Archive for August, 2011

Frack-to-School: Several Pennsylvania School Districts Lease Land To Gas Drillers

August 31, 2011

Pennsylvania’s smallest – and most vulnerable – citizens deserve clean air and methane-free water fountains when they go to school, right? Are we seriously at the point where we’re knowingly exposing school children to toxic air pollution, potential water contamination and massive truck traffic? Apparently, we are. (more…)

Sign the Food And Water Watch Petition to Ban Fracking

August 30, 2011

Long before the word fracking was in our lexicon, Food and Water Watch was advocating nationally against the dangers of industrial shale gas drilling. For years, this DC-based organization has been sounding the alarm over the chemicals used and the toxic waste produced by hydraulic fracturting. Today, they stand among better known environmental advocates such as the Sierra Club, in thick of Pennsylvania’s increasingly contentious legislative battle, armed with popular petitions, mounting scientific evidence and growing public concern. (more…)

Get the Hell Out! Governor Chris Christie Proposes One Year Moratorium on Gas Drilling

August 29, 2011

I’ve called him a gasbag, and predicted he would flip the environmental bird to Camden County and South Jersey by not signing the ban on hydraulic fracturing passed by NJ state legislature earlier this summer. My next guess would have been a series of stall tactics, the likes of which Pennsylvania excels. Surprisingly, Governor Christie neither stalled nor outright vetoed. (No one thought he’d actually approve the measure, not just like that.) Turns out, he took a refreshingly moderate path with a conditional veto of the fracking ban, and the prudent step of proposing a moratorium on gas drilling for one year. (more…)

Fracking: Another Bad Word Your Kid Picked Up at Camp?

August 20, 2011

The kids are home! Camp was great, and once again there’s a wait at Ruby’s Diner. It’s that pleasant interim between peak summer and back-to-school. Last week, on a trip to New England, my husband took us on a tour of the overnight camp where he spent six glorious summers in his youth. It was heartwarming to see him share his memories with our camp-aged son as he endeavored to warm him up to the idea of maybe going there, too. It was all I could do not to go around picking up the wet towels. I could totally see why it’s one of his “happy places.” (more…)

Frack Waste Decimates Stand of West Virginia Forest

August 17, 2011

In a controlled test conducted by the US Forest Service initiated in 2008, frack waste was applied to a contained 1/4-acre of deciduous forest in West Virginia. I’ve been saying it for months, “Test, Baby, Test.” By that, I meant independent baseline testing (more…)

Mudslinging or Mud Blowout: Susquehanna County, PA – Updated

August 5, 2011

The once pristine “high value” Laurel Lake Creek north of Allentown in Silver Lake Township, Susquehanna County is now the site of the latest Fraccident in Eastern Pennsylvania, according to Department of Environmental Protection officials. The persistent mud blowout was caused when Laser Northeast Gathering Co., LLP crews were tunneling beneath the “protected” waterway to lay a gas pipeline on Friday, July 29, 2011. Mud continues gushing today, one week later. (more…)

Recycling Frack Waste in PA? Shout Eureka!

August 2, 2011

[UPDATE: April 5, 2012]:  Eureka Resources Supports New Pennsylvania DEP Standards Encouraging Reuse-of-Wastewater From Oil and Gas Sites

[Original Post]:  As of May, 2011, the PA Department of Environmental Protection has insisted that industrial gas drillers in Pennsylvania “stop sending toxic wastewater to 15 treatment plants unequipped to purify it.” There has been little mention of the millions of gallons of untreated frack waste that were released prior to the dumping deadline but hey, as the saying goes, it’s water under the bridge, right?

Seemingly overnight, gas drillers such as Chesapeake Energy began claiming that they now re-use or recycle 100% of their hydrofracking flowback. Other drilling companies have proffered similarly impressive percentages. Wow. That’s one nimble industry! In the space of a mere 28 days – not 28 months – they were able to revamp their industrial waste-stream and totally eliminate one of environmentalists’ biggest concerns. Amazing.

Water re-use has been key to substantiating the gas drillers’ claims. (more…)

Schuylkill County Marcellus Task Force Takes Proactive Approach

August 1, 2011

The Schuylkill County Marcellus Task Force was established by the Schuylkill County Board of Commissioners in May 2011 to determine how they would deal with shale gas drilling issues. Last week, according to Leslie Richardson in, the task force was talking roads, education, taxes and water withdrawals with Lt. Governor Jim Cawley. It’s not so much a matter of drilling in Schuylkill County, as the shale is much deeper there, rather it’s concern over pollution, truck traffic and jobs. The county has one landfill that accepts cuttings and other solid waste, and in June, 2011, Rausch Creek Land LP of Valley View. PA applied to withdrawal up to 100,000 gallons from an abandoned mine in Porter Township for hydrofracking operations elsewhere in the state. (more…)

Got Water? Pennsylvania Is Home to Over 1,000,000 Private Water Wells

August 1, 2011

Pennsylvania has more fresh water wells in private use than any other state in the US. We also have an abundance of natural, mineral-laced springs. Most of these wells and nearly all of the springs, however, exist undocumented. That means, if you use a well, the Department of Environmental Protection has no record of your water’s baseline composition, and it probably doesn’t even know your well exists.

Many water advocates in the state recognize that this one of the weakest links in the DEP’s plan to regulate, and therefore enforce, the shale gas drilling industry. After all, how can they determine if a homeowner’s water has or has not been polluted when they do not know the quality that existed before gas drilling began, right? If you’re a water well owner, don’t let it come to that. Make sure your water quality is tested and certified, and becomes part of public record. This could be especially important of you are seeking to sell your home in the future, as any potential buyer could be denied financing if your well water quality is in question. (more…)