Posts Tagged ‘Don Hopey’

Frack Brine On Montgomery County Roads?

November 14, 2012

DEP’s Permit Pickle

Pennsylvania’s municipal water treatment plants were designed to handle the bio solids of sewage, not the radioactive compounds contained in shale gas drilling waste. They can’t handle the massive volumes of frack flowback produced in our state.

It takes 4.5 to 9 million gallons of fresh water to hydro-frack a single natural gas well. There are more than 30,000 permits awaiting approval in Pennsylvania over the next 10 years. In addition to the 8,982 frack wells currently operating in Pennsylvania, that equals 165 billion gallons of fresh water, largely from the Special Protection Waters of the Delaware River Watershed and the Susquehanna River Basin. Once removed, this water is destined to become toxic, radioactive frack “flowback.” And, by the way, that’s way more water than we actually have.

At first blush, recycling frack flowback – both onsite and at regional treatment plants – seems like the perfect solution. There’s now a long list of companies who want to sell or lease their services to drillers, along with their glorified mobile distillation units. But this, too, poses new problems and raises even more questions about shale gas waste regulation and oversight. Ultimately, waste recyclers still have to deal with the disposal of the super salty waste bi-product known as brine.

So now, recycled frack brine is to be sold – at around $.05 a gallon – to PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) to spray on our roads for deicing in winter, and something called “dust suppression.”

Seriously, dust suppression.

Untreated frack brine has been shown to include barium, radium, strontium and a range of radionuclides. Sometimes, there’s even uranium. (Yes, there’s uranium down there, too.) Flowback may also contain sodium and calcium salts, iron, oil, numerous heavy metals, diesel fuel and industrial soaps. And now this stuff might be on my running shoes, and the wheels of my kids’ bikes. Heavy snows and spring rains will carry these compounds into our rivers and streams, lacing our waterways with toxins. Are you kidding me?

How is it, though they’re using taxpayer dollars to buy this supposedly “clean” brine, that there was no public input?

Because DEP stamped a permit.

(more…)

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You’re Fired! How Corbett Is Sacrificing State Parks & Game Lands to Gas Drilling

January 16, 2012

Blue Monday
Pennsylvania has leased a full one-third of its 2.1 million-acre forest system for oil and gas drilling – that’s 700,000 acres – and more than 130,000 acres are for Fracking.

Nevertheless, Don Hopey reported in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Governor Corbett has pink-slipped the Executive Director of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Citizens Advisory Council, Kurt Leitholf, “having determined that determined this position was no longer needed.(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…)