Archive for the ‘Pennsylvania Watersheds’ Category

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

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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…)

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…)

Protect Chester County Streams!

May 31, 2012

Marcellus Gas Pipeline To Cut Across Wyeth Country

Think Marcellus Shale Gas pollution won’t come to Southeastern PA? Think again.

UPDATE: “State Extends Comment Period for Gas Pipeline Plan” by Sara Mosqueda-Fernandez in The Daily Local News, June 3, 2012  http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20120603/NEWS01/120609891/-1/news/state-extends-comment-period-for-gas-pipeline-plan

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Moms In HazMat Suits

May 24, 2012

Families fracked as threat of shale gas pollution hits home…

WTFrack.org, an impressive anti-fracking organization in Colorado, recently reposted this item from The Denver Post. The story made me mad. Madd mad.

DENVER — A small group of mothers and children from Erie marched into the building that houses Encana Corp.’s Denver headquarters this morning to present a petition signed by 21,000 people demanding that the energy giant forgo a planned natural gas drilling site near elementary schools and an adjoining neighborhood…

Why should these women have to fight for their children’s right to clean air? Probably because adequate zoning restrictions don’t exist in their neighborhood. And thanks to Act 13, they don’t exist in my Pennsylvania neighborhood anymore, either. I applaud these moms for organizing a direct action. I’m certain they have plenty of other things to do. (more…)

The Real Cost of Fracking: Angela and Wayne

May 24, 2012

“There’s No Future”

Angela and Wayne own and operate a farm in Clearville, PA. They candidly share their experiences with the Natural Gas Industry in this short video. (more…)

Delaware River is “Exceptional” – Riverkeeper Wants to Make It Official

May 18, 2012

[UPDATED: May 25, 2012] Including more info on Reclassification to Exceptional Value or High Quality Stream

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN)  is petitioning the PA Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade the Upper and Middle Delaware River to Exceptional Value (EV) Quality,” states Faith Zerbe , DRN’s Water Watch Director.

To this very productive end, Delaware Riverkeepers and over 20 organizations and 300 co-petitioners have submitted a petition to to PADEP, and they are actively seeking  signatures and letters of support. If you value this magnificent, historic American River, please lend your voice and sign on to the Original Petition to elevate the Delaware’s environmental, economic and social status. Demand adequate protections for drinking water today!  (more…)

What’s In Your Water? Chloramine.

May 17, 2012

Drinking water disinfection is among the most important technological advances of humanity, yet like every major historic development it has a downside. Today, we run the risk of over-ingesting the disinfection chemicals used in public water treatment, along with their dangerous disinfection bi-products. It’s a bummer to know what’s really in our water – everything from naturally occurring radioactive contaminants to anti-depressants. Some toxins, such as chlorine, are relatively easy to filter out. Others, like chloramine, and disinfection biproducts (DBPs) such as chloroform (CHC13), are much slower to dissipate and far more difficult to remove. These are the toxins believed to cause cancer.

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Chemicals Database Expands, FRAC Act STILL Required

May 5, 2012

On Friday, May 4, 2012, the Obama Administration issued “New Rules!” for frackers on federal lands. According to John M. Broder in New Proposal on Fracking Gives Ground to Industry in The New York Times, Team Obama made “a significant concession to the oil industry, companies will have to reveal the composition of fluids only after they have completed drilling — a sharp change from the government’s original proposal, which would have required disclosure of the chemicals 30 days before a well could be started.

In a statement on the US Department of the Interior website, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar comments, “This administration’s energy strategy is an all-out effort to boost American production of every available source of energy. As we continue to offer millions of acres of America’s public lands for oil and gas development, it is critical that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place.

Miguel Llanos reports in US Wants ‘Fracking’ on Federal Lands to Disclose Chemicals on msnbc.com: “Environmental groups welcomed the proposal’s mandatory requirement for disclosure but want even tougher wording.” (more…)

What Fracking Really Looks Like

April 28, 2012

Massive Industrialization Cannot Be Concealed

Nor do Shale Gas Drillers even try. Massive deforestation and rapid land fragmentation in Pennsylvania, much of it on Public Lands, is difficult to wrap your head around, yet our legislators are permitting it, literally. “I’m going up in a helicopter,” my friend, drilling injury lawyer Jon Ostroff declared. My own fear of flying aside, I’m glad when more people get a firsthand look at what is happening “out there” in what was once the Wilds of PA. Naturally I want prosperity for all 67 counties in the Commonwealth but, obviously, extreme fossil fuel extraction is not a sustainable way to achieve it.

When I seek a bird’s eye view of the Marcellus, I visit Marcellus-Shale.us. It’s chock full of dramatic photos, many of which have become the iconic images of a gas boom gone wrong. Recently, Elisabelle Bourgue shared this small screen gem with Protest ShaleGas Fracking:

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Vote Pro-Earth in The PA Primaries – Tues 4/24

April 20, 2012

Don’t Forget to Vote on Tuesday!

Here’s the list of pro-Earth candidates we need to support. They have vowed to stand firm against the gas industry in PA. Democrats, one and all!

For the most current list, please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/VoteProEarth/docs/ (more…)

No Riverdale Evictions, Yet…

April 19, 2012

In The Post-Facebook Era, There’s No Excuse for Bad Corporate Behavior

[UPDATE: ay 4, 2012] This report from Protecting Our Waters:

Bad news: the residents of Riverdale Mobile Home Park (on the Susquehanna River near the town of Jersey Shore, PA) have received word from Aqua America subsidiary Aqua PVR’s hired realtor that they will, in fact, be evicted — oops, I mean, have their water and sewer services cut off and have the offer of a token relocation fee of $2,500 removed, on June 1st.  It costs at least $6 – 10K to move a mobile home, so Aqua appears to be willing to force some of these families into homelessness, and all of them deeper into poverty, rather than delay construction of their $24 million water withdrawal facility. Riverdale residents also keep hearing persistent rumors that they will be allowed to stay, so it’s very hard for them to cope or to know what to do.  (more…)

Aqua America’s Unquenchable Thirst

April 17, 2012

Major Withdrawals, Major Impact

[UPDATE, April 19, 2012]:  Drought has come early…. Stateimpact.PA reports: SRBC Suspends Water Withdrawal in 5 Counties and Susquehanna River and Its Tributaries Hit Drought Levels by Donald Gilliland in The Patriot-News.

Marcellus effect: SRBC Temporarily Suspends Water Withdrawals

[Original Post]:  Once fresh water is used for fracking, it can never be safely returned to the watershed. You simply can’t filter out heavy metals and radioactive isotopes like Radon 226. The only thing the water is good for is more fracking. Permanently removing many millions of gallons of fresh water from the Susquehanna and Delaware River basins will leave our region more vulnerable to drought. Small streams, the water tables they inform, and the many private wells which rely on them, will dry up that much faster. Depleted water tables may also contain heavier concentrations of naturally occurring substances already present. (more…)

The Simplest Way To Save The Delaware

April 8, 2012

The simplest way to ensure lasting protections for the fresh water resources of 15.6 million people is to raise the status the Upper and Middle Delaware River to “Exceptional Value” (EV). It would also help to ensure that EV or High Quality (HQ) tributary streams remain un-fragmented. At any rate, drillers seem to be getting along without having to drill in yet another precious watershed.

A statewide moratorium on new Unconventional Shale Gas Drilling permits in Pennsylvania might seem like a long-shot, but I gladly signed the Pennsylvanians for Clean Land Air and Water (CLAW) Petition. A ban on Fracking in the Delaware River Watershed ought to be more feasible, but as the CLAW signatures are rapidly accumulating, it occurs to me that maybe I’m just being cynical. (more…)

Poisoning Pennsylvania’s Breadbasket

April 6, 2012

Just Add Sunshine…

If a stream dies, does anybody hear? Life in Boiling Spring Run in Central, PA ceased decades ago, yet while local residents have been reporting illegal dumping for years, the PA DEP has ignored the problem. Until 2009, that is, when DEP took samples, then declared the test results “Confidential.” (more…)

Toxic Treatment: Chlorine vs. Chloramine for Public Water Disinfection

March 30, 2012

The New Normal? Updated
Methane contamination has become such an issue that one of PA’s largest water suppliers, Pennsylvania American Water Co. in Hershey, PA, is working to stay ahead of the toxicity curve. David Templeton and Don Hopey report in Water company plans to change disinfectant used in some systems, in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the company will switch more treatment plants from Chlorine to Chloramine for disinfection in order to control “carcinogenic disinfection byproducts including trihelamethane and haloacetic acid.

According to Heinz Award winning Ecologist and Author, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., when you chlorinate water that is contaminated with methane you end up with disinfection by-products such as Trihalomethanes, or chloroforms, which are known to cause bladder and colon cancer.

Use of Chloramine in public water supplies is more widely opposed than Chlorine. While complaints from Chlorine are mostly aesthetic, such as taste and smell, complaints from Chloramine include skin rashes, respiratory and digestive problems. EPA admits that not as much research has been done on Chloramine as Chlorine. Nevertheless, PA American Water is looking to increase their use of Chloramine wherever possible. (more…)

Watershed Wisdom

March 28, 2012

Catching Up On Reading

Everyone cares about water. Luckily, there’s new information on watershed protection everyday, making it relatively easy to comprehend the urgent issues confronting the 15.6 million people who rely on the Delaware River Watershed. The “Little Giant” generates $22 billion in revenue for eastern Pennsylvania each year, according to The University of Delaware, and gas drillers should not underestimate how much the City of Brotherly Love loves this 333-mile long river.

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Stealing Pennsylvania, One River at a Time

March 27, 2012

Citizens Call for Water Sovereignty

Last week, it came to light that Aqua PVR LLC is displacing 32 families in Piatt Township, Lycoming County, so they may syphon off hundreds of millions of gallons of Susquehanna River Basin water for gas drillers. News of this outrage traveled quickly through blogs and on Facebook pages like StopFrackingPA! There was talk of how best to get information about Aqua PA’s heartless corporate behavior out to Rachel Maddow.

Watch a brief, moving video about the difficulties facing Riverdale residents, Marcellus Shale Reality Tour Part 6 Eviction Notice, by Scott Cannon of Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition on You Tube. (more…)

Fracking Scrapples On Philly’s Main Line

March 16, 2012

Clean Water Action Gas Drilling Discussion Series at Radnor Memorial Library on Mon, March 26, 2012

PennEnvironment Marcellus Shale Citizen Empowerment Project Comes to Bryn Mawr College on Thurs, March 28, 2012

Sixty-five percent of the U.S. public favors greater regulation of hydraulic fracturing, according to a Bloomberg News National Poll conducted March 8-11, 2012. Pennsylvania now leads the nation in unconventional gas production. The shale gas boom effects us all. Learn from a local perspective at two upcoming local events where experts will lead public discussions on the environmental and economic impacts of industrial shale gas drilling in our region.

Have You Joined The Great Statewide Debate?

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