The Year of the Fraccident: Violations, Spills Plague Pennsylvania in 2011

Julie Reppert reported in The Williamsport Sun-Gazette that a collision between two heavy trucks resulted in frack fluid spilling into a stream in Mifflin Township, PA on Monday, December 26, 2011. The story was quickly picked up by local TV news and larger media outlets. No serious injuries were reported, but how to assess the long-term damage downstream? Sadly, Fraccident reports like this one became all too common in 2011. Happily, the year also saw the emergence of several new online news resources providing the best quality news and information about Shale Gas Drilling in Pennsylvania yet.

Local papers have traditionally provided reliable and vital information, as Fraccidents can happen anywhere, anytime, and some have developed sophisticated new verticals on this hot-button issue. On a broader level, has been providing some of the most comprehensive and in-depth, non-industry propelled coverage around. Produced by the highly controversial, partially publicly-funded, left-wing conspiracy organization, NPR, StateImpact has become a go-to resource for both breaking news and solid background on PA’s shale gas boom. Occasionally accused of “drinking the Kool-Aid,” veteran reporters Scott Detrow and Susan Philips and their team have nevertheless been moderately covering this beat for months. And thank heaven. It’s important to put objective information about shale gas drilling out there, and essential to get legislators on record about these complex issues. If we’re to have real accountability, we need actual transparency.

StateImpact has just introduced a fascinating new Marcellus Shale App which displays current drilling activity in Pennsylvania, and so doing they have officially and concisely entered the frack-tracking fray. According to StateImpact, “the app tells you who owns each well, how much gas it has pro­duced, and what, if any, vio­la­tions drillers have been cited for.” There’s even a URL for each gas well which you can link to or share via Twit­ter and Face­book. “If you think there’s more we need to know about the drilling site, there’s a space for you to share com­ments, sto­ries or pictures.” The StateImpact App is based on an aggregation of the perplexing labyrinth of excel data provided on DEP’s web­site. From quarantined cows to proposed pipelines, Impact Fees to the Halliburton Loophole, the site offers a plethora Fracking Facts, like this unfortunate gem:

There are currently 1,608 active frack wells in Pennsylvania operated by 52 drillers who have racked up a total of 1,532 violations and $2.8 million in total fines to date.

Compared to other shale states, that’s a lot. You can’t help but want to learn more. There’s so much at stake, not only for our economy, but for our water, land and air. Good thing there’s audio, excellent photos and graphics, too.


Serving as a chronicle of the impact of Fracking in Pennsylvania, StateImpact is a “col­lab­o­ra­tion between WITF, WHYY and NPR which features the reporting by Scott Detrow and Susan Phillips on “the fis­cal and envi­ron­men­tal impact of Pennsylvania’s boom­ing energy econ­omy, with a focus on Mar­cel­lus Shale drilling.”

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One Response to “The Year of the Fraccident: Violations, Spills Plague Pennsylvania in 2011”

  1. Vero Says:

    Fracking is an issue I’ve been aware of and have been sinivtrg to learn more about as it is a “method” (I don’t acknowledge it as technology as in my mind technology has at least some benefit) of gas extraction that can be done in too many places. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, the USA has some of the largest areas where this can be applied. When in alignment with nature, her bounty is readily shared with us – anything forced out of her can’t be a good thing.

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