Archive for June, 2012

Fifty Shades of Fracking

June 27, 2012

Once again, PennEnvironment has smashed the barrier between Big Green and grassroots by eloquently framing the case for a moratorium on fracking in Pennsylvania. This week, PennEnviro presented a series of videos entitled Marcellus Shale Stories. Each clip features citizens speaking out, succinctly describing one aspect of the complex story that is Industrial Shale Gas Drilling. Together, their experiences are a testament to the devastating toll that shale gas production is presently exacting from unwitting Pennsylvanians like you and me.

Non-hysterically narrated by PennEnvironment‘s Erica Staaf, Marcellus Shale Stories is more than a catalog of the ill-effects of gas drilling. It’s an anthology of cautionary tales from Pennsylvania’s Sacrifice Zone, and it underscores the serious need for a moratorium on new drilling permits until comprehensive socio-economic and environmental impact studies are conducted. Otherwise, we are all vulnerable to:

  • Adverse Health Impacts
  • Water Contamination
  • Declining Property Values
  • Compromised Agriculture and Food Safety
  • Loss and Fragmentation of State Forest Land to Gas Drilling
  • Destruction of Scenic Landscapes Adversely Impacting Tourism
  • Downstream Pollution in Cities and Neighboring States

(more…)

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Postcards From Pennsylvania’s Sacrifice Zone

June 22, 2012

Grace Under Extreme Fracking Pressure

In case you didn’t notice, Pennsylvania already has a “Sacrifice Zone.”

Don’t believe it? Then I suggest you ask Rebecca Roter, who discovered months ago that her home is to be engulfed by the heavily industrialized business of shale gas production. Since then, Roter has been doing everything possible to obtain information on the scope and nature of a planned, GP-5 permitted compressor station project near her home in the Susquehanna region. She’s determined to protect the land she loves from air pollution, pipelines, noise, clear-cutting and truck traffic, but so far her efforts have only been stymied by the PA Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies.

Roter recently initiated the Facebook Group, Constitution Pipeline Ferc Comments Needed NOW! PA NY eminent domain is coming! which is devoted to finding a path to real environmental protection from this project for her region. The group is currently petitioning the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to mandate Dispersion Studies and regular ambient testing for this facility. (more…)

The Other Riverdale

June 22, 2012

Been reading Wendy Lee’s heart-wrenching coverage of events surrounding the eviction of residents from the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, PA. It’s surreal to me that this is happening in Pennsylvania, USA, and the lamestream media has basically ignored the story. Thankfully, Dr. Lee and others have recorded their impressions of the injustices there.

Whether or not you think Aqua has a right to develop this facility, and syphon 3 million gallons of fresh water per day from the Susquehanna River Watershed, what happened in Riverdale is not only emblematic of the dramatically altered nature of police enforcement in Pennsylvania, it’s also a troubling reminder that a private entity owns the public’s fresh water supplies. Above all, it calls into question who has more value in our society, corporate citizens or individual citizens? We already know who has more political clout. (more…)

That’s What She Said…

June 16, 2012

Listening to Pro-Drilling Landowners in Northeastern PA

Since Tim Darragh’s article, Pennsylvania Lobbying for DRBC Fracking Rules appeared in The Allentown Morning Call on thursday, there’s been a surprising dirth of Comments on the topic. StateImpact gave Darragh’s piece a shout out yesterday, and hopefully that will help raise awareness that the Delaware River is still very much endangered. Maybe it’s an apathetic readership? Or perhaps Patrick Henderson is effectively skirting media radar detection in their outright determination to drill in the Delaware right now, literally at any cost. (more…)

Pennsylvania’s Fracking Governor

June 15, 2012

What Did The Delaware River Ever Do To Tommy Corbett?

PA Governor Tom Corbett wants to drill the iconic Delaware River Watershed… Y’know, the river George Washington crossed to win American independence, the river that currently sustains 15.6 million people and countless species, the river that already generates $22 BILLION for the Pennsylvania economy each year, according to the University of Delaware. Our guv’na is the poster child for greed, corruption and neo-con ignorance. He looks (and acts) like a stupid frat boy, yet when it comes to shale gas, he’s devious as all hell. It’s like he’s date-raping every river, meadow, forest and mountain in the state.

Tim Darragh gets us up-to-speed on the behind the scenes machinations of Patrick Henderson, Corbett’s state-funded Energy Executive, in Pennsylvania Lobbying for DRBC Fracking Rules in The Allentown Morning Call:

“‘That’s been a frustration since the November meeting was canceled,” said Corbett spokesman Patrick Henderson. ‘We have been having discussions with the DRBC staff as recently as this week’ ” (more…)

What Else Is In Your Water?

June 12, 2012

And Is It Safe To Drink?

Annual Water Quality Reports don’t include unregulated toxins

People often ask if we drink tap water at home. “Not if we can help it” is the honest answer, but I rarely say so. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel their choice is wrong simply because it’s not my choice. Anyway, we bathe in tap water and water the vegetable garden, too. Whatever your pleasure, we all ingest our regional tap water. We’re currently looking into the possibility of drilling a well, though I’ve yet to determine the cost. Luckily, Environmental Working Group has created a great tool to inform (and justify) our water investments.

Shouted out in Toxic Shockers by Alexa Joy Sherman in the July-August issue of Natural Health Magazine, The Environmental Working Group’s National Drinking Water Database is a font of information for water consumers. EWG reports there are “Over 300 Pollutants in US Drinking Water,” some of which are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, some aren’t. (more…)

Shale Gas vs. “Dirty” Coal

June 6, 2012

This week, one of EcoWatch.org’s Most Read Items was a post by Andy Rowell of priceofoil.org entitled Fracking Boom Kills Renewable Energy Industry. Commenting on a trio of pithy headlines from The Guardian newspaper, Rowell concludes, “Gas, especially shale gas, is likely to undermine renewable investment. Anyway, gas is now being seen as low carbon by the EU, and will receive subsidies that should have gone to kick-start the clean, renewable revolution. This is despite the fact that shale gas is no cleaner than dirty coal.”  (more…)

Embrace Dirty Air & Poison Water

June 5, 2012

On June 4, 2012, former Governor Ed Rendell published a letter to the editor in The Inquirer, entitled Embrace the Natural Gas Solution.

It’s now official that Democrats (the new Republicans?) will say anything to take credit for US energy independence, and former Governor Rendell is at the helm of the party. Mother Earth, meet the new face of the Enemy… and I lived in Philly when he was mayor, I used to like this guy! This charismatic fathead must not be allowed to tout natural gas as “clean” fuel without correction. We need to call Rendell out with an honest, Progressive voice. We need to remind him of the facts.

PennEnvironment is among the first to cry foul over Rendell’s erroneous editorial, urging people to express our outrage in our own letters to The Inquirer (200 words or less). Email it to inquirer.letters@phillynews.com. (more…)