Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Philadelphia Water Drive Starts Today!

September 24, 2013

Pennsylvanians Take A Local Stand To Support People Impacted By Fracking

Imagine finding your tap water has suddenly turned milky, red, or black and sludgy. Imagine taking a shower and finding that it burns your nostrils and stings your skin. Imagine learning that your well water is laced with industrial pollutants such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde.” –ShaleGasOutrage.wordpress.com

Over 1,000 complaints like these have been filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the end of 2012. PA DEP has determined that 161 water wells have been contaminated as a result of hydraulic fracturing, with more tests results inconclusive or disputed. And the complaints keep coming. In these impacted households, tap water is no longer safe for consumption, yet the nearest water utility line is often many miles away. People are forced to rely on bottled water to meet their daily water needs. Large blue “water buffalos” have become ubiquitous across the Marcellus Shale region.   (more…)

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USGS Warns Of Disinfection Byproducts From Treatment Of Produced Waters

September 6, 2013

You don’t have to be a hydrogeologist to understand the severity of the U.S. Geological Survey’s most recent warning. As the number of suitable sites for deep wastewater injection wells dwindles, and production in the Marcellus ramps up, pressure is mounting on municipal water treatment plants to deal with all the frack waste. But as every good sewage plant operator knows, what goes in, must come out.

Technical Announcement: Disinfection of Energy Wastewater Can Lead to Toxic Byproducts

Contact Information:

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

Office of Communications and Publishing

12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119, Reston, VA 20192

Mike Focasio 703-648-6808

Alec Demas 703-648-4421

Released: 9/4/2013  —  Wastewater treatment plants that process waters from oil and gas development were found to discharge elevated levels of toxic chemicals known as brominated disinfection byproducts, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.    (more…)

Philly’s Having An LNG Party (And We’re Not Invited)

August 3, 2013

There are two kinds of people in Philadelphia, those who oppose a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export facility, and those who don’t know about it yet. Oh, right, and then there’s a few who’ve been quietly getting LNG done for years.

Think About It – LNG Is A Bad Idea

Sierra Club Wants to Stop LNG Exports and they’re not mincing words. The new “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign website states: “EXPORTING LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG) TO OVERSEAS MARKETS IS A DIRTY, DANGEROUS PRACTICE THAT LETS THE INDUSTRY MAKE A KILLING AT THE EXPENSE OF HUMAN HEALTH

Exporting natural gas would increase fracking and carbon emissions, put sensitive ecological areas at risk, and do nothing to address our country’s energy challenges. Natural gas companies envision a network of winding pipelines and noisy, polluting compressors that connect the drills to the docks, slicing through wild lands, rivers, and backyards. Pipelines and gas wells will inevitably leak or rupture, risking lives and fouling the environment where people live and further polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Included in the post is the link to a recently published Sierra Club report entitled, LOOK BEFORE THE LNG LEAP: Why Policymakers and the Public Need Fair Disclosure Before Exports of Fracked Gas Start by Craig Segall, Staff Attorney, Sierra Club Environmental Law Program, with research assistance by legal fellow, Philip Goo.

Basically, Sierra researchers conclude that “The United States is sleepwalking through one of the biggest energy policy decisions of our time.”   (more…)

Marcellus Spills Fill PA Waterways

July 25, 2013

“Pretty Please” Doesn’t Stop Surface Discharges

Nearly everyday it seems there’s a new report of Marcellus shale gas waste spilling in Pennsylvania’s wetlands and streams, DEP violations like this recent “discharge” reported by SkyTruth:

Issued to Energy Corporation of America on July 22, 2013 — Code 307CSL: Discharge of unconventional industrial drilling waste to waters of Commonwealth without a permit in Clearfield, Girard Township (ID#673076)

And this large spill reported by Laura Legere in DEP: Spill At Well Site Seeps Into House, Miniature Horse Farm in The Times Tribune on May 1, 2013:

An unknown amount of the fluid escaped the pad, flowed down a hill, crossed a road and entered the basement and garage of a nearby farmhouse, Ms. Connolly said. It soaked property at the horse farm, whose owners were out of state, but a farmhand kept the animals safely away from the fluid.

On both sides of the shale gas safety debate, experts agree that “surface spills” hold the greatest threat for surface water and groundwater contamination. Pennsylvania, by the way, is home to more fresh water resources than any other state in the continental U.S.

Surface spills of fracturing fluids appear to pose greater risks to groundwater than hydraulic fracturing itself,” writes Bryan R. Walsh in Shale Gas: It’s Not the Fracking That Might Be the Problem. It’s Everything Else, Time Magazine, on February 17, 2012. While Walsh pays short shrift the long term impacts of deteriorating wellbore seals, his premise certainly rings true right now. Every week, we see more spills, more overturned tankers and leaky valves, each one a small-scale, highly toxic event unto itself, and it invariably concludes with a dead stream and DEP asking drillers to promise not do it again.

A Water-Tight Case?

And then there are spills so big and negligent that the EPA has no choice but to step in and sue the driller, as is the case of this EXXON/XTO Energy violation, reported earlier this week:

US Sues Exxon Fracker in Pennsylvania Over Polluted Drinking Water:  A federal lawsuit claims hydraulic fracking has polluted public drinking waters in Pennsylvania with toxic wastes by Erin McAuley, AlterNet, July 24, 2013

Yup, it’s true. Obama Administration Sues Exxon for Polluting Pennsylvania Drinking Water with Toxic Fracking Waste, AllGov.com, July 24, 2013   (more…)

Ode To ‘Joy Of Fracking’

July 25, 2013

GrowthBusters wants you to know “what’s cooking in the public debate about fracking” so they made this “fair use sampling” of video clips about one the most important public debates currently raging across Colorado and the United States.

Frack-Free TV:  Lives and groundwater are routinely destroyed yet the shale gas industry keeps on drilling, spending millions to buy the silence of those impacted, and often their real estate, too. Big Gas has also been spending hundreds of millions in advertising to convince you that these Americans don’t exist.

Thing is, they do.

#ThinkAboutIt

Endless Truck ‘Fraffic’ Jams Roads, Parks & Dreams

July 18, 2013

Pine Creek Valley, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Doug Shields, the former Pittsburgh city councilman who most recently appeared in Gasland II, and a tireless advocate for Pennsylvania’s natural resources, recently posted this Postcard From The Sacrifice Zone on several anti-fracking facebook pages:

[Pine Creek] isn’t too far from Williamsport, PA, the self-named ‘Energy Capital of Pennsylvania.’ I was there on June 19th for the screening of Gasland Part II later that evening. On the morning of, I took off for a drive up into the Pine Creek Valley with a backroad map of the area provided to me by a local who had marked out the drilling fields for me.

“The valley, mostly a series of state parks and forests, is a place that is stunningly beautiful with dramatic. steep-sided hills covered with verdant forests spilling down to Pine Creek. I also noted how the locals felt very much a part of this landscape and how they appreciated the beauty that surrounded them and the lifestyle it provided.“I left Rt 44 and headed up the unpaved back roads to the top of the plateaus above the valley. First, I see the signs restricting trucks from roads deemed too small to use in the State Parks. Then, the pipeline rights-of-way carved through the forests for miles, cutting up hills once filled with forest. At the top, more pipelines then, the well pads.
“A helicopter breaks the silence of the forest, the sound the engine’s roar covers this valley I am in, hovering with wire cables dangling about a half mile away above a steep hillside. Roads, leading off into the dark corners of the park, were gated and posted with warnings by the drillers to keep out.“As I drove by a gas worker in Tiadaghton State Park, we exchanged brief looks filled with suspicion, both of us thinking, “What is he doing here?” My car had no drilling company logos on the side and I was taking pictures. I thought to myself, “How sad it is that we don’t simply wave and greet one another.” I think we both understood that we were some sort of threat to one another just by being there. The character of this community had been changed in so many ways.”

Shields included a link to this clip from the ever-upcoming documentary Groundswell Rising in which Pennsylvania’s scenic Pine Creek Valley is overrun with 24 hour heavy duty truck traffic due to hydraulic fracking.

Groundswell Rising: Protecting Our Children’s Water

Heavy Fraffic equals to 400 to 600 water trucks to frack one natural gas well!!” says Elizabeth Greico, a Northeastern Pennsylvania resident. “Where will they get all this water? Extract it from local streams and ground wells? How long can the environment support this kind of aggression? Can you believe 80,000 gallons of toxic chemicals injected into one fracked well? Benzene? Fight back and write to you Congressmen, Representatives and local elected officials! Ban Fracking in your Town! Go CELDF.org ! They will help you organize! Don’t wait! Do it now!

Dear President Obama, Please Meet With Citizens Impacted By Fracking

July 11, 2013

Right after the release of Gasland II on HBO, Josh Fox sent this letter to President Obama, and he asked fellow fractivists to share it, too.

Finally got to see the film, and I felt relieved and recharged because Fox has successfully captured, in granular detail, an accurate portrait of big energy fracking U.S. democracy, and a fossil-free movement that is growing larger and ever more determined. The complexity of images, information, and emotions validated my impression of the shale gas invasion over the past few years, both in Pennsylvania and around the world. Given that this form of extreme fossil fuel extraction is ramping up exponentially worldwide, and entire regions of my home state are being transformed into endless industrial zones, the request seems pretty damn reasonable. Sharing!

Request to President Obama: Please meet with the Scientists and Families in GASLAND, Part II

Josh’s letter to President Obama, July 8th, 2013:

Dear President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Moniz, Heather Zichal and Valerie Jarrett,

I write to request a meeting with you and families directly impacted by oil and gas drilling and fracking—as documented in Gasland Part II—to…gether with a small group of scientists and engineers who are also featured in the film.   (more…)

Drillers Still Drooling Over The Delaware

June 24, 2013

Can A Watershed Get A Little Respect?

[Updated]

Few headlines instill more angst among Delaware River watershed activists than the one I read this morning:

Wayne County Commissioners Urge Quick End To Drilling Ban by Steve McConnell, The Times-Tribune, June 22, 2013

Who are these people? And why do they think they have the right to force a heavily industrial deep shale extraction process into a highly protected watershed which supplies drinking water to 17 million people from New York City to Wilmington, Delaware? It would seem this handful of county commissioners is ready to risk it all, for roughly 5% of the U.S. population, while shushing valid environmental concerns with the vague promise of jobs. Who’s gonna want the jobs if you can’t drink the water?

Tell DRBC: Pennsylvania’s Last Frack-Free Watershed Deserves A Permanent Ban!
(more…)

Think About It – Cement Won’t Last Forever

June 21, 2013

Energy From Shale is yet another generic new front group created by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) to advertise the illusion that the highly polluting process of shale gas production is really shiny, clean and green. They recently launched their first PR effort, asking us to “Think About It.” Believe me, ANGA, I have.

Even when done correctly, fracking cannot be done safely. 

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All cement wellbore seals, every last one of them, will fail over time. Cement simply doesn’t last forever. Steel can crack. Even if drillers get everything exactly right the first time, cement will become porous due to heat and pressure. Earthquakes, whether caused by nature or deep waste injection wells, hold the potential to damage seals. In about 50-60 years tops, according to gas industry estimates, most wellbore seals will fail, eventually enabling pathways for fluids and gases to communicate  with aquifers, geological formations or the environment.

Image Credit: George E. King Engineering, March, 2009

This is an aspect of the drilling issue that simply cannot be ignored. When it comes to the future security of our drinking water supplies, this is the crux of it.

Now, It’s About Gas. Ultimately, It’s About Water.

It’s not roulette. It’s a certainty,” Gasland II filmmaker and citizen of the United States, Josh Fox, recently said on HBO’s Real Time With Bill MaherThis is a problem the gas industry can’t fix.”

Headless Fed: EPA Punts Fracking Study

The good news is, drillers have the technology to reseal and replug failed wellbores. The bad news is, they have to do it fairly often. More than 5% of wellbore seals fail immediately.    (more…)

Got Civil Rights? Flaunt Them In Harrisburg With Josh Fox on June18th

June 15, 2013

Now We’re Cookin! (But Not With Gas)

CALL TO ACTION!  

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Rally In Harrisburg With Gasland II Filmaker Josh Fox  

Tell Pennsylvania Governor Corbett, “No More Cover Ups for the Drillers!”

Tuesday, June 18 – 12 Noon

Pennsylvania State Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg PA

Please join Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and many others. (more…)

Hey PA Dems, Quit Fracking Around!

June 14, 2013

UPDATE via Mark Dodel: June 16 2013

SUCCESS!!

” Yesterday in Lancaster, PA, the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee voted 115 to 81 for a resolution calling for a moratorium on all frack drilling in Pennsylvania. This was a vote for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians and our environment against the out of state billionaires and corporations who own Corbett and the DEP.” 

Resolution can be read here:

http://www.monroepadems.com/images/files/Moratorium_Fracking_Resolution.pdf

Read More:

6.15.13 PA State Democratic Committee Passes Resolution to Support Fracking Moratorium by Wendy Lee, Raging Chicken Press.

And here:

FIRST STEP: PA DEMS PASS FRACKING MORATORIUM by Dory Hippauf, Shaleshock

[ORIGINAL POST:]

                             CALL TO ACTION!

           Tell the PA Dems, “STOP FRACKING NOW!”

    Saturday, June 15th  –  Lancaster Convention Center

A coalition of concerned democrats will deliver a widely supported resolution to the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee which is meeting on Saturday, June 15th in Lancaster, Pa. They will address the party’s emerging policies towards shale gas production, urging them a second time to support Senator Jim Ferlo’s proposed Statewide Natural Gas Drilling Moratorium. Scroll down, or click here for a link to the action and resolution, written by Sue Lyons of Monroe County, Pa.

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Use Discretion, Win Elections!

It’s time for the PA Dems to stop being out of step with the majority of Pennsylvanians and out of touch with the damage fracking is doing to our communities, natural resources, health, safety and climate!   (more…)

Meet Victoria Adams

June 8, 2013

She’s Not Who They Think

I once wrote a post entitled Jesse White 4 Prez.  I’d like to take it down, but I won’t. Doesn’t seem honest. The only post I’ve ever deleted was about a Facebook troll named Victoria Adams. I’m reposting it now.

I took a lot of grief for that 2012 post, and rightly so. I’d made accusations with no proof. I was operating on instinct, and while many of the fractivists I communicated with at the time didn’t disagree with my suspicions, it was wrong of me to single her out. Surely, she was spooked? Within hours of my naming Victoria Adams a troll, she disappeared from the Internet. Every last post, every comment, gone. So I left my apology up for about twelve hours then, scorched and regretful, I disappeared it, too.

I never thought we’d know who Victoria Adams really was.

(more…)

161 Reasons You Can’t Trust The DEP

May 22, 2013

Pennsylvania State Documents Reveal Rampant Water Contamination In Gas Sacrifice Zones  

Several excellent articles have been posted recently about the inadequate, often shoddy, records keeping practices of The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. They’re linked here and shouldn’t be missed. Bottom line is, if you think PA DEP is actively protecting Pennsylvania’s water supplies from the impacts of shale gas drilling, think again.

In Open Records Case Produced Untracked Drilling Documents The Times-Tribune, May 19, 2013, Laura Legere writes:

Scattered records kept by the state Department of Environmental Protection offer one answer to a key question in a new age of fossil fuel extraction in Pennsylvania: How many water supplies have been damaged by drilling?

Gas proponents might continue to insist that gas drilling has never damaged a single water supply, yet we now know there are plenty of instances where it has. As it turns out, PA DEP knows this, too, though they had to be sued to produce the evidence. They claimed, unsuccessfully, that the public records requested by The Times-Trbune were “too burdensome” to find. In The Times-Tribune’s Sunday Times Review of DEP Drilling Records Reveals Water Damage, Murky Testing Methods, Legere reviews the pages eventually furnished by the civil servants of this hyper-reluctant state agency:
“State environmental regulators determined that oil and gas development damaged the water supplies for at least 161 Pennsylvania homes, farms, churches and businesses between 2008 and the fall of 2012, according to a cache of nearly 1,000 letters and enforcement orders written by Department of Environmental Protection officials and obtained by The Sunday Times.”

The Times-Tribune editors have even included a detailed groundwater complaints map with the help of the genius geeks at FracTracker.org, “a non-profit organization that collects, shares and visualizes data related to the oil and gas industry.

Drilling Complaints Map, The Times-Tribune, May 19, 2013.   (more…)

“Domestic” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Renewable”

May 16, 2013

Texas Ethanol Bill Uses Semantics To Lipstick The Shale Gas Pig   

Using “alternative” as bridge label, a bipartisan group of misguided Texas congressmen have decided to redefine the term “Renewable” as it applies in the Federal Renewable Fuels Standards Act to include ethanol from fracked shale gas. Last time I checked, natural gas was a fossil fuel, and shale gas was considered an extreme fossil fuel.

The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, is examined in Bill Would Let Natural Gas-Based Ethanol Qualify As Renewable by Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Chron.com, May 16, 2013:

Olson’s bill responds to commercial interest in producing ethanol from natural gas, amid questions about the ability to efficiently and cost effectively to transform plant material into ethanol that can be blended into fuel.”   (more…)

“Drillers Paradise” A Brand New Anti-Fracking Anthem

May 10, 2013

You Best Get Out Their Way…   

Urban Disaster Records, producer of From The Frontlines, released this powerful new music video today. “Drillers Paradise” was written and composed by veteran gasfield videographer Jay Wilcox and Indie acoustic musician Dylan Storm.

 

Much of “Drillers Paradise” Was Filmed In Marcellus Hell. Video by Jay Wilcox and Dylan Storm, published on May 10, 2013.

After touring, filming and witnessing the devastation, intimidation and corruption that goes hand in hand with the giant fracking corporations this song was born…Special thanks to Penni Patches Pixie Laine and the Butler Hoopers…pass this on cause ‘They use payoffs to buy off all the fools’……. ”

I’ve listened to it a dozen times already, and it just keeps getting better!

Please Share wildly, and be sure to give it a thumbs up on YouTube.

Ban v. Moratorium: What Pennsylvania Fractivists Want

May 7, 2013

TELL THE PA DEMS – Stop Fracking, Start Using Common Sense

Political actions are monumental labors, but when they strike the right chord, they’re anything but laborious. They unite the grassroots, attract support from big greens and inspire new voices. Successful actions activate the rusty apparatus of democracy, and they tend to take on a life of their own.

CALL TO ACTION! – Tell the PA Dems, “STOP FRACKING NOW!”

Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee Meeting 

on

Saturday, June 15th in Lancaster, Pa.

PLUS A Week of Anti-Fracking Actions!   June 3rd – June 8th

In step with Stop The Frack Attack’s National Week of ActionTell The PA Dems “STOP FRACKING NOW!”  will include a week of local lobbying and recruiting efforts, and culminate in strong, united representation at the next State Democratic Committee policy meeting on June 15, 2013. Here’s why the action was created (from the Event Description):

A member offered a resolution calling for a moratorium on fracking at their last meeting. The resolution never made it to the floor. A revised version will be offered this time and we think it deserves a floor vote. 

Senator Jim Ferlo is introducing a moratorium bill. Berks Gas Truth helped deliver over 100,000 signatures calling for a moratorium to the Governor’s office on April 30th. It’s clearly time, actually way past time, for a moratorium, so why do the PA Dems hang onto the severance tax/regulation stance that is as outmoded as fossil fuels?

The party sets the platform on which candidates run. We can’t go into the 2014 campaign with our only alternative to Corbett a string of candidates who are still willing to give Pennsylvania to the drillers, as long as they pay a little in the process. We deserve better than that! Our natural resources deserve better. Our state constitution says so! Now it’s time for the Democratic Party to chime in and throw their support behind a moratorium.

For time and location, plus updates on accompanying actions, please visit the event on Facbook:  Tell the PA Dems, “STOP FRACKING NOW!

(more…)

Best Documentary On Fracking Ever

May 6, 2013

Triple Divide  – Trailer

Visit TripleDivideFilm.org to get your sustainably-produced DVD of the highly acclaimed new film Triple Divide – considered essential viewing by Organizations United for the Environment.

At TripleDivideFilm.org, you’ll also find more information on Public/Private screenings in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.

Find even more local screenings at Triple Divide on Facebook.

Largest Petition Ever Submitted In Pennsylvania

April 30, 2013

And It Calls For A Fracking Moratorium

April 30, 2013 is an historic day.

Today, a coalition of environmental organizations and anti-fracking activists deliver the largest petition ever submitted to the Pennsylvania state legislature. It calls for a moratorium on new shale gas drilling permits in Pennsylvania.

The petition, Protect Pennsylvania From Gas Drilling, includes the names and signatures of more than 100,000 Pennsylvania residents, and it sends a stunning message to state legislators and the shale gas industry. This is what it says:   (more…)

Now Showing! GASLAND 2

April 22, 2013

(Plus a Cartoonishly Failed Attempt at Distraction) 

UPDATE [4.23.13]:  Excellent interviews and reviews, pouring in:

Fight Against Fracking: ‘The battle in New York has inspired people all over the world to keep fighting’ by Katie Van Syckle, Rolling Stone.

~

Josh Fox’s ‘Gasland’ Sequel Opens, a Tour Through a Land of Abandoned Homes and Broken Promises Gasland Part II contends that an industry should not be allowed to break what it cannot fix by Alison Rose Levy, Alternet, published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org

[ORIGINAL POST]

Yesterday was the long awaited premier of Josh Fox’s new documentary, Gasland Part II at The Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Can’t. Wait. To. See. It. Some initial tweets about the film, shared by Marcellus Protest and fans:

Gasland 2 is an essential and worthy follow up to the original. More emotional and just as disturbing.

Congratulations to Josh Fox on inspiring premiere of your powerful & timely new film at Tribeca.

Part 2 just premiered at Tribeca Film Fest NYC. An absolute must see on fracking, govt, corps. + We, the people.

Still choked up by Gasland Part 2. Even more powerful, urgent + compelling than first one.

Until the new documentary comes to Philadelphia, and it will, I’ll have to content myself with these videos of the Q&A Session that followed the screening, published by sailorsmoon9:

  (more…)

It’s Time To Mother Earth

April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day, 2013! 

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As they say, every day is Earth Day. What Will You Do To Protect The Planet Today?

There are EARTH DAY RALLIES TODAY at DEP Offices ACROSS PENNSYLVANIA!    (more…)