Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marcellus Water is the Worst Water on the Planet!

Severance Tax as Magic Wand
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) released a report this week advocating for a severance tax on natural resource extraction, such as the proposed tax by Governor Rendell on natural gas. The report, "Responsible Growth: Protecting the Public Interest with a Natural Gas Severance Tax," examines the potential costs of increased natural gas drilling on taxpayers and the environment, how severance taxes are structured in other states, and what lessons Pennsylvania can learn from them. According to the report, a well-structured severance tax on natural gas production will protect Pennsylvania taxpayers from shouldering the public costs that come with increased drilling.

"Natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale has substantial risks and substantial costs that have not yet been fully explored in the rush to drill," said Sharon Ward, Director of the non-partisan policy research center. "A severance tax is a well-tested mechanism to shift these costs back to producers, where they belong."

Natural gas drilling has an unavoidable impact on the environment, and the waste water generated during the drilling process in the Marcellus Shale poses particular concerns. According to a marketing manager at GE Water & Processes Technologies, which develops filtering technologies used to clean the water, "the Marcellus water is the worst water on the planet."

Even with adequate environmental monitoring, increased drilling in the Marcellus Shale could cause water contamination, soil erosion, disturbance to natural environments, and noise and air pollution, said Michael Wood, the Center's Research Director and lead author of the report.

Now Here Comes the Fuzzy Logic:

A severance tax is one way to ensure that taxpayers aren't asked to pay those environmental costs, the report found. It also will compensate Pennsylvanians for the removal of a non-renewable resource and offset the costs of new roads and bridges, public safety, building, and emergency response needs that accompany growth in natural gas drilling.

(Did anyone ask Pennsylvanians if they prefer a severance tax offsetting these costs to preserving the natural state of our environment in such ways as render the severance tax unnecessary?)

"What will our great grandchildren be left with when the last gas well is exhausted? A severance tax reinvested in Pennsylvania's natural resources and communities will help balance the damages caused by drilling operations and pipelines," said Andy Loza, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.

Can severance tax money generate replacement water? Can it clean the VOCs and particulate matter out of the air? Exhaust from the huge number of diesel trucks, dust from construction activity, emissions from wells that will be flared (either intentionally or accidentally), as well as the evaporation of hazardous materials in waste pits, could lead to a profound deterioration of Pennsylvania's air quality. The use and emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in fracking fluids could have a profound impact on all Pennsylvania's ecosystems. Predetermining remediation instead of protecting existing healthy conditions bespeaks acts complicit in their destruction.



Looking at the photos of those innocent cows lying dead in their pasture, with that death factory as their immediate backdrop, one has to wonder how on earth we "humans" could be so insensitive and inured, or is it oblivious or apathetic or just downright selfish and greedy, or heedlessly WHAT!??? as to allow those two very opposite worlds to inhabit the same landscape!
President Obama last night, speaking out against torture, explained that condoning it in any circumstance allowed a degradation of our integrity that is unthinkable... unacceptable. Allowing conditions like this... recklessly using lethal ingredients in dangerously close proximity to Life Being Lived... fracking 150 feet from grazing land, storing unprotected barrels of methanol 100 feet from a 4 year old child's backyard, poisoning drinking water, ETC. tortures everyone who holds civilized being dear.


Death Toll Climbs in Louisiana Cow Pasture

An eyewitness account, published on the United Neighbors for Gas and Oil Rights website paints an even more horrific story of the events that took place in Caddo Parish yesterday.
"I WENT TO TOWN ON (TUES.) APRIL 28TH. EVERYTHING WAS FINE AT THE PASTURE DOWN THE ROAD. ON THE WAY HOME, I SAW FUNNY LOOKING STEAM COMING OFF THE WELL SITE. IT MADE ME MAD, BECAUSE NO ONE CAN SEEM TO GET RID OF THE HEADACHES, COUGHS, NAUSEA WE HAVE BEEN HAVING SINCE THE DRILLING STARTED," it begins. The report tells of a neighbor stopping by to report the cows in the pasture "dropping like flies" and what follows is a description of the situation, concerned area residents' response and the indefensible actions of the sheriff's department:
For the full account, CLICK HERE.

Also see:


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

19 Cows Die Near Chesapeake Energy Gas Well

Yesterday local residents witnessed cows dying in a fenced in Louisiana pasture, just 150 feet from a Chesapeake well. Apparently some type of production, or fracking fluid ran offsite and into the pasture where the cows got into it and ingested it.
One person said she watched at least four cows, "tongues hanging, bleeding off front and back, foaming at the mouth and bellowing" collapse and die.

For the latest on this story, CLICK HERE.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our planet's industrial scars...

In these images, from the Today website, photographer J Henry Fair documents the unsustainable consumption of our planet’s natural resources...
(click photos to enlarge)

This is an image of a waste pit for drilling mud; byproducts from these mining operations include rock debris, drill bit lubricants, and possibly residual radioactive material. The type of waste being produced indicates that exploration is still in progress. The overspray on the bottom right is a violation and a danger to any water bodies below.

This image shows another waste pit at a hydro-fracing drill site. Again, we see a waste pit for drilling mud. The overspray in this image can be seen at the top, and is, again, a violation and a danger to any water bodies downhill.

This hydro-fracing site has a holding pond from which compounds are allowed to evaporate into the air, and what looks like an old chemical spill.

Here, the gas drilling rights dwarf the farm that hosts them. Some farmers who have signed leases are exploring legal means of escape. Hydro-fracing can deplete the water table in the area, contaminate the wells on the host property as well as those nearby, aside from being a horrible eyesore.

In this image, we see the Millennium Pipeline Path, Delaware River, and the town of Hancock, N.Y. The pipeline's course, identified by the denuded strip, is clearly visible from the air. In spite of its name, the pipeline has already been disinterred to increase its capacity.

Thanks they'l never for the reference to these photos!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Dispatch From the Marcellus: Natural Gas Prices and the Shale Paradox

Natural Gas Is Heading to 1997 Levels, Should Stay There Awhile

Seeking Alpha, April 27, 2009

In the middle of this decade, E&P companies were spurred on by rising commodity prices and easy credit to find and develop new sources of domestic natural gas–most notably shale gas. The forces that enabled this phenomenal growth in domestic gas production–the great asset and credit bubble–have vanished into air, into thin air.

Now, Shale-gas companies may have been impaled on their own bayonets. Yet some would have us believe that natural gas prices are poised for a great comeback–that all the fret and worry is for nothing because prices are going to come right back up and justify the development of all the shale in the country, and then some.

They are wrong: demand will continue to be weak and supply will not be nearly as sparse as the some of the gas bulls would have us believe. Instead, the story of 2009, 2010, and beyond will be not only how much farther natural gas prices will fall, but also how long prices will stay in the basement, and who will be counted among the casualties.

The Fallacy of the Rig-Laydown, Production-Decline Pricing Idea:

wellexplosion1U.S. producers, loudest among them being Chesapeake (CHK), are howling that lower prices will eventually lead to less production, which in turn will severely impact supplies and raise the price.

But this is not a process which will lead to sustained greater prices, because even if this phenomenon caused a temporary or seasonal price increase, that would only encourage more production from known, vast shale supplies, and other prolific domestic sources like deep Bossier–which would result in another glut, and bring prices down again. In this scenario, wouldn’t the price just settle at a point which is only marginally better than the cost of production? Its also important to recognize that it takes less rigs actively drilling now to produce more gas than even a few years ago.

With more built-for-purpose horizontal shale rigs active in places like the Marcellus shale, a few new, successful horizontal units can bring forth a level of production that may have taken 10 or 20 vertical wells to equal only a few years ago.

For example, to date, CXG has drilled 5 horizontal wells with costs declining from $5.3mm for the first well to $3.8mm for the fifth well. The company expects the next horizontal well to cost ~$3.6mm. Average IP-rate for the first 5 horizontal wells was 4.3 MMcf/d. If we assume the lower horizontal well cost of ~$3.8mm with a 3 Bcfe EUR on 40-acre spacing

Another factor which could cut short a price spike is that gas companies may have wells they have shut in and are not producing. They will turn these wells on as prices rise, allowing a rapid flood of natural gas to enter the market much faster than an increase in drilling could respond. It is also likely that if storage reaches capacity there will be no choice but to shut in some production.

In any event, a slight rise in prices into the zone of marginal profitability would likely engender a race to bring on more production in order to realize cash-flow, which could flood the marketplace once again, causing the price settle at or near the break-even point. In this shale-supply driven scenario, prices will go to the marginal cost of production, so any industry gains in efficiency and cost-saving of production will only serve to drive the price down.


(click image to view in separate window)

In the shale-supply driven scenario, big regional shale leaders like Range Resources (RRC) could continue to make money producing high volumes at prices at or near the marginal cost of production, especially since Marcellus gas is usually sold at a Nymex premium in the Northeast market due to savings on transportation.

But this scenario does not factor in the burgeoning supply of natural gas headed to the U.S. on foreign-flagged tankers that can deliver as much gas in a month’s transport time as a good shale well can deliver over its entire productive life.

LNG and the Coming Wave of Cheap Foreign Gas...

To continue reading, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In this Week's New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert Reflects on Earth Day:

In the Air

The first celebration of Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was a raucously exuberant affair.
In New York, Fifth Avenue was closed to traffic. People picnicked on the sidewalk; dead fish were dragged through midtown; and Governor Nelson Rockefeller rode a bicycle across Prospect Park. Students in Richmond, Virginia, handed out bags of dirt (to represent the "good earth"); demonstrators in Washington poured oil onto the sidewalk in front of the Interior Department (to protest recent oil spills) ... All told, some twenty million Americans took part – far more than the man who thought up the occasion, Senator Gaylord Nelson, Democrat of Wisconsin, had expected.

“That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day,” Nelson later said. “It organized itself.”

Among those who seemed unmoved was President Richard Nixon. He avoided the festivities and made no public comment on them. (One of his aides, John Whitaker, later acknowledged that the Administration had been “totally unprepared” for the wave of environmental activism “that was about to engulf us.”) Nevertheless, even Nixon seems to have got the message.

Three months afterward, he created the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and five months after that he signed the Clean Air Act. The Clean Water Act, the Pesticide Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act all became law by the end of 1974.

Since the mid-nineteen-seventies, the nation’s environmental agenda—to the extent that it has had one—has consisted mainly of trying to defend these early achievements. This is all the more notable because of what has happened in the intervening years. At the time of the first Earth Day, the term “global warming” was barely in circulation ... and actual warming had yet to be clearly detected. Today, of course, there are thousands of scientists studying global warming, and new effects are constantly being observed. Just a few weeks ago, researchers reported that Antarctica’s Wilkins Ice Shelf had “begun to collapse because of rapid climate change.”...

To do something meaningful about global warming will require legislation even more far-reaching than the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, and recently there have been encouraging signs that Congress and the White House understand this. Late last year, Henry Waxman, of California, an outspoken advocate of action on climate change, wrested control of the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee from John Dingell, of Michigan, an outspoken advocate of delay. A few weeks ago, Waxman introduced a comprehensive energy bill, which, while flawed, at least represents a starting point. President Barack Obama, for his part, has been clear about the urgency of the problem; shortly after taking office, he observed that global warming, “if left unchecked,” could result in “irreversible catastrophe.” To guide him, he has assembled some of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful people in the nation. ...

In a move that has been widely interpreted as a prod to Congress, the E.P.A. last week designated carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases as pollutants. ... The designation initiates the regulation of CO2 under the Clean Air Act, a process that could eventually affect most major industries in the United States.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to wonder whether serious steps to reduce carbon emissions will be taken this year or, indeed, ever. Regulating CO2 using existing laws will be a laborious, and potentially litigious, exercise. Meanwhile, the Administration has been strangely passive about trying to shape climate legislation—one reason that the Waxman bill is likely to be further watered down. Then, there’s the question of whether even an inadequate bill has the votes to pass.

Three and a half decades ago, when the nation’s key environmental laws were approved, politicians were responding to the mood of the country. Today, the situation is largely reversed.

Polls show that voters regard the environment in general, and climate change in particular, as, at best, middling concerns. In a recent survey, the Pew Research Center asked Americans about their priorities for Congress and the new President. “Dealing with global warming” ranked at the bottom of a list of twenty choices, far below “strengthening the nation’s economy” and “reducing health-care costs,” and even below dealing with unspecified “global trade issues.” The recession seems to have dampened the nation’s enthusiasm for any measure that could affect—or, perhaps just as important, be portrayed as affecting—people’s pocketbooks.

Last month, when Gallup asked Americans whether “protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth,” only forty-two per cent said yes. This was the lowest proportion in the twenty-five years since the firm started asking the question.

Results like these do not make action on climate change any less imperative. But—especially since opponents can be counted on to spend tens of millions of dollars on lobbying—they do make it that much less likely.

This week, when Earth Day turns thirty-nine, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation will plant trees. The Interior Department will host a fair in Washington’s Rawlins Park, and in Bloomington volunteers will teach sixth graders about karsts and creeks. As perhaps befits a middle-aged celebration, these are all eminently reasonable activities. But Earth Day has lost its edge and, with that, the sense that a different world is possible. Even more than in 1970, what’s needed now is an outpouring that organizes itself...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gas drilling in Marcellus shale raises health and environmental concerns among residents

An unearthed resource

, Senior Writer, The Ithacan |

The road leading to Ron Carter’s trailer is made of red clay that melts away a little every time it rains. Truck traffic has created an obstacle course of tall divots that punch at the bottom of cars, rattling spines and scraping mufflers. Some lawns along the way host bathtubs full of garbage or rusty drums belching out dark smoke. Others have drill pads and cranes that stab 200 feet into the air. This is Dimock Township, the speck on Pennsylvania’s map that just became ground zero for America’s energy future.

Carter, like his trailer, is white and jagged with little hints of warmth tucked into the corners. Words slip out of his mouth in terse grunts, moving under his mustache and past the copper cross dangling from his neck. He talks about 2006: the year he leased his land to Cabot Oil and Gas for $25 per acre. At the time, nobody thought natural gas drilling would ever take place in Dimock. Leasing was just a quick way to earn some badly needed cash. Next month’s mortgage. A new bike for the kids.

So when the drilling started last September and the enormous trucks bumped down Carter’s road and the night sky lit up like an industrial-strength Christmas tree, Carter and his wife Jean Carter were a bit surprised. They were even more surprised when they found out their water had been contaminated with fecal coliform — a bacterium often found in ground soil — sometime between July and November. The smell of it made Jean Carter sick to her stomach every time she tried to do dishes. It was undrinkable. Unusable.

The Carters took a sample to Cabot, which refused to pay for a water purification system. There are no materials used in natural gas drilling activities that use fecal coliform, according to Cabot. But the Carters believed that newly excavated access roads had flooded, spilling manure from a nearby pasture into their well. Carter, a 70-year-old ex-factory worker on disability, got a credit card and charged $7,000 for the system. He’s still paying it off, waiting for a royalty check for the gas taken on his land, from the same company he believes did the initial polluting.

Ken Komorowski, a Cabot spokesman, said he doubts the fecal coliform could have come from the drilling.

“Cabot does employ state-of-the-art erosion controls and meets all DEP requirements in regards to storm water flows,” he said. “That would include runoff from any construction activity.”

But the Carters’ water had never been contaminated before. Their neighbors across the field had never had such violent stomach pains, either. It all happened just a few months after the drilling started.

“I wish that they would have helped us with it when we had a problem with the water and not kept pushing us aside,” Carter said. “They wouldn’t help. We called them, I don’t know how many times.”

Fecal coliform was just the beginning. Not long after Carter had ordered his purification system, stories about a “methane scare” started creeping up the hill. Stories about well water that was orangey-brown or gritty enough to clog a washing machine.

Water that would ignite and burn for 11 minutes if you touched a match to it.

On Jan. 1, 2009, Norma Fiorentino, one of Carter’s neighbors, heard several loud bangs coming from her yard. Her well had exploded. Twenty-one days later, Cabot began providing drinking water to four Dimock households. The Carters didn’t get any, despite the fact that they had to install a vent over their well to sift out the excess gas.

“We were the guinea pigs in this area,” Carter said. He folded his hands and reclined, 7,000 feet above what geologists believe to be the third largest cache of natural gas in the world.

Carter, along with all of Dimock, sits atop the Marcellus Shale — a 31 million acre subterranean rock formation that runs under parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York’s Southern Tier. If harvested to its projected potential — as much as 363 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to one Penn State geoscientist — the Marcellus’ reserve would be enough to heat the entire United States for two years. It could also generate billions in revenues and a flood of new jobs. But what has many citizens ... in an uproar is the potential environmental cost of drilling. As Dimock illustrates, it can be quite a messy endeavor.

... In order to access gas in the Marcellus, (hydrofracking) a well involves forcing between 2 and 9 million gallons of water, sand and chemicals down thousands of feet into the ground to break up rock formations and unleash gas. Around half of the water used stays in the ground. The other half — usually between 1 and 4 million gallons — emerges from the well and rests in man-made “disposal pits.” A well can be fracked up to 10 times during its productive life, generating between 10 million and 40 million gallons of wastewater.

“That water has to go somewhere,” said Steve Penningroth, a co-founder of the Community Science Institute, a nonprofit organization that helps monitor the Cayuga watershed.

“The thing is it’s not water. It’s like you’re taking 5 million gallons of fresh water, and you’re contaminating it intentionally. You’re leaving half of it in the ground, and then you’re looking for a place to dispose of the other half.”

Under any other circumstances, the water stored at disposal pits would be considered hazardous waste and aggressively regulated. But thanks to the Federal Energy Policy Act, a piece of legislation signed into law by the Bush administration in 2005, oil and gas companies are exempt from much of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This essentially means that the chemicals being shot into the ground — benzene, methanol, ethylene glycol, among others — get a free pass.

Curiously, these chemicals aren’t allowed anywhere near drinking water if used for purposes other than oil or gas exploration.

For complete article, CLICK HERE.

“The people they haven’t drilled near should be aware of what can happen with the water situation,” Carter said. “’Cause every place they’ve drilled, the water’s gone bad. It isn’t an isolated house here and a house there.”

He points down the gashed, mucky road.

Every house has something wrong with their water.

I don’t know whether it’s going to go away.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

*** Colorado Study Links Methane in Water to Drilling ***

This story by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica was co-published [1] with the Denver Post.- April 22, 2009 6:00 am EDT

Jesse Ellsworth thought something was wrong with his water when it began to smell funny and popped out of his faucet in bursts. Then, in February, the Fort Lupton resident launched an experiment: he flipped on the kitchen tap and took a cigarette lighter to the stream. As flint sparked steel, the water lit on fire like a torch.

Ellsworth is one of at least 29 residents in small farming communities northeast of Denver who have asked either the energy companies or the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to test for natural gas in their water wells.

Now the commission is trying to figure out how the gas got there. Are some of Weld County's 13,957 gas wells leaking methane into drinking water? Or is methane seeping into the water naturally, as it has done from time to time over the years?

So far, officials have determined that at least nine of those contamination cases are not drilling-related; they are likely the result of a water well intersecting with gas underground. But the Ellsworth's well -- which has stronger evidence tying it to drilling -- remains a mystery.

"This one I think is best characterized as an isolated circumstance," said David Neslin, acting director of the COGCC, "We can't, sitting here today, say 'Yes" that this is coming from somebody's gas well."

While the search for clues continues in Weld County, investigations about methane contamination in Garfield County and other parts of the country have clearly tied the contamination to energy development, strengthening arguments across the country that drilling can put drinking water at risk.

Near Cleveland, Ohio, a house exploded in late 2007 after gas seeped into its water well. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources later issued a 153-page report [2] that blamed a nearby gas well's faulty cement casing and hydraulic fracturing [3] -- a deep-drilling process that shoots millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the ground under explosive pressure -- for pushing methane into an aquifer and causing the explosion.

In Dimock, Pa., where drilling recently began in the mammoth Marcellus shale deposit, several drinking water wells have exploded and nine others were found with so much gas that one homeowner was told to open a window if he planned to take a bath. In February, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection charged Cabot Oil & Gas with two violations that it says caused the contamination, theorizing that gas leaked from the well casing into fractures underground.

Industry representatives say methane contamination incidents are statistically insignificant, considering that 452,000 wells produced gas in the United States last year. They point out that methane doesn't necessarily come from gas wells -- it's common in nature and can leak into water from biological processes near the surface, like rotting plants.

The industry also defends its construction technology, saying it keeps gas and drilling fluids -- including any chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing -- safely trapped in layers of steel and concrete. Even if some escapes, they say, thousands of feet of rock make it almost impossible for it to migrate into drinking water aquifers. When an accident happens, the blame can usually be traced to a lone bad apple -- some contractor who didn't follow regulations, they say. Those arguments helped the gas drilling industry win rare exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act when Congress enacted the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

Now an exhaustive examination of a methane problem on Colorado's Western Slope is offering a strong scientific repudiation of that argument. Released in November by Garfield County, the report concludes that gas drilling has degraded water in dozens of water wells.

The three-year study used sophisticated scientific techniques to match methane from water to the same rock layer -- a mile and a half underground - where gas companies are drilling. The scientists didn't determine which gas wells caused the problem or say exactly how the gas reached the water, but they indicated with more clarity than ever before that a system of interconnected natural fractures and faults could stretch from deep underground gas layers to the surface. They called for more research into how the industry's practice of forcefully fracturing those deep layers might increase the risk of contaminants making their way up into an aquifer.

"It challenges the view that natural gas, and the suite of hydrocarbons that exist around it, is isolated from water supplies by its extreme depth," said Judith Jordan, the oil and gas liaison for Garfield County who has worked as a hydrogeologist with DuPont and as a lawyer with Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection. "It is highly unlikely that methane would have migrated through natural faults and fractures and coincidentally arrived in domestic wells at the same time oil and gas development started, after having been down there ...for over 65 million years."

The Garfield County analysis comes as Congress considers legislation that would toughen environmental oversight of drilling and reverse the exemptions enjoyed by the gas companies. Colorado has already overhauled its own oil and gas regulations, despite stiff resistance from the energy industry. The new rules, which went into effect earlier this month, strengthen protections against, among other things, methane contamination.

Drinking water with methane, the largest component of natural gas, isn't necessarily harmful. The gas itself isn't toxic -- the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't even regulate it -- and it escapes from water quickly, like bubbles in a soda.

But the gas becomes dangerous when it evaporates out of the water and into peoples' homes, where it can become flammable. It can also suffocate those who breathe it. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as the concentration of gas increases it can cause headaches, then nausea, brain damage and eventually death.

The Garfield County report is significant because it is among the first to broadly analyze the ability of methane and other contaminants to migrate underground in drilling areas, and to find that such contamination was in fact occurring. It examined over 700 methane samples from 292 locations and found that methane, as well as wastewater from the drilling, was making its way into drinking water not as a result of a single accident but on a broader basis.

To continue reading, CLICK HERE.

Want to tell us about your own experience? Click here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Forewarned: Running Scared? An Open Letter from the Mayor of DISH, TX

Here in the Town of DISH we are at the crossroads of almost a dozen high pressure natural gas pipelines, as well as an equal amount of gathering lines. We are also home to 11 compressors, and 3 metering stations. One of the companies that have already put in a pipeline, Enterprise Texas Pipeline, was proposing to put yet another metering station in our community. Now with the constant attack on our personal property rights, noise, odor, gas company employees using our roads as a drag strip, as well as many health impacts that we are not currently apparent, most of citizens here have the opinion of "don't go away mad, just go away". It looks as though Enterprise Texas Pipeline has decided to go away, although they are likely mad. On the surface this may look like a victory here, and with what we have here, any relief is welcome.

With this apparent victory there will be a downside. Enterprise Texas will be putting their facility in, just not in the corporate limits of DISH. This eyesore will likely be moved just outside of the DISH corporate limits and be in somebody else's backyard. You see the Town of DISH attempted to have Enterprise Texas meet minimum aesthetics standards that we are allowed to do by law. However, it appears as though they do not wish to meet these minimum standards. They will move their site a quarter of a mile, and not install noise abatement, reasonable fencing, or minimal landscaping. It will have a conglomerate of above ground piping surrounded by a cheap chain-link fence that does not hide the ugliness of the site. So in short this will devalue and ruin the property values, and quality of life of those who live just outside our corporate limits. Therefore, there will still be pain and suffering by hard working people, only it will likely be much worse than before.

I have mentioned Enterprise Texas before. If you recall they are the company who chose to hire the downtown Dallas law firm to attempt to intimidate us into rolling over. Instead of trying to work with us in good faith, they ran up our legal fees and insinuated litigation. So it is not surprising that they would run, instead of really trying to be a "good neighbor". This is not a new theory; these companies tend to migrate to areas where there is little chance of being forced to be responsible, or to an area where the neighbors can't afford to fight them. Unfortunately, they typically get away with this tactic without any repercussions.

As previously stated, to fight these companies in a civil suit is extremely expensive. It could be as much 25,000 to 30,000 dollars up front to get a decent lawyer, with no guarantee of getting anything back. So those who can not afford to risk spending that kind of money on legal fees usually end up with this trash in their back yard, i.e. Carter Avenue in Fort Worth. If you look at the wealthy neighborhoods, they will not be forced to deal with this mess; the companies just go around. And I must point out that, the people in DISH, on Carter Avenue, all over Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York who live near these facilities are hard working, honest people, who pay their taxes, and are trying their best to achieve the American Dream. However, to achieve that dream is much more difficult if you are sacrificed by big energy, if it is your area that suffers for the "good of the shale".

I have notified those who live just outside our corporate of the nightmare that is about to move in next door. However, it is unlikely that they will be able to do anything about it. That is except for welcoming their new neighbors, and their relief valves that release at all hours of the night, and raw un-odorized natural gas that will be lingering in the area. Unfortunately, we have no say so in what goes on outside of our corporate limits and this bunch knows that. This why there must be a standard that applies to these companies whether they are in the corporate limits of a city or not. Please share this with whom ever you like.

Calvin Tillman
Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640

"Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our Public Watchdog Agencies Don't Necessarily Watch the Correct Dog!

Guest Editorial by Peacegirl
In New York, there is the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Pennsylvania has its Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Texas has the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC). All three agencies are tasked with overseeing oil and gas drilling as well as the environment. The problem comes when one part of their job is eclipsed by the other. One of the big goals is to make money for the state through "responsible" drilling. But with money at a premium, the environmental part of the job gets short shrift every time. In Texas, it is even worse because the three Railroad commissioners are elected, not appointed. Their campaigns are funded big time by the energy corporations- the gas and oil industry.

A cursory investigation reveals that inspections are not done as required in many cases. Inspector positions are dwindling while wells are proliferating rapidly. Sometimes personnel doing inspections have absolutely no training in that field. In some cases, gas companies are allowed to do their own reporting, believe it or not. If they say there is no problem, or the problem has been fixed, the DEC or the DEP just accepts that as fact. Case closed.

Texas Railroad Commissioners Continue to Put Public at Risk tells the story of a North Texas rancher who is convinced that the pristine waters of the Brazos River are polluted due to contamination of the Seymour Aquifer that flows under his ranch. The contamination is being caused by an abandoned gas processing plant located just 400 feet from the river's edge.

Now before you dismiss this story, and say that Texas is far away and doesn't have any relevance to us here in Pennsylvania, just remember that Texas got the gas wells first and is much further along than PA and NY. However, we are living atop a much, much bigger shale formation than the Barnett ever thought of being, and the gas drillers are drooling over what they are going to get out of our land. As soon as drilling rigs in Texas become available, they are sent post haste to Bradford County and other areas of PA to be set up here. With the rigs comes the work force from Texas... They need the jobs, and the gas industry would rather keep them on rather than training a whole new work force.

It is very disillusioning to realize that environmental agencies of the government do not protect our waterways, our forests, our air, our beautiful vistas (those scenic views we pull off the road to see). They are in place primarily, though they would probably not admit it, to assist the gas industry. I'm not saying that there aren't some state employees who try to do their jobs and who care about the environment and public health. But the whole system is set up bassackwards in favor of gas drilling. This is not the way it should be, nor does it have to be. But it is the way it is being done right now. If you look at aerial photographs of some places in the west, it looks like a moonscape or a pin cushion. That is because the process of gas drilling starts small and becomes huge over time. According to Don Young of FWCanDo (Forth Worth), the two words to watch out for when dealing with the gas industry, are "FOR NOW." "This is all we want FOR NOW," they say. The landmen only tell you a tenth of what they know, and believe me, they know what you are in for. The leases only get you started on the path. Then you begin to see more and more: The additional wells drilled if a lot of gas is found in a particular place, the water pumping stations needed, the meter stations, the pipelines, the gas processing plants, the felling of trees, the sludge pits, the huge 80,000 pound trucks by the hundreds, the noise, the bright lights. All these things come with the territory, and no regulatory agency has the capacity to oversee it all. And, of course, the oil & gas industry is the only polluter that does not have to follow the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and other laws which protect us and the environment. In fact, there are less toxic ways of drilling and handling flowback water, and these methods are not being seriously considered at the moment because it is not the law.


Thanks to whose stellar reporting helped me with this post.

A Little Splashdown Addendum "For Now"
The Winter 2008 issue of 'Nature Conservancy' magazine's article Proving Ground, by Rebecca Huntington, offers a fine example of the incremental encroachment that takes place when the gas drilling invaders arrive.
"People in Wyoming have seen plenty of energy booms in their lives, but [the Jonah Field] ushered in a new era. Jonah has become the poster child for energy development gone awry. Just the name has become a catch-phrase for industrialization of the Western landscape.
From above, the sagebrush plains now look pockmarked; Jonah is said to resemble a rabbit warren.
There, what started a decade ago as a proposal for 500 natural gas wells spaced 80 acres apart has ballooned into a plan for 3,100 wells, known as the Jonah Infill Project.
Jonah sits of a patch of sage owned by the public and overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). ...
In 2006, the BLM approved the infill plan; the wells are spaced just 10 acres apart. Meanwhile, the Pinedale Anticline, to the north, has developed in lockstep with Jonah, albeit with an even bigger proposal for more than 4,000 additional gas wells. ... That field will bring even more roads, and Jonah alone could yet see up to 465 miles, along with the traffic that accompanies drilling up to 250 wells in peak years. ...
Pinedale, some 30 miles north of Jonah, doesn't have a single traffic stoplight, yet during a few days last winter, the town experienced air quality on a par with Los Angeles, in large part because of drilling activities in Jonah and the Anticline. To some people in Pinedale, the initial plan at Jonah was the equivalent of the camel sticking its nose under the tent. They never saw the rest of the body coming. "It was such a rush. It happened before anybody realized how much damage was actually occurring," said Linda Baker, a community organizer for the Upper Green River Valley Coalition in Pinedale."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bradford County Residents Are Speaking Out!

Responses to the Daily Review's Sunday editorial "Give gas firms a chance to do right thing" show the majority of opinions to be highly skeptical of the drillers and of the Review. Feeling betrayed, readers question the paper's credibility as they face the onslaught of an industry that has demonstrated no regard for anything but profits.

The Other Opinion wrote on Apr 12, 2009 11:51 AM:

" Would you feel the same way if YOU weren't getting money form Chesapeake? People want to give them a fair shake but you must realize that people don't want to be taken in the long run. People look at other gas drilling projects in other states and they wonder where the reporting is. Did those same folks hear the same speech? Give them a fair shake!

In my humble opinion are you giving those who purchase The Daily Review a fair shake? After reading this commentary it looks as though you're shaking hands with the gas company. "

James Barth wrote on Apr 12, 2009 2:01 PM:
" No one should take your editorial opinion seriously, after reading: "Firms do not get respected national reputations without sound, ethical business practices". In my fifty-nine years on this planet, I have never read such an absurd, and false, statement. Did you actually write that? "

Doug Saunders wrote on Apr 12, 2009 8:20 PM:

" Editor:
On chance it has escaped your notice, the Review's credibility, vis a vis your positions on drilling, stands today off scale low.

You are taking money from Chesapeake. Do you believe your readers are fools?? "

Alice Cornish wrote on Apr 12, 2009 8:27 PM:

" James Barth
To answer your question straight up, there is a possibility the Review did NOT write that. They are taking money now from Chesapeake. So that line you questioned might have come from a drilling company press handout. There is simply no way we can know, not any longer. "

Mark Standish wrote on Apr 12, 2009 9:23 PM:

" The Review wrote:
"We have some of the top companies in the field at work as major players in the Marcellus Shale exploitation . . . . ".

It is my view, Mr. Editor, that it's not just the Marcellus shale that is being exploited. But I give you this much: Exploitation is what the drillers, all of them, do best. "

Carol Manuel wrote on Apr 12, 2009 11:30 PM:

" Chesapeake does not have a good reputation in Fort Worth, Texas. Far from it. Forget about trying to establish a mutually beneficial relationship. This is a business relationship. Get everything in writing, and insist on accountability. Watch Chesapeake like a hawk. Even if everything goes well, this is still a win-lose situation for the environment, for the health of our citizens, for clean air, for tourism, for fishing and hunting. We're all losers except for the few who will make money. And the history of the gas industry in Colorado, Texas, Utah, and now even in Pennsylvania already, is anything but ethical. Don't even go there. "

Edith Masterman wrote on Apr 13, 2009 1:54 AM:

" To the Daily and Sunday Review
Now that you have come out foursquare in favor of the drillers, I no longer take you or your opinions seriously. Previously, I thought The Review was without bias when it came to drilling, seeing, comprehending, and illuminating both good and bad. Clearly, this was my error. No longer can I, or do I, count on you to report fairly and fully news reflecting negatively on the drilling companies. Your so-called "newspaper" has become little more than a shill for the gas companies. You are their new propaganda arm.

So much for your service to Bradford County. So much for your obligation to write the whole truth.

You will maintain that you have arrived at your position regarding drilling completely without regard to the money you now take from Chesapeake. But ask yourself this: If you actually WERE being influenced by the money they now are paying you, how would things be different?

I could kick myself for having respected and believed in your personal and journalistic integrity. I must have been crazy. "

Tom Posey wrote on Apr 13, 2009 2:24 AM:

" Mr Editor
This is a true story, as God is my witness. Last week a representative from one of the "respected" companies you mention in this editorial visited my home. The company wanted to lease my land for the purpose of drilling down into the Marcellus shale for gas. I treated the person who visited with me with courtesy, but I was hesitant about leasing and made my feeling known. At that point the representative told me, if I did not lease, they could drill horizontally right up to and around my property boundaries and take my gas that way, without paying me a cent. Reference was made to the "Rule of Capture".

This is only just my opinion. You are free to disagree and you most likely do disagree given you like the gas companies. But I felt threatened when the representative talked about taking my gas without paying. And I do not believe a respectable and responsible company would use such a tactic to compel a land owner to lease his land. The experience left a sour taste in my mouth. I was left much more willing to believe some of the negative things one hears about these drilling companies. So defend them all you like. I now have personal experience with one of them, and I have learned how they behave when you do not bend to their will. I do not like someone, or some company, coming onto my property and threatening me. Respectable companies do not do business that way. And certainly that is not the traditional way of doing business here in Bradford County. "

Lets talk about trust wrote on Apr 13, 2009 4:32 AM:

" Finally, this editorial has opened up a topic of interest to me. Trust. I do not trust Chesapeake Energy. Its less than stellar corporate reputation is reported on regularly by local and national news media, and CHK has done several things to reinforce this reputation since they’ve been in Bradford County. CHK, as a company, is a warrior which uses its well-honed public relations as a shield, and lawyers as its legal gun-wielding army. Every contract presented has legal wording which are the equivalent of burdocks and oil. The burdocks are there so that the contract sticks to you if they want it to, but the oil is there so that CHK can slip out at their discretion. How many people last year thought they had a lease with CHK, just to find that they didn’t? In how many cases did independent landmen (not CHK, of course) lie, evade, or misrepresent facts in order to get a signed lease for CHK’s benefit?

I went to the March 5th CHK presentation in Athens and was impressed by the people I met.
One of the reasons that I was impressed by the CHK people was that from my corporate training of many years, I recognize consummate professionals upon sight, and the group fit the bill perfectly.

When I came home I did a little research, and found out why the image had been so impressive. Two of the individuals were media professionals, having worked until just a few years ago for the prestigious Charles Ryan Associates in Charleston. One of these individuals plus another who will be coming to Towanda as the Central Bradford Progress Authority dinner speaker on April 16th are registered lobbyists in the state of West Virginia representing Chesapeake. These are people who are both media and law savvy. Nothing wrong with this, but the average resident in Bradford County needs to know the level of skill and experience of the persons he is working with.

I found the third individual truly humorous and likeable. He explained that he had previously worked for Columbia Natural Resources and was absorbed into Chesapeake along with the office furniture. After my research, I learned that he, along with Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, spoke at the glitzy, WV governor-attended 8/23/07 Chesapeake announcement of its planned Charleston WV Eastern Regional HQ building which was an investment of 40 million dollars in Charleston WV. But something bad happened. On May 22nd, 2008, the full verdict including financial damages were announced for Chesapeake’s loss of a WV Supreme Court Case over cheating landowners out of royalties (which it took liability for when it bought out CNR). On May 29th, only seven days later, the true nature of CHK was apparent when its CEO Aubrey McClendon announced that CHK axed the plans for the eastern regional headquarters as a result of the outcome of the state Supreme Court case. Vindictive behavior, no apologies, true reason revealed. CHK knows that the money it has can buy justice, and if it doesn’t, it will retaliate. No big surprise, then, that on 3/2/09, just a few days before the Athens CHK public meeting, CHK announced cutting out 215 jobs in Charleston and demoting the Charleston regional corporate headquarters to a regional field office. Further retaliation against a state government that was clearly not influenced by money.

On 3/5/09 in Athens, the professional faces of the CHK trio showed no hint of emotion at the CHK Charleston job cuts which must have been troubling them. Even the humorous fellow, a Charleston native who had been inherited by CHK along with the CNR landowner royalty-cheating liability and the office furniture, who had been involved in proudly announcing the Eastern Regional HQ building in his hometown, who had lived through the axing of the building and now was surviving the axing of the jobs, kept his mask on securely. Only 3 days after the public announcement, any pain he or the others must have felt masked by professionalism, the CHK media show at Athens went on flawlessly. Good corporate soldiers doing battle on the front line for a flawed Napoleonic leader.

Just axing the building plans and jobs isn’t enough for a vindictive CHK CEO. In 2007, a CHK cheap shot against WV had been made in the early days of the lawsuit, this one against hopeful royalty owners. Here’s a quote I picked up from the net.

“We’re just finishing up the first large three-dimension seismic survey ever shot in West Virginia which, ironically is in Roane County (the county where the lawsuit was filed originally),” McClendon said. “So we’re kind of scratching our heads about what to do with it. “We own most of this acreage already — it’s called ‘held by production by shallower wells,’” he said. “So in terms of timing, if we want to sit on this for the next 20 or 30 years, we can certainly do that. “I’m not willing at this point to commit to a big new exploration program in the state of West Virginia when I don’t know how the leases that I’ve inherited are going to be interpreted by judges across the state.”

A comment on a fourth fellow at the 3/5/09 meeting, who presented himself as the new CHK local Tunkhannock recruit. A former Chief of Staff to Lisa Baker, he has a long resume of PA state government experiences. CHK has a desire to manage its relationship with state governments productively. I am sure his contacts will be useful to CHK. The only PA lobbyist I could find listed for Chesapeake in PA is a Robert J. Wilson of the Sandstone Group out of Kansas. I have to wonder whether Chesapeake has some new local lobbyists in mind? Now that same local fellow is recommending that we don’t post and bond. I am left wondering why. What is in it for CHK? I only know, I cannot recognize the burdocks and oil in a legal document. The army of CHK lawyers, armed with their legal guns, will insure that you don’t win. I’ve come to the conclusion that it almost doesn't matter what the document you sign with CHK says. Their army of lawyers can twist and spin words and meanings, and CHK will win in any case brought against them. And if they don’t, they’ll be hell to pay.

The plans for the prestigious Charleston Eastern Regional Headquarters are probably still available on their award winning architect’s shelf. If Bradford County cozies up to CHK enough, and the state of PA does likewise, maybe someone can convince CHK to plunk the building down in Towanda on Main Street in the borough owned lot next to C&N. What a feather in our cap that would be! Maybe that’s what the Central Bradford Progress Authority has in mind as it cozies up to CHK at Thursday night’s annual dinner. Only time will tell.

Chesapeake’s ethical position is self-expressed in great detail on its website. CHK gives money to good community causes and uses lots of media savvy and more money to shore up its reputation. It’s true reputation, however, leaves much to be desired. And I will not be so trusting as to lower my guard. "

Dew Wright wrote on Apr 13, 2009 9:45 AM:

" So is Chesapeake suggesting that North Towanda Township disregard the law and open themselves up to having no legal ground by not going with a bond?
To me it's kind of like insuring your home, it's there in case you ever need it. To me, it is the right thing to do, the wrong thing to do is to expect gas companies to do the right thing without a legal paper to hold them to do the right thing. I ask myself WHY don't they want a bond? "

Local Resident wrote on Apr 13, 2009 10:59 AM:

" Dear Editor,

You have lost all credibility. "

John Parke wrote on Apr 13, 2009 11:05 AM:

" Lets Talk
Thank you for your remarkable comment. I have not read one better . . . ever!

As you have pointed out, the media savvy of Chesapeake outdistances anything here in Bradford County by an order of magnitude. Nobody here is anywhere near to being in their league, and nobody here has their kind of money. I am very wary of them, just based on instinct.

But most of all I wish they had not been successful in cozying up to our best newspaper, our only county newspaper really, the Daily and Sunday Review. This was a great loss for the people of Bradford County, We desperately need the Review to be an independent voice. We need our newspaper now, more than ever before in the history of this county. Courage might be too much to ask when so much money is being waved around by Chesapeake. Courage cannot educate one's kids, buy groceries, or pay a mortgage. But still, courage, the courage to say "no" and remain above suspicion journalistically, was what the Review needed when Chesapeake came offering. And that courage was not in evidence. What are we to do now for information we can trust? We are left facing the behemoth you have described blindfolded, with one hand tied behind our back. This is Bradford County's saddest day. "

S. Hoskins wrote on Apr 13, 2009 11:22 AM:

" You people criticizing The Review for taking money from Chesapeake and then writing an editorial like this need to think. The Review is a newspaper. In our country newspapers are independent businesses. The Review receives no money from, for example, the government. They must make a profit or else they go out of business. And many newspapers ARE going out of business in this country today. The competition for ad revenue is intense, and the internet is killing them. The world is changing and newspapers, paper ones anyway, are on the wrong side of that change.

So now along comes Chesapeake offering money to The Review to buy newspapers for school children. The Review desperately needs the money and the newspapers will be good for the kids' education.

I am confident Chesapeake asked nothing in return. They are just doing a public service, a good deed if you will. If this arrangement gets them some positive PR that's just the way of the world today. The ones with the money get to call the shots. And Chesapeake certainly has the money.

I would rather see The Review take the money if it means they will remain in business longer. I do not want our newspaper to fail. Ideally, I grant you, the Review would not take money from so controversial an entity as Chesapeake. But this is NOT an ideal world. And that's a fact the complainers must confront. "

Constance Smith wrote on Apr 13, 2009 11:49 AM:

" John Parke
While I am respectful of what you wrote, I think your focus is insufficiently broad. You focused on what Chesapeake money has done to our best newspaper. At least the Review, on Saturday, told its readers about its arrangement with Chesapeake.

My focus is on that same kind of money working out of our sight, and without our knowledge. How about our public officials! McLinko has been under suspicion almost forever. How about Sullivan! And how about our absolutely silent Representatives!! Could there be campaign contributions involved?? Could there be other money changing hands with a wink and a nod!? You can bet on it.

Excoriate the Review if you wish. And I do admit it would have been far better for them to remain neutral. But don't ignore the many other threats "big gas" money poses to Bradford County. This problem goes FAR beyond the Review. These gas companies are placing Bradford County beneath a full court press. We have the gas they need to continue to make the big money for which they are known. And they will use ALL of their resources to take our gas for as little money as possible. Welcome to the real world, Mr. Parke. "

BCTaxpayer wrote on Apr 13, 2009 1:18 PM:

" I don't know why you're all surprised. This paper has always been pro-drilling, just like the editor's buddy Mclinko. They have briefly raised some of the main issues at hand, then bragged about their "fair" coverage... but they haven't been truely critical when it comes to the serious problems we all knew would impact our area. What this county needs is real investigative journalism, not this wishy-washy ambiguous garbage that leaves the reader a twitch dumber at the end of the article.
Give the gas companies a chance? Yeah, that's working out so well already. The restaurants and motels are doing great, a few "poor" people are getting rich, a whopping 59 locals have been hired by the gas companies (but many laid off already), and our local newspaper is on the gas companies payroll. Brilliant. So now we're down to only 62,800 people in this county that are still suffering through the bad economy while the gas companies are getting rich, then sending their money back home. I'm jumping with joy. "

Shaker wrote on Apr 13, 2009 6:21 PM:

" You'll probably find out that the editor himself has a lease with Chesapeake! Most people gave up on the current administration of this newspaper being fair and unbiased long ago, but its a good thing that the few that thought differently are realizing just how wrong they were. I wonder if they'll remember it though!

EDITOR'S NOTE: The editor has no personal business ties with any natural gas driller or any business associated with gas prospecting. To do so would constitute a conflict of interest in violation of our Code of Ethics. "

Bro wrote on Apr 13, 2009 6:31 PM:

" What's astonishing is that anyone though they could rely on this paper to be straight and fair. "

JRB wrote on Apr 15, 2009 7:26 PM:

" Money makes the world go round.
Money talks.
Money is the root of all evil.
We've heard them all before.

Individual landowners approached to sell leases on their land had better give it serious consideration because they CAN and DO drill horizontally and somebody around you WILL sign up and then "poof," there goes your hope of ever getting anything.

My grandmother owned a home where a developer wanted to put a parking lot for his high rise. Grama felt the offer was too low, and she really didn't want to move. They offered to buy a comparable sized home in a comparable neighborhood, but ultimately she declined to sell. Her former home sits today in the shadows of the behemoth high-rise, in no sun for hours every day, with their emergency exit not more than 10-12' off the rear corner of her house.

In retrospect, she wished she'd sold or allowed them to buy her a comp; they made the last years of her life a living hell.

Don't be my Grama...take their money--as much of it as you can get--and run like crazy! "

No right answer wrote on Apr 16, 2009 7:40 AM:

" Saw an example just like JRB's, only this one was a shopping mall. The house which the owner declined to sell was tiny in the shadow of a major mall.

In the case of gas, there are no right answers if all you want is a peaceful life. If you sell out and run, where is there to go? And if you decline their money and stay, you just don't know what'll be near you and what the quality of life will be. If everyone or even most people had refused to sign, we'd be ok, but looking at the maps most people have sold out. The holdouts are few. But, each person must act out of their own conscience. I cannot make myself sign one of their leases, so I plan to stay here, clean and green, and hope the area where I live stays decent enough for me to enjoy the rest of my life. But I rue the day Bradford County was noticed for its gas, and quite frankly I hope the price of gas stays down, and that it becomes uneconomical to drill here. Maybe the leases will run out and people won't sign a second time. "

Martha Barends wrote on Apr 16, 2009 8:24 AM:

Reality is a little different than what you wrote. Marcellus gas is locked pretty securely into shale which has very low permeability. Not until the shale if "fraced", or hydraulically fractured, is the gas released in a significant manner. So even if they drill horizontally near to your land, your gas likely will remain intact.


Two additional considerations enter in. One is strictly against the law, the other should be:

First, if they drill horizontally into your land without a lease then, of course, they can steal your gas. This is strictly contrary to law. Proving the infraction, though, is nearly impossible. The trespass is happening a mile down and completely out of sight. You have to rely on the integrity of the gas companies, and I can hear the cascades of laughter on that one. I concede they have scant little integrity.

The second item is far more murky. It is not covered by existing law, but should be. This is an area where our Representatives are failing us BIG TIME... It is the issue of fracing another person's land, land which is unleased. There is no trespass per se, no drill bit penetrates unleased land. But the horizontal bore gets close, very close, to the leased land's boundary. Then, during the fracing process, the frac fluid and pressure wave impact fractures shale on unleased land, releasing gas from it which flows to a well head on leased land. This is straight out theft. The practice it is not against the law, but it obviously should be. No PA lawmaker, though, has addressed this practice in new legislation regardless the obvious need. "

Keep up the good work! Speak out! Share your knowledge and understanding with others! Our collective well-being is at stake! The lessons are all out there to be learned, from people in Colorado, Texas, Wyoming... right here in Dimock. We need to demand that our government regulate in favor of Life, not industry. There's plenty of money to be made, and jobs to be had, developing green energy... AND! there are even a number of ways to drill for gas that pollute less and are less damaging... just maybe not as cheap. Integrity is clearly not at the top of any of these complicit parties' agendas.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pennsylvania DEP Sets New Standards for Wastewater Discharges With High Total Dissolved Solids

New Limits to Take Effect by January 2011, Interim Permitting Strategy Announced

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger today announced that new discharge standards for industrial wastewater that is high in total dissolved solids, or TDS, will take effect by January 2011.

The department made the announcement at a public meeting of the Marcellus Shale Wastewater Technology Partnership and said the new limits will protect aquatic life and drinking water supplies.

"High total dissolved solids in industrial wastewater have been a problem in the Monongahela River recently and are an impending problem on a statewide level," Hanger said. "We are establishing base standards for this water so dischargers move towards actually treating TDS in industrial wastewater, rather than simply depending on dilution to protect water quality."

Pennsylvania's streams must assimilate total dissolved solids from a variety of wastewater sources besides oil and gas well drilling. The primary sources of these pollutants are stormwater runoff and pollutant discharges from industrial activities.

The state's rivers and streams are also burdened by uncontrolled discharges from abandoned coal mines.

Wastewater from certain industrial operations is high in chlorides (salt) and sulfates which affect the taste and odor of drinking water and, in high concentrations, can damage or destroy aquatic life. Drinking water treatment facilities are not normally equipped to treat these contaminants and rely on normally low levels of chlorides and sulfates in surface waters used for drinking water supplies.

"DEP and the natural gas drilling industry created the wastewater technology partnership in 2008 to investigate and deploy new technologies for treating wastewater from natural gas drilling and production within two years," Hanger said. "It is vital that new treatment methods are instituted so that public municipal drinking water supplies and other industrial uses are not disadvantaged by increased total dissolved solids and chlorides in our surface waters and that developing our natural gas reserves is not unduly constrained."

The new permitted limit for discharges of high-TDS wastewater will be 500 milligrams per liter of TDS and 250 mg/l for both chlorides and sulfates. By January 2011, all facilities accepting high-TDS wastewater for treatment must meet these discharge limits.

This is somewhat confusing in light of the fact that according to a report dated Oct. 22, 2008, DEP was investigating sources of elevated total dissolved solids in the Monongahela River. To control for this, they said, a state and federal standard, or Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level, of 500 milligrams per liter of TDS has been established.

Um... what?

DEP will develop a proposed rulemaking to amend the water quality regulations this summer with an opportunity for public comment.

To view the Permitting Strategy for High Total Dissolved Solids Wastewater Discharges, visit, keyword: Wastewater, then select the 'Marcellus Shale Wastewater Partnership' link.

CONTACT: Tom Rathbun, (717) 787-1323

Towanda Sunday Review Shows True Colors

Guest Editorial by Peacegirl
Any doubt as to whether or not the Towanda Sunday Daily Review supports gas drilling in Bradford County was put to rest this week. The Sunday editorial could have been written by a Chesapeake Energy spokesperson, bringing one-sided reporting to a new standard. This blatant plea to give the gas industry our utmost cooperation to help them achieve their goals was a disappointing sellout at best.

The Editor wrote:
"Firms do not get respected national reputations without sound, ethical business practices. That should not be lost in the cacophony of hysterical hearsay about what may or may not be happening with some of the many other natural gas exploration companies at work elsewhere in the country where conditions may well not be the same as here."


The Editor concludes:

"Giving a reputable company the benefit of the doubt here could be a major step forward in cementing a relationship that will be mutually beneficial to the parties concerned, including the residents of the area. What's more, it may help establish a gold standard for other firms to follow. It's a win-win situation."


" Chesapeake does not have a good reputation in Fort Worth, Texas. Far from it. Forget about trying to establish a mutually beneficial relationship. This is a business relationship. Get everything in writing, and insist on accountability. Watch Chesapeake like a hawk. Even if everything goes well, this is still a win-lose situation for the environment, for the health of our citizens, for clean air, for tourism, for fishing and hunting. We're all losers except for the few who will make money. And the history of the gas industry in Colorado, Texas, Utah, and now even in Pennsylvania already, is anything but ethical. Don't even go there. "

GOLD STANDARD? MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL? REPUTABLE? ETHICS? HONESTY? RESPECT? TRUST? These words and phrases should be reserved for occasions where they actually apply. The gas industry would not qualify.

There is no such thing as a win-win proposition here. Hydrofracking, gas extraction, injection wells, and pipelines are a win for the gas industry and perhaps a few local people who will make money. But as for the environment, our health, our water, our air, our agriculture, our animals, out pets, our hunting, our fishing, our birds, our recreation, our tourists, our forests, our property values, our taxes, our future, our children's future, THIS IS A LOSE-LOSE-LOSE-LOSE PROPOSITION.

Insanity has been defined as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." Why should we expect Bradford County to be any different than all the other areas of the US who are now suffering greatly at the hands of the unregulated gas industry? These same people, inspite of their daily suffering, are trying to speak out and warn us. Are we going to listen to them? It's not looking good right now.

Well worth reading, especially the 16+ reader responses:

Bradford County residents are speaking out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chesapeake Infiltrates Bradford County's Organs of Free Expression Yet Again!

They bought into the Arts Council for $25,000, and now they've bought into this county's major daily newspaper AND the minds of our children... In a joint statement, Chesapeake Energy, The Daily & Sunday Review announce major Newspaper in Education Sponsorship. Of course it's being touted as a good thing.
Chesapeake is investing in the community in any number of ways... outclassing all the other major industries that operate here...
what's not to love?

Can't Buy Me Love...
The lessons are all there to be learned, from places like Arlington and DISH, Texas... or right here in Dimock, PA. Wherever they go, Chesapeake and the other drillers practice the same deceptions to look good and get people to sign their leases. The truth is going to be harder and harder to discover as the gas industry buys its way into more and more of our channels of independent thinking.

Stop the Boone-doggle!
At the national level, wealthy oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is spinning a pack of lies to Americans in environmentally compassionate-sounding TV comercials, telling us, as one who's btdt, the days of Big Oil are over and we need to focus on alternative energy sources... like solar and wind... and clean burning gas! It's that last one, the gas, that he really means though, cause he's heavily invested in it, and now that the price of ngas has fallen to levels that make it unprofitable to drill, he's out promoting the use of natural gas hoping that'll drive the price back up.
He's trying to use us to get richer. Pickens Plan is mobilizing under-informed citizens, encouraging them to join his Virtual March on Washington, and send prefab letters to President Obama and their Senators and Representatives to vote for the NAT GAS Act of 2009... like it's a good thing.
Go to his Virtual March on Washington website, and sign up to send letters. BUT, under Follow these steps to Take Action, COMPOSE MESSAGE, change the Subject to read: I DO NOT support the NAT GAS Act of 2009.
Then highlight and replace the body of the letter with your own message, or paste in the following:
Promoting what seem like environmentally conscious policies, T. Boone Pickens is using his wealth to propagandize for passage of the NAT GAS Act of 2009. To that end he has established what he is calling his New Energy Army, to function as a lobby for his interests. And, he has produced a letter he wants everyone in his Army to send you in support of the NAT GAS Act.
He favors this legislation because it will drive the price of natural gas back up, making drilling more profitable once again. It has, he states, "almost all of the elements fostering the use of natural gas that we have been pushing for in the Pickens Plan."
-It extends the tax credit for natural gas used as a transportation fuel.
-It provides a tax credit for 80 percent of the additional cost when purchasing a dedicated natural gas vehicle.
-It creates incentives for the major manufacturers to sell natural gas vehicles (which they already produce for overseas markets) in the United States.
-It requires that 50 percent of the vehicles the federal government buys over the next five years to run on natural gas.

It artificially creates a market for Pickens' other fossil fuel investment. In other words, protecting his investments and growing them.

If the only fuel which is available to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is domestic natural gas, why are we selling it to Eastern European countries, and why are we importing liquid natural gas from foreign producers?
The arguments in favor of this legislation do not match the realities of the the marketplace. We have seen enough deception and mismanagement of and by our government. We need our legislators to bring reason and ethics to bear, with concern for Life and the Environment preemptive.

While natural gas burns cleaner than diesel fuel, extraction generates excessive and irrevocably destructive pollution. It IS a severe threat to an even more vital resource, WATER. Hydro-fracking for gas not only demands extreme quantities of water, it renders it radioactive and otherwise unusable, removing it forever from the life sustaininig hydrologic cycle. I favor legislation directing funds to develop wind, solar, hydrogen, geothermal, battery, fuel cell or other technologies now. When we run out of gas we will need to find an alternative. When we run out of water there is no alternative.

I urge you NOT support this legislation. I will be watching your press and floor remarks for statements of support.

Yours truly,

The gas drilling industry is a giant juggernaut! It's maneuvering and manipulating us almost faster than we can understand what's happening. Time is of the essence. We can't afford to be complacent. Once upon a time, this gas well landscape looked VERY different:


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