. They can also place load limits on roads so the trucks can't pass. There are many different ways commissioners can take better measures to protect their citizens. If nothing else and at the VERY LEAST they can be responsible enough to educate themselves on the issues! They are RESPONSIBLE for making good decisions for their constituents!

Right now they could adopt a resolution to repeal the SDWA exemption as I have requested of Wise County, TX commissioners <-crickets chirping->. Municipalities, counties, communities, groundwater districts and many other organizations all across the country are adopting resolutions. If you want a copy of such a resolution, contact me.

All I can say is: I feel your pain Bradford [County] residents. Our commissioners don't know about the SDWA either.

In a subsequent post, Txsharon commented further:
I don't think the commissioners can be expected to know everything about drilling. It's a complicated issue. But they can be expected to be open to learning the TRUTH from multiple sources, not be arrogant about taking information and for the love of God don't repeat the industry propaganda.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oversight of chemicals used in gas drilling unclear... AND OUTRAGEOUS!

(click to enlarge)
Scranton (PA) Times-Tribune: Oversight of chemicals used in gas drilling unclear
Published: Monday, March 23, 2009 4:22 PM EDT

BRIDGEWATER TWP. — Cabot Oil and Gas began storing dozens of 55-gallon drums marked “methanol” on a Susquehanna County lot last winter about 100 feet and a crumbling fieldstone wall away from Matthew Nebzydoski’s backyard and his 4-year-old daughter’s swing set.
A resident recently contacted the county emergency management agency with photos of the drums, each of which is clearly labeled with a skull and crossbones, as well as several pictures of a barrel tipped over with a puncture through its side. The emergency agency forwarded the complaint to the Department of Environmental Protection, which generally regulates natural gas drilling in the state.
On March 12, DEP inspected the site and found no violations for spills, leaks or waste problems — the aspects of the site the department can regulate because the agency does not have oversight of chemical products stored in small containers, a spokesman said.
Despite the clean inspection, the barrels of methanol so close to a residential neighborhood raised questions about the toxic chemicals natural gas drilling is introducing in rural areas neither prepared nor zoned to deal with them.
Methanol, which gas operators use as an antifreeze in pipes, is considered hazardous by national and international fire, health and safety agencies. It is fatal to humans who swallow as little as 4 ounces; two teaspoons can cause blindness. But state and federal storage regulations for hazardous chemicals don’t bar companies from storing large quantities in open air without fences, even when small children live next door.
The methanol in the pipe yard next to Mr. Nebzydoski’s property also revealed uncertainty among state agencies about who regulates the storage of chemicals involved in gas drilling. Both county and state emergency management officials said they believe DEP regulates chemical storage at gas drilling sites, but an inquiry to a DEP spokesman about proper storage was forwarded to the Department of Labor and Industry.
A Department of Labor and Industry spokesman said, “DEP has specific requirements for storage of chemicals related to gas drilling, not PENNSAFE,” the Labor and Industry division that oversees the reporting of hazardous chemicals.
When asked whose jurisdiction the inspection of methanol storage in Bridgewater Twp. falls under, Mark Carmon, the regional DEP spokesman, said unless it violates a local ordinance, “I don’t know if it all falls under anybody. It’s an equipment storage yard.”

'You can see the poison labels from here'

Concerns about the chemicals used in the gas extraction process — particularly those chemicals mixed with water and sand and injected underground to fracture the gas-bearing Marcellus Shale — are often met with an insistence the chemicals make up a minute part of the millions of gallons of fracturing fluid used to stimulate each gas well.
But before the chemicals are diluted they are stored in concentrated amounts in places like the Cabot Oil and Gas Pipe Yard off Route 29.
On Tuesday evening, Mr. Nebzydoski stood in his yard while his daughter, Maggie, played in a dirt pile and told herself a story about an imaginary garden.
Four years ago, when the middle school principal moved his family to the neighborhood — one of the rare residential developments in the rural townships just south of Montrose — the storage yard next door was a green field.
“You turn and look this way,” he said, glancing at the circle of tidy neighboring homes “and you see the perfect American dream-type neighborhood. You turn the other way and you see that.” He nodded at the dozens of black methanol barrels stacked against the side of a trailer, plastic totes of purple and yellow chemicals used in the process of drilling for gas and, to the left, storage tanks, construction vehicles and a pile of long teal pipes.

“You can see the poison labels from here,” he said.

Nothing but the fallen wall and a narrow strip of brush separates his yard from the industrial site — a concern in a neighborhood with about 20 children, he said. At the entrance to the pipe yard from Route 29 there is only a small sign, for the self-storage facility that shares the lot, that declares “absolutely no trespassing.”
Mr. Nebzydoski believes local ordinances and zoning districts might have prohibited an industrial storage yard from locating next door to his neighborhood, but Bridgewater Twp., like most municipalities in Susquehanna County, is not zoned.
The township is pursuing zoning, but some vocal residents have rallied against it, worrying it will stifle economic development, according to township Supervisor Charles Mead.
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Fire Protection Association set protocols for how flammable and combustible liquids must be stored, they do not prohibit storage outside or without fences.
A Cabot spokesman said although there are dozens of drums marked methanol in the yard, a check Friday afternoon revealed only 11 were full. The other 59 were empty and waiting to be sent back to a supplier to be refilled. Cabot never stores as many as 24 full barrels in the yard at once, he said.
He also explained the storage yard is temporary and the company has for some time been working to establish a fenced, permanent storage yard and building farther south on Route 29.
“The plan has been all along not to have those drums there long term,” the spokesman, Ken Komoroski, said.

Rules only go so far

Federal and state regulations that address the storage of hazardous chemicals are meant to help communities prepare for toxic dangers in their towns, but natural gas development in the region has also revealed the limits of those rules.
Federal law dictates facilities that store hazardous chemicals above a certain threshold, usually 10,000 pounds, must report it to state and local emergency response agencies, including the local fire department.
Called the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the federal regulations are meant to inform emergency responders and residents about where hazardous chemicals are being produced or used in their communities.
But oil and gas operators have adopted generic reporting terms that allow them to disclose categories of chemicals, like “solvents” or “surfactants,” rather than specific chemicals stored at each site. Some states, including Texas, do not accept generic reporting.

In Pennsylvania, if oil and gas companies use generic descriptions, they still have to identify what chemicals are used and in what percentage, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Industry said. Furthermore, companies in the state must submit site plans along with chemical inventory reports pinpointing exactly where at a facility chemicals are stored.

***But a review of Cabot chemical inventory reports submitted to the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency in the last three years revealed the forms are often vague and inconsistent.
None of the four chemical inventory reports the company has filed include site plans. On one form, Cabot indicates diesel fuel poses a fire hazard; on another it indicates it does not. Each of the forms is stamped with instructions to consult the generic hazardous chemical inventory for the oil and gas industry, which lists the “categories of hazardous chemicals rather than the trade names and specific chemical names.”

In total, the Cabot reports disclose “cement,” “diesel fuel,” “drilling mud,” “fracture fluids,” “produced hydrocarbons,” “proppants” and “associated additives” as the hazardous chemicals found in reportable quantities across 21 well sites.
The reports do not specifically list the presence of methanol because Cabot has never reached the reportable threshold for the chemical, Mr. Komoroski said.
“We receive barrels in and we send the barrels back to be refilled. We never exceed the threshold. We have never even approached that.”
He could not answer specific questions about how Cabot uses generic reporting because, he said, the company hires a “professional experienced consultant” to create its chemical inventory reports.
“We do believe that the company is fully complaint with its (chemical inventory) reporting obligations now,” he said.

(New contradictions?)
He also said Cabot conducts regular training sessions with the local fire company where information about hazardous chemicals is provided to first responders.
According to the local fire chief, Cabot has not submitted the reports to the Springville Volunteer Fire Company, the local fire department. On its reports for the county emergency management agency, Cabot listed the local fire company as “Dimock,” which does not exist.

Firefighters unprepared

In the last year, Chief Dan Smales, of Springville Volunteer Fire Company, has seen his small, country fire company called to industrial-type incidents as gas development has increased in the region.
He said the volunteer firefighters have learned on the job at each incident — a diesel spill, an accidental injury, gas flares — without specific training.
He also said the lack of chemical inventory reports sent to his department — and the lack of clarity on the ones submitted to the county emergency management agency — are cause for concern. For example, he said, the term “fracture fluids” on Cabot’s report does not clarify the risks for him.
“We have no idea what that stuff is,” he said. “We don’t know. They haven’t told us.”
That lack of information has defined much of his fire company’s experience with gas drilling so far. Most often, when the firefighters respond to a call, Cabot well tenders or contracted hazardous materials teams have already taken care of the problem, he said.
This week, Cabot is holding a dinner and training session for a few members of each area fire company, but although Chief Smales said Cabot has been “great to work with,” he does not know what he will learn at the training, or even what he would like to learn.

“I think the biggest thing is, what do we do if? What if a well does catch fire, is there a valve to shut off. How do you stop it? I don’t know.”

In the meantime, the firefighters want to protect the community and the community wants more information, putting first responders in a difficult position.
“I think there are a lot of questions and people want answers and I don’t have them,” he said.

Chemicals listed on DEP Web site

The state Department of Environmental Protection published a list of chemicals found in natural gas operators’ hydraulic fracturing solutions on its Web site for the first time Friday.
The list includes the vendor names of products used by the operators in the state and the hazardous chemicals, by weight, in each of those products.
The list can be viewed at

Contact the writer:

Copyright © 2009 - The Times-Tribune
(Editorializing by SPLASH)

Gas Activity Leaves some Angry

As drilling activity is increasing in Bradford, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties, residents are getting a taste of what lies ahead, and some are not at all pleased with the way things are changing.
For a first hand report, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

There Goes the Neighborhood!

House Republicans Unveil Marcellus Shale Gas Lease Proposal

The House Republican Energy Task Force today unveiled at a Capitol news conference the "Energize PA" plan to expand natural gas drilling on 390,000 additional acres of state forest land during the next three years. The proposal would provide an additional $260 million per year for state and local governments and conservation districts while promoting the creation of 7,000 new private-sector jobs in Pennsylvania's emerging Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling industry.
"My bill is about promoting job creation at a time when our state's workers are suffering the consequences of a national economic downturn," said Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana), prime sponsor of the legislation - House Bill 1050 - and one of two co-chairs of the House Republican Energy Task Force, together with Tina Pickett (R-Bradford).
... The task force held informational meetings with natural gas industry experts and executives to develop a workable proposal that would provide revenue for the state, local governments and conservation districts without enacting a new tax on natural gas companies. (click here for full announcement)

Meanwhile, Citizens
for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) today decried the House Republican Energy Task Force Plan to Open Hundreds of Thousands of Acres of State Lands to Drilling, calling it the height of fiscal and environmental irresponsibility.

Cleaner Air Ahead!

According to an article in today's New York Times, "The Environmental Protection Agency, about to declare heat-trapping gases to be dangerous pollutants, has embarked on one of the most ambitious regulatory challenges in history.

The move is likely to have a profound effect across the economic spectrum, affecting transportation, power plants, oil refineries, cement plants and other manufacturers. ...

Once made final, the agency’s finding will pave the way for federal regulation of carbon dioxide, methane and other heat-trapping gases linked to global warming. ... and ... could open the doors for regulatory controls on power plants, oil refineries, cement plants and other factories. ...

If finalized, the finding by the agency could lead to a vast extension of its reach. Much is unknown about the details of what the E.P.A. is proposing, including how stringently the agency would regulate the emissions and how it would go about doing so. ...

Experts said Monday that the E.P.A.’s action would put pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation that could supplant the agency’s plan or guide how it was carried out. A federal bill is preferred by many environmentalists and policy makers, as well as by industry.

John D. Walke, a senior lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said he welcomed the agency’s decision but hoped it would ultimately lead to federal legislation. ...

Earlier this month, the agency proposed creating a greenhouse-gas emissions registry, which would require industries— including oil refineries and cement makers, as well as utilities and pulp and paper manufacturers— to report how much pollution they were emitting. ...

Asked about the E.P.A.’s move, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, emphasized the importance of going through Congress. “The way to deal with greenhouse gases,” Mr. Gibbs said, “is to work with Congress in order to put together a plan that deals with this and creates a market for renewable energy.”

There are several reasons that there is a widespread preference for a legislative “cap-and-trade” approach to regulating carbon dioxide emissions, as opposed to E.P.A. regulation.

A central reason, said Paul Bledsoe of the National Commission on Energy Policy, is that Congressional action is less subject to litigation and could not be easily overturned by a new administration."

For a look at the air pollution drilling for gas is generating, see the following two posts with videos from Bluedaze:
1. Smoking Frack in the Barnett Shale?
2. Why is there so much smog in rural North Texas?

Let's do more than hope that the gas drilling industry loses its carte blanche and comes under these new regulations as well. Write to ALL your state and federal senators and representatives, urging them to eliminate the exemptions from responsible stewardship of our vital resources the oil and gas industry has been enjoying at our expense.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Last Week's Contradictions

• From Fri. MAR. 13: It's All About the Water...
Industry spokesmen maintain the groundwater [in Dimock, PA] is protected by meticulous safeguards and that any chemicals used are heavily diluted and pose no health threat.
It is "impossible" that drilling has contaminated the groundwater, said Cabot spokesman Kenneth Komoroski.

• In a follow-up comment, Txsharon reports: For a frack job that uses 2 million gallons of fresh water roughly 80,000 pounds of chemicals would be used.
(How diluted is 1 lb. of toxic chemicals for every 25 gal. of water?
a. Extremely heavily diluted? b. Fairly heavily diluted? c. Slightly heavily diluted? d. None of the above.)

• From Sat. MAR. 14: Truth *and* Consequences
According a letter of violation from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. caused natural gas to infiltrate into at least nine homes in Susquehanna County. It remains unclear however, whether Cabot knowingly violated any regulations. ...
The company and DEP agree that the gas isn’t from Marcellus Shale, a pipeline leak or naturally occurring sources above ground. They also concur that the gas is likely from a gas-laden upper layer of underground Devonian shale, of which the Marcellus Shale is a component but thousands of feet deeper, Carmon said. Marcellus Shale is generally at least 5,000 feet underground, while DEP determined the gas contaminating the water wells came from a shale layer roughly between 1,500 feet and 2,000 feet deep, Carmon said.

• But then from Fri. MAR. 20: C'est la Vie...
John Hanger, acting secretary of PA's Dept. of Environmental Protection, said he could not confirm or deny reports that water in the northeast Pennsylvania township of Dimock -- where many producing wells are located -- is being contaminated by chemicals from a process called hydrofracturing, or "fracking," in which chemicals are forced deep into the rock mixed with water and sand.
On the other hand, he also said, "You can't do a large amount of drilling and have zero impact."

• From Mon. MAR. 16: To Market, to Market...
With gas prices down, industry is telling us that "the US economy and security may depend on bringing these clean burning gas discoveries in the Barnett, Haynesville, Marcellus and Fayetteville Shale to market profitably."
According to Lokke Advertising, CEO, Don Lokke, Jr. "Natural gas, locally produced, is critical to energy independence and local economies. Cities and consumers need to start thinking on a local or regional basis with regard to natural gas consumption. ... In homes, gas heating, cooking, water heating, refrigerators, grills, fireplaces and even backup generators need to regain market share. Electric vs Gas price models need to be advertised. Consumers need to see gas as the clean burning alternative to coal/oil generated electric on a local basis.

• In a comment on Sat. MAR. 21, Peacegirl reported:
I have read today that, according to the CEO of Chesapeake Energy, his goal is to look to the international market to get the best price for his natural gas. He says he can get twice as much money from foreign countries and will sell there. He is looking right now for ways to transport gas overseas. Also it looks like our own natural gas will not be cheaper here in the US. We will have to pay the international going rate. So this business of becoming less dependent on foreign oil by drilling in the shale areas is bogus.

• On Wed. MAR. 18: What's Wrong with this Picture?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) often paints a rosy picture of the health in communities near toxic waste sites, according to a report released by the House Science Committee subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. In the process, scientific integrity has been sacrificed. An ATSDR staffer told the subcommittee, “It seems like the goal is to disprove the communities’ concerns rather than actually trying to prove exposures.”

• From Thurs. MAR. 19: EXEMPTIONS - PARDONS...
Did you know that poisonous or toxic waste becomes "safe" (or secret, like Coke!) when our government EXEMPTS the gas industry from responsibility for the impact of their acts!
"Eleven of the 65 chemicals used by the oil and gas industry were listed as hazardous wastes when disposed of unused by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Act, passed in 1976, was designed to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal. BUT, the oil and gas industry is exempt under RCRA, which (should) protect citizens from wastes classified as hazardous." (OGAP 2007)

Friday, March 20, 2009

C'est la Vie... Inevitably, or is it Criminally?

By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Pennsylvania's top environmental official said on Friday that a natural gas drilling boom would inevitably result in some environmental damage including possible contamination of water supplies.

Responding to concerns that drilling in some areas has caused toxic chemicals to pollute drinking water, John Hanger said the value of the gas underlying Pennsylvania and parts of surrounding states outweighed damage drilling may cause.

"You can't do a large amount of drilling and have zero impact," Hanger, acting secretary of the state's Department of Environmental Protection, told Reuters. "There's going to be a lot of good that comes from drilling in Pennsylvania, but there are also going to be some problems."

Hanger said he could not confirm or deny reports that water in the northeast Pennsylvania township of Dimock -- where many producing wells are located -- is being contaminated by chemicals from a process called hydrofracturing, or "fracking," in which chemicals are forced deep into the rock mixed with water and sand.

He acknowledged that some of the chemicals could be dangerous to human health but said that risk has to be weighed against the benefits that will come from the exploitation of what he called the "enormous" gas reserves contained in the Marcellus Shale.

(In other words, it's worth risking people's lives to cancer, leukemia, brain lesions, hair loss, projectile vomiting, and our environment to permanently polluted radioactive water, infiltrated aquifers, air degraded by toxic emissions from the massive amounts of diesel fuel burned in order to recover maybe 10-15 years of clean burning natural gas... IS IT REALLY?)

"Some of these chemicals are things you couldn't drink. There's no doubt about that," he said. "We have processes that go on in our lives all the time that involve these chemicals, and we run a certain amount of risk because of the benefits."

He pledged that officials would respond diligently to any complaints about polluted water resulting from the drilling. "We are absolutely focused on protecting our water," he said.

Energy companies such as Cabot Oil and Gas, which operates in the Dimock area, say the chemicals used in fracking fluid are heavily diluted and pose no threat to health. They also say the fluid is injected a mile or more underground, thousands of feet below the level of drinking water aquifers.

(Apparently energy companies will say anything...)

Residents in Dimock say their water has caused sickness and at times has become discolored and foul-smelling since drilling started.

Responding to concerns about gas drilling, DEP officials on Friday published a list of fracking chemicals on the agency's website for the first time, under the heading "Summary of Hydraulic Fracture Solutions." (

Hanger said the Marcellus reserve contains at least 350 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or enough to supply the entire U.S. demand for 10 to 15 years without relying on the output of any other state, Canada or Mexico.

He predicted development of the field, which is in a very early stage, would bring billions of dollars to the state and create tens of thousands of jobs. Natural gas would also benefit the environment, he [said] because [it] is cleaner burning than oil or coal."

(Editing by Daniel Trotta)

(Editorializing by SPLASHDOWN)

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Think we are just talking about our MONEY? NOPE. Or about having the value of our IRA's tank — or watching our life savings disappear? NOPE. This is bigger and more expensive than the $65 billion Madoff swindle. This is about STOLEN water, health, homes and way of life. This involves smart behind-the-scenes deals made primarily during the Bush administration with oil and gas industry people that put the safety and value of our most basic and VITAL needs at risk. Happily, for them, they have been PARDONED by our government for polluting or otherwise destroying our drinking water. Homes without drinkable water or aquifers permanently corrupted by drilling toxins are a violation of everything we believe in and their loss can bankrupt towns and neighborhoods. Did you know that poisonous or toxic waste becomes "safe" (or secret, like Coke!) when our government EXEMPTS the gas industry from responsibility for the impact of their acts!
"Eleven of the 65 chemicals used by the oil and gas industry were listed as hazardous wastes when disposed of unused by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Act, passed in 1976, was designed to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal. BUT, the oil and gas industry is exempt under RCRA, which (should) protect citizens from wastes classified as hazardous." (OGAP 2007)
(read more:
(read still more:

WVA DEP seeks comments on Marcellus shale drilling

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Department of Environmental Protection announced it is seeking public comment on a draft document that addresses drillers' water use and disposal in the Marcellus Shale formation.
Department secretary Randy Huffman said in a prepared statement, "New advancements in drilling technology have created increased interest in exploring the Marcellus Shale formation in New York, Pennsylvania, and recently in West Virginia. What we are concerned about is the increase in the amount of water used and the disposal of wastewater that results from using these new drilling techniques."
The department will accept comments about the document until April 17. The document can be viewed online at Comments about the draft can be submitted by e-mail to or mailed to the Public Information Office at 601 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV 25304.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's Wrong with this Picture?

"[T]ime and time again [the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry] appears to avoid clearly and directly confronting the most obvious toxic culprits that harm the health of local communities throughout the nation. Instead, they deny, delay, minimize, trivialize or ignore legitimate concerns and health considerations of local communities and well respected scientists and medical professionals."
Remind you of any other agencies or departments?
For more on the federal agency responsible for studying and responding to adverse health effects caused by toxic waste and reticent to acknowledge patterns of illness near contaminated sites, CLICK HERE.

Monday, March 16, 2009

To Market, to Market, to Sell LNG...

Now that the price of natural gas has fallen below profitable levels for drilling deep wells into shale beds, industry is telling us that "the US economy and security may depend on bringing these clean burning gas discoveries in the Barnett Shale, Haynesville Shale, Marcellus Shale, and Fayetteville Shale to market profitably. With price a function of supply and demand, we are seeing a greater supply than demand." They are saying, "That has to change."
Their solution?
The tail that wags the dog of capitalism... marketing!
How's this for logic? "Local producers face increasing competition from LNG imports and alternative fuels. ... The clean burning natural gas* industry, as a whole, needs to actively support competitive incentives that build profitable local markets. ...natural gas use has declined in the face of aggressive marketing and infrastructure investment over the last 50 years by electric utilities at the consumer level. Gas stoves, ovens, refrigerators and water heaters have been replaced in favor of electric alternatives."
Yes, it's a sorry story when LNG imports are more competitively priced than homegrown but, given the finite supply of natural gas in any case, with less than 20 years availability projected, marketing strategies that compete with alternative fuels seem more self serving than driven by real concerns for national energy independence. For a taste of fine hype, CLICK HERE.
*and don't forget all the pollution generated in extracting that clean burning gas... from the hundreds and hundreds of diesel rigs driving to and from well sites to the generators belching smoke into the air during drilling, to the water made toxic and radioactive... in the end, there's ultimately very litte "clean" about natural gas derived from shale.

Truth *and* Consequences

While it is still uncertain whether Cabot Oil & Gas knew they were violating regulations, they have been accused of being responsible for contaminating wells supplying water to at least nine homes in Dimock, PA.
Despite those "meticulous safeguards", it is apparently not so "impossible that drilling has contaminated the groundwater." (see our Fri., March 13 post)
As reported in today's Times Leader, "The situation has become an example of a statewide issue regarding the unknown consequences of gas drilling. Water contamination concerns have caused environmental agencies, including DEP and the Susquehanna River Basic Commission, to increase their regulation and oversight, hindering drillers’ efforts to secure permits quickly." For the full story, CLICK HERE.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's All About the Water... Water Everywhere...

I can't remember news coming out of anywhere in our area talking about well water that just started going brown and making people and animals feel sick, lose their hair and projectile vomit! Water you can light with a match! Can you? But that's what's happening over in Dimock, PA where Cabot Oil & Gas has been drilling wells recently.
Industry spokesmen maintain the groundwater is protected by meticulous safeguards and that any chemicals used are heavily diluted and pose no health threat.
It is "impossible" that drilling has contaminated the groundwater, said Cabot spokesman Kenneth Komoroski."
For more on this story, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bradford County Commissioners Trip to Texas: A Behind the Scenes Look...

There's an interesting post today on the blog: Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS that tells us a bit more about Bradford County commissioners' investigative trip to Wise County last summer to learn about the impact of gas drilling. To read all about it, CLICK HERE.

State regulators say gas drilling caused methane contamination

Published in the Daily Review: Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Drilling by a natural gas extraction company caused methane contamination in private water wells in Susquehanna County’s Dimock Township, state regulators say.
The state Department of Environmental Protection notified Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. in a Feb. 27 letter that the company is in violation of two state laws — the Clean Streams Law and the Oil and Gas Act — for allowing natural gas to contaminate groundwater in the vicinity of Carter Road.
The notice of violation comes amid an ongoing investigation into a New Year’s Day explosion that shattered a concrete slab covering a private water well in the township. The company has until Friday to submit a plan to DEP to resolve the violations.
“We have been working on this and we are going to continue to work on this until we solve the problem,” Mark Carmon, spokesman for DEP’s regional office in Wilkes-Barre, said Tuesday.

Cabot spokesman Ken Komoroski said the company doesn’t necessarily agree with the department’s conclusions, calling them premature. The company is awaiting a report from a hydrogeologist it hired to evaluate how gas might be migrating into the groundwater supply.
“It could be unrelated to natural gas-drilling activities, or it could be the result of Cabot’s activities,” Komoroski said. “These are all possibilities.”
Among other things, DEP is asking the company to install methane gas detectors in the living spaces of nine homes where elevated levels of dissolved methane have been found in the water supply. The concern is methane vapor could accumulate in enclosed laundry rooms, showers or dishwashers, creating the potential for explosions, Carmon said.
Komoroski said that while the safety of the residents is everyone’s ultimate concern, including Cabot’s, the installation of detectors is one of several options the company wants to discuss with DEP. There may be better approaches, he said, given that tests by local fire officials “have never indicated the presence of an explosive mixture inside any home.”
Cabot will comply with another DEP request that it continue to provide alternate water sources for four of the residences, at least temporarily, he said.
Carmon said DEP determined through laboratory analysis that the gas-polluting water wells originated in a geologic formation about 1,500 feet underground, several thousand feet above the Marcellus Shale from which Cabot is extracting natural gas in the region.
“Now that we have figured out where it came from, the rest of the investigation centers on how it is moving geologically and preventing it from occurring,” he said.
Komoroski said Cabot has asked DEP to push back Friday’s deadline to give the company additional time to develop a response to the violations.


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