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       TOP    

May 21 2014

Call Governor Cuomo and demand that he join America’s energy leaders....Read More

Call Governor Cuomo and demand that he join America’s energy leaders.
518-474-8390 or 212-681-4580
1. nypropertytaxmonitor.com       2  wikipedia V Putin
3 wikipedia:Yokoono

 

April 20 2014

 

 

 

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. is, once again, investing in the future of Northeastern Pennsylvania with a $2.5 million gift to support Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
View this email in your browser

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Donates $2.5 Million

Largest gift in Lackawanna College's history


Energy is tremendously important to our way of life – yet we often take it for granted. Sure, we know it powers our lights, heats our homes and fuels our vehicles but energy is also important to many other industries. Manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, steel and petrochemicals would all cease to exist without it. In fact without energy, many of the things we need to maintain our comfortable lives would no longer be available to us.

For the last few decades, our country has relied on energy imports to meet our growing demand. But now, because of shale gas development, the United States is, once again, the largest producer of natural gas in the world and is on track to become the number one producer of oil by the end of the decade. The Marcellus Shale is providing new opportunities for businesses and individuals to prosper and education is the foundation for this new growth and expansion.

This past week, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation announced a gift of $2.5 million to the Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas to help train future generations to work here in northeastern Pennsylvania and to open up opportunities across the world.
Watch the Video
As an industry leader producing approximately 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day from the Marcellus Shale, Cabot recognizes the tremendous impact natural gas development is having on the United States and throughout the industrial sector. For the past six years, Cabot has developed this resource safely and efficiently, investing over $3 billion in Susquehanna County and in surrounding communities. But this is just the beginning for our company and for the region.

Over the next decades our company will continue developing more wells in the Marcellus Shale area. Given the prolific nature of Marcellus Shale wells, production is expected to continue for decades after each well is developed.  For example, at just one of our locations where there are 10 wells developed on a single pad, the average daily production is enough to supply the city of Philadelphia’s daily natural gas needs.

The 2014 Annual Energy Outlook forecast for United States energy markets predicts natural gas production will grow steadily, increasing 56% between 2012 and 2040. Due to this increase in production, the report suggests, natural gas prices will remain low, boosting natural gas-intensive industries and raising consumption in the U.S. industrial sector.

We recognize the importance of developing a mechanism for skilled petroleum and natural gas technologists to enter the workforce and continue this energy renaissance we have started. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over the next ten years employment across the oil and gas extraction industry will increase creating approximately 34,000 new positions. The industry will be in need of skilled individuals to fill these positions to continue meeting America’s energy needs.

The funds from Cabot’s gift to Lackawanna College will be directed toward the creation of a $1 million endowment to provide continuing support for student scholarships and help meet the long term needs of the school. The additional dollars will be used for state-of-the-art equipment, training, staff and faculty development, and student interactive experiences and internships. This gift is just one way that Cabot – along with others in the industry – is ensuring that future industry employees will be prepared for the numerous opportunities in the ever-expanding petroleum and natural gas industry.

We feel that Cabot’s partnership with Lackawanna College will position students with a world-class education and the ability to become employed in the oil and gas industry right here in northeastern Pennsylvania or elsewhere across the country if they should so choose. And at the same time, it will expand the opportunities for residents, business and the surrounding area to become a part of this great revolution.
 

Coverage of this Historic Gift

Cabot donates $2.5 million to Lackawanna College; Largest ever by the driller - Scranton Times Tribune
http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/cabot-donates-2-5-million-to-lackawanna-college-largest-ever-by-the-driller-1.1667100

Cabot Oil & Gas Invests $2.5 Million in Life-Changing Education – Natural Gas Now
http://naturalgasnow.org/cabot-oil-gas-invests-2-5-million-in-education/
 
Lackawanna College announces $2.5 million gift from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation – Lackawanna College
http://www.lackawanna.edu/falcon-headline/lackawanna-college-2-5-million-gift-cabot-oil-and-gas/
 
Cabot Oil & Gas does it Again – $2.5 Million Gift to Lackawanna College – Marcellus Drilling News
http://marcellusdrilling.com/2014/04/cabot-oil-gas-does-it-again-2-5-million-gift-to-lackawanna-college/
 
Lackawanna College announces $2.5 million gift from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation – The Wall Street Journal
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lackawanna-college-announces-25-million-gift-from-cabot-oil-gas-corporation-2014-04-11?reflink=MW_news_stmp
 
Lackawanna College Announces $2.5 Million Gift from Cabot Oil & Gas – North Central PA
http://www.northcentralpa.com/feeditem/2014-04-11_lackawanna-college-announces-25-million-gift-cabot-oil-gas
 
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. Gives Millions to Lackawanna College – Oil & Gas Investor
http://www.oilandgasinvestor.com/Companies-Industry-News/Cabot-Oil-Gas-Corp-Millions-Lackawanna-College_132156
 
Lackawanna College announces $2.5 million gift from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation – Yahoo Finance
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/lackawanna-college-announces-2-5-151500655.html
 
Lackawanna College announces $2.5 million gift from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation – ABC Channel 12
http://www.abc12.com/story/25223972/lackawanna-college-announces-25-million-gift-from-cabot-oil-gas-corporation
 
Lackawanna College announces $2.5 million gift from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation – Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/article/2014-04-11/aDPYHeP__E24.html
 
Cabot Donates $2.5 Million to Lackawanna College - WNEP Channel 16
http://wnep.com/2014/04/11/cabot-donates-2-5-million-to-lackawanna-college/
 

 

 

April 9 2013

Mission & Purpose

The RCFCW is a group of citizens organized for the purpose of promoting responsible, practical, and scientific basis for developing land use regulation, policy and law. We are focused on informing the affected public, land and business owners about a current policy proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection related to planning on-lot sewage systems in special protection watersheds. Click here to view the special report.

 

October 31 2012

By all indications, the anti-natural gas campaign to gain “ammunition” against the industry has failed, again.

Top responses
Monday's Disturbing News

October 31, 2012
Two days ago I sent out an email blast detailing the absurd call-to-action from activists looking for “ammunition” to support the war against natural gas. This preposterous appeal not only failed, again, to capitalize on natural disasters (Check out the famous flooded rig picture from Pakistan), it could, or even did, put individuals in harm’s way.

I can’t help but ask, from a rational standpoint, was this kind of request worth it?

With millions of people still without power and some losing even more like homes, personal property and loved ones, my answer is simple; no it isn’t.

In the end, Marcellus Shale operators in the northeast experienced no operational or environmental damage from the Super Strom. To read more about Cabot’s particular preparations for the storm, check out our latest blog post: Weathering Sandy.

For those who agree with rational thought, here are some comments I received in response to the distressing news email blast on Monday, enjoy:
  • "While watching the news and shows advising how to get by following the storm and power outs, several times it advised that natural gas service was available to cook food and boil water. The affected areas should be reminded of how fortunate they are to have NG!"
  • "Wishing for calamity shows their true colors!"
  • "Are We surprised? You must have seen the EID posts about the Constitution Pipeline FERC Hearings over the last few weeks ...If not, check out how … half dozen were abused by the audience in Oneonta"
  • "I had a parent tell me yesterday at hockey practice that after hurricane Irene last year and this storm they were going to invest in natural gas generator."
  • "I understand many gasoline refineries in the east are shutting down or curtailing production. Gasoline prices may soar. Further, a real shortage of energy may be helpful in showing people what life without an energy development policy is like. It has been a long time since we built major pipelines and refineries and we are dependent on them."
  • "All I can say is this should be an excellent opportunity for them to see firsthand the extra preparation and safeguards that gas companies put in place for potential disasters such as this."
In total over 400 people read the blast and about 50 responded to it. Energy in Depth: Northeast Marcellus also informed me that in just the last two days it received close to 1500 page views on the original article breaking the request.

Thank you for spreading the word!
- Bill desRosiers

P.S. Please keep in mind all who have negatively been impacted by the storm.


LWPOA RECENT UPDATES LWPOA PAST ARTICLES
September 4 2012
 

 

Dear Friends, Coalition Leaders, Landowners, and Natural Gas Supporters,

This is an URGENT CALL TO ACTION! We need your immediate assistance. Despite all of the positive news about the potential release of the final SGEIS, we have been advised by credible sources that the Governor has been asked to delay the release of the SGEIS until after the November elections. While the final decision to delay has not yet been made, we believe it is crucial for you to call the Governor and certain key legislators advising them of the importance of approving the SGEIS immediately.

We simply cannot let the politics of the fall elections intrude on the decision-making process. Three Governors have presided over the Marcellus shale opportunity. Each election cycle newly elected legislators have asked for time to be brought up to speed on natural gas development and the SGEIS. A decision delaying the SGEIS release until after the elections will push the SGEIS release into 2013.

Governor Cuomo has said that the SGEIS would be released this summer. He told Fred Dicker “I think it’s actually better that we do it when the Legislature is not here, because I don’t want a political discussion. He continued by saying: “I want to get the conversation back to facts and logic and science and information, and reduce the temperature of the conversation, pardon the pun.”

Even CBS News recently reported that it has learned that New York is expected to roll out guidelines after Labor Day.

Governor Cuomo has shown tremendous leadership on many New York issues. We have believed that he is a leader looking for real change in New York. We fully expect him to lead New York into a new era of economic prosperity.

Governor Corbett and Governor Kasich know the benefits drilling has brought to Pennsylvania and Ohio. President Obama called natural gas “an ideal energy source” and said “. . .natural gas actually burns cleaner than some other fossil fuels, and is an ideal fuel – energy source that we can potentially use for the next 100 years.” He also said: “So I want to encourage natural gas production. The key is to make sure that we do it safely and in a way that is environmentally sound. And the fact of the matter is that there a lot of folks right now that are engaging in hydraulic fracturing who are doing it safely.” Last week Bill Richardson, former US Energy Secretary under President Bill Clinton, gave an endorsement to Governor Cuomo’s efforts stating that “Natural gas is the future.” And, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently stated that natural gas is critical to improve our air quality and public health.

Delay will make the release of the SGEIS a heated campaign issue, contrary to the Governor’s hope of avoiding continued political debate. Additionally, our members and communities are facing dire circumstances. Our farms, businesses and finances are precarious. Many individuals are holding on in expectation of being able to develop their property, but they cannot hold on much longer. Every day of delay means more will have to sell out. Furthermore, perhaps no other region of the state has been harder hit by economic decline than our region. Responsible drilling is our best hope for resurgence.

Continued delay diminishes the economic benefits that could accrue to our state and our communities if drilling was permitted. In this regard, businesses are making investment decisions now that will mean jobs added in Pennsylvania instead of New York. We are aware of several instances recently where major support facilities linked to drilling have been constructed across the border rather than in New York. We have lost jobs and investment as a result.

Lastly, a delay will only serve to empower opponents, some of whom have now taken to civil disobedience and other disruptive acts. While everyone supports the right of people to express their views, we believe opponents are distorting the facts and trying to impose their views of what is right in our communities.

We must urge the Governor to direct the DEC to move forward as soon as possible with rules and regulations governing the process and to begin permitting. Please contact Governor Cuomo and these leaders in our Senate and urge them to approve the SGEIS immediately. A list of key talking points is attached.

Governor Cuomo 518 474 8390

Senator Bonacic 845 344 3311

Senator Skelos 518 455 3171

Senator Libous 877 854 2687

Senator Seward 607 432 5524

Senator Maziarz 716 434 0680

Senator O’Mara 607 776 3201

We have been fighting to bring opportunities to our communities for 4 years. We are closer to success than ever. I urge you to take a few minutes to make these important phone calls. Thank you.

Warm Regards,

Dan Fitzsimmons, President

Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc.

Talking Points

· Governor Cuomo and the DEC have assured us that the SGEIS would be released this summer. It is crucial that the Governor direct the DEC to move forward as soon as possible with rules and regulations governing the process and to begin permitting.

· The Governor has repeatedly stated and been quoted as to the importance of making sure this decision is based on the facts. Letting delay occur into the political season jeopardizes our hard work and energizes opponents.

· Continued delay will thrust the release of the SGEIS into an even more heated political debate which is exactly what the Governor had hoped to avoid.

· Natural Gas Development is supported by national and state leaders including President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg.

· Our members and communities are facing dire circumstances. Our farms, businesses and finances are precarious. Many individuals are holding on in expectation of being able to develop their property, but they cannot hold on much longer. Every day of delay means more will have to sell out.

· Our region of the state has been hard hit by economic decline. Responsible drilling is our best hope for resurgence.

· Continued delay diminishes the economic benefits that could accrue to our state and our communities if drilling was permitted. Businesses are making investment decisions now that will mean jobs added in Pennsylvania instead of New York. We are aware of several instances recently where major support facilities linked to drilling have been constructed across the border rather than in New York. We have lost jobs and investment as a result.

· A delay will only serve to empower opponents, some of whom have now taken to civil disobedience and other disruptive acts. These baseless attacks could alter the landscape for support.

· We need State leadership to present a clear and consistent regulatory structure across the state. The DEC, based on the expertise of its employees and advisors, needs to release a final set of standards to ensure safe development of our natural gas resources.

TOP

 

Early this morning, the two of us, together with Tom, had an opportunity to witness Governor Tom Corbett get in a kayak at Narrowsburg to paddle down the Delaware River. He launched from the Pennsylvania Fish Commission access just below the Narrowsburg bridge and, of course, a small group of natural gas opponents were there to greet him. However, there was also a determined group of natural gas advocates.  Read More

 

 

 

LWPOA.info site updates
July 6 2012

Vote on DRBC drilling rules unlikely before November

BY LAURA LEGERE (STAFF WRITER)
Published: July 6, 2012

ARTICLE TOOLS

A vote on proposed rules for natural gas drilling in the Delaware River watershed is likely still more than four months away.
Carol R. Collier, the executive director of the Delaware River Basin Commission, said Thursday that she "would be surprised" if a vote on the regulations happens before November, a message she shared with leaders of a Wayne County landowners group during a private, informal meeting early last week.
The interstate commission that regulates water quality and quantity in the watershed appeared ready to adopt a basin-specific set of drilling rules in November 2011, but the vote was canceled after the commissioners - governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware and a federal representative from the Army Corps of Engineers - could not reach an agreement on the proposal.
Other than a handful of exploratory gas wells, drilling has been on hold in the 13,000-square-mile basin since May 2010 as the commission drafted and revised its drilling rules. In Pennsylvania, the de facto moratorium has left Wayne County an island of non-development as drilling proceeds in the rest of the state where the Marcellus Shale contains marketable quantities of gas.
Ms. Collier said Thursday she did not know in advance that the November 2011 meeting was going to be canceled and that discussions among the commissioners about the rules are ongoing.
"The commissioners are having their technical staffs meet and work together to work out some of the issues," she said. "Things are progressing."
But the politically charged issue is unlikely to be presented for a vote before the November elections.
The commissioners have also said that they would like to review New York's natural gas drilling regulations when they are adopted, Ms. Collier said.
"There are a number of reasons to wait a bit."
She met last week with two leaders of the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, a 1,500-member group that has leased land for natural gas exploration.
The two organizations had not been in contact since November and Ms. Collier initiated the meeting on short notice because she was in the area for the Delaware River Sojourn, a guided paddling trip, she said.
The alliance learned little from the conversation that it did not already know, said Betty Sutliff, a member of the alliance's executive committee who attended the meeting, but the visit allowed the group to introduce Ms. Collier to its chairman, Bob Rutledge, at his home.
Ms. Collier said groups that oppose gas drilling in the basin regularly attend the commission's meetings, but she has not seen members of the landowners group there.
"Having no communication is bad communication in my book," she said. "I just wanted to stop in, have a casual conversation and let them know that I'd keep them posted, but didn't have a whole lot to say right now."
She corrected two characterizations of her comments included in a report of the meeting sent by the alliance's spokesman to its members that has since been posted on its website.
"I believe what I said was that I can see drilling occurring in the basin, but I hope that strong regulations are in place when it does occur," she said, not that "she would like to see gas drilling in the basin and wished that the entire regulationbusiness was behind her," as the alliance reported.
She also did not say that New York is "the real battleground," she said.
The landowners group has made a pronounced effort to push the commission and its member states toward an agreement on the regulations.
An attorney for the alliance sent a letter to the DRBC in February to argue that the long postponement of drilling is essentially an indefinite ban on the process and an unconstitutional taking of the member landowners' property.
Leaders of the group also met with Gov. Tom Corbett that month to discuss the delay, which the Corbett administration has been working to end

LWPOA RECENT UPDATES LWPOA PAST ARTICLES

 

June 23 2012   

David Maderia Show Broadcast with Curt Coccodrilli of NWPOA.info

 

April 14 2012

This past week marked one year of work by the Energy In Depth Northeast Marcellus Initiative (EID Marcellus for short). It was, as usual, an incredibly busy week as we visited another college campus, gave more tours and followed several additional issues on our blog. Just in case you missed something, here is some of what we reported.

OUR TOP 3 POSTS THIS WEEK

These were the top three posts on our blog for the last week:

Dimock: Never Ask A Passerby for Directions - John's great post explaining what's happening as the EPA finally puts an end to the unsubstantiated claims of anti-gas folks that Dimock's water is contaminated by natural gas development, ripping apart the nonsense advanced by the Water Defense group, in particular.

Keeping the Kids Here with Natural Gas Jobs: The JLCNY Hits a Home Run
- A rundown on the highly successful Career Expo held by the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, attended by thousands of job seekers.

EPA Stumbles in Natural Gas Actions - A legal analysis of recent EPA actions and their potential relationship to the Sackett decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. This post is authored by three members of the Reed Smith firm, including Michael Joy, who has previously written on our blog.

UPSTATE NEW YORK FIGHTING BACK AGAINST NATURAL GAS BAN CAMPAIGN


Rachael authored two pieces this week regarding the ongoing Park Foundation funded campaign by the Slottje's to institute natural gas bans and moratoriums on the fringe of the gas region (where it easier to do so) in a cynical attempt to falsely suggest New Yorkers oppose natural gas development:

Slottje Selling Spree Questioned in Pittsfield - The story of what happened in Pittsfield as town officials were confronted with the facts and the weakness of the Slottje arguments as they march around the edge of the gas region promoting unsound local laws.

Upstate New York Is in Trouble - Natural Gas Is the Solution - Rachael's fact-filled talk at a recent fund-raiser for the appeal of the shallow Middlefield decisionby Jennifer Huntington, a local dairy farmer who cannot exercise her mineral rights while this unfair law is still on the books.

Interestingly, the Ithaca Journal and associated media outlets, have noticed we were right about the Park Foundation and their role in fighting all things anti-gas. Their story even mentions our Connecting the Dots story from the EID Marcellus blog (without citing the title).

OUR TOP VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

Our videos are getting watched a lot lately. Check out the following top three videos watched on our site over the last week:

Lackawanna Students Tell What It's All About - Two Lackawanna College students, Matt Mosier and Tyler Rowe, tell what the Marcellus Shale means to them and why they were at the Career Expo.

Two Dedicated Antis Protest Jobs - A short clip of anti-gas antics at the Career Expo, where 2-4 protestors attempted to make a statement and ended up proving just how much more upstate New Yorkers want the jobs Marcellus Shale can offer.

Bryant LaTourette at Pittsfield -"Greedy Landowner" Bryant LaTourette's talk at the Pittsfield meeting where he led a respectful opposition that opened the eyes of some local officials and got them to question the Slottje ban campaign.

OTHER STUFF


We also followed a host of other issues related to natural gas over the last week. You might be interested in the following:

Put Your John Hancock Here for Natural Gas - Cherie Messore talks about a great initiative to demonstrate upstate New York's resolve to bring natural gas development to their region.

NARO-PA Weighs in on the Impact Fee
- Trevor Walczak of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners discusses Pennsylvania's new impact fee legislation and the accompanying new standards.

Put the DRBC Time Machine into Forward - Michele Stahl compares the Delaware River Basin Commission to a poorly functioning time machine that refuses to look forward and traps landowners in the past.

HOW TO REACH US

Tom Shepstone, Campaign Manager
EID Northeast Marcellus Initiative
tom@eidmarcellus.org
www.eidmarcellus.org
EID Marcellus Daily News

FacebookFacebook TwitterTwitter YouTubeYouTube


Bill desRosiers, Field Director - bill@eidmarcellus.org
Nicole Jacobs
, Field Director - nicole@eidmarcellus.org
Rachael Colley, Field Director -rachael@eidmarcellus.org
John Krohn, Communications Director - john@energyindepth.org

 

 

LWPOA RECENT UPDATES LWPOA PAST ARTICLES

 

February 14, 2012

In recent loops I've mentioned that we've been working behind the scenes to bring to an end the moratorium on gas drilling imposed on us by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). It's time now to "lift the curtain," so to speak, and let you know at least some of what has been going on.

Last week, four of our Alliance members -- chairman Bob Rutledge, executive committee member Betty Sutliff and executive committee alternates Curt Coccodrilli and Michele Stahl -- met in Harrisburg for half an hour with Gov. Tom Corbett and high-ranking members of his staff and then for an additional half hour with the governor's staff.

The latter included Kelly Hefner, deputy secretary for water management of the Department of Environmental Protection; Harry Forbes, the governor's regional director for northeastern Pennsylvania; Patrick Henderson, the state's energy executive; and Luke Bernstein, the governor’s deputy chief of staff.

Accompanying our people were County Commission Chairman Brian W. Smith and two members of the Wayne-Pike County Farm Bureau -- board member Dave Williams and president Carl Eisenhauer

The meeting focused on the DRBC moratorium, and among the topics discussed was what can be done about Delaware and its governor, Jack Markel, who's threatened no vote back in November led the DRBC to postpone indefinitely its vote on its draft natural gas development regulations. Those draft regulations had been published and subjected to extensive public hearings and comment.

Gov. Markel was to send Gov. Corbett a letter explaining Delaware's concerns pertaining to gas drilling, and Pennsylvania was to address those issues. However, no letter from Delaware has been forthcoming and Pennsylvania, it seems, will have to move forward on the assumption that Delaware isn't going to send that letter.

Prior to the meeting with Gov. Corbett, the Alliance team met for half an hour with State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe), a member of the state senate's Labor and Industry Committee. With no prompting from our people, Sen. Blake was able to sum up our situation and show that he was very aware of our frustrations and the challenges that lay before us. He opined that it will be difficult to get New Jersey and Delaware to approve the DRBC regulations because they feel they have nothing to gain from the gas drilling. And he offered to help us in any way he can, including writing legislation that we recommend to him.

And a day or two before our people headed to Harrisburg, we made sure Gov. Corbett got a copy of the letter that the executive committee had requested that our attorney, David Mandelbaum of Greenberg Traurig, send to the DRBC on the Alliance's behalf.

In that six-page, February 5th letter, attorney Mandelbaum argues that the DRBC has imposed a de facto ban on gas development rather than a temporary hiatus to allow its staff the time to prepare and the commission time to adopt a natural-gas development regime for the basin and that a permanent ban of this sort is not authorized by the compact that created the basin commission.

Mr. Mandelbaum further argues that the regulations the DRBC staff has proposed are arbitrary and capricious and overstep the bounds of the authority conferred by the compact and that the DRBC's actions and ultimate inaction have deprived NWPOA’s members of any practical ability to develop the natural gas under their properties and that this amounts to an uncompensated taking prohibited by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  

Closing his letter, Mr. Mandelbaum suggests that the DRBC is obliged to either begin accepting and in good faith considering permit applications for natural-gas projects or to stand aside and let projects proceed without review and approval.

As of this moment, we have received no response from the DRBC.


February 1 2012    EARN EXTRA $$$.... JOIN THE PRO NATURAL GAS CASTING CALL FOR A COMMERCIAL FEB 2, 3 4     send your photo now

Submissions can be made to: 

Project@Philacast.com 

Thank you,
Lauren Enfield

856-397-6880

We are looking for "Real" people for a Regional/National TV Commercial for a major energy company.

 Candidates must be Pennsylvania residents interested in the development of natural resources to stimulate growth and economic opportunity, particularly in the area of shale gas & oil exploration.

The person MUST be a longtime Pennsylvania resident and can speak proudly of the state and their community. 

We are casting for "Real"  people, NOT ACTORS in the following, similar, or related occupations:

 Farmers or farm owners   Miners   Construction workers

Manufacturing    

If you get the job, there is a substantial amount of pay for these SAG commercials (you do not have to be a member of this union to apply).

 Please email us with interest, contact information and a snapshot picture - as soon as possible, as the interview will be this week, 2/2, 2/3, 2/4 in Philadelphia.

If you get the job, it  shoots in March in Pennsylvania or traveled to location within the US.

 No submissions from people in production, advertising, marketing, or actors please.
 

Susan Gish

Sam Gish

Lauren Enfield

The Philadelphia Casting Co. Inc.

 The casting needs to be complete THIS WEEK & there is “substantial pay if you are picked for the commercial”,   This request will also may be looped out through  www.NWPOA.info & www.LWPOA.info shortly.

We would need to be assured that we would have at least 25 people who would come out, and submit a snapshot to the link below.

Thanks in Advance!!

 

November 15 2011

TOP
The Delaware River Basin Commission could very well vote down the proposed natural-gas regulations introduced last week if we don't campaign hard for their passage.

And if the commissioners reject the regulations when they meet Monday morning, it will likely mean that natural gas production will not be allowed within the Delaware River watershed for the foreseeable future. For passage, we need three yes votes. We're reasonably sure of only two: Pennsylvania and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Delaware and New York are expected to vote no, which leaves New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie is wavering under an onslaught of antidrilling political pressure.

We need to contact Gov. Christie's office en masse and use every contact we have to get to him. This is shaping up as an all or nothing proposition. We need people on the phones right away and in very large numbers, especially from New Jersey to the extent we have contacts there. But remember: All calls are good. And it could prove equally important to call the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Col. Christopher J. Larsen of the Army Corps.

New York reportedly is angry at the DRBC's plan to adopt land-use regulations that the NY Department of Environmental Conservation could be obliged to enforce. But scuttling the entire regulatory regime at this point seems peevish in the extreme, and maybe our calls will convince Gov. Cuomo of just that. In the case of Colonel Larsen, your call might help convince him that a yes vote is the only way to go.

Here are the phone numbers to call:

Army Corps of Engineers: 703-697-4672

New Jersey Governor: 609-292-6000

New York Governor: 518-474-8390 or 518-474-4623
 
And if you're not sure just what to say, here's a suggestion:

"My name is   _______________________. Please tell Governor Christie (or Governor Cuomo or Colonel Larsen) to vote YES in favor of the proposed DRBC regulations and allow gas drilling to proceed in the Delaware River Basin. This rule-making process has gone on way too long as it is, and it's time to proceed."

And no matter how you say it, be sure to ask very clearly for a YES vote on the DRBC regulations. You want to be sure the people answering the call do not misinterpret your message.

Incidentally, our executive director Marian Schweighofer was down in Hershey today, where hundreds of farmers from across the state are attending the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's 61st Annual Meeting. This afternoon, bureau members were debating issues that affect agriculture, farm families and rural communities, including natural-gas exploration and production. Marian had met with Pennsylvania officials earlier in the day and, while the debates were going on, she sent the following text message:

"It is evident that ny state plans to vote NO on drbc regs on mon. They are angry that DRBC sets any type of land regs at all with the expectation that NY will need to enforce DRBC rules. PA has similar concerns but believes a compromise can be reached with DRBC. We must have NJ to get regs in place. It is imperative. There is a chance we will have no regs and a continued moratorium. Lawsuits are already prepared but hopefully a judge will not grant a stay of permits. But with no regs we are dead in the water and that is currently possible."

The need couldn't be clearer. We've got to act now and also ask our friends -- all of them -- to do the same.

 

URGENT RESPONSE IS NEEDED NOW

DRBC VOTE

SEND to all those who value property rights, energy independence, jobs, the economy & the American dream .
Please call the numbers below TODAY
URGENT - DRBC Vote

We could lose this DRBC vote next week UNLESS WE ARE HEARD FROM!! - the deal is losing steam with all the political pressure from the anti's.  Delaware has apparently caved, NY is going to go whatever way the wind blows and NJ is shaky.  We need to make an all out push on New Jersey ASAP.  We need to contact the NJ Governor's office en masse and use every contact we have to get to them.  This is all or nothing, folks.  If we don't get this done, we're done.  We need people on the phones right now and in very large numbers, especially from New Jersey to the extent we have contacts there but any calls are good.   We also need to get the word out to all coalition members ASAP to do the same thing.  This is not something that can wait.  We need to act now!

NJ - Governor Christie  (609) 292-6000
Call the Army Corps of Engineers: 703-697-4672.

 

 

November 9 2011

 

Complete coverage of natural gas drilling in Northeast Pennsylvania including recently updated searchable database of natural gas drilling leases for Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties
Recent Gas Drilling News
  • DRBC proposes new gas drilling rules
  • Exeter opposes House bill on drilling
  • Gas company gives Benton Twp. two weeks' notice of drilling
  • Many twists in impact fee debate
  • Roaring Brook passes oil and gas ordinance
  • Incumbent Benton Twp. supervisor, challenger weigh in on gas drilling
  • SHALE PERMIT REVIEW PROPOSAL DRAWS CRITICISM
  • Lawyer: Dimock water unsafe; deliveries should go on

The Delaware River Basin Commission published revised rules governing natural gas development in the four-state watershed on Tuesday, two weeks before the commissioners plan to vote on adopting the regulations.
The draft rules were changed after an initial version released in December 2010 garnered a record 70,000 public comments. If adopted, the rules will open the 13,000-square-mile basin to natural gas drilling after a more than 18-month moratorium.
Read the Revised Natural Gas Development Regulations HERE
The revised rules alter the amount natural gas drillers must pay in bonds or insurance, change the structure of water use approvals for natural gas pads or projects, and make it less cumbersome for drillers to reuse wastewater during their operations in the basin.
The new rules maintain requirements for large-scale development plans that came under criticism from drillers and drilling advocates during public comment periods early this year, but they reduce setback restrictions between wells and waterways that drilling supporters described as unworkable. The stream and wetland setbacks have shrunk from 500 feet in the initial draft to 300 feet from a wellbore or 100 feet from the edge of a pad in the new draft.
Not all setback restrictions were reduced. The rules increase the distance between well pads and water supply reservoirs and stream intakes from 500 to 1,000 feet. Instead of deferring to host-state rules, the commission will now require gas well pads to be located 500 feet from private wells and 1,000 feet from public water supplies.
The new rules also ban drilling in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Corridor unless a variance is granted by the commission.
In a change, the commission dropped the requirement of a $125,000 bond or other "financial assurance" per well and replaced it with a three-pronged financial guarantee to cover plugging, accidental spills and restoration. The new maximum bond is $250,000 for capping and closing all wells; $25 million for accidental spills; and, for restoration, an amount equal to the cost of restoring each gas development site.
The commission also created a plan to evaluate the natural gas rules 18 months after they go into effect and to make recommendations for changes within 6 months of that review. Water use approvals for no more than 300 gas wells will be granted within the first two years of the new gas drilling program.
The rules will not be open for public comment before the commissioners consider them in a special meeting on Nov. 21 in Trenton, N.J.
The lack of additional public comment outraged many environmental groups, who accused the agency of "slamming the door in the public's face," on Tuesday.
The Delaware River Basin includes parts of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, including Wayne, Pike and Monroe counties and slivers of Lackawanna and Luzerne.
Contact the writer: llegere@timesshamrock.com


Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/drbc-proposes-new-gas-drilling-rules-1.1229627#ixzz1dAku4pPM
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


There are two "Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission" meetings in Pennsylvania this week where landowners have the opportunity to give testimony. We'd like to ensure these "hearings" include the voices of those who support Marcellus Shale development. Here are the details:
When: Wednesday, September 21, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Lycoming College's Heim Hall Room G-11, Williamsport, PA
Additional Information: Free parking is available in the lot off Mulberry Street. If you would like to share your opinion or talk about how you have been impacted by the gas industry, you can sign up to participate at: http://citizensmarcellusshale.com or by calling Stephanie Frank at 717-255-7181.

When: Thursday, September 22, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Wysox Fire Hall,  Wysox PA (outside Towanda)
No Additional Information Provided

 

SEPTEMBER 7 2011

Marcellus Shale Protesters = Lobbyists for Middle East Oil Barons

 

And there they were, in all their glory, basking in the attention gained from protesting Marcellus Shale drilling. Sure, those who were angrily denouncing the gas industry during the Marcellus Shale Coalition Conference in Philadelphia got the attention of the local media. But by far, their biggest cheering section, the folks who were happily paying the closest attention, weren’t even in Pennsylvania.READ MORE...

 

 

Chesapeake CEO takes on anti-drilling 'extremists'

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
Posted Sep 07, 2011 @ 04:12 PM
Comment
PHILADELPHIA —
(AP) — The chief executive of one of the top U.S. natural gas producers delivered a blistering rebuke of critics of shale gas drilling on Wednesday, calling them fear-mongering extremists who want Americans to live in a world where "it's cold, it's dark and we're all hungry."
Speaking at an industry conference in Philadelphia, Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon said that gas drilling has been done safely for decades using a process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
Environmental activists say that fracking and the drilling boom it's created has led to polluted air, has tainted groundwater and has made people sick.
McClendon accused those critics of distorting the facts. He asserted there have been only a few dozen cases of methane migration of well-water supplies in northeastern Pennsylvania, and that residents were merely inconvenienced.
"Looking back, was anybody hurt? Was there any permanent or even temporary environmental damage? No, no and no. Some folks were inconvenienced, for sure, and for that we're deeply sorry," McClendon said. But he said the industry's benefits — including lower home-heating bills, tens of thousands of new jobs, and millions of dollars of landowner wealth — more than outweigh the isolated cases of contamination.
He also said that new well-casing standards in Pennsylvania have largely eliminated the methane problem.
"Problem identified, problem solved. That's how we do it in the natural gas industry," said McClendon.
In fact, some residents with contaminated water wells have been forced to get their water delivered for months or years, and say their home values have been destroyed. Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that it's investigating a fresh case of methane contamination.
McClendon, who met with reporters after his speech, said in response to a question from The Associated Press that he wasn't minimizing the problems, just trying to put them into context.
"We moved into an area that hadn't seen a lot of drilling, that had pretty unusual surface geology," he said. "We had some problems in the beginning. We think we've got them fixed."
In his speech, McClendon blasted organizers and participants in an anti-drilling rally held outside the convention center.
"Remind me: What value have the protesters outside created? What jobs have they created? You know the answer and so do I," he said. "So it's time that we contrast what we do for a living with what they do for a living."
He said the opponents' goal is to shut down gas drilling altogether.
"What a glorious vision of the future: It's cold, it's dark and we're all hungry," said McClendon, who co-founded Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, the most active gas driller in the Marcellus Shale and nationwide. "I have no interest in turning the clock back to the dark ages like our opponents do."
The Marcellus is a vast rock formation beneath Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and portions of other states that's believed to contain one of the biggest deposits of natural gas in the world. Nearly 4,000 wells have been drilled in the state over the past few years, with tens of thousands more planned.
To reach the gas, drillers combine horizontal drilling with fracking, a technique in which millions of gallons of water, along with sand and chemical additives, are injected at high pressure to crack open gas-bearing rock.
Opponents say fracking and shale gas drilling in general have led to polluted air and water and made people sick.
Environmental activists are countering the industry meeting with their own two-day event focusing on the negative impacts of gas drilling. Several hundred activists and homeowners packed the sidewalks outside the conference Wednesday and called for a moratorium on drilling.

 

AUGUST 26 2011

Comment
Honesdale, Pa. —

Having gas is great, but it’s what you do with it that counts.
That was the message Timothy Kelsey came to the Wayne County Oil and Gas Taskforce to spread Wednesday evening.
A professor of agricultural economics at Penn State University, Kelsey says in recent years he has been increasingly occupied with economic development and planning initiatives  surrounding Marcellus Shale extraction in the state.
“I’m neither pro or con,” He began, “But I think it’s important to understand both sides and study all of the environmental, economic and community impacts of gas extraction.”
With the help of a PowerPoint presentation, Kelsey spent a little over an hour laying out data he and his colleagues have collected from areas where gas extraction is already underway in an effort to help the 32 members of the task force get a better handle on what to expect once drilling gets underway in this corner of the state.
“I am an economist,” He went on, “And I’ve spent the last 20 years studying local planning and land use issues from that standpoint. But while it’s true that the Marcellus gas play in Pennsylvania stands to have a big impact on our economy, I think economic considerations must be understood within the context of other things.”
Kelsey began his presentation by outlining the demographic and geographic layout of the Marcellus Shale play in Pennsylvania. With maps and charts to illustrate, he pointed out that the Marcellus mainly runs under the most rural, economically deprived areas of the state — areas that have mostly been losing population in recent years as young people leave in pursuit of greater economic opportunity.
Estimated to be the second largest gas field in the world, Marcellus extraction is likely to change that as it develops throughout the Commonwealth.
Development brings with it approximately $2 million per well for landowners, but the real money comes from  gas development companies bringing in their workers, who need places to eat, sleep and play when they’re not working, as well as all the various goods and services companies need to do the work.
“It’s big money, and it’s big money relatively quickly, but there are arguments about how long it will last. At some point, the gas will go away. The question is, what are we doing now to prepare for after the play?”
Maximizing the amount of money that remains in the community is important, Kelsey says, but maximizing the effect those dollars have on the community is absolutely critical to what happens when the gas dries up.
“It’s very difficult to get good, reliable  statistics about what the effects gas extraction has on a community,” Kelsey said, “There is a huge amount of uncertainty about it. Often what you have is anecdotes fighting anecdotes. Its hard to get a good picture of what’s going on because each community responds to different things in different ways and the industry is just so new that there really isn’t a lot of good data yet.”
This is changing as production wells increase throughout the state, Kelsey said, and a lot can be learned from the communities already exploiting their gas reserves. However, since gas extraction is so new to the region, for long-term data one has to look at places that have already been through the boom-town phenomenon.
Looking into the experiences of places such as Bradford County — which has more wells in production than any other county in the state — reveals no clear answers to questions about the impacts of the gas business.
For sure, there are positive financial impacts, but they are only as positive as the community makes them; and there are also a lot of negatives, such as a ten-fold increase in heavy truck traffic, dramatically higher rents and lack of housing availability, more demand on social services and greater social conflict.
A lot of information exists about the long-term effects of emergent — and temporary — industries on the communities that hosted them, Kelsey says, but again there are no clear answers.
“Many communities are no better off after the boom,” Kelsey said, “Some are worse, and some are better. It depends on the community. If there is strong local leadership, effective communication and a proactive effort to maximize the potential benefits and minimize the potential costs for the long run, especially after production has finished, the rewards can be great. Not doing those things now — during the drilling phase — can have disastrous effects down the road.”

 

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ENEREGY IN DEPTH

Esther Rayias of Dimock Township in Susquehanna County just did a post on our website that I encourage all you to read.  Please consider her very reasonable request for help:

 

 

 

 

 

JUNE 17 2011 LWPOA.INFO UPDATE NEWS

FROM MARION

Hello NWPOA,
 
 

This is actually a test email loop to see if everything is up and running again.  We have been having our share of technical difficulties to cope with. We are hopeful that they are resolved but this email test will let us know for sure - there is no need to respond to this message.

 

Things are still in a holding pattern with gas exploration for our region as we wait for DRBC to come out with the final regulations. Both Newfield and Hess are concerned with the added delays and their inability to move forward with their program.

 

The Newfield office has been closed in Honesdale because they reportedly need to look for a new location. Newfield is planning to bring a service rig back into our area this month.

 

The Hess office is down to a skeleton crew, basically just Dean is holding down the fort. So if you have questions and reach out to the HESS office, most of the other employees were laid off or transferred out.  Gene Linscomb has been let go and is no longer with HESS. He and his family will be moving back to TX when school is out. We will miss them a great deal.

 

Leases in the DRBC are still being held in Force Majeure due to the unavoidable regulatory delay that DRBC is causing. Regardless of force majeure, all Exploratory phase payments in your lease will be made, please refer to your lease to determine your payment schedule. On pages one and two you will see your Exploratory and Development phase payment arrangements for your particular lease. ALL Exploratory phase payments will be made according to the schedule in your lease. If your lease is in SRBC, the option to continue the lease into the development phase, thus requiring additional payments, will occur as scheduled (most leases - around Jan 2012). If your lease is in the DRBC, then the force majeure will continue to push the option for development phase forward to an unknown date.

TOP

Good luck to us all!

Marian

MAY 18 2011

Hearing to be held on June 1

Some of you have commented that I don't send out as many e-mails now as before I took a consulting assignment in April to direct the Energy In Depth Northeast Marcellus Initiative ("EID Marcellus").  That's true but now I have help and we are doing much more.  You can follow things by visiting our blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, all linked below. Please do so regularly by bookmarking all three pages and indicating you "Like" our Facebook page. We are using it and the Twitter feed to let people know what's happening on a frequent basis and we'd love your participation.


Also, we have posted several items recently that should interest many of you.  Check out our new Table of Contents for a listing of posts.  You'll find a fascinating piece on how Marcellus Shale development is yielding incredible fiscal benefits in the Corning area, a discussion of the American Rivers endangered river nonsense, and a feature on natural gas vehicles stations coming to the area.  Please check them all out.

The Facebook page includes some information on important upcoming events, including the DRBC hearing on the XTO water withdrawal application to be held in Deposit on June 1.  Interesting, the Delaware Riverkeeper had advance notice of that hearing, which raises all sorts of questions.  Nevertheless, the important thing is that the hearing has been scheduled and it is critical all of you with an interest in the Delaware River Basin Commission's regulation of natural gas development plan to attend that session and insist natural gas development not be subjected to higher standards for water withdrawals than other comparable uses.  The hearing will take place in the Deposit High School at 3:30 PM.

Finally, for those of you in the Sullivan (NY) and Wayne County areas, please be aware the Joint Landowners Coalition of NY is sponsoring a public meeting entitled “Marcellus Shale in Our Community” at 7:00 PM, Wednesday, May 18, at Sullivan West High School, in Lake Huntington, NY. Subjects to be addressed include taxation, jobs, drilling practices, methane migration and water use. A question and answer period will follow.  I will be speaking, along with John Holko from Lenape Resources and John Conrad of Conrad Geosciences.  This is in the heart of some of the most irrational anti-gas activity, so we'd sure appreciate if you came out to learn and make a statement.

 

 

 

TOP    OLDER GAS INDUSTRY ARTICLES

TOP          OLDER GAS INDUSTRY ARTICLES

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APRIL 25 2011 FROM MARION

46 PAGES ATTENTION REQUIRED   READ MORE...

NATURAL GAS DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS

 

ARTICLE 7

 

Section 7.1: Purpose, Authority, Scope and Relationship to other Requirements and Rules.

 

7.1(a) Purpose. The purpose of this Article is to protect the water resources of the Delaware River Basin during the construction and operation of natural gas development projects. To effectuate this purpose, this Section establishes standards, requirements, conditions and restrictions to prevent, reduce or mitigate depletion and degradation of surface and groundwater resources and to promote sound practices of watershed management including control of runoff and erosion.   READ MORE...

 

The most important thing we had to get done as a group was to send the comments on the draft DRBC regulations. I appreciate all the individual comments each of you submitted. Every comment will become part of the permanent record. Let’s hope that the regulations are revised to a more workable fashion. Lets hope that the final draft does not take too long to be released.  The DRBC has been incredibly slow at getting even the most basic tasks finished. I am concerned that this pattern will continue as they review the comments.

 

 

APRIL 11 2011

Meet Representative Sandra Major!

 

Hello NWPOA Members, 

Sandy is one of your elected officials. She represents this broad geographic area that takes in parts of Wayne County, Susquehanna and Wyoming County too. 

She works closely with Rep. Mike Peifer and Senator Lisa Baker.  She understands our frustration with the ongoing delays at the DRBC. Sandy was happy to send in a letter to the DRBC on our behalf stating that the delays and extensions need to end. We asked her to send in a note before April 15th expressing concern that our townships, counties and state were giving up local controls to the DRBC in view of how the current draft of the DRBC regulations read. 

We talked about the crazy sprinkler code that is impacting the cost to build new in Wayne County and the frustration that log cabins can’t even be built here even though we make log cabins in Wayne County. 

We expressed frustration at the sudden 10 ton limits and other DOT restrictions on our roads and bridges. We explained how it affected our local trucking and business’s

Sandy in her office in Harrisburg 

 

Sandy again has the honor of being the Republican Caucus Chairperson for the 2010-11 session of the General Assembly.

We all owe Sandy a big thank you because she sponsored HB 143 that is the  bill that amends the Clean and Green Act to limit the roll back taxes that can be assessed on non coal mining activities. Last year a similar bill passed the House that would have exempted land used for alternative energy and for Commercial gas  wells. The areas would have been 5 acres or less. But the Governor Rendell threatened to veto the whole thing so it was taken off the table to save everyone the energy of fighting.

 

So now we have a new administration and Sandy decided that the timing was right to bring it back to the table. It passed!  Now the ball is in the Senates Court for ultimate approval, Hopefully!  It is in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  So write to thank Sandy and ask the Senate to move the Clean and Green Legislative changes forward.

The only 2 on the Senate Ag and rural affairs committee that I have contact information for are

Gene Yaw  gyaw@pasen.gov

M Waugh mwaugh@pasen.gov

  You could also write to our Senator Lisa Baker and she will make sure your message gets heard. lbaker@pasen.gov

 

Sandy Major email is smajor@pahousegop.com

Sandy Major and Marian Schweighofer

Sandy has been asked to be the keynote speaker for the Upper Delaware Councils (UDC) 23rd annual Awards dinner on April 17th in Beach Lake PA.  She represents Buckingham, Lebanon, Manchester, Pleasant Mount, Oregon, Scott, and Preston Townships.  Ironically the townships she represents that are eligible to join the UDC have thus far opted out of joining the UDC. On many fronts the UDC seems opposed to natural gas activity in the townships that border the river. The individual townships up north in Sandy’s district have not taken that position. Sandy is on the Energy Caucus and oil and gas caucus and has a commonsense yet supportive attitude toward Marcellus shale. She is looking for the most responsible way to extract a needed resource that is owned by her constituents.  ( If you can go to support her speaking maybe you can do so)

 

Speaking of the UDC, there was quite an uproar recently, the Damascus Supervisors were not happy with certain things they were hearing and reading that were coming out of the UDC. They felt that the Townships interests were not being served so they withdrew Deloris Keesler from the UDC. I have not heard with whom they will replace her.  At the next UDC meeting, which is this coming Thursday April 7th they will discuss the matter of Damascus Township further.

We had a good visit with Sandy in her office but later she joined us for lunch. Sandy Major Joining us for a luncheon too. I also happened to talk to Senator Gene Yaw while we were having lunch. I thanked him profusely for the leadership he has shown re: natural gas legislation. He said he had been in close contact with the National Association Of Royalty Owners NARO PA Chapter and found them well educated as well.

 

Hats off to Sandy and Good luck to us all! 

Marian

 

 

Capitol Office Contact  for Sandy Major
120 Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202111
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2111
Telephone:  717-783-2910
Fax:  717-783-2010

A lawmaker since 1995, Sandra Major is no stranger to public service. Prior to her election to the House, she was Susquehanna County Treasurer and district assistant to the late Rep. Carmel Sirianni.

 

Major is a graduate of Mountain View High School, Keystone Junior College and attended the University of Scranton.

 

Her sprawling legislative district includes parts of Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties. She maintains district offices in Montrose and Tunkhannock, and makes regular visits to the Preston Township Building in Wayne County.

 

Major is a member of the  House Republican Policy Committee and the House Republican Policy Committee’s Energy Task Force, as well as the Agriculture, Antique and Classic Car, Community College, East Central, Fair, Gas and Oil, Rural Health, Sportsmen and Timber legislative caucuses . She also serves as a board member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the Community Foundation of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.

 

 She was re-elected to the leadership position of Republican Caucus Chairwoman for the 2009-10 session of the General Assembly. 

 

Rep. Major is a member of the Susquehanna County Chamber of Commerce, the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, the President’s Advisory Council for Keystone College, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the National Rifle Association, the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose, the Susquehanna Council of Republican Women, the Pennsylvania Council of Republican Women, and the National Council of Republican Women.

 

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APRIL 11 2011

Its Crunch time and we could use your help to send a loud and clear message to DRBC!  There are close to 5500 comments into the NPS Website about the Draft DRBC regulations. The dead line is this Friday 4/15/11.  One of you sent this wonderful summary and suggests that more of our members do the same in submitting them as comments.  

Yesterday the Comment website was not working. We could not submit electronically but it is working this morning. You can help yourself and all property owners out by simply: 

  1. 1.       Click the link
  2. 2.       Copy a section from the below text
  3. 3.       Paste it to the comment box
  4. 4.       Fill in your information
  5. 5.       Submit the form
  6. 6.       Do it again 

Good Luck to us all! 

 

For those of you with an interest in the DRBC region, the deadline for making comments on the proposed regulations is this Friday, April 15.  I just submitted 35 separate comments using the designated link for this purpose, which may be found at:

I encourage everyone else to do the same thing.  It's very easy and submitting separate comments on major points is far preferable to submitting them as a package, although that can be done as well and several entities, including a group of 15 landowner and economic development organizations, will be submitting similar comments.   It took me less than an hour to submit 35 comments using the following list.  Simply go to the link above and fill out the form, copying the text from paragraph No. 1 below into the Comments box, and then hit "Submit."  When it has gone out, you'll get a "Thank You" message.  Now click on the back arrow at the top of your browser screen, and this will take you back to the completed form you just submitted.  Replace the text in the Comments box with the text from paragraph No. 2 below, click on "Submit" again.  Keep repeating the process for all the comments and then submit all them as a combined list as your final submission.  You can also use other lists and sample comments that may be found at: http://www.naturalgasnow.info/drbc.  The important thing is to do it by Friday and make sure every comment recommends the DRBC completely delete Section 7.5.  I'll provide further updates throughout the week.

 

1.         The proposed regulatory process is exactly backwards. The regulations superimpose standards on the states to be enforced by DRBC staff who are completely inexperienced with regulating oil and gas.  It should be exactly the opposite, with the states in charge and the DRBC serving as an interested agency to suggest higher or different standards that should be considered by the states prior to permitting individual wells. This would put experienced regulators in charge, allow a meaningful DRBC role and provide a basis for DRBC appeals of decisions.  It would deliver certainty without compromising standards and ensure competent enforcement by knowledgeable staff.  It would require only simple agreements between the DRBC and states. It would avoid “one-size-fits-all” standards and redundant pre-construction reviews of well pads.  We need regulations that complement the states, rather than interfere with what is already working.  Section 7.5, at a minimum, needs to be completely deleted.

2.         DRBC regulation of any water use for gas, regardless of amount, is discriminatory and works against the compelling economic interests of the Upper Delaware region. The amount of water use involved in gas drilling is small compared to other uses (e.g., golf courses, car washes, power generation or big city commercial uses). Reducing the regulatory threshold from the normal 100,000 gpd to any amount of water is not supported by the data. The DRBC’s assertion that normal thresholds do not adequately protect water resources and its suggestion other uses don't consume water in a like manner are both disingenuous. Other users such as power plants, consume far greater quantities of water. Moreover, if water quality and safety are already heavily regulated by the states, and water allocation is not the issue they would have it be, exactly why is it we need the DRBC?  Revise your regulations to defer to the states and delete Section 7.5 in its entirety.

3.         The draft regulations incorrectly construe the task of the DRBC as being limited to the narrow goal of protecting water quality, as if this were all there was to its job. The page 3 statement of purpose doesn't even hint at the need to allocate water resources, let alone address the economic side of the DRBC mission, which is clearly articulated in Part I of the Compact. That Compact requires you to address water needs related to "employment, industry, and economic development” of our region. Yet, the regulations ignore the economic development side of the equation and maintain the pretense water quality is all there is.  Statements of purpose need to be amended to indicate the primary function of the regulations is allocation of water resources for the development of natural gas resources, as a matter of economic development, while preserving water quality for other uses.  Section 7.5 also needs to be deleted.

4.         Well pad standards duplicate state regulations and are unnecessary. Moreover, proposed standards are completely unrealistic - particularly the 500 feet setback from water bodies and wetlands. A typical 5-acre well pad would be 467 feet squared in size and a 500 feet buffer around such a pad would require roughly a 40-50 acre site that is free of any water bodies or wetlands. While this might sound reasonable, the definition of water body encompasses seasonal and intermittent depressions, channels, ditches and "similar drainageways," as well as all wetlands. There are virtually no areas in the Upper Delaware region where 40-50 contiguous acres of land lacking these features can be found.  No existing well sites could meet the standard due to the nearby presence of small ponds, streams, ditches, terraces or wetlands. These standards would prevent all Approvals By Rule and, therefore, stop all drilling.  Revisions are needed to defer to the states and Section 7.5 needs to be wholly deleted.

5.         The variance procedure should be for exceptions and not the rule. The flawed standards found in Section 7.5 ensure all power is discretionary and in the hands of the Executive Director and should be completely deleted. This section gives the Executive Director unprecedented power to impose additional conditions in all instances.  This is because there are NO instances, under these regulations, that will not require variances. This is a recipe for bureaucratic abuse.  Additionally, the Approval By Rule provisions on page 55, specifically sub-section (6), require the setbacks to be met.  Therefore, Approval by Rule will not be available as an option. It is nothing more than a mirage. Without Approval By Rule, there will be no drilling, because no bonding or drilling company will sign on for what is a completely open-ended process. The DRBC needs to reduce discretion and ensure Approval By Rule is possible by deferring to the states on well pad standards and deleting Section 7.5. 

6.         Section 7.5  ignores the needs of upper basin residents and should be completely deleted. Sub-section (a)(1) articulates the needs of those who live outside the basin, but completely excludes any mention of our needs, in the Upper Delaware region, to be able to develop our resources. Instead, we are viewed as nothing more than "source watersheds" for the benefit of downstream and out-of-basin waters users - source watersheds that cannot be disturbed. The "sparsely populated" explanation on the top of page 36 says it all - our future doesn't matter because there aren't many of us. Where is the balance?  Where is the consideration of our needs? These regulations must be revised to recognize our needs and they must be reasonable.  This version is unreasonable and tries to supersede state regulations that are already working.  Section 7.5 must be deleted.

7.         Section 7.5 asserts, with no evidence, that well pads "may have a substantial impact on the water resources of the basin" and should be deleted altogether. How can this be, if the amount of disturbance is limited to a mere 5-6 acres out of 1,280 acres in a production unit? How can this be when both states already impose some of the toughest stormwater management rules in the nation? How can this be when our forested land has been steadily growing over the last half-century?  There is simply no basis for a statement that well pads could have a substantial impact on water resources of the basin.  There is no need for separate DRBC well pad standards and the regulations should be revised accordingly, with Section 7.5 completely deleted.

8.         If the states are to implement Section 7.5, as suggested by these regulations, they would be unnecessary because there are very few items that are not ALREADY regulated by the states.  Section 7.5 should, therefore, be completely deleted. Additionally, those matters that aren’t already regulated by the states relate to land use questions, which have always been a state matter. Also, the states already regulate floodplain development and do natural diversity searches.  There should be no mention of either in these regulations. What are we doing here?  Why are creating a new unnecessary bureaucracy? These regulations should be stripped of all well pad standards and simply defer to the states on these issues, with Section 7.5 completely deleted.
           
9.         The entire purpose of Section 7.5 is to insert the camel's nose under the tent with respect to land use, under the ruse that well pads are something that need to be further regulated, when they are already heavily regulated. Section 7.5 should, therefore, be wholly deleted. The emphasis, on page 51, on "constraints analysis" and mapping of leaseholds that are constantly changing is further indication of this, as is the statement on page 7 that removes Section 7.5 provisions from state administration, in direct contrast to earlier suggestions.  These regulations would set the DRBC up as a super-agency to regulate land use and supersede state environmental regulations. We cannot have still another agency deciding matters of land use in the Upper Delaware region. Section 7.5, therefore, should simply be deleted.

10.       The regulations have been fashioned to serve too many interests at once and are not only redundant with state regulations, but also internally so.  Section 7.5 is a particular problem and should be completely deleted. The regulations are not clear and the procedures overlap and are intertwined to such a degree they are sometimes incomprehensible.  They are naive in supposing natural gas development is a static rather than dynamic process. They make little allowance for evolution of technology. They establish arbitrary standards and requirements with no foundation in science or industry best practices. They are fee-driven in many places. They are impractical in others. They do not achieve the proper balance between objective standards and discretionary review authority. They include no duty on the part of the DRBC to act in a reasonable time frame. They set the stage for endless controversy and should be revised to defer to the states and delete Section 7.5.

11.       There is far too much emphasis on pollution in these regulations, as if it was a given, when it is anything but.  Page 4 includes meaningless buzz words such as "sustainable manner" that have no place in this document. Sub-section (1) perpetuates the myth that protection of water quality is the only foundation for natural gas standards, the only part to water resource management. Finally, what is the point of sub-section (2), which suggests water resource management is matter of linking to the the "management of other resources" and recognition of "social and institutional systems"?  Such drivel should be removed. It illustrates the utter incompetence of the DRBC staff in dealing with natural gas regulation, yet the agency wants to be in charge.  The regulations should be revised these to defer to the states, which have demonstrated competence of several decades, and completely delete Section 7.5.

12.       The language of these regulations is far too vague and sets the stage for endless future regulation.   Sub-section (3) on page 5, for example, talks about "improving  the conditions of water resources."  What does this mean?  It appears to beg for more back door land use regulation by the DRBC. Sub-section (4) extols the importance of protecting "instream living resources," "downstream withdrawers" and "environmentally sensitive landscapes" but says nothing about the needs of the people of the Upper Delaware to secure water for their livelihood. All these subsections (1 through 4) are both biased and extraneous.  They should be deleted. If kept, they should be revised to exhibit the necessary balance and avoid the meaningless bureaucratic jargon that pervades these regulations.  All standards based on such language, including all of Section 7.5, should be deleted.

13.       There are several excellent provisions in these regulations that allow for deference to the states, but the exception for Section 7.5 regulations is a land mine that can destroy everything. This is why it so critical to delete all of Section 7.5.  Moreover, without knowing precisely what will, and will not, be addressed by proposed agreements with states, it is impossible to know what standards will actually apply.  The language on page 7 needs to be explicit in restricting the DRBC from regulating any activity the states already regulate, without exceptions, loopholes or vague language that can be later interpreted to impose multiple layers of redundant regulation. 

14.       Critical habitat discussions have absolutely no place in this set of regulations. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the states already handle this and it falls far outside the scope of what the DRBC should be addressing. It is another open invitation to manipulation of the approval process by those with special interest agendas.  Moreover, the statement on page 9 that critical habitat need not actually be habitat at all reveals the opportunity for such manipulation. This language, and all of Section 7.5, should be deleted, along with all references to critical habitat in the regulations. This is a matter for the states. The definition of earth disturbance is also far too broad, encompassing normal farm practices and even stockpiling of material, which is ludicrous. It is, likewise, already regulated by the states and should be deleted. Stop trying to re-invent what the states and others are already doing!

15.       The definition of forested site is poorly worded, includes standards that belong elsewhere and is, date specific, which fails to reflect the continually increasing forestation of the area. The intent of the page 10 language is to avoid forested areas, but this is unnecessary given the natural incentive drillers already have to select unwooded sites and the increasing forestation of the area.  We are adding more forest annually - an average of 907 acres per year in Wayne County alone over the last 49 years - than gas drilling will ever remove.  The regulations also fail to recognize forested ridge land is often where it is most possible to avoid wetlands.  The regulations simultaneously push drilling toward and away from forested areas. The DRBC can't have it both ways and this obsession with preserving already growing forest land is absurd.  All forest preservation provisions and every regulation found in Section 7.5 should completely be deleted. They have no place here. 

16.       The definition of high volume fracturing is different from the states and completely unjustified by the facts. Moreover, if fracturing is not limited by these regulations, which do no more than require disclosure that is already occurring, why is there a distinction between low and high volume?  The answer is obvious - this is simply an attempt to say fracturing is being regulated, when in fact it is only be made more difficult.  Hydraulic fracturing has never polluted a well.  The DRBC knows this, yet is pursuing a policy of classifying it, superseding state regulation of the process and making it more difficult, without doing anything meaningful to change the process. This is, of course, because it doesn't need changing. These classifications are meaningless and should be deleted along with all duplication of state regulation of fracturing.  Other duplications should also be eliminated and Section 7.5 deleted altogether.


17.       The definition of Natural Gas Development Project is far too inclusive, encompassing everything from pipelines and compressor stations to "support vehicle tire cleaning" and "dust control on access roads."  This is totally unacceptable and puts the DRBC in charge of activities that can and should be regulated by municipalities and the states (if at all). Since when does the DRBC mission have anything to do with compressor stations or tire cleaning?  This is a totally absurd attempt to become the master of everything having to do with natural gas. It cannot stand. The project definition should be limited to the water withdrawals and discharges and to those of 100,000 gallons per day or more. We have gone from this common sense threshold to the point where the DRBC is seriously proposing to regulate dust control, which is simply beyond the pale. These regulations should defer to the states and Section 7.5 should be deleted.


18.       These regulations are absurd. The definition of pollutants, for example, lists rock and sand. This exemplifies the "reach too far" that this set of regulations represents.  It is utterly ridiculous and should be corrected. The regulations have also been sloppily assembled in a cut and paste fashion. In addition to problems with the definition of water body, which is perhaps the single most serious problem with these regulations, there are numerous conflicts. As an example, it is suggested on page 26, that well pad approvals can be deferred to the states, which would good, but this is directly counter to the language of Section 7.5 and on page 7.  Which is it? If the DRBC can write better than this, why should we suppose it can regulate better than the states?  The answer is self-evident.  Section 7.5 is a disaster and should be completely deleted.

19.       There are, incredibly, no time limits, in these regulation, on DRBC review of applications. There are several references on page 17 to time limits imposed on applicants, but no time limits on action by the DRBC.  The inexcusable delay by the Commission in dealing with the Stone Energy application illustrates the need for deadlines as a simple matter of ensuring due process for applicants. We must have accountability and deadlines on DRBC action, with deemed approvals for failures to act. Any open-ended process is no process - it’s nothing but bureaucratic tyranny and must be corrected by adding enforceable time limits on the DRBC.  The best way to do this is to make it an advisor to the states, rather than the super-agency it supposes itself.  It is also clear these regulations must be streamlined by the complete deletion of Section 7.5.

20.       Docket modification procedures and notice requirements in these regulations are far too subjective and far-reaching.  Sub-section (h) on page 18 gives the Executive Director too much arbitrary power, which should be carefully limited.  Moreover, Section 7.5 should be wholly deleted.  Also, the public notice procedure is almost guaranteed to produce controversy as every landowner within 2,000 feet is required to be given notice, which naturally inspires the belief on their part that they have some standing and right to veto an application in their back yard. It is impossible to reliably notify everyone within that distance and the failure to reach some will become a basis for lawsuits alleging improper notice. Moreover, the regulations are inconsistent as to proof of notice. Such notice should be limited to directly adjoining landowners and notice in local newspapers. Anything more is bureaucratic overkill that will complicate everyone's life for no good reason.

21.       The financial  assurance requirements in these regulations are unnecessary, redundant with state regulation (Section 7.5 should be totally eliminated) and likely to discourage drilling.  The financial assurance provisions on page 19 are an exercise in matters that are properly the purview of the states and have nothing to do with the core mission of the DRBC, which imposes no similar requirements on most other water uses under its jurisdiction. Sub-section (6) on page 20 fails to provide for notice and, therefore, is a violation of due process rights that must be corrected. The $125,000 per well financial assurance would, on a 1,280 acre unit pad with 20 wells, require $2.5 million of guarantees. That is clearly excessive. Sub-section (9) on page 21 indicates financial guarantees required by the DRBC will be in addition to state requirements.  What possible justification exists for this overkill, especially when the regulations are supposed to defer to the states on most matters?  There is none.  DRBC guarantees should only apply to items not already covered by the states.

22.       The provisions for reducing financial guarantee amounts based upon performance are very good and are practical but do not justify the regulation itself, given what the states already do.  Additionally, the provisions on page 24 for "excess financial assurance" are never defined, explained or justified.  They are very poorly explained.  They are excessive and require every company doing business to contribute to a fund of $25 million, when they may only be engaging in minimal activity.  Yet, they allow major operators to cap their expenditures at some proportion of the $25 million.  The whole section is obtuse and of dubious value. It needs complete reworking or should be dropped in deference to the states, as with Section 7.5, which should also be totally deleted.

23.       The Natural Diversity Index provisions of these regulations duplicate what states are already doing and involve the DRBC in something where it adds no value and has no business being involved. There should be no separate Natural Diversity Index Assessment (see pages 27, 31, 42 and 55) and no fee for it, as the states already do this.  Suggestions to the contrary only confuse matters and raise the possibility of DRBC duplication and interference. This is far outside the core mission of the DRBC, yet it comes up again and again in the regulations, as if it were not already being performed by the states, suggesting an ulterior motive of frustrating well development. This illustrates a fundamental problem with the regulations.  They add no value to what the states are doing.  Therefore, let’s drop all provisions that go beyond water allocation, particularly Section 7.5, which should be totally deleted, in favor of agreements that recognize the DRBC as an involved agency with the rights to recommend to the states as they process applications.

24.       There are numerous issues with these regulations.  They appear to be fee driven and are one-sided in their application. Sub-section (5) on page 27 relating to alternative fees, for example, should work both ways and allow for the same approach when costs are likely to be less than standard fees. Otherwise, this is an invitation to open-ended fees.  Also, on page 29, what does the $2,000 fee apply to - each well, each pad or each company's program?  This is unclear and should be addressed. The violation reporting system is ripe for abuse, requiring an investigation and mitigation plan in the case of virtually any complaint. There needs to be a method of dismissing frivolous complaints. The language on page 32 is far too loose. Also, there needs to be a mechanism for discouraging such complaints. The failure to address these sorts of issues illustrates DRBC incompetence with this type of regulation and indicates a need for serious streamlining, including the complete deletion of Section 7.5.

25.       A landowner with a pond on their property ought to be able to supply some water for natural gas development without DRBC approval, as is the case now for several other activities than can easily require more water than gas development.  Yet, the language on page 35 would not permit this. The regulations also make misleading unsupported statements about the amount of drilling that is expected to place, as if to justify over-the-top regulations.  The statements, on page 35, to the effect "thousands" of natural gas projects are expected, is not warranted and very inappropriate.  Major companies are estimating no more than 300 projects in Northern Wayne County, which is the primary gas region. It could be far less. There is no need for hyperbole in these regulations and all guesses as to the number of projects should be deleted. Likewise, it is not clear compressor stations will have any impact on water resource management and they should be deleted from the list.  All such regulations and all of Section 7.5 should be deleted.


26.       These regulations are stretched to the limit in a search for legitimacy, especially Section 7.5, which should be wholly deleted. They also fail to account for advances in technology that are rapidly reducing the impact of natural gas drilling. The justifications made today for regulations are even less likely to be legitimate five years from now than today. The regulations need to anticipate this and allow for the future reduction in the scope of regulations as advances are made. We should not be handicapped in the future with levels of regulation based on today's technology and impacts. Revisions along this line are needed today - that is to say flexibility is needed now to reduce regulations later, if there are no longer circumstances warranting them. The regulations also make long-term assumptions that are highly questionable.  Is it true, for example, that no portion of the water used for gas projects will be returned to the aquifer or surface water?  It may be today, but will that be the case tomorrow as recycling of the water used becomes more common and water treatment processes are improved?

27.       The regulations inappropriately insert the DRBC into private contracts and are highly discriminatory.  Is it really necessary to interfere with contracts between private parties, as set forth on pages 38 and 40? Also, pass-by flow requirements reveal the inherent discrimination, in these regulations, against natural gas drilling as compared to other water uses, which is why Section 7.5 should also be entirely deleted. The pass-by flow requirements on page 39 give a lot of attention to what is a minimal water use and do not take into account the much greater distortions of flow rates related to New York City's withdrawals of water from the basin.  The City, of course, stole most of our water and now wants to prevent us from using the rest. Natural gas is made the lowest priority under these regulations, while out-of-basin consumption by the City has a much greater impact. This is inherently unfair and suggests the DRBC needs to put much more pressure on New York City as a means of securing more water for gas. The City withdrawals are controllable and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive solution to make room for gas.


28.       Special protection waters designation should not be a club with which to beat down the economic development of the upper basin. The language on page 41, seems to require additional planning due to special protection waters designations. However, non-point source pollution control is already done by the states. Additionally, the Upper Delaware region should not be punished for having clean water, which is what Section 7.5 strongly suggests and why it should be completely deleted. The regulations also include unusual provisions that have only a tangential relationship to gas drilling. The invasive species provisions on page 43 are unnecessary and  not typical of what is required with other water uses but, in any case, may well require the use of the very chemicals that many anti-drilling advocates despise. This provision need to be justified or deleted. Finally, water well monitoring is an important part of the continuous monitoring, which we see as far preferable to any cumulative impact analysis. The water well monitoring provisions on page 46 should be strengthened by specifying a distance of no less than 1,000 feet.


29.       DRBC’s standards are ambiguous with respect to what is subject to state regulation and what is not, which is one of the many reasons Section 7.5 should be deleted altogether. Why are some setbacks listed as "defer to host state" on page 49, for example?  Simply eliminate them.  Otherwise it must be assumed the other standards supersede the state standards. Likewise, the Natural Gas Drilling Plan is written awkwardly and is completely unworkable.  Language on page 50 assumes a company's land interest will be relatively contiguous, but they may not be at all. Also, some companies may hold positions in both Marcellus and Utica Shales in different areas of the basin and positions are constantly changing.  This entire process needs more thought and more flexibility.  As written, it is far too complicated and is still another open door to unwarranted land use regulation. It should not be drafted as a back door cumulative impact analysis (which is bound to become outdated by technology the day it is completed) but, rather, as a means of streamlining approvals.


30.       The regulations require too much extraneous data be submitted with applications. There is no reason to identify slopes between 15% and 20% slope or to map critical habitat, as required on page 53. The former aren't strictly regulated and the latter is outside the core DRBC mission. There is, likewise, no need to map forested areas as required on page 54 (forests are anything but threatened, as noted above) or natural heritage areas. More importantly, the relevance of mapping them for constantly changing leased areas is not at all apparent. The obsession with forest cover on page 55 and elsewhere, despite such cover increasing in acreage every year, is not warranted and the preference for sites that are not forested should be deleted,  They will be naturally preferred but forested sites have advantages in certain circumstances and there is simply no threat involved when forestland is increasing.  Also, why are lease area maps (see page 56) necessary?  This is not the business of the DRBC and such maps are constantly changing. Finally, why is the DRBC requiring a circulation plan over which it has zero authority to enforce?  This is a inexcusable grabbing of authority from states.  These types of regulations and all of Section 7.5 should be deleted.


31.       The regulations incorrectly assume all gas drilling water use is consumptive. The water conservation provisions on page 58, while good, raise the question of how water used for gas production is 100% consumptive, as implied earlier, if the water is to be recycled and why the Commission proposes to charge a fee each time it is used.  The self-contradictions in these policies seem not to have occurred to the DRBC, illustrating regulatory incompetence. The regulations, also, unfortunately, contribute to the fallacy that hydraulic frcaturing threatens water well supplies. Provisions on page 61 for water well monitoring are good, but for reasons having nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing, as suggested by the title. We don't need to further confuse shallow gas migration, which is the real reason for this monitoring, with fracking, as the Dimock case has already done via the deliberate distortions of anti-drilling advocates. The regulations need to be revised accordingly and all such provisions and all of Section 7.5 which exhibits these problems throughout, should be deleted.

32.       There should be an incentive, in these regulations, for use of closed loop systems. Closed loop systems should be more easily permitted and this is the type of criteria that should qualify applicants for Approval By Rule approvals, as opposed to the poorly thought out site requirements laid out in the regulations now. The regulations on page 65 and 66 also need to provide for some on-site treatment via the portable treatment units GE is now producing and/or such innovative measures as using wood chips to absorb fluids, which chips are then hauled off-site and burned in units with scrubbers. The failure to address these types of matters indicates the DRBC is marching headlong into a matter in which it has no technical competence.  It should defer to the states and greatly streamline these regulations, deleting all of Section 7.5 in the process.

33.       The combination of several definitions, literally interpreted, could regulate forestry and farming out of existence, with no supporting evidence that they have caused a water quality problem.  The “earth disturbance activity” definition includes anything that “disturbs the surface of the land.” This should be more specific so mowing, brushhogging or cutting trees are not held to be disturbance.  It also states “disturbed area is devoid of trees greater than 5 meters in height and substantially devoid of native woody vegetation.”  This definition would include hay fields and lawns. The final site restoration definition says the site needs to be returned to its “condition prior to the commencement of gas drilling operations” rather than a stable vegetative cover as provided by DEP.  This could mean an access road would have to be abandoned and reforested over the objections of landowner and contrary to the Clean Water Act.  Such definitions could rule out all of northern Wayne County for gas drilling and should be revised.  Section 7.5 should be completely deleted.

34.       Projected water use for gas drilling is minimal but, under these regulations, the natural gas industry is treated as if it were a major water user.  Water use for natural gas should be evaluated and compared with other industries, land uses and baseline flows.  There are far too many words such “significant” or “potential impact” strewn throughout the regulations.  These are used to justify complete control over water use by the gas industry and it is simply not justified. A quick calculation reveals the water falling on the upper third of the Delaware River watershed during a single 1” rain event could provide the water required to drill almost 16,000 wells, far more than will ever be drilled in the upper basin. The regulations desperately need balance and we suggest the DRBC stop trying to reinvent the subject of regulating gas drilling.  Our states already do it well and these regulations should defer to them, with Section 7.5, in particular, fully deleted.

 

 

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MARHC 18 2011

County Planning Commission slams DRBC

Posted Mar 18, 2011 @ 04:28 PM
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Honesdale, Pa. —
The Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) proposed regulations are “overreaching” and “attack local government functions,” according to the Wayne County Planning Commission.
In a letter send to the DRBC on March 2, chairwoman Kuni Holbert said the approach the regulations are taking in regard to well pads in forested areas is “very troubling.”
“Your regulations should be limited to oversight of those issues involving water allocation and wastewater disposal only,” she wrote.
“It would be wrong for the DRBC to institute regulations that attack local government functions,” she stated.
The letter continues to state that setbacks, circulation plans and other similar issues have traditionally been addressed through local zoning ordinances, and should not be a function of DRBC regulations.
The commission says although the current issue is about natural gas, the DRBC is taking a “tremendously dangerous first step,” widening its reach on just about any traditional local land use function.
“It will eventually lead to an erosion of local governance,” she wrote. “With the right mix of self-proclaimed proactive envelope pushers in place at the DRBC, this first step is all that would be needed to justify the continued growth of DRBC’s intervention in local land use issues.”
The commissions says the DRBC should focus solely on water use allocations and disposal issues.
“It is much more appropriate for local officials who are elected by, and accountable to, their neighbors to be able to retain their rightful authority to make land use decisions, rather than a detached regional bureaucracy located hours away,” Holbert stated. “Local officials know their neighborhoods and know the needs of the people they serve and see every day.”
The letter also says the regulations “Natural Gas Development Plan” procedure duplicates many functions of local and state government.
“We believe the ‘Natural Gas Development Plan’ requirements should be removed from the draft DRBC regulations,” the letter states.
The Wayne County Planning Commission consists of Holbert, Alfred Bucconear, Richard Henry, Alan Highhouse, Daniel Liptak, Donald Olsommer, Peter Ridd, William Troop and Frank Ward.

 

MARCH 17 2011

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee

held a budget hearing in Harrisburg at which Acting DEP Secretary Mike Krancer testified.  It was televised on the PCN cable television channel.  Representative Scott Hutchinson of Venango County, a member of the Committee, and Chairman of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, discussed funding of the various river basin commissions, particularly noting the DRBC, which received approximately $1 million.  He said he is concerned about the commission and how much power it has.  He questioned "what do we get for our money?"  Secretary Krancer said he opposed recent efforts by the DRBC to extend the comment period on the proposed DRBC regulations.  He counseled the committee to make sure Pennsylvania is at the table and to "state our claim early and often."  Representative Hutchinson said "that is a power we may want to look at" and suggested trying to get them to work on a more factual basis.  Secretary Krancer agreed, stating all options should always be on the table for discussion.

 

MARCH 12 2011

Hey Members,

 

Landowners should be happy that the new Governor Corbett is really taking Marcellus Shale seriously. He just announced the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission that will be working with him as he guides our state into the future.   I am attaching a copy of his official Executive Order if you want to read it.

 

Corbett promised not to increase or create any new taxes and to make a responsible budget. His thoughts are that Marcellus Shale should be able to pave our states way to a more stable financial future for all PA residents.

 

Below is contact information for the governor’s office if you want to reach out to him.

 

Good luck to us all!  Marian

 

 

http://www.governor.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/contact/2998

 

Governor Tom Corbett

Governor's Office
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Phone: (717) 787-2500
Fax: (717) 772-8284

 

Shale panel will be under close scrutiny

 

By Tony LaRussa
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



Independent observers of the Marcellus shale industry in Pennsylvania said Tuesday that they will closely watch whether Gov. Tom Corbett's new advisory group accurately represents the various interests affected by proposed increases in natural-gas drilling.
The governor announced the formation of a 30-member Marcellus Shale Commission, led by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, as part of his budget address yesterday.
"This (commission) is a great idea that should have been done years ago," said Conrad Volz, principal investigator for the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Healthy Environments and Communities. "My hope is that it will provide the proper public dialogue that needs to take place to deal with some of the really big issues related to (Marcellus shale) drilling that we will be facing in the future."
Corbett has asked the commission -- made up of representatives from state and local government, the drilling and energy industries, and environmental organizations -- to submit a final report with recommendations on development and regulation of the industry on or before July 22.
Volz said he believes the commission should pay special attention to the public health and environmental concerns that arise from increased drilling.
"One of the biggest issues is where will these drilling operations be allowed to locate," Volz said. "Will gas wells be allowed in close proximity to people's homes, near hospitals and around schools? There needs to be a very public discussion of how we handle drilling, especially near urban populations. Hopefully, this group will address these concerns."
Jan Jarrett, president and chief executive officer of the environmental group Penn Future, said having only four representatives from environmental organizations named to the commission creates a group "that is not very well balanced."
"There seems to be a great number of folks on the commission who are very much interested in seeing the (Marcellus shale) industry treated as tenderly as possible," said Jarrett, noting that in addition to only a handful of environmentalists, the commission has no members representing the state's hunting and fishing interests.
Despite the imbalance of representation, according to Jarrett, she believes the commission can produce a fair report by including minority viewpoints.
Kent F. Moors, director of Duquesne University's Energy Policy Research Group, said although the commission "is a rather large group," it should be able to provide Corbett with meaningful recommendations if its members remain independent.
"This is not just a business vs. environmentalist issue," Moors said. "And it should not be a situation where people are thinking 'my side wins.' They have to produce a genuinely collaborative series of recommendations that look at all of the implications that will be coming down as we move forward with drilling."

Commission members

Here are the people chosen to serve on Gov. Tom Corbett's newly formed Marcellus Shale Commission:
• Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley
• Mike Krancer, acting secretary of Environmental Protection, Harrisburg
• George Grieg, acting secretary of Agriculture, Harrisburg
• C. Alan Walker, acting secretary of Community and Economic Development, Harrisburg
• Barry Schoch, acting secretary of Transportation, Harrisburg
• Patrick Henderson, the Governor's Energy Executive, Harrisburg
• Robert Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Harrisburg
• Glenn Cannon, executive director of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association, Harrisburg
• James W. Felmlee, president of the Pa. State Association of Boroughs, Harrisburg
• Clifford "Kip'' Allen, president of the Pa. League of Cities and Municipalities, Harrisburg
• Gene Barr, vice president, Government & Public Affairs, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Harrisburg
• Terry R. Bossert, vice president, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Chief Oil & Gas, Harrisburg
• Jeff Wheeland, Lycoming County commissioner, Williamsport
• Vincent J. Matteo, president Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, Williamsport
• Terry Engelder, professor of geosciences, Penn State University, Department of Geosciences, University Park
• Matthew J. Ehrhart, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Pennsylvania office, Harrisburg
• Ronald L. Ramsey, senior policy adviser, the Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania Chapter, Harrisburg
• David Porges, chief executive officer, EQT, Pittsburgh
• Christopher J. Masciantonio, general manager, State Government Affairs, U.S. Steel, Pittsburgh
• Cynthia Carrow, vice president of Government & Community Relations, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pittsburgh
• David Sanko, executive director of the Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors, Enola
• Dave Spigelmyer, vice president, Government Relations, Chesapeake Energy, Canonsburg
• Randy Smith, U.S. Government Affairs manager, Exxon Mobil, Fairfax, Va.
• Ray Walker, chairman, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Canonsburg
• Chris Helms, NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage, Houston
• Terry Pegula, Delray Beach, Fla.
• Jeff Kupfer, Chevron, Washington, D.C.
• Gary Slagel, chairman, Pa. Independent Oil & Gas Association, Wexford
• Anthony S. Bartolomeo, chairman, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Philadelphia
• Nicholas S. Haden, vice president, Reserved Environmental Services, Mt. Pleasant
Tony LaRussa can be reached at tlarussa@tribweb.com or 412-320-7987




 

 

MARCH 25 2011

     NEW INFO      NEW INFO B    NEW INFO C     NEW INFO D

MARCH 8 2011

Shocker: New York Times radioactive water report is false

 

11:03 AM, March 8, 2011 ι Abby Wisse Schachter

The New York Times is on a tear about the dangers of a method of natural gas extraction called hydraulic fracturing. But a funny thing happened on the way to proving their case for how "fracking" poisons drinking water. It turns out that when you actually test the waterways that provide the drinking water that is supposedly poisonous, the test reveal that the water is fine.

Recently the Times reported that waste water from hydraulic fracturing -- which contained dangerous levels of radioactivity -- was being dumped in Pennsylvania rivers and streams that provide the state's residents with their drinking water. In response to the Times' allegations, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection had issued a report of water tests from those same rivers which shows that there are no harmful or dangerous levels of radioactivity present in the water.

The New York Times story made this claim : "The [fracking] wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle." And the story specified Pennsylvania as an offender.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection did a water test of seven rivers and this is what their report concluded: "All of the samples, taken in November and December, showed levels at or below the normal naturally occurring background levels of radioactivity, the agency said. All samples also showed levels below the federal drinking water standard for Radium 226 and 228, it said."

Don't hold your breath for as splashy a correction from the Grey Lady as their original front page story. That would just complicate the paper's political motivation to try and stop natural gas drilling everywhere in the northeast.

 

 

MARCH 2 2011

PLEASE CALL NOW!
 
Emergency Help is needed.
 
One of the executive committee members of the NWPOA reached the governors office a little while ago and learned that property owners are NOT calling into support natural gas exploration. People are NOT calling in to encourage no additional extensions to the DRBC regulation process.
 
Please help by picking up the phone and calling Governor Corbetts office
 
At 717 787 2500!
 
Tell them that you support Governor Corbett in responsible gas exploration for Pennsylvania.
 
Let him know that Wayne County has been held hostage by DRBC lack of regulations for almost 3 years and that they might vote in additional delays tomorrow at their regularly scheduled meeting in Trenton NJ.
 
Ask him to help us my encouraging a responsible regulatory process to move forward for Wayne County.
 
Thanks,  Marian  NWPOA.INFO

 

New York Times Publishes Hit Piece on Natural Gas Drilling, Quoted Source Responds to the Article

 

Have no fear, the great New York Times is now on the case of natural gas drilling, and it has “uncovered” some rather disturbing news:

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.(1)

The article goes on to refer to unnamed “secret” studies that were never released, with references of how “many experts” are “worried.” Let’s be honest—this is a “hit piece” from the NYT on natural gas drilling. The overall theme of the piece is that local sewage treatment plants are not capable of treating fracking wastewater because of high levels of naturally-occurring radioactivity, and that radioactivity is finding its way into water supplies for millions of people. During the course of the article the NYT writer throws in all of the other anti-drilling arguments he can think of, from air pollution to scenery pollution to accidents and more. Sad really, what’s become of the once-great Gray Lady.

Is there an issue with treating frack wastewater that contains high levels of radioactivity at local sewage treatment plants that then discharge into area waterways? The honest answer is, we don’t know for certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt. The issue should be investigated to assure everyone that a threat does, or does not, exist—and done so quickly.

But here’s the problem with NYT piece: It shades and colors the facts. Case in point: Very early on, the first named expert quoted, former Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Hanger, says he was never interviewed for the article! So how can the NYT quote him? They apparently took statements from previous public interviews and passed them off as statements for their article. Sec. Hanger, who was certainly no friend of the drilling industry during his tenure as Secretary, responded to the NYT article on his personal blog. Here are a few highlights:

“Pennsylvania is the only state that has hired substantial or any staff for its drilling operation. The NYT does not say that, because it does not fit its narrative of lax Pennsylvania regulation. Indeed, the reporter deliberately did not include a long list of actions by DEP that represented strong enforcement.”

“The NYT piece makes errors when discussing the 2008 high TDS levels on the Mon[ongahela] River. … The NYT piece does not state clearly or fully that in October 2008 DEP issued orders to municipal sewage plants discharging to the Mon[ongahela] River or its tributaries to cut by 95% its drilling wastewater volumes. …Reporting accurately and fully this action plus that DEP issued the Public Water Advisory would not fit with the article’s determined narrative of lax regulation.”

“I was informed by agency radiation experts that the radiation levels were not a threat to truck drivers, workers at sewage treatment facilities or the public.  …I believe the agency staff were handling this issue in a serious, careful manner.  I still believe that to be in the case.”

“[T]he DEP gas drilling regulatory program was reviewed in 2010 by an Independent Auditing organization called STRONGER that includes reviewers from industry, other states, and environmental organizations. The DEP regulatory program received high marks. Of course the reporter did not include the fact of this independent audit in the story.”

“[T]hough I am quoted in the piece, this reporter never interviewed me. … The words that I find myself saying in this piece were said by me somewhere at some time and in some context but they were not said in the context of an interview for this piece. The reporter never called me after January 18th for any purpose including to confirm the quotation that he put together for me. The reporter did not ask the new administration for my contact information after I left office.”(2)

MDN asks the question, If the NYT played fast and loose with one of its star “interviewees” for the article, what other so-called “facts” have they also played fast and loose with?

(1) The New York Times (Feb 26) – Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

(2) Facts of the Day, John Hanger Blog (Feb 27) – Statement regarding Sunday NYT February 27th Drilling Article

Related posts:

  1. PA Secretary of Environmental Protection Says Marcellus Wastewater Discharge is Affecting Waterways
  2. New Wastewater Treatment Plant Approved in Central PA
  3. PA DEP Secretary Hanger Summons Marcellus Shale Drillers to Meeting, Asks Them to Comply with Unratified New Drilling Rules

 

 

NY Times Article 2/27/11

Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

By IAN URBINA

The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century’s gold rush — for natural gas.

The gas has always been there, of course, trapped deep underground in countless tiny bubbles, like frozen spills of seltzer water between thin layers of shale rock. But drilling companies have only in recent years developed techniques to unlock the enormous reserves, thought to be enough to supply the country with gas for heating buildings, generating electricity and powering vehicles for up to a hundred years.

So energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.

But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.

The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.

Other documents and interviews show that many E.P.A. scientists are alarmed, warning that the drilling waste is a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania. Their concern is based partly on a 2009 study, never made public, written by an E.P.A. consultant who concluded that some sewage treatment plants were incapable of removing certain drilling waste contaminants and were probably violating the law.

The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A. and a confidential study by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.

But the E.P.A. has not intervened. In fact, federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity. And most drinking-water intake plants downstream from those sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania, with the blessing of regulators, have not tested for radioactivity since before 2006, even though the drilling boom began in 2008.

In other words, there is no way of guaranteeing that the drinking water taken in by all these plants is safe.

That has experts worried.

“We’re burning the furniture to heat the house,” said John H. Quigley, who left last month as secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “In shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, we’re trying for cleaner air, but we’re producing massive amounts of toxic wastewater with salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, and it’s not clear we have a plan for properly handling this waste.”

The risks are particularly severe in Pennsylvania, which has seen a sharp increase in drilling, with roughly 71,000 active gas wells, up from about 36,000 in 2000. The level of radioactivity in the wastewater has sometimes been hundreds or even thousands of times the maximum allowed by the federal standard for drinking water. While people clearly do not drink drilling wastewater, the reason to use the drinking-water standard for comparison is that there is no comprehensive federal standard for what constitutes safe levels of radioactivity in drilling wastewater.

Drillers trucked at least half of this waste to public sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania in 2008 and 2009, according to state officials. Some of it has been sent to other states, including New York and West Virginia.

Yet sewage treatment plant operators say they are far less capable of removing radioactive contaminants than most other toxic substances. Indeed, most of these facilities cannot remove enough of the radioactive material to meet federal drinking-water standards before discharging the wastewater into rivers, sometimes just miles upstream from drinking-water intake plants.

In Pennsylvania, these treatment plants discharged waste into some of the state’s major river basins. Greater amounts of the wastewater went to the Monongahela River, which provides drinking water to more than 800,000 people in the western part of the state, including Pittsburgh, and to the Susquehanna River, which feeds into Chesapeake Bay and provides drinking water to more than six million people, including some in Harrisburg and Baltimore.

Lower amounts have been discharged into the Delaware River, which provides drinking water for more than 15 million people in Philadelphia and eastern Pennsylvania.

In New York, the wastewater was sent to at least one plant that discharges into Southern Cayuga Lake, near Ithaca, and another that discharges into Owasco Outlet, near Auburn. In West Virginia, a plant in Wheeling discharged gas-drilling wastewater into the Ohio River.

“Hydrofracking impacts associated with health problems as well as widespread air and water contamination have been reported in at least a dozen states,” said Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, a business in Ithaca, N.Y., that compiles data on gas drilling.

Problems in Other Regions

While Pennsylvania is an extreme case, the risks posed by hydrofracking extend across the country.

There were more than 493,000 active natural-gas wells in the United States in 2009, almost double the number in 1990. Around 90 percent have used hydrofracking to get more gas flowing, according to the drilling industry.

Gas has seeped into underground drinking-water supplies in at least five states, including Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia, and residents blamed natural-gas drilling.

Air pollution caused by natural-gas drilling is a growing threat, too. Wyoming, for example, failed in 2009 to meet federal standards for air quality for the first time in its history partly because of the fumes containing benzene and toluene from roughly 27,000 wells, the vast majority drilled in the past five years.

In a sparsely populated Sublette County in Wyoming, which has some of the highest concentrations of wells, vapors reacting to sunlight have contributed to levels of ozone higher than those recorded in Houston and Los Angeles.

Industry officials say any dangerous waste from the wells is handled in compliance with state and federal laws, adding that drilling companies are recycling more wastewater now. They also say that hydrofracking is well regulated by the states and that it has been used safely for decades.

But hydrofracking technology has become more powerful and more widely used in recent years, producing far more wastewater. Some of the problems with this drilling, including its environmental impact and the challenge of disposing of waste, have been documented by ProPublica, The Associated Press and other news organizations, especially out West.

And recent incidents underscore the dangers. In late 2008, drilling and coal-mine waste released during a drought so overwhelmed the Monongahela that local officials advised people in the Pittsburgh area to drink bottled water. E.P.A. officials described the incident in an internal memorandum as “one of the largest failures in U.S. history to supply clean drinking water to the public.”

In Texas, which now has about 93,000 natural-gas wells, up from around 58,000 a dozen years ago, a hospital system in six counties with some of the heaviest drilling said in 2010 that it found a 25 percent asthma rate for young children, more than three times the state rate of about 7 percent.

“It’s ruining us,” said Kelly Gant, whose 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son have experienced severe asthma attacks, dizzy spells and headaches since a compressor station and a gas well were set up about two years ago near her house in Bartonville, Tex. The industry and state regulators have said it is not clear what role the gas industry has played in causing such problems, since the area has had high air pollution for a while.

“I’m not an activist, an alarmist, a Democrat, environmentalist or anything like that,” Ms. Gant said. “I’m just a person who isn’t able to manage the health of my family because of all this drilling.”

And yet, for all its problems, natural gas offers some clear environmental advantages over coal, which is used more than any other fuel to generate electricity in the United States. Coal-fired power plants without updated equipment to capture pollutants are a major source of radioactive pollution. Coal mines annually produce millions of tons of toxic waste.

But the hazards associated with natural-gas production and drilling are far less understood than those associated with other fossil fuels, and the regulations have not kept pace with the natural-gas industry’s expansion.

Pennsylvania, Ground Zero

Pennsylvania, which sits atop an enormous reserve called the Marcellus Shale, has been called the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.

This rock formation, roughly the size of Greece, lies more than a mile beneath the Appalachian landscape, from Virginia to the southern half of New York. It is believed to hold enough gas to supply the country’s energy needs for heat and electricity, at current consumption rates, for more than 15 years.

Drilling companies were issued roughly 3,300 Marcellus gas-well permits in Pennsylvania last year, up from just 117 in 2007.

This has brought thousands of jobs, five-figure windfalls for residents who lease their land to the drillers and revenue for a state that has struggled with budget deficits. It has also transformed the landscape of southwestern Pennsylvania and brought heavy burdens.

Drilling derricks tower over barns, lining rural roads like feed silos. Drilling sites bustle around the clock with workers, some in yellow hazardous material suits, and 18-wheelers haul equipment, water and waste along back roads.

The rigs announce their presence with the occasional boom and quiver of underground explosions. Smelling like raw sewage mixed with gasoline, drilling-waste pits, some as large as a football field, sit close to homes.

Anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent of the water sent down the well during hydrofracking returns to the surface, carrying drilling chemicals, very high levels of salts and, at times, naturally occurring radioactive material.

While most states require drillers to dispose of this water in underground storage wells below impermeable rock layers, Pennsylvania has few such wells. It is the only state that has allowed drillers to discharge much of their waste through sewage treatment plants into rivers.

Regulators have theorized that passing drilling waste through the plants is safe because most toxic material will settle during the treatment process into a sludge that can be trucked to a landfill, and whatever toxic material remains in the wastewater will be diluted when mixed into rivers. But some plants were taking such large amounts of waste with high salt levels in 2008 that downstream utilities started complaining that the river water was eating away at their machines.

Regulators and drilling companies have said that these cases, and others, were isolated.

“The wastewater treatment plants are effective at what they’re designed to do — remove material from wastewater,” said Jamie Legenos, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, adding that the radioactive material and the salts were being properly handled.

Overwhelmed, Underprepared

For proof that radioactive elements in drilling waste are not a concern, industry spokesmen and regulators often point to the results of wastewater tests from a 2009 draft report conducted by New York State and a 1995 report by Pennsylvania that found that radioactivity in drilling waste was not a threat. These two reports were based on samples from roughly 13 gas wells in New York and 29 in Pennsylvania.

But a review by The Times of more than 30,000 pages of federal, state and company records relating to more than 200 gas wells in Pennsylvania, 40 in West Virginia and 20 public and private wastewater treatment plants offers a fuller picture of the wastewater such wells produce and the threat it poses.

Most of the information was drawn from drilling reports from the last three years, obtained by visiting regional offices throughout Pennsylvania, and from documents or databases provided by state and federal regulators in response to records requests.

Among The Times’s findings:

¶More than 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater was produced by Pennsylvania wells over the past three years, far more than has been previously disclosed. Most of this water — enough to cover Manhattan in three inches — was sent to treatment plants not equipped to remove many of the toxic materials in drilling waste.

¶At least 12 sewage treatment plants in three states accepted gas industry wastewater and discharged waste that was only partly treated into rivers, lakes and streams.

¶Of more than 179 wells producing wastewater with high levels of radiation, at least 116 reported levels of radium or other radioactive materials 100 times as high as the levels set by federal drinking-water standards. At least 15 wells produced wastewater carrying more than 1,000 times the amount of radioactive elements considered acceptable.

Results came from field surveys conducted by state and federal regulators, year-end reports filed by drilling companies and state-ordered tests of some public treatment plants. Most of the tests measured drilling wastewater for radium or for “gross alpha” radiation, which typically comes from radium, uranium and other elements.

Industry officials say they are not concerned.

“These low levels of radioactivity pose no threat to the public or worker safety and are more a public perception issue than a real health threat,” said James E. Grey, chief operating officer of Triana Energy.

In interviews, industry trade groups like the Marcellus Shale Coalition and Energy in Depth, as well as representatives from energy companies like Shell and Chesapeake Energy, said they were producing far less wastewater because they were recycling much of it rather than disposing of it after each job.

But even with recycling, the amount of wastewater produced in Pennsylvania is expected to increase because, according to industry projections, more than 50,000 new wells are likely to be drilled over the next two decades.

The radioactivity in the wastewater is not necessarily dangerous to people who are near it. It can be blocked by thin barriers, including skin, so exposure is generally harmless.

Rather, E.P.A. and industry researchers say, the bigger danger of radioactive wastewater is its potential to contaminate drinking water or enter the food chain through fish or farming. Once radium enters a person’s body, by eating, drinking or breathing, it can cause cancer and other health problems, many federal studies show.

Little Testing for Radioactivity

Under federal law, testing for radioactivity in drinking water is required only at drinking-water plants. But federal and state regulators have given nearly all drinking-water intake facilities in Pennsylvania permission to test only once every six or nine years.

The Times reviewed data from more than 65 intake plants downstream from some of the busiest drilling regions in the state. Not one has tested for radioactivity since 2008, and most have not tested since at least 2005, before most of the drilling waste was being produced.

And in 2009 and 2010, public sewage treatment plants directly upstream from some of these drinking-water intake facilities accepted wastewater that contained radioactivity levels as high as 2,122 times the drinking-water standard. But most sewage plants are not required to monitor for radioactive elements in the water they discharge. So there is virtually no data on such contaminants as water leaves these plants. Regulators and gas producers have repeatedly said that the waste is not a threat because it is so diluted in rivers or by treatment plants. But industry and federal research cast doubt on those statements.

A confidential industry study from 1990, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, concluded that “using conservative assumptions,” radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for people who eat fish from those waters regularly.

The industry study focused on drilling industry wastewater being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would be far more diluted than in rivers. It also used estimates of radium levels far below those found in Pennsylvania’s drilling waste, according to the study’s lead author, Anne F. Meinhold, an environmental risk expert now at NASA.

Other federal, state and academic studies have also found dilution problems with radioactive drilling waste.

In December 2009, these very risks led E.P.A. scientists to advise in a letter to New York that sewage treatment plants not accept drilling waste with radium levels 12 or more times as high as the drinking-water standard. The Times found wastewater containing radium levels that were hundreds of times this standard. The scientists also said that the plants should never discharge radioactive contaminants at levels higher than the drinking-water standard.

In 2009, E.P.A. scientists studied the matter and also determined that certain Pennsylvania rivers were ineffective at sufficiently diluting the radium-laced drilling wastewater being discharged into them.

Asked about the studies, Pennsylvania regulators said they were not aware of them.

“Concerned? I’m always concerned,” said Dave Allard, director of the Bureau of Radiation Protection. But he added that the threat of this waste is reduced because “the dilutions are so huge going through those treatment plants.”

Three months after The Times began asking questions about radioactive and other toxic material being discharged into specific rivers, state regulators placed monitors for radioactivity near where drilling waste is discharged. Data will not be available until next month, state officials said.

But the monitor in the Monongahela is placed upstream from the two public sewage treatment plants that the state says are still discharging large amounts of drilling waste into the river, leaving the discharges from these plants unchecked and Pittsburgh exposed.

Plant Operators in the Dark

In interviews, five treatment plant operators said they did not believe that the drilling wastewater posed risks to the public. Several also said they were not sure of the waste’s contents because the limited information drillers provide usually goes to state officials.

“We count on state regulators to make sure that that’s properly done,” said Paul McCurdy, environmental specialist at Ridgway Borough’s public sewage treatment plant, in Elk County, Pa., in the northwest part of the state.

Mr. McCurdy, whose plant discharges into the Clarion River, which flows into the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, said his plant was taking about 20,000 gallons of drilling waste per day.

Like most of the sewage treatment plant operators interviewed, Mr. McCurdy said his plant was not equipped to remove radioactive material and was not required to test for it.

Documents filed by drillers with the state, though, show that in 2009 his facility was sent water from wells whose wastewater was laced with radium at 275 times the drinking-water standard and with other types of radiation at more than 780 times the standard.

Part of the problem is that industry has outpaced regulators. “We simply can’t keep up,” said one inspector with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection who was not authorized to speak to reporters. “There’s just too much of the waste.”

“If we’re too hard on them,” the inspector added, “the companies might just stop reporting their mistakes.”

Recently, Pennsylvania has tried to increase its oversight, doubling the number of regulators, improving well-design requirements and sharply decreasing how much drilling waste many treatment plants can accept or release. The state is considering whether to require treatment plants to begin monitoring for radioactivity in wastewater.

Even so, as of last November, 31 inspectors were keeping tabs on more than 125,000 oil and gas wells. The new regulations also allowed at least 18 plants to continue accepting the higher amounts set by their original permits.

Furthermore, environmental researchers from the University of Pittsburgh tested wastewater late last year that had been discharged by two treatment plants. They say these tests will show, when the results are publicly released in March, that salt levels were far above the legal limit.

Lax Oversight

Drilling contamination is entering the environment in Pennsylvania through spills, too. In the past three years, at least 16 wells whose records showed high levels of radioactivity in their wastewater also reported spills, leaks or failures of pits where hydrofracking fluid or waste is stored, according to state records.

Gas producers are generally left to police themselves when it comes to spills. In Pennsylvania, regulators do not perform unannounced inspections to check for signs of spills. Gas producers report their own spills, write their own spill response plans and lead their own cleanup efforts.

A review of response plans for drilling projects at four Pennsylvania sites where there have been accidents in the past year found that these state-approved plans often appear to be in violation of the law.

At one well site where several spills occurred within a week, including one that flowed into a creek, the well’s operator filed a revised spill plan saying there was little chance that waste would ever enter a waterway.

“There are business pressures” on companies to “cut corners,” John Hanger, who stepped down as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in January, has said. “It’s cheaper to dump wastewater than to treat it.”

Records back up that assertion.

From October 2008 through October 2010, regulators were more than twice as likely to issue a written warning than to levy a fine for environmental and safety violations, according to state data. During this period, 15 companies were fined for drilling-related violations in 2008 and 2009, and the companies paid an average of about $44,000 each year, according to state data.

This average was less than half of what some of the companies earned in profits in a day and a tiny fraction of the more than $2 million that some of them paid annually to haul and treat the waste.

And prospects for drillers in Pennsylvania are looking brighter.

In December, the Republican governor-elect, Tom Corbett, who during his campaign took more gas industry contributions than all his competitors combined, said he would reopen state land to new drilling, reversing a decision made by his predecessor, Edward G. Rendell. The change clears the way for as many as 10,000 wells on public land, up from about 25 active wells today.

In arguing against a proposed gas-extraction tax on the industry, Mr. Corbett said regulation of the industry had been too aggressive.

“I will direct the Department of Environmental Protection to serve as a partner with Pennsylvania businesses, communities and local governments,” Mr. Corbett says on his Web site. “It should return to its core mission protecting the environment based on sound science.”

 

Additional Rebuttal:

“…and the winner is:  Radioactivity in wastewater from fractured natural gas wells.”

 

Michael J. Economides

 

In perfectly timed anticipation of the Oscars ceremony, an article in the NY Times on February 27 nominated a new villain for the award of Most Damaging Calamity to Come from Natural Gas Production.  The new nominee is Radioactivity in Wastewater from Natural Gas Well Drilling.  It faces stiff competition from seasoned veterans of the field (no pun intended):  Contamination of drinking water aquifers from hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells (in a recent documentary) and from natural gas production casing or tubing accidents.  According to the article, “wastewater [from unconventional gas well fracturing] contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for [wastewater] treatment plants to handle.”  The proposed conclusion, then, is to halt drilling activity until related issues are completely understood and clearly implied, new regulations are put in place.  In the meantime, all benefits that would result from the resulting natural gas production – helping slow climate change, reduce the dependency of the US for energy on imports, and, last but not least, jobs – can wait.  I couldn’t refute this scenario strongly enough.  In fact, I will explain below that the Times article, resorting to sensation rather than sense, is just the latest salvo in a series of preposterous attacks on a commodity that is crucial for this country’s energy present and future.

But first, some background:  Extensive hydraulic fracturing (“fracking” in field parlance) of natural gas reservoirs has made it possible to extract massive amounts of natural gas from US fields, resulting in many-fold increase of recoverable gas reserves.  However, fracking of oil and gas production wells is not new.  For more than sixty years, the oil and gas industry has completed about two million fracking jobs worldwide, safely and without adverse environmental impact.  By any standards, such a record would be considered stellar.  The alleged potential issue with radioactivity of wastewater from fracking operations is not new either.  In fact, standards for NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) have been observed for years.

Granted, fracking for unconventional gas production, is more massive than in past applications, resulting in the production of large amounts of wastewater.  For Pennsylvania alone, this amount of water would be “enough to cover Manhattan in three inches” it is claimed.  As impressive as this may sound, it is entirely disingenuous. The industry trend is to recycle wastewater from fracking jobs in increasingly large amounts, lessening the burden for further wastewater treatment and disposal.  Needless to say, untreated wastewater from fracking operations, as all water associated with oil and gas production – whose handling has been well regulated for a long time - does not meet drinking standards.  It’s not supposed to.  Water from coal mining operations surely does not meet drinking standards either and the entire argument is ludicrous.  The petroleum industry handles routinely and effectively about ten times the volume of return frac fluids in the form of produced deep water brines in association with oil and gas production.

The justification offered in the Times article for using the drinking-water standard for comparison because “there is no comprehensive federal standard for what constitutes safe levels of radioactivity in drilling wastewater” is not convincing, to say the least.  To use another reference point, about one million gallons of water is the flowback rate per well after the fracturing treatment.  This is as much water as needed to irrigate just 2.5 acres per year, or what is consumed by a 1000-MW coal-fired plant in about two hours, or a 1000-MW nuclear power plant in about 1.5 hours.

The NY Times piece also repeats the notion that natural gas drilling or fracking, put natural gas into drinking water aquifers. The article does not mention the roundly debunked incident which became notorious in the documentary Gasland:  a man in Colorado puts a flame to his faucet, which bursts into a ball of fire. Both the documentary and its director since then have repeatedly made the assertion that the flaming faucet was the result of natural gas fracking. The incident, thoroughly investigated by scientists at the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, resulted in this (on Sept. 30, 2008:) "There are no indications of any oil- and gas-related impacts to your water well." As the commission explains in its "Gasland Correction Document" (see it at cogcc.state.co.us), "Methane gas is common in water wells in Colorado. It occurs naturally . . . as a gas in coal or black shale seams" and "as a byproduct of the decay of organic matter."

It is hard not to question the motives of the article. First, there is the presumed balance.

“And yet, for all its problems, natural gas offers some clear environmental advantages over coal, which is used more than any other fuel to generate electricity in the United States. Coal-fired power plants without updated equipment to capture pollutants are a major source of radioactive pollution. Coal mines annually produce millions of tons of toxic waste. “

Then in the next paragraph the real clincher:

“But the hazards associated with natural-gas production and drilling are far less understood than those associated with other fossil fuels, and the regulations have not kept pace with the natural-gas industry’s expansion. “ The implied conclusion: let’s first delay and study; then regulate more. Actually, regulations regarding waste water already exist. Perhaps they just should be more carefully enforced. All oil and gas well operations are rigorously permitted before the rig ever reaches the drillsite.

One thing must be made abundantly clear to all, irrespective of their position on this issue: No frack-No gas. There is no way that almost all gas and, certainly, shale gas can be produced other than through hydraulic fracturing. It is equally clear that the risk of drinking water contamination from fracking shale gas is easily addressed by existing regulations and demonstratively low based on decades of experience.

Economides is a professor of engineering at the University of Houston and the Editor-in-Chief of the Energy Tribune.

 

 

February 28, 2011 Newsroom, Press Releases  FROM MARCELLUS SHALE COALITION

Drilling Down into NY Times Story on Wastewater

Five areas report fails to provide proper context, information on Pa.’s regulatory oversight

Canonsburg, PA – Yesterday’s New York Times included a story highly critical of the regulatory framework governing waste water treatment and disposal from natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania. While raising some valid questions about water monitoring, this article – seven months in the making – lacks context, offers misleading comparisons and in some cases put forth information that is not supported by the facts.

Following we offer up that context and provide interested parties additional background – all available in the public domain – that paints an entirely different picture than what was laid out by the Times yesterday morning. We hope you find this additional information helpful and informative.

Additional background and context on claims outlined in New York Times story:

NY Times Myth: “[Pennsylvania] is the only state that has allowed drillers to discharge much of their waste through sewage treatment plants into rivers.”

  • Pennsylvania leads the nation in waste water recycling; vast majority of produced water reused in drilling operations: “State environmental regulators say that nearly 70 percent of the wastewater produced by Marcellus Shale wells is being reused or recycled. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, puts the number higher, saying that on average 90 percent of the water that returns to the surface is recycled.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, 2/27/11)
  • Industry moving towards 100 percent recycling, zero discharge: “It makes sense to reuse this water,” said Ron Schlicher, an engineer consulting for the treatment company. “The goal here is to strive for 100-percent reuse, so we don’t have to discharge.” (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, 10/28/10)
  • Marcellus operators recycling majority of waste water: “…all of the state’s biggest drillers say they are now recycling a majority of the wastewater produced by their wells in new fracturing jobs, rather than sending it to treatment plants. Hanger said about 70 percent of the wastewater is now being recycled …” (Associated Press, 1/4/11)
  • Recycling of waste water to be norm for Marcellus Shale gas wells (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 10/20/09)

NY Times Myth: “Gas producers are generally left to police themselves when it comes to spills. In Pennsylvania, regulators do not perform unannounced inspections to check for signs of spills. Gas producers report their own spills, write their own spill response plans and lead their own cleanup efforts.”

  • Flashback — DEP Inspector visits drilling site, unannounced, finds leaky valve on storage tank: “A DEP inspector discovered the spill while inspecting the well pad. The inspector found that the bottom valve on a 21,000-gallon fracking fluid tank was open and discharging fluid off the well pad. No one else was present at the pad, which has one producing Marcellus well.” (DEP press release, 11/22/10)
  • In 2010 alone, DEP oversight staff performed nearly 5,000 inspections at Marcellus Shale drilling locations, a more than 100 percent increase over the previous year. (DEP Year End Workload Report, accessed 2/27/11)
  • Pennsylvania recognized for having “well managed” hydraulic fracturing regulatory program: “A targeted review of the Pennsylvania program regulating the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells has been completed by a multi-stakeholder group, which has concluded that the program is, over all, well-managed, professional and meeting its program objectives.” (STRONGER press release, 9/24/10)
  • Pennsylvania hired more than 110 new inspectors, oversight personnel in last two years: “DEP was hit with layoffs after the overdue state budget was enacted in October, but the agency’s oil and gas division is considered exempt from layoffs or hiring freezes, added Mr. Hanger. All told, 193 agency employees work full time on oil and gas regulatory issues.” (Scranton Times-Tribune,1/29/11)
  • Former PA Sec. of Environmental Protection details strong regulatory oversight and enforcement: “[The DEP] hired in 2009 and twice in 2010. We opened a new drilling staff office in Williamsport in 2009 and another in Scranton during 2010. Pennsylvania is the only state that has hired substantial or any staff for its drilling operation. The NYT does not say that, because it does not fit its narrative of lax Pennsylvania regulation. Indeed, the reporter deliberately did not include a long list of actions by DEP that represented strong enforcement.” (John Hanger blog, 2/27/11)

NY Times Myth: “But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.

  • Does The Times Read The Times? According to an NY Times fact-check, from last week: “The method of drilling is not called ‘hydraulic fracturing.’ Fracturing, or ‘fracking’ is a process that is one part of drilling a well and producing oil or gas. Fracturing has been used by drillers for around 60 years.” (New York Times, 2/24/11)

NY Times fails to provide proper context: “Drilling companies were issued roughly 3,300 Marcellus gas-well permits in Pennsylvania last year, up from just 117 in 2007.”

  • Like most information, without context, readers can and will be lead to think something that is not entirely accurate. While the reporter is correct in stating 3,300 Marcellus permits were issued, he fails to state that less than half that number of wells were actually drilled. According to state data, between January 1 and December 31, 2010, 1,446 Marcellus wells were drilled. (DEP Year End Workload Report, accessed 2/27/11)

NY Times fails to provide proper context, again: “The risks are particularly severe in Pennsylvania, which has seen a sharp increase in drilling, with roughly 71,000 active gas wells, up from about 36,000 in 2000.”

  • Of those 71,000 active natural gas wells in Pennsylvania wells, only 2,498 are horizontal Marcellus wells – or 3.5 percent of all wells in Pennsylvania.  (DEP Year End Workload Report, accessed 2/27/11)

Bonus Fact Check

NY Times quotes former Pa. DEP secretary…

… But the reporter never actually interviewed top environmental regulator for story about environmental regulations in Pennsylvania: “[T]hough I am quoted in the piece, this reporter never interviewed me prior to the publication of the Sunday article… As Secretary, I was interviewed hundreds and probably thousands of times.  I made myself totally accessible to reporters.  My staff knew that I was available to reporters. This reporter today says he asked Governor Corbett’s administration at DEP on January 21st, three days after Governor Rendell and I left office, to confirm the quotation that the reporter strung together (sic) from some other source.” (John Hanger blog, 2/27/11)

 

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From the 2/28/2011 PA Environment Digest.

 

DEP: 446 Million Gallons Of Marcellus Drilling Waste Produced In Last 6 Months Of 2010

The Department of Environmental Protection this week posted new Marcellus Shale natural gas production and waste reports from July through December 2010.   DEP reported 446,600,204.3 gallons of Marcellus Shale drilling-related waste was produced in that time and over 256 million Mcf (thousand cubic feet) of gas were produced, much more than in all of 2009.

DEP total statewide waste production included: 2,495,655.71 barrels of brine (104,817,539.8 gallons), 196,511.19 tons of drill cuttings, 6,946,465.61 barrels of frac fluid (291,751,555.6 gallons), 1,189,799.23 barrels of drilling waste (49,971,567.6 gallons), 1,293.35 barrels of basic sediment (54,320.7 gallons), 117.30 barrels of spent lubricant (4,926.6 gallons) and 7 barrels of servicing fluid (294 gallons).

Statewide natural gas production during the same time period was 256,414,041.48 Mcf (thousand cubic feet).  For some perspective, Marcellus Shale production for all of 2009 was 196,409,423.36 Mcf.

NewsClip: Marcellus Shale Production Database July-Dec 2010

 

 

For Immediate Release

February 26, 2011

Contact: Mike Morosi

202-225-6335 (office)

202-407-3787 (cell)


Hinchey: Feds Should Immediately Take Action to Protect Drinking Water from Radioactive Hydrofracking Waste, Congress Must Untie EPA's Hands, Eliminate Natural Gas Industry Exemption from Safe Drinking Water Act

 

Washington DC - A New York Times article entitled "Regulation Is Lax for Water From Gas Wells" revealed that toxic wastewater byproducts of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique used to obtain natural gas, can contain radioactive contaminants at levels hundreds or even thousands of times the maximum allowed by federal standards for drinking water. In reaction, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) released the following statement.

 

Hinchey co-authored the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act to eliminate the so-called 2005 Halliburton exemption, which prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating fracking through the Safe Drinking Water Act. The legislation would also require the disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Hinchey is also the author of language that initiated an ongoing EPA study to determine the environmental impacts of the drilling technique.

 

"The news that radioactive waste from the hydraulic fracturing process is being sent through wastewater treatment plants unequipped to handle it and then dumped into rivers and streams that supply drinking water to millions of people is alarming and must be immediately addressed. This story shows that the risks associated with this drilling technique are far too unknown and the current regulatory framework is far too limited to protect drinking water and the general public.

"Congress must take action to untie the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency, allowing it to assert proper oversight of the full life-cycle of the hydraulic fracturing process by repealing the egregious exemptions that this industry enjoys from our nation’s most important environmental safeguards. I will be introducing legislation in the near future to do just that.

 

"The EPA should immediately begin requiring states to monitor radioactivity levels at all drinking water intakes that are in close proximity to sewage treatment plants that accept natural gas drilling wastewater.

 

"We can't afford to take the 'wait and see' approach when it comes to radioactive, carcinogenic materials contaminating drinking water. Now is the time for all those who care about the safety of America's drinking water supplies to step up to the plate and protect it for future generations."

 

###

PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE

Radiation in fracking fluid is a new concern

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

By Don Hopey and Daniel Malloy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wastewater from Marcellus Shale drilling may contain unhealthy concentrations of radioactivity, and federal officials, researchers, the industry and the former head of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection have called for testing of drinking water sources and full disclosure of results.

The New York Times reported in a story Saturday that 116 of 179 Marcellus wells in Pennsylvania had high levels of radiation in wastewater samples and that wastewater discharges into rivers and streams were untested for radiation even though government agencies and the industry knew of the risks. The radiation is picked up by water used to hydraulically fracture the deep, 380 million-year-old shale layer and release the natural gas it holds.

In response to the Times article, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., wrote a letter Saturday to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson asking for responses to various issues regarding toxic wastewater from fracking.

"I do not believe that the price for energy extracted from deep beneath the earth's surface should include a risk to the health of those who live above it," Mr. Markey wrote. 5

"I am outraged that state and federal regulators were evidently well aware of the risks that the wastewater might pose, but instead chose to adopt a 'see no evil, hear no evil approach' to regulation by ignoring them."

Mr. Markey asked Ms. Jackson to provide any new steps the agency is taking to test sources of drinking water downstream from treatment plants that take in drilling waste and, if no regulatory changes are planned, to justify that decision in light of the Times report.

According to a June 2010 article in the online journal Environmental Science & Technology, by David Kargbo, Ron Wilhelm and David Campbell, all of the EPA's Region III office in Philadelphia, the Marcellus Shale is considered to contain "elevated levels" of naturally occurring radioactive materials.

They cite a recent study of 13 Marcellus fracking wastewater samples by the New York Department of Conservation that found levels of radium-226 as high as 267 times the safe disposal limit and thousands of times higher than the safe drinking water limit. Another study by the New York Department of Health found elevated radium-226 levels in samples of drilling "brine," a salty drilling wastewater.

John Hanger, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, denied charges in the Times article that the state's gas drilling regulations are "lax," citing regulatory changes that tightened water withdrawal and disposal rules, stream protections and drilling standards.

But he said it raises "serious concerns" about radioactivity and public health.

During his more than two years as DEP secretary, Mr. Hanger said he reviewed the radioactivity issue with David J. Allard, DEP deputy secretary for the Bureau of Air, Recycling and Radiation Protection, and they determined it was not a threat to drilling workers or the public.

"Personally I believe there isn't a [radiation] problem," Mr. Hanger said. "But test the water."

A November 2010 study of fracking's effect on radioactive material in the Marcellus Shale by Tracy Bank, a geologist at the State University of New York in Buffalo, found that the process that released the gas also releases uranium trapped in the shale. She said additional study is needed to understand and predict the reaction in the shale to fracking.

"We found that some of the metals in the shale can react to the fracking fluids and become mobile, including uranium, chromium and zinc, which can come back to the surface with the fluids," Ms. Bank said. "It's totally treatable and all the chemically contaminated waste water needs to be treated. It definitely can't be disposed of in streams without treatment. That might result in a fish kill." 6

Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a lobbying and advocacy organization that includes most of the drilling companies operating in the Marcellus Shale, said after drilling companies pre-treat wastewater to settle out drill cuttings and other solids, which are sent to approved landfills, radiation levels of water sent to sewage treatment plants for discharge are much lower.

Public drinking water intakes do not often test for radiation levels, but the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will do so this year because of issues raised by the Times article, said Stanley States, authority water quality manager.

The DEP said it has added 78 well inspectors in the past 18 months to review operations at the 2,815 Marcellus wells drilled to date.

John Hanger responds  http://johnhanger.blogspot.com/2011/02/statement-regarding-sunday-nyt-february.html

 

You folks may know about this, but I figured your hearing it a second time couldn't hurt: At least since last Wednesday, February 23rd, John Hanger has been writing an outstanding blog on energy. He has an entry responding to today's New York Times article on waste-water disposal, a stinging rebuttal of "Gasland" and other first class items. You can find his blog at http://johnhanger.blogspot.com/

 

Marcellus Shale Drilling response

 

http://marcellusdrilling.com/2011/02/new-york-times-publishes-hit-piece-on-natural-gas-drilling-quoted-source-responds-to-the-article/?utm_source=Marcellus+Drilling+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=884a591d58-MDN_Daily_Alert

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