Archive for September, 2011

Aqua America to Supply Susquehanna Basin Water to Gas Drillers

September 30, 2011

BrynMawr, PA-based Aqua America is one of the nation’s largest water and wastewater treatment companies, serving over 3 million customers across 12 states. Their largest water customer is Exelon Energy. Soon, though, Marcellus Shale gas drillers may provide an even larger revenue stream. Aqua will see tidy profits selling the Susquehanna River Basin water it pulls in Lycoming county to gas drillers in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier. It’s simply good business to accommodate them by laying 18-miles of 12-inch pipe. (more…)

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DRBC Set to Vote on Fate of The Delaware

September 27, 2011

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is the only government entity standing between industrial shale gas drilling in the “Special Protection Waters” of the Delaware River watershed region and the 15.6 million people living downstream in Southeastern PA who rely on this river for drinking water. In September, the DRBC held its final public hearing on the issue of rules for horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware Basin in West Trenton, NJ. At least they held it, right? The hearing was called for 1:30pm, but Food & Water Watch, Protecting Our Waters, and other water action groups had a protest going by noon. The upshot: The DRBC is currently scheduled to vote on whether to allow fracking in the Delaware River Basin on November 21, 2011. (more…)

Frack U.! Governor Corbett Supports Drilling on PA State College Campuses

September 19, 2011

UPDATE [November 8, 2011] On Sunday, November 6, Bill Schackner reported in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the Cal U Student Association had been quietly negotiating a mineral lease deal. Read the details in his article, Drilling on Campus: Marcellus Shale boom puts colleges at crossroads It’s the first of two parts. Here is Part II: Corporate funding of Marcellus Shale studies at universities raises alarms by Reid R. Frazier and Olivia Garber

ORIGINAL POST:

When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett [R] first spoke of leasing state college and university land to gas drillers, he was addressing a meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees at Edinboro University in March, 2011. He was suggesting a way to soften the economic blow of $650 million in proposed cuts to Public Higher Education, cuts which amounted to a stunning 50% off the prior year’s budget. Cuts that were in addition to the universally repellant $550 million already slashed from Basic Education funding. When Corbett made his seemingly casual suggestion, however, he wasn’t grasping at political straws. He was sowing the seeds of new fiscal policy. (more…)

Raising Elijah by Sandra Steingraber: The Thinking Mom’s Environmental Manifesto

September 13, 2011

What’s a mother to do? You can buy organic milk and skip the Happy Meal, but how do you protect tender young bodies from air pollution? How to you prevent them from handloading toxic chemicals like formaldehyde from pressure-treated wood on the playground? Dr. Sandra Steingraber is raising the alarm in Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (Da Capo Press). It might be the most important parenting book you’ll ever read. (more…)

Voice of Reason, Or Equivocation? Seamus McGraw Stirs Shale Gas Debate

September 13, 2011

If you live in Pennsylvania, and you haven’t read it yet, download/buy/borrow The End of Country right now. Done? Author Seamus McGraw is not only well-informed, he’s irreverent and blunt. To wit, his recent post on Facebook: “I’ve long argued that the two most dangerous chemicals that are used far too liberally in the fracking process are testosterone and adrenaline.”

As a man who facilitated the leasing of his mother’s land to Chesapeake Energy (testosterone), he is often perceived to be a part of the problem by angry fractivists (adrenaline). I would suggest that here’s a guy, a self-proclaimed environmentalist and early biofuel user, who understands the very real dangers of fracking, (more…)

Toxic Floodwaters In Pennsylvania Raise New Questions About Fracking – Updated

September 10, 2011

UPDATE, September 23, 2011:

Since posting below, PA DEP officials have gone on record insisting that “no chemicals” used in hydraulic fracturing or toxic wastewater produced were spilled during the recent catastrophic flooding in Pennsylvania, which occurred as a result of back-to-back hurricanes Irene and Lee. State officials have also suggested that the photo linked in the initial post (below) is inauthentic. Okay. But the fact is, we have only their word for it. Scott Detrow reports in StateImpact that gas drillers weren’t required to report any incidents due to a “loophole” in state regulatory policy. I know, right? How dumb is that? And these are the guys who are going to protect The Delaware River Watershed, drinking water source for 15.6 million people. (more…)

Anti-Fracking Conference Draws Hundreds Despite Epic Flooding In Philadelphia

September 8, 2011

Wake The Village! Again

This morning, I sat in traffic for nearly three hours. Record flooding, mudslides and downed trees blocked the way of nearly every commuter in the region. It was a nightmare. I was late for the Freedom from Fracking Conference in Center City, and I was ticked. I arrived just in time to catch hydrogeologist Paul Rubin’s workshop, Our Aquifers, Our Drinking Water: Casualties of Gas Development (more…)

Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission Drills into Gas Issues at Philadelphia Public Hearing

September 7, 2011

The purpose of the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission September 6th hearing at the Free Library of Philadelphia was to “delve deeper into a variety of shale gas issues, including water and air quality, social impacts of gas drilling, the drilling tax, and impacts outside Marcellus communities.” A host of invited presenters gave detailed testimony in their area of expertise, then the floor was open to public comment. This was, by far, the more colorful aspect of the evening, (more…)

Corbett Plans to Reshuffle PA Department of Environmental Protection

September 1, 2011

In case you haven’t heard, Governor Tom Corbett thinks he’s “getting gas right.” The rest of Pennsylvania, including many Republican lawmakers in the Republican-controlled State House and Senate, tend to disagree. In the environmental equivalent of Redistricting, the administration has a plan to restructure the DEP and, in particular, its Bureau of Oil and Gas Management. In other words, they don’t like their cards, so rather than play the hand they’ve been dealt, they’re reshuffling the deck. Anything to “get gas done” – “getting it right” would simply be a bonus. The most objectionable of the rumored significant changes: several of the department’s renewable energy and energy conservation programs have been reassessed, scaled back or eliminated. (more…)