Archive for the ‘PA DEP’ Category

DEP Water Tests Aren’t “Naturally Occurring”

March 13, 2012

Dimock…  Butler County… and now Franklin Township, PA… Whose water will be polluted next?

UPDATE  [March 22,2012]Marcellus shale driller offers water to Franklin Homes by Laura Legere, in The Times-Tribune, Thursday, March 22, 2012.

UPDATE [March 15, 2012]:  DEP announces sampling of Franklin Township water wells DEP tracking-source-of-more-methane-in-wells by abc27.com

[Original Post]:  Gas drillers want you to think Pennsylvania’s water supply was rife with shallow methane before they began fracking the Marcellus Play. Obviously methane deposits can migrate, but why would these towns have been settled in the first place if the water table was bad? Listening to residents in these Northern and Western gas drilling locales, you hear recurring themes about a whole new kind of water problem.

Up until November, I could drink my water.

It’s black.

It’s really slimy.

Up there, a coupla houses, they’re starting to have some issues.

It won’t freeze.

Now, there are elevated chemicals…(more…)

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DEP’s Permit-Fee Economy

March 7, 2012

Can steep budget cuts to the PA Department of Environmental Protection be offset with gas drilling permit fees?

At the February 27, 2012 Democratic Policy Committee Meeting in Bryn Mawr, PA, the word “overwhelmed” was repeatedly used to describe the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Most notably, George Jugovic, Jr., then Senior Attorney and newly named CEO for PennFuture, and former Southwest Regional Director of the PA DEP, stated that when he asked Joyce Epps, DEP Bureau of Air Quality director, what her department needed most to effectively regulate Marcellus air emissions, she replied emphatically, “We need more people.” (more…)

Spread a Little Love: Philly’s Anti-Phracking Movement Is Building

March 5, 2012

I started this blog a year ago, freaked over Fracking and the hydrological catastrophe coming to Pennsylvania. I was determined to reach one thousand people with the message that industrial shale gas drilling will forever destroy beautiful, economically struggling regions of rural PA. I wanted them to know that the unchecked, under-regulated shale gas industry is already polluting the water we drink and the air we breathe.

Mostly, I wanted people to Take Action to protect the imperiled Delaware and Schuylkill River watersheds. (more…)

Emissions Permission – PA Dems Want To Clear The Air

February 28, 2012

Rep. Greg Vitali Seeks to Close Gas Industry Air Pollution Exemptions with House Bill 2113

Here’s an interesting fact: On March 1, 2012, the PA Department of Environmental Protection is required to submit a 2011 Air Emissions Inventory for “unconventional drilling” operations in Pennsylvania to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. They will be reporting on Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), like benzene and toluene, and Particulate Matter from internal combustion engines which contributes to Ozone counts, among other things.

Since it’s not feasible for the DEP to test the air everywhere, reporting data is provided by gas industry operators, who derive their numbers from the specifications manuals of the equipment they use. This is where the drillers’ exemptions come into play. (more…)

PA’s Gas Regulatory Program Is “Demonstrably Deficient”

February 14, 2012

For Immediate Release                                        February 13, 2012

BRISTOL PA – The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) announced the settlement of an appeal DRN filed with the PA Environmental Hearing Board concerning one of the first shale gas wells drilled in the Delaware River Basin.  The well is a vertical gas well and was not hydraulically fractured.

The appeal — filed in coordination with Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and local residents — involved the Newfield Appalachia PA, LLC “Woodlands” well in Damascus Township, Wayne County, Pennsylvania.  (more…)

John Hanger’s “Fracking Hysteria” and the Search for Common Ground

February 13, 2012

When it comes to the pro-gas point-of-view, is there anyone worth listening to?

Last week, former DEP chief, John Hanger, earned props from the gas industry blog, Marcellus Drilling News, in a pithy post entitled, Former PA DEP Head Says Fracking Doesn’t Contaminate Aquifers. MDN, which is edited by Jim Willis in Binghamton, NY, was spotlighting Hanger’s comments in a recent New York Post article about “fracking hysteria.” From the start, that right-wing litterbox liner has been unabashedly anti-Environment in their coverage of issues surrounding Fracking. One can expect greater journalistic integrity from MDN, which simply distilled Hanger’s quotes to support their editorial position, that fracking is safe. My kinda of post, only ass-backwards. (more…)

Shale Gas Fuels The War on Science

February 8, 2012

The Fracking Studies Drillers don’t want you to see…

On February 14, 2012 Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the Marcellus Impact Fee bill (Act 13), which was on his desk before his new state budget address, as requested. Act 13 was his valentine to the Gas Industry. With it, state majority leaders carried Corbett’s methane torch, illuminating the notion that while Harrisburg may not sit atop the Marcellus Shale, it’s central to the nation’s Fact-Free Zone.

We will restore Science to its rightful place,” stated President Obama in his 2009 inaugural address. A few days later, Stephen Colbert glibly asked Chris Mooney, author of The New York Times bestseller, The Republican War on Science in an interview, “Should we tax and spend our way to knowledge?” Unfortunately, in the ultra-polemic Marcellus, where gas drilling is ramping up at a sickening pace, state research budgets continue to be cut and science has yet to gain much of a foothold.

Good Science vs. “Bad” Studies
Republican lawmakers repeatedly dismiss published, peer-reviewed studies while citing industry-friendly economic figures freely, as if their business acumen somehow compensates for a stunning dearth of facts. Because good science should never be dismissed by bad lawmakers, here’s the shortlist of landmark fracking studies that the Gas Industry would rather you didn’t see: (more…)

Public Schools vs. Shale Gas Pipelines

January 31, 2012

High Volume Gas Metering Station to be a Stone’s Throw from Northeastern PA Elementary, Middle and High School Campus

Chief Gathering LLC is going to build a gas metering station 1,300 feet from the Dallas Township Schools in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, according to The Dallas Post on December 11, 2011, and much to the dismay of residents opposed to industrial gas activity so close their children’s schools. (more…)

Dimock Scores A Win, So Does The EPA

January 22, 2012

“Colossal Failure” of Governor Corbett and The PA Department of Environmental Protection

The EPA began delivering water to four families in Dimock PA on Friday, January 20, while they conduct further testing on 61 more households. The move signals a failure of Tom Corbett and the PA DEP to safeguard the water supply of citizens. Peacegirl posted a video of the Press Conference on Sunday, January 20, 2012 in Dimock, PA. Among the speakers introduced by Julia Walsh of FrackAction were Craig Sautner, who will be receiving EPA water, and Victoria Switzer, who will not.

Let science speak for itself… Well, I guess it has, hasn’t it?” Sautner said. (more…)

EPA Says Dimock Water Requires More Testing, PA DEP Says Drink Up!

January 2, 2012
I love it when the EPA asserts itself. Inevitably, state officials accuse them of “overstepping” their “bailiwick,” but I take comfort knowing the feds’ attention is on the shale gas industry, scrutinizing their activities in our state, ensuring that the PA DEP is getting the job done right. Pro-gas conservatives have called the EPA “a jobs killer.” I say, let them hire more scientists! My fondest wish would be for the PA DEP and the EPA to do more than simply play nice in the sandbox, I’d like to see them work together in serious and concerted tandem. That would represent a truly functioning Republic, to my mind, though it seems less likely everyday. Luckily, we don’t have to pick a winner – yet.
Laura Legere, Staff Writer for The Times-Tribune has been covering Marcellus Shale drilling from the start. In her last article of what must have been a crazy-busy year, she reports on the EPA’s final salvo of 2011. (more…)

PA DEP Secretary Krancer’s Top 10 Comments About Fracking

November 30, 2011

Since his appointment to PA’s top environmental cop last fall, DEP Secretary Michael Krancer has had a number of public zingers on the topic of shale gas development. Lately, Krancer seems to be on a tear, as if he’s embarked on a shale gas promotion tour with both barrels loaded. Too bad he isn’t on a Fracking Reality Tour, but if he’s interested, I’m sure one can be arranged. Taking things totally out of context? Absolutely. But the #1 comment speaks for itself.

# 10…. (more…)

Erie PA – Fact Free Zone?

November 3, 2011

It’s here. We’re not going to run out of it. It’s clean, and it’s renewable,” said PA DEP Secretary Michael Krancer of Marcellus shale gas to a meeting of 100 Rotary Club members in Erie last week. Seriously? The PA DEP secretary called natural gas a ‘renewable‘ resource? How far will gas industry spin extend? Shale gas is not a renewable resource, by any stretch. Will this administration stop at nothing to exploit this fossil fuel as rapidly as possible? Their heedlessness is galling, especially considering public outcry, but you can read all about it in this nifty bit of coverage by Jim Martin in The Erie Times-News, DEP Secretary, in Erie, calls Marcellus Shale ‘a blessing under our feet’

Thanks for covering the meeting, Jim!

Letter to The Enforcement Secretary

November 3, 2011

Fight for Our River  –  Re-designate The Delaware!

It’s time for public officials to hear from the public. Legislation is flying through Harrisburg, and lawmakers need to be aware that a growing number of constituencies are concerned about the toxic threat posed by industrial gas drilling. Urge them – today – to value clean water over dirty fossil fuels, to protect our existing high water quality, and to ensure ongoing protections in the face of an unprecedented Shale Gas Boom.

DEP Secretary Michael Krancer has said he’s the boss who wants to hear whatever you think he doesn’t want to hear. He is a public official, after all, and perhaps the most pivotal figure aside from the governor when it comes to establishing the policies and enforcing the new regulations that may, or may not, protect my family’s drinking water. So I take this as an open invitation. You should, too. (more…)

Save The Delaware, Seriously

October 5, 2011

UPDATE: The DRBC announced today that it will postpone the October 21 meeting date to vote on the new gas regulations. The meeting is now scheduled for November 21, 2011.

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ORIGINAL POST: The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will vote on October 21, 2011 whether to open the “Special Protection Waters” of The Upper Delaware to industrial shale gas drilling. If new DRBC regulations are passed, the current moratorium on hydraulic fracturing will come to an end, and fracking will begin in earnest in the Delaware River watershed region. (more…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

Local Leaders Leach & Gerber: Getting Gas Right

July 26, 2011

One of the most objectionable items in the new Pennsylvania budget is deep cuts to the Department of Environmental Protection – over $165 million. How can this be? Hydrofracking is ramping up at a record pace, particularly in the watersheds in the Northeast. The DEP has approved a record-breaking 2,461 new drilling permits since January 2011, and with 1,512 overall inspections in 2010, we totaled 2,754 known violations. Clearly, the need for stronger regulation and enforcement has never been greater. (more…)