Posts Tagged ‘PennFuture’

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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The Dirtiest DEP

August 17, 2012

Does The Corbett Administration Hate Nature As Much As They Hate Environmentalists?

Not all Pennsylvanians are prepared to accept the governor’s latest executive order for a fracking “Permit Decision Guarantee” without crying foul, as Kevin Begos of the Associated Press reports via Businessweek in Foes: Pa. State Permit Order Threatens Environment.

StateImpact’s Scott Detrow appears to concur that Corbett’s new decree is a potential political misstep in How Will Corbett’s Executive Order Change The Marcellus Permitting Process? on August 13, 2012. Though he barely hints at it, Detrow’s article earned him a proper bitch-slapping in the Comments section by the governor’s hyper-conservative energy czar, Patrick Henderson, who takes to task both StateImpact and the AP for their apparent and willful lack of “context.”  (more…)

New Rules! For Marcellus Drilling, Explained

April 26, 2012

PennFuture Presents Just The Fracts on PA Act 13, The Marcellus Shale Act

Of the major environmental organizations opposed to Fracking in Pennsylvania, few push harder than Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, or PennFuture. This vibrant non-profit has been fighting for environmental justice since its inception, and in 2009 the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) named PennFuture as its official representative in Pennsylvania. Their tagline, “Every environmental victory grows the economy” resonates because sustainable energy must also be economical in order to generate sufficient demand. PennFuture has a long, distinguished history but it’s more interesting, perhaps, to know what the group is doing right now.

According to George Jugovic Jr., President & CEO:

  • We’re working to replace old, outdated dirty sources of power with clean, renewable Pennsylvania-made electricity.
  • We’re fighting factory farm pollution.
  • We’re helping to stop damage from mining and drilling.
  • We’re protecting watersheds from sprawl and pollution.
  • We’re reducing global warming pollution.
  • We’re watchdogging state government.
  • We’re providing $2 million per year of free legal services to protect the environment.

Putting ACT 13 In Layperson’s Terms (Thank You)

On April 23, 2012, Susan Philips posted a link to a pdf of PennFuture’s new Fact Sheet in Plain Language Version of Pennsylvania’s New Drilling Law Published. The Fact Sheet covers the highlights (lowlights, really) of the new Marcellus Shale Law. I found it very helpful in my attempt to understand just how badly Governor Corbett has undercut the Commonwealth with the bill he and Senator Joe Scarnati strong-armed Philadelphia area democrats to vote for. So here it is, in its entirety: (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…)

Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission Drills into Gas Issues at Philadelphia Public Hearing

September 7, 2011

The purpose of the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission September 6th hearing at the Free Library of Philadelphia was to “delve deeper into a variety of shale gas issues, including water and air quality, social impacts of gas drilling, the drilling tax, and impacts outside Marcellus communities.” A host of invited presenters gave detailed testimony in their area of expertise, then the floor was open to public comment. This was, by far, the more colorful aspect of the evening, (more…)

Corbett’s Marcellus Commission Votes for Impact Fees, Forced Pooling

July 15, 2011

More Study, But Mostly Cement

Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission voted today to include 96 measures in their final report today. Populated heavily by drilling advocates with a token sprinkling of environmentalists, the group will file its final report on July 22, at which time it will be made public. Not surprisingly, their recommendations are more about making sure gas happens than making sure it happens right. (more…)