Archive for February, 2012

Emissions Permission – PA Dems Want To Clear The Air

February 28, 2012

Rep. Greg Vitali Seeks to Close Gas Industry Air Pollution Exemptions with House Bill 2113

Here’s an interesting fact: On March 1, 2012, the PA Department of Environmental Protection is required to submit a 2011 Air Emissions Inventory for “unconventional drilling” operations in Pennsylvania to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. They will be reporting on Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), like benzene and toluene, and Particulate Matter from internal combustion engines which contributes to Ozone counts, among other things.

Since it’s not feasible for the DEP to test the air everywhere, reporting data is provided by gas industry operators, who derive their numbers from the specifications manuals of the equipment they use. This is where the drillers’ exemptions come into play. (more…)

Penn State’s Course in Denial

February 20, 2012

Armed only with facts and logic, one philosopher debates Dr. Terry Engelder, Mack Daddy of the Marcellus

Wendy Lynne Lee has made a career out of her deep commitment to social justice. As a professor at Bloomsburg University, Dr. Lee enjoys challenging her students’ assumptions, “equipping them with critical thinking skills, and offering them new and exciting ideas about, well, everything under the Sun.” Lee has been an outspoken critic of Fracking in posts on her blog, The Meaning of a Philosophical Life.

There’s simply no such thing as safe fracking,” she asserts in a January post about Governor Corbett’s penchant for leasing state forest land to gas drillers. “When most of the talk of how much gas is extractible, how many jobs, how safe, how profitable, how transitional an energy source, and how minimal a contributor to climate change has proven to be either exaggerated or patently false, why on earth would we continue to pursue this reckless course?

Secret Emails & Shameless Gas Promotion
Recently, on the progressive website Raging Chicken Press, Dr. Lee wrote about her email exchange with Penn State geology professor Dr. Terry Engelder in a post entitled The Unholy Alliance of Big Energy, Big University, Big State: My Exchange with Terry Engelder. (more…)

PA’s Gas Regulatory Program Is “Demonstrably Deficient”

February 14, 2012

For Immediate Release                                        February 13, 2012

BRISTOL PA – The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) announced the settlement of an appeal DRN filed with the PA Environmental Hearing Board concerning one of the first shale gas wells drilled in the Delaware River Basin.  The well is a vertical gas well and was not hydraulically fractured.

The appeal — filed in coordination with Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and local residents — involved the Newfield Appalachia PA, LLC “Woodlands” well in Damascus Township, Wayne County, Pennsylvania.  (more…)

John Hanger’s “Fracking Hysteria” and the Search for Common Ground

February 13, 2012

When it comes to the pro-gas point-of-view, is there anyone worth listening to?

Last week, former DEP chief, John Hanger, earned props from the gas industry blog, Marcellus Drilling News, in a pithy post entitled, Former PA DEP Head Says Fracking Doesn’t Contaminate Aquifers. MDN, which is edited by Jim Willis in Binghamton, NY, was spotlighting Hanger’s comments in a recent New York Post article about “fracking hysteria.” From the start, that right-wing litterbox liner has been unabashedly anti-Environment in their coverage of issues surrounding Fracking. One can expect greater journalistic integrity from MDN, which simply distilled Hanger’s quotes to support their editorial position, that fracking is safe. My kinda of post, only ass-backwards. (more…)

Gas Industry Dominates Harrisburg

February 10, 2012

Marcellus Shale Bill Preempts Local Zoning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Clean Water Action * Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania * Delaware Riverkeeper Network * Earthworks * PennEnvironment * Sierra Club, PA Chapter

February 8, 2012:   PENNSYLVANIA SENATE AND HOUSE VOTE FOR PREEMPTION OF MUNICIPAL ZONING TO FAVOR GAS DRILLING AND OPERATIONS; INDUSTRY INTERESTS DOMINATE THE PUBLIC INTEREST Organizations decry lack of concern for communities, health, and property(more…)

Methane Is Murder: Industry Lowballs Leakage Claims

February 9, 2012

NOAA’s Air Sampling in Colorado Shows Methane Measurements that Disprove the Gas Industry’s “Cleaner Burning Fuel” Claim

While natural gas may be a cleaner fuel to burn, here’s more proof that it’s a particularly filthy fossil fuel to extract from the earth. A 2011 study by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was recently published in Journal of Geophysical Research and covered in the international journal, Nature. (more…)

Cancer Cluster in German Countryside

February 9, 2012

Is frack waste in the soil sickening Lower Saxony?  

The otherwise bucolic north German region of Neidersachen has become the epicenter of coal bed methane gas drilling activity – or “fracking” as it is known there, too. Sadly, ARD Munich reports that Benzene leakage from Exxon Mobil’s waste pipelines may be causing cancer clusters among residents in nine households. Since 2007, the company has known of problems with the PE pipelines used to transport produced frack waste water underground. Over the span of four years, ExxonMobil has remediated over 2,500 tons of highly carcinogenic, polluted soil yet waste transport continues unabated as Germany, like so many other nations, strives for Energy Independence. (more…)

Shale Gas Fuels The War on Science

February 8, 2012

The Fracking Studies Drillers don’t want you to see…

On February 14, 2012 Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the Marcellus Impact Fee bill (Act 13), which was on his desk before his new state budget address, as requested. Act 13 was his valentine to the Gas Industry. With it, state majority leaders carried Corbett’s methane torch, illuminating the notion that while Harrisburg may not sit atop the Marcellus Shale, it’s central to the nation’s Fact-Free Zone.

We will restore Science to its rightful place,” stated President Obama in his 2009 inaugural address. A few days later, Stephen Colbert glibly asked Chris Mooney, author of The New York Times bestseller, The Republican War on Science in an interview, “Should we tax and spend our way to knowledge?” Unfortunately, in the ultra-polemic Marcellus, where gas drilling is ramping up at a sickening pace, state research budgets continue to be cut and science has yet to gain much of a foothold.

Good Science vs. “Bad” Studies
Republican lawmakers repeatedly dismiss published, peer-reviewed studies while citing industry-friendly economic figures freely, as if their business acumen somehow compensates for a stunning dearth of facts. Because good science should never be dismissed by bad lawmakers, here’s the shortlist of landmark fracking studies that the Gas Industry would rather you didn’t see: (more…)

Corbett’s Cookie Cutter Madness

February 7, 2012

HB1950 is a weak cookie cutter mandate that will force local municipalities to allow “oil and gas operations” in ALL zoning districts. Fees collected with this unusual sliding-scale per-well fee will be far below the average lifetime per-well tax paid in other natural gas states.

Call your PA legislators today, and tell them they need to vote this bill down! Find their phone numbers visit: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/

(more…)

Southeastern PA Republicans Oppose Local Zoning Restrictions in SB1100/HB1950

February 2, 2012

State Senator Erickson Too Sensible for Harrisburg

It’s not everyday you meet a Pennsylvania State Senator. Rarer still do you have an hour-long discussion about Marcellus shale gas with a Republican who, along with eight members of his caucus, opposes key points in Governor Corbett’s Marcellus bill, SB1100. (more…)


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