Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guest column from Berks Gas Truth: by Karen Feridun

Guest column from Berks Gas Truth: Response to Schwank Mayor's support to tax on fracking


The science on fracking is in. Shale gas development is contaminating our water, polluting our air, contributing to climate change at a higher rate than previously understood, causing earthquakes, making us sick, and more. Recent studies have even linked fracking to birth defects in Colorado and right here in Pennsylvania.

None of this comes as news to the countless Pennsylvanians whose lives have been turned upside down by fracking and the industrial build-out that has followed. Right now, there are Pennsylvanians who can’t drink their water, can’t use it to clean, can’t even use it to flush their toilets. Right now, public health physicians are documenting cases of frack rash, respiratory problems, nosebleeds, headaches, stomach problems, neurological disorders, depression, and even certain cancers in Pennsylvanians who live near fracking. Right now, Pennsylvanians whose homes have been impacted by gas operations are finding that they owe much more on their homes than they’re now worth.
To me, these aren’t faceless people I’ve read about or anonymous people I’ve seen on tv. My work on fracking has introduced me to many of these people. Some have become close friends. And so, when I hear my state senator and my mayor declare their support of a severance tax on drilling, I can only shake my head.
It would appear that the environment, our health and our safety have no representation in government. The Republicans have been willing to give it all away; the Democrats want to sell it.
Senator Judy Schwank could give no more of a ringing endorsement of natural gas industrialization than to say that it’s “here to stay” in her remarks at the press conference she held last week to announce her support of a severance tax bill about to be introduced by Senator John Yudichak (D-14). Well, Senator, it’s only here to stay as long as elected officials do nothing to stop it.
Rather than stop it, however, Democratic leaders and candidates at every level of government are lining up behind natural gas, despite the more than 270 peer reviewed studies that point to its harms, many of them irreparable. President Obama has ignored the science in favor of fast tracking liquefied natural gas exports to foreign markets. So much for that cheap domestic energy source you’ve heard so much about. Here in Pennsylvania, however, the discussion has centered on the severance tax now that Democrats are counting on a change in leadership in 2014.
Senator Schwank’s colorful props included a chart that shows how the severance tax would be spent. Education receives the biggest cut, $375 million, while economic development and job creation would get a combined $195 million. By the way, wasn’t the shale gas boom supposed to create jobs? An analysis from the Multi-State Research Collaborative puts the total number of Marcellus Shale jobs created from 2005 – 2012 at 22,441.
The remaining $150 million goes to the environment. Well, at least they’re allotting some funds to clean up the mess drilling has left behind. Oh wait, that’s not the plan. It sounds like the $150 million will be used much as the current impact fee has been used, as shiny, jangling keys to divert people from the environmental devastation occurring throughout the drilling region. “If they’ve got money left over to plant buffers along waterways and restore wetlands in my community, the environment must be in pretty good shape in the gas fields.”
Such diversions are just cheap political stunts, however. The real damage is done by the allocation of severance tax dollars to pay for important programs. Rather than take bold steps to halt drilling in the face of compelling evidence, your Democratic legislators are proposing a plan that will institutionalize it.
Their plan is consistent with those being proposed by all of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates who want to pay for education with a severance tax. It is a proposal that is simultaneously pro-education and anti-child. Children are being adversely affected by shale gas development every day. Children are among the people relying on replacement water. Children are among those whose health problems are being documented. We’re only beginning to learn about the risk of birth defects related to fracking. Children are suffering the insults as well as the injuries gas drilling brings. Last year, 7 and 10 year old children were dragged through a protracted legal case when a drilling company imposed lifetime gag orders on them so that their parents could negotiate a settlement that would allow them to move their children out of the contaminated home that had lost its value. And, of course, children everywhere will inherit the long term impacts, and costs, of gas drilling.
As those more than 270 peer reviewed studies remind us, we didn’t know a fraction of what we should have known before we let the first unconventional well go in more than a decade ago. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille summed it up beautifully in the landmark Act 13 ruling last December, “By any responsible account, the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction.”
And the best Democrats can do is tax it?
Karen Feridun, a resident of Kutztown, is founder of Berks Gas Truth, president of the Kutztown Area Democratic Club and holds membership in numerous other groups.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: The 'Benefits' of Fracking?

On March 27, 2014 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart did a satirical piece on the 'benefits of fracking' featuring real Bradford County, PA residents Christine Pepper, Carol French, Dan Natt, Carolyn Knapp, and Triple Divide documentary film makers, Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.
Photo: My brother and Melissa on the daily show ��

Truth in humor: The segment was intended to be quite funny - and it was, but more importantly a satire to bring national attention to the very real harm and abuse being levied on the residents of rural Pennsylvania, and everywhere that unconventional shale gas/oil extraction is taking place.

It also highlights the misleading "talking points" the industry relies on to promote their agenda as expressed by shale gas shill for the drill, Marita Noon, executive director of Energy Makes America Great, and Citizens for Responsible Energy.

(*If they were truly about "responsible energy", they would be promoting clean, safe, sustainable, renewable energy sources - but they're not.)

Ms. Noon claims that "fracking is safe and environmental groups use fear, uncertainty, and doubt to plant ideas into people's minds".

As someone living in the shale fields of the Marcellus in NE PA, I can assure you that there is no need for anyone to "plant ideas into people's minds".

The evidence of the negative, toxic, and destructive impacts of this extreme form of fossil fuel extraction surround our communities. Water contamination (161 confirmed cases documented by the PA Department of Environmental Protection), reduction in air quality, forest fragmentation, well blow-outs, pipeline leaks, failed well casings that are causing migration of methane, and toxic chemicals into fresh water aquifers, eminent domain abuse, loss of property value, heavy industrial truck traffic/traffic accidents,, damaged road ways, sickness, death, threats to public health and safety of our communities, the loss of a sense of security and peace in the sanctuary of our homes, etc., and all of the activity one would expect to see in any extreme industrial zone.

The problem is that this is not being restricted to "industrial zones". Instead, it is being inflicted upon what was once quite, rural, bedroom communities, family farms, and state lands that are supposed to be protected and preserved for recreational use in the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania".

These are the issues that industry operatives like Marita Noon doesn't want to address.

The oil and gas industry is NOT our "good neighbors", and have little to no respect for the communities they occupy.

If any individual, organization, or foreign entity inflicted the harm this industry has inflicted on the people of rural Pennsylvania, they would rightfully be charged with committing acts of terrorism, and prosecuted.

However, thanks to the revisions in the 2005 US Energy Policy Bill - drafted and sponsored by Vice President Dick Cheney [a former Halliburton CEO], the oil and gas industry was made exempt from many EPA regulations, as well as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Superfund Laws, they are not held to the same standards as every other industry. They have also lobbied to have many of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process deemed as "proprietary trade secrets" making it nearly impossible to hold them responsible for the unavoidable damage they cause by conducting this extreme industrial process.

Although I have never met Christine Pepper, I do know, Carol French, Carolyn Knapp (Christine's mother), and Dan Natt, and can vouch for their integrity, as I have witnessed much of the harm they've had to endure. These people are salt of the earth farmers. They are people of unimpeachable character. They know their land, they understand how to care for it, and they know when something is wrong. They are not what anyone would consider "tree huggers, or hysterical environmentalists". They are people whose right to clean water, clean air, and safety within their homes have been violated.

I also know documentary film makers Joshua Pribanic, and Melissa Troutman, personally, have had them as guests in my home, and can testify to their honesty, integrity, as well as their professionalism as journalists.

I suggest you watch this segment of the Daily Show, and while it's okay to smile and laugh the humor in which it is presented, keep in mind that these are real people who have been abused by the oil and gas industry.

The Daily Show: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/w5j292/the-benefits-of-fracking

I also recommend checking out Josh and Melissa's superbly done documentary Triple Divide for a more sober view of the impact this industry is having on the environment, the ecology, the aesthetic beauty, and the lives of the people of the Pennsylvania shale field extraction zones.

Triple Divide: http://tripledividefilm.org/

And remember... don't believe the industry's PR rhetoric, or the shills for the drills "talking points". Do your own homework! Visit the regions where this is happening, talk to the people who are living this industrial nightmare, see things for yourself, and most importantly, think for yourself.

John Trallo
Vice Chair Executive Committee,
Shale Justice Coalition
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vera Scroggins v Cabot Oil and Gas

They say that we should never underestimate the ability of a small group of people, or an individual, to make a huge difference.

That is especially true when it's the right "small group", or a strong and committed "individual". 

That is what can be said about Vera Scroggins. A Susquehanna County, PA grandmother and self-declared citizen journalist who decided to take on the oil and gas industry by documenting the destruction and abuse by Cabot Oil and Gas, and offering "toxic tours" to anyone who wanted to see unconventional gas drilling - aka: fracking - for themselves first hand.

Vera had been doing this for over five years. Showing average people, documentary film makers, journalists, celebrities, community leaders, and politicians, from around the world what fracking really looks like and the devastating effect it has had, and continues to have, on people living in shalefields of Northeast Pennsylvania.

Vera's decision to take on what is arguably the most powerful industry in the world, does not come without taking risks and personal sacrifice. Risk and sacrifices Vera was willing make.

Why? Because like many of us who have made the choice to stand-up and speak out, Vera cares about people, her children, her grandchildren, the future of Pennsylvania, and the planet.

Last year, as Vera's toxic tours and YouTube videos began to get national and international recognition, Cabot Oil and Gas - the company that poisoned an entire aquifer, destroyed the drinking water supply for much of Dimock, PA, and diminished the property value, quality of life, and threatened the health of more than 20 families on Carter Road, as documented in Josh Fox's documentary "Gasland", decided to attempt to silence Vera.

Vera hadn't broken any law, hadn't interfered with the company's operations, or in any way posed a threat to Cabot, or anyone else. Therefore Cabot, in a desperate attempt to intimidate Vera and send a message to other concerned citizens who were speaking out against this extreme natural gas extraction process, filed and won an injunction against Vera barring her from setting foot on 312.5 square miles of Pennsylvania, including restaurants, shopping centers, doctor's offices, and many other public places most people regularly frequent.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/29/vera-scroggins-fracking-activist-pennsylvania   

This outrageous injustice levied on this 62 year old grandmother/activist and founder of the grassroots organization, Citizens for Clean Water, didn't go un-noticed.

This violation of her 1st amendment right of free speech, and her constitutional right to mobility caught the attention of ACLU attorneys who have stepped up to defend Vera, pro-bono.

On Monday, March 24, 2014, Vera had another day in court, this time to appeal this ridiculous and unjust injunction and violation of her rights.

Although no final decision was made, her attorneys made a strong case in her favor. There was an outpouring of support for Vera from citizens and activists from across the state and beyond who showed up in court to witness her appeal.

Why is this case so important? If Cabot gets away with this bogus 'slap suit' against Vera Scroggins, it will set a dangerous precedent and the oil and gas industry will use this as a legal precedent to silence anyone who dares to tell the truth about their activities.

We can not allow that to happen. Vera deserves our full public support. If Cabot gets away with silencing Vera, who is going to be next?

I, along with many others, was proud to stand with her and the crowd of other socially, environmentally, and morally responsible citizens at the Montrose Court house today, and intend to be there with her in solidarity when the judge announces his final decision.

We all need to stand in support of each other if we are to win this battle for our children, and our children's children and stop this industry from advancing. I refuse to accept, or believe this fight to protect our families and our way of life is a lost cause.

At a press conference following the hearing on Monday, Vera and her attorneys spoke to the press and answered questions.

To hear this press conference and hear Vera's own words as to why she does what she does, and will continue to speak out, click on this link to the video: "Vera Scroggins v Cabot Oil and Gas on my Youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKazb8AiJEs&list=UUEWwQRI3qXtuLt6p30OusQQ   

To view a complete set of still photos taken by my Shale Justice Coalition colleague, Dr. Wendy Lynne Lee, go to:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendylynnelee/sets/72157642865631153/

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"County Gas Wells Produce 21.9 Billion Cubic Feet"... and DEP Violations, too!

On the front page of the March 12, 2014 edition of the Sullivan Review, there was published a very impressive article by John A. Shoemaker, Esq., called "County Gas Wells Produce 21.9 Billion Cubic Feet". Any one who is not paying very close attention to what is going on with gas drilling in Sullivan County would think this is simply wonderful, all is well, and the royalty checks are just rolling in mentioning that royalties in the amount of $6,839,919 have been distributed during that period. These figures are based on data published by the PA/DEP based on reports submitted by the operators every six months.  

It's important to note that the author of the article [John A. Shoemaker, Esq.] is an attorney with Greevy and Associates specializing in oil and gas law and estate planning. He is a member of the National Association of Royalty Owners.

I have no issues with what was stated in the article. I do however, have issues with what the article does not state. I would go as far as to say that any incidents, citizen complaints, withholding of royalty payments, pre/post production cost deductions from royalty payments, production drop-offs, DEP violations, industrial accidents, etc., rarely - if ever - find their way into the Sullivan Review. 

Therefore, in the interest of fairness, I have decided to share the relevant information that the public needs to be aware of regarding gas drilling in Sullivan County that for some reason doesn't make it into the local press  - but should.
 
This is a true photocopy of the article as it appeared in the Sullivan Review. 
 
 
Below is a list of DEP violations for all gas wells and operators in Sullivan County. Currently, there are 241 wells permitted, located on 76 well sites with 84 wells drilled or in the process of being developed.
There are also over one hundred violations reported. Some are minor violations dealing with signage and improper posting, but 87 are serious environmental violations that potentially threaten the water quality of Sullivan County, our wildlife, and the health of our ecosystems. I have chosen to only list the more serious violations on the attachment. [well casing failures, toxic spills, leaks, failure to adequately protect our environment, etc.]
 
When you consider the number of wells permitted, the number of wells drilled, compared to the number of serious violations that have already been documented, there is serious cause for concern for the residents and businesses of Sullivan County where the local economy is based on tourism, agriculture, and forestry.  241 wells permitted, 84 wells drilled with only 31 in production, and already 87 serious environmental violations, well... you do the math and multiply the impact. And, this is not taking into consideration the massive infrastructure of pipelines, compressor stations, and metering stations, that would be necessary to move this unconventional gas to markets, and the negative impact they will have on tourism, the environment, the ecology, the aesthetic beauty, and the way of life for Sullivan County.        

Chesapeake, Chief, and EXCO Well Violations in Sullivan County, PA

Well Name YONKIN UNIT 2H

3 serious violations reported

Violation Id: 638183
Violation Date: 04/19/12
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.

Violation Id: 638184
Violation Date: 04/19/12
Violation Code: 402CSL
- Failure to adopt pollution prevention measures required or prescribed by DEP by handling materials that create a danger of pollution.

Violation Id: 638185
Violation Date: 04/19/12
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.


CASTROGIOVANNI UNIT 1
7 violations reported

Violation Id: 599341

Violation Date: 11/15/10
Violation Code:102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 599684
Violation Date: 11/18/10
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)


Violation Id: 599685
Violation Date: 11/18/10
Violation Code: 401 CSL
- Discharge of pollultional material to waters of Commonwealth.

Violation Id: 605673
Violation Date: 3/1/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 605674
Violation Date: 3/1/11
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

Violation Id: 605675
Violation Date: 3/1/11
Violation Code: 402POTNLPOLL
- There is a potential for polluting substance(s) reaching Waters of the Commonwealth and may require a permit.

Violation Id: 610727
Violation Date: 5/9/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)


Well Name: MCCARTY UNIT 1
3 serious violations reported

Violation Id: 608791
Violation Date: 4/13/11
Violation Code: 401 CSL
- Discharge of pollultional material to waters of Commonwealth.

Violation Id: 681680
Violation Date: 10/29/13
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.
*DEP COMMENT: Flowback iron appears to have leaked at joint, got under liner, accumulated and spread over an area some 50' x 75' in the northeastern quadrant of the pad.

Violation Id: 681681
Violation Date: 10/29/13
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.


HEMLOCK HUNTING CLUB UNIT 1H
8 violations reported - listing 6 as serious

Violation Id: 599693
Violation Date: 11/18/10
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 599694
Violation Date: 11/18/10
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

Violation Id: 599695
Violation Date: 11/18/10
Violation Code: 102.4HQBMP
- Failure to implement Special Protection BMPs for HQ or EV stream.

Violation Id: 605644
Violation Date: 3/1/11
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

Violation Id: 605645
Violation Date: 3/1/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 633381
Violation Date: 2/28/12
Violation Code: 78.86
- Failure to report defective, insufficient, or improperly cemented casing w/in 24 hrs or submit plan to correct w/in 30 days


SIGNORE UNIT 1
13 violations - listing 10 as serious violations

Violation Id: 599688
Violation Date: 11/18/10
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

Violation Id: 605617
Violation Date: 3/1/11
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

Violation Id:605618
Violation Date: 3/1/11
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.

Violation Id: 608808
Violation Date: 4/13/11
Violation Code: 78.66A
- Failure to report release of substance threatening or causing pollution

Violation Id: 608809
Violation Date: 4/13/11
Violation Code: 402CSL
- Failure to adopt pollution prevention measures required or prescribed by DEP by handling materials that create a danger of pollution.

Violation Id: 608811
Violation Date: 4/13/11
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.

Violation Id: 609422
Violation Date: 4/18/11
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.

Violation Id: 609423
Violation Date: 4/18/11
Violation Code: 78.56(1)
- Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.

Violation Id: 609424
Violation Date: 4/18/11
Violation Code: CSL402POTPOL
- There is a potential for polluting substance(s) reaching Waters of the Commonwealth and may require a permit

Violation Id: 610730
Violation Date: 5/9/30
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls. Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)
*DEP COMMENT: Eroded fill slope caused sediment discharge outside LOD and failed E/S controls.

Well Name: KUZIAK UNIT 1H

1 serious violation
Violation Id: 618861
Violation Date: 8/19/11
Violation Code: 78.56(1)
- Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.

Well Name: CHERRYMILLS SE SUL 1H

Violation Id: 655058
Violation Date: 12/04/12
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.
*DEP COMMENT: Rock below culvert discharge out of keeping with native material.

Violation Id: 655059
Violation Date: 12/04/12
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.
*DEP COMMENT: Plan calls for culvert outlet protection to be depressed and choked with native stream bed material. Outlet protection not depressed, no native stream material.

Violation Id: 666155
Violation Date: 04/13/13
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.
- 2 barrels of synthetic drilling mud where spilled. Some got off containment.

Well Name: CONNELL SUL 2H

3 serious violations reported

Violation Id: 619685
Violation Date: 09/06/11
Violation Code: 102.22
- Failure to achieve permanent stabilization of earth disturbance activity.
*DEP COMMENT: Slopes were not stabilized within 4 days of cessation of earth disturbance activites. Particularly western slope back of the pad.

Violation Id: 619689
Violation Date: 09/06/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)
- Slopes were hydroseeded at the same time. Heavy rain washed out the slopes.

Violation Id: 619690
Violation Date: 09/06/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)
- Slopes were hydroseeded at the same time. Heavy rain washed out the slopes.

Well Name: ROUNDTOP 2H

6 serious violations reported

Violation Id: 653540
Violation Date: 11/13/12
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.
- High conductivity fluid on pad adjacent to NE side of Baker tank, approx 50' from cut slope

Violation Id: 653541
Violation Date: 11/13/12
Violation Code: 91.33A
- Failure to notify DEP of pollution incident. No phone call made forthwith

Violation Id: 653542
Violation Date: 11/13/12
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.

Violation Id: 653540
Violation Date: 11/13/12
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth. Violation Comment: High conductivity fluid on pad adjacent to NE side of Baker tank, approx 50\' from cut slope

Violation Id: 653541
Violation Date: 11/13/12
Violation Code: 91.33A
- Failure to notify DEP of pollution incident. No phone call made forthwith


Violation Id: 653542
Violation Date: 11/13/12
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.
*The penalty for this event was combined with other penalties assigned to the same enforcement ID for CHESAPEAKE APPALACHIA LLC. The total enforcement penalty was $ 35,862.00

Total Fine Collected: $ 11.00

Well Name: BENSPOND 5H

1 serious violation reported

Violation Id: 610708
Violation Date: 05/04/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)
- Silt fence not installed correctly

Well Name: MATT 2H

Violation Id: 600039
Violation Date: 10/18/10
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 600040
Violation Date: 10/18/10
Violation Code: 102.11
- Failure to design, implement or maintain BMPs to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation.

Violation Id: 601738
Violation Date: 12/17/10
Violation Code: 102.4HQBMP
- Failure to implement Special Protection BMPs for HQ or EV stream.

Violation Id: 660069
Violation Date: 11/13/12
Violation Code: 78.86
- Failure to report defective, insufficient, or improperly cemented casing w/in 24 hrs or submit plan to correct w/in 30 days
*Violation Unresolved - Notice of Violation Issued Feb. 8, 2013.

Well Name: NORTON 5H

Violation Id: 605709
Violation Date: 03/01/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Well Name: RAIN 5H

Violation Id: 600042
Violation Date: 10/18/10
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 600043
Violation Date: 10/18/10
Violation Code: 401 CSL
- Discharge of pollutional material to waters of Commonwealth.

Well Name: TALL MAPLES 4H

Violation Id: 599314
Violation Date: 11/15/10
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

 

Violation Id: 602026
Violation Date: 12/27/10
Violation Code: 102.4HQBMP
- Failure to implement Special Protection BMPs for HQ or EV stream.

Well Name: HOTTENSTEIN 5H

Violation Id: 597656
Violation Date: 10/20/10
Violation Code: 301UNPMTIW
- Industrial waste was discharged without permit.

Violation Id: 597657
Violation Date: 10/20/10
Violation Code: 402POTNLPOLL
- There is a potential for polluting substance(s) reaching Waters of the Commonwealth and may require a permit.

Well Name: JOANCLARK 1H

Violation Id: 600363
Violation Date: 11/29/10
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 600364
Violation Date: 11/29/10
Violation Code: 102.4HQBMP
- Failure to implement Special Protection BMPs for HQ or EV stream.

Violation Id: 628404
Violation Date: 11/21/11
Violation Code: 78.57C2
- Failure to construct properly plug, frac, brine pits Violation Comment: On the side of the wells near the fill slope high conductivity puddles occur.
**Sample analysis 2371 165 shows that this is production water on the pad approximately 1 month after fracking was completed.

Violation Date: 11/21/11
Violation Code: 91.33A
- Failure to notify DEP of pollution incident.
-No phone call made forthwith
Violation Comment: - DEP was not notified about this spill.

 

Violation Id: 628412
Violation Date: 11/21/11
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.

Violation Id: 628408
Violation Date: 12/21/11
Violation Code: 78.57C2
- Failure to construct properly plug, frac, brine pits
*Violation Comment: This follows from previous 11/21/11 inspection (2021896). High conductivity puddle was vacced up but conductivity still high on side of wells near fill slope.

Violation Id: 690264
Violation Date: 03/05/14
Violation Code: OGA 3211(M)
- Failure to obtain an approved water management plan for withdrawing or using water during the drilling or hydraulic fracture stimulation of an unconventional well.
*Violation Comment: Use of an unauthorized source (Troy Borough)

Well Name: JOANCLARK 2H

Violation Id: 690265
Violation Date: 03/05/14
Violation Code: OGA 3211(M)
- Failure to obtain an approved water management plan for withdrawing or using water during the drilling or hydraulic fracture stimulation of an unconventional well.

Well Name: JOANCLARK 5H

Violation Id: 690266
Violation Date: 03/05/14
Violation Code: OGA 3211(M)
- Failure to obtain an approved water management plan for withdrawing or using water during the drilling or hydraulic fracture stimulation of an unconventional well.
*Violation Comment: Use of an unauthorized source (Troy Borough)

Well Name: LAMBERT FARMS 2H

Violation Id: 599516
Violation Date: 11/12/10
Violation Code: 691.1
- Clean Streams Law-General. Used only when a specific CLS code cannot be used


 
Well Name: M & M ESTATES 5H

Violation Id: 616081
Violation Date: 07/21/11
Violation Code: 402CSL
- Failure to adopt pollution prevention measures required or prescribed by DEP by handling materials that create a danger of pollution.

Violation Id: 616083
Violation Date: 07/21/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Well Name: QUAIL N SUL 3H

Violation Id: 683413
Violation Date: 11/15/13
Violation Code: 78.73B
- Excessive casing seat pressure Violation Comment:
*Violations of: 78.73(b), 78.81(a)(2), 78.85(a)(5)

Well Name: VERA 2H

Violation Id: 681807
Violation Date: 09/20/13
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.

Well Name: VERA S 6H

Violation Id: 690257
Violation Date: 03/05/14
Violation Code: OGA 3211(M)
- Failure to obtain an approved water management plan for withdrawing or using water during the drilling or hydraulic fracture stimulation of an unconventional well.
*Violation Comment: Use of an unauthorized source (Troy Borough)


EXCO RESOURCES, LLC WELLS
8 violations reported - 6 serious violations listed

Well Name: WISTAR SHAFFER TRACTS UNIT 1H

Violation Id: 600442
Violation Date: 11/30/10
Violation Code: 102.4HQBMP
- Failure to implement Special Protection BMPs for HQ or EV stream.

Violation Id: 600444
Violation Date: 11/30/10
Violation Code: 401 CSL
- Discharge of pollutional material to waters of Commonwealth.

Violation Id: 628994
Violation Date: 01/09/12
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.
*Violation Comment: 7 Baker tanks full of high conductivity fluid located to side of access road, not on pad. Location: 41, 20\', 44.1, 76, 38\', 01.2 .
This constitutes an un-permitted transfer station. the site was referred to the Department\'s Waste Management Program.

Violation Id: 634179
Violation Date: 03/13/12
Violation Code: 78.86
- Failure to report defective, insufficient, or improperly cemented casing w/in 24 hrs or submit plan to correct w/in 30 days

 

Violation Id: 631401
Violation Date: 02/06/12
Violation Code: 102.4INADPLN
- E&S Plan not adequate
The penalty for this event was combined with other penalties assigned to the same enforcement ID for EXCO RESOURCES PA LLC. The total enforcemant penalty was $ 25,000.00
Total Fine Collected: $2.00

Well Name: ELK RUN HUNTING CLUB PAD 1 9H

4 serious violations reported

Violation Id: 657718
Violation Date: 01/14/13
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.
*Violation Comment: Rig is staged on uncompleted impoundment pad at front of the location. Pollutional substances on the ground and in puddles, mainly on the south side and SW quadrant

Violation Id: 657719
Violation Date: 01/14/13
Violation Code: 91.33A
- Failure to notify DEP of pollution incident. No phone call made forthwith
*Violation Comment: Pollutional substances on impoundment site. DEP not notified.

 

Violation Id: 657720
Violation Date: 01/14/13
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.
*Violation Comment: Pollutional substances on the unfinished impoundment location. No sign of any attempts to clean up until after the problem was brought to the operator\'s attention.

Violation Id: 657721
Violation Date: 01/14/13
Violation Code: 402CSL
- Failure to adopt pollution prevention measures required or prescribed by DEP by handling materials that create a danger of pollution.
*Violation Comment: Pollutional substances on the pad have the potential to infiltrate to groundwater or move off the pad with surface water.

Well Name: HOUSEKNECHT UNIT 1H

7 violations reported

Violation Id: 619721
Violation Date: 09/06/11
Violation Code: 102.4
- Failure to minimize accelerated erosion, implement E&S plan, maintain E&S controls.
- Failure to stabilize site until total site restoration under OGA Sec 206(c)(d)

Violation Id: 634065

Violation Date: 03/06/12
Violation Code: 78.54
- Failure to properly control or dispose of industrial or residual waste to prevent pollution of the waters of the Commonwealth.
*Violation Comment: high conductivity puddles at entrance to pad. Tracked out by site traffic?

Violation Id: 634066
Violation Date: 03/06/12
Violation Code: SWMA301
- Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of a residual waste.

Violation Id: 633789
Violation Date: 03/08/12
Violation Code: ACT214GEN
- Coal & Gas Resources Coordination Act 214 - General
*Violation Comment: Citing 78.72(c) - BOP contols w/ in 50\' of wellhead.

Violation Id: 634427

Violation Date: 03/15/12
Violation Code: 6018.610-2
- Person or municipality operates a facility without a permit.
*Violation Comment: Fluids transferred to this location, stored, then transferred to another location (Falk)

Violation Id: 634428
Violation Date: 03/15/12
Violation Code: 6018.301
- Residual Waste is mismanaged.
*Violation Comment: Entrance to pad has not been adequately addressed (silica frac sand and mud associated with high conductivity puddles)

Violation Id: 634429
Violation Date: 03/15/12
Violation Code: 78.57
- Failure to post pit approval number
*Violation Comment: control, storage, disposal of production fluids- mud associated with previously documented high conductivity puddles is still on pad.

Well Name: MARQUARDT UNIT 1H

5 violations reported - 2 serious violations listed + I incident pending

Violation Id: 604869
Violation Date: 02/15/11
Violation Code: 78.56(1)
- Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.

Violation Id: 607074
Violation Date: 03/16/11
Violation Code: 78.56(1)
- Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.

Pending violation:
03/04/14 Type: Incident-
Response to Accident or Event Category: Description: (Pending Comment) Blow-out/Spill reported 2/27/14. Several barrels of approximately 23,000 gallons flowback blew out of flare stack.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Homeowner's dream, or industrial nightmare...

Since the very beginning of the invasion of the shale army in PA, using their predatory business tactics and misleading talking points to convince people to "lease" their land, myself, and others have warned of the negative impact leasing private property for industrial activity would have on property values.

Our elected officials chose to dismiss, marginalize, and flat out deny that leasing your property for gas drilling, pipeline right-of-ways, compressor stations, etc., would reduce property value. Some even went as far as to say it would increase property value.

Now, after years of studying the trend in other oil and gas drilling regions, and the dramatic drop in real estate values in those areas, the concerns expressed by myself and others who were paying attention have proven to be very real and legitimate. More and more banks, lending institutions, are backing away from mortgaging "leased" land, and some insurance companies are now refusing to insure these properties because of the very real potential risks.
I, and many others, also warned that the push for unconventional gas drilling in PA, and the other gas drilling states was not about 'energy independence, creating jobs, or lowering domestic energy costs'. In fact, the goal has always been to turn PA into a oil and gas extraction colony for China, Japan, India, Norway, Great Britain, and some European countries. Why? Simply because natural gas prices overseas are four to five times the price domestically, and it is the corporate business model to "sell your product at the highest market price and outsource, or socialize the cost".

The oil and gas industry, along with their cheerleading elected officials have shrink-wrapped their talking points in the American flag to appeal to our patriotic instincts to garner support for their agenda. In reality, it was a corporate con-job and land grab.

Now, the new "talking point" is that we need to expedite export facilities for "humanitarian reasons" in case Vladimir Putin shuts off the gas supply to the Ukraine. It's important to understand that Russia has well over 100 years worth of cheap conventional natural gas reserves, and the people of the Ukraine are not about to pay the "premium prices" for US shale gas.

The real reason for the push to expedite the export facilities (there are four already approved and twenty-three more pending) is to sell US unconventional shale gas to other countries where the price is quadruple what it is in the US.

The law of supply and demand dictate that if you increase the demand, and diminish the supply, then the cost to consumers goes up.

We've already seen natural gas process increase in PA by 13.5% to 15% since this time last year, and propane prices skyrocket with an increase of as much as 60% in some areas with rationing. So, why are we exporting? Once again, "sell your product at the highest market price and outsource, or socialize the cost".  

The industry would like you to believe that it is because of an unusually cold and severe winter. That would account for a price increase, but not at these proportions. The truth is, we're producing more LP gas but we're also exporting far more than we have in the past. In June of 2010 the US was exporting 72,000 barrels p/day. In March 2014, we're exporting 369,000 barrels p/day. And the domestic cost to the consumer has risen proportionately. See for yourself:  http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=W_EPLLPZ_EEX_NUS-Z00_MBBLD&f=W

Bottom line: We're producing more, exporting more, and domestic consumer process are going through the roof. As more exports become approved, and more trade deals are established with non-free trade countries, the domestic price for natural gas, propane, ethane, and butane will continue to go through the roof.

Some might say that drilling more wells will lower the price in the US. Remember the corporate business model: "sell your product at the highest market price and outsource, or socialize the cost".                    

These are the serious down-sides that should have been publicly discussed and addressed by our elected officials. If the deny knowledge of these concerns, they're either lying, or they're incompetent. Even when they were confronted with this information, they refused to address these concerns. Why? Follow the money! See who contributed, and how much was contributed to "campaign funds", and then check their voting records and see what legislature they supported and who it favored. 

Marcellus Money: http://marcellusmoney.org/
 
Excerpt from the RDA Newsletter:
 
Homeowners' Dreams Could Become a Waking Nightmare
 
            The lane leading to it runs straight and true. Welcoming its family, the house rises before you, perfectly proportioned, in brick that blends with its surroundings. From the back yard the view opens up to fields, forests, farms, and Bald Eagle Mountain crowning the distance. Late day sunlight burnishes the beauty.
 
            "It's our dream house," says the homeowner who had it built, finished only three years ago. Now the view includes something else: the beginnings of a well pad, the earthworks and liner of a man-made pond, on the Shaheen property. Homeowners are now suing to prevent its becoming a multiple-well drilling site.
 
            Besides risks to water wells, health, safety, and quality of life, it's possible the 128 families surrounding the proposed Shaheen well site in Fairfield Township could lose even more: the value of their homes, in some cases a family's primary or only major asset.

             Homes may become unsellable, not only because buyers are unwilling to purchase homes near drilling activity, but also because lenders may decline to grant mortgages to prospective buyers or lines of equity for home improvements. And insurance companies may not grant or renew homeowners' policies if they - or their neighbors - have leased to gas companies.
 
            If houses can't be sold, purchased or insured - if people fear damage to their own and their children's health -- those homeowners could be forced to choose between life and home. Some may simply turn the key and walk away - leaving the banks to deal with worthless properties.

            T
he likely consequence will be townships and counties in the Marcellus Shale region suffering economic losses as some areas of real estate lose value.
Shaheen Site Entrance  Entrance to proposed Shaheen gas well site in Fairfield Township. 
128 single family homes are within 3000 ft. of the drilling site.  
 
              According to Reuters, realtors in other parts of the country are seeing prospective buyers concerned about environmental and health aspects of living close to well sites. A University of Denver study found the majority of 550 people surveyed would decline to buy a home near natural gas drilling.
  
             "'For the most part, it renders those houses unsellable,' said Phyllis Wolper, a Denton, Texas, realtor" with several clients living near oil and gas wells who have been unable to sell their homes.
 
            National and international banks and other mortgage lenders are refusing mortgages where properties have leased or severed mineral rights from surface rights. These include Santander Bank, which locally has already refused to refinance at least one property. Since July 2012 Santander has required mortgage recipients to sign an agreement not to lease. If a lease is signed, the bank will call the loan (demand the entire balance). Yet Santander, according to its website, still has an entire division devoted to financing energy companies.
 
             Quicken Loans denied a mortgage to a Pennsylvania couple whose farm is across the street from a drilling site. According to an investigative report by WTAE ABC in 2012, Quicken loans told the family, "'Unfortunately, we are unable to move forward with this loan. It is located across the street from a gas drilling site.'" Two other national lenders also turned down the homeowners' application.
 
            The company told WTAE, "'While Quicken Loans makes every effort to help its clients reach their homeownership goals, like every lender, we are ultimately bound by very specific underwriting guidelines. In some cases conditions exist, such as gas wells and other structures in nearby lots, that can significantly degrade a property's value. In these cases, we are unable to extend financing due to the unknown future marketability of the property.'"
 
 Shaheen impoundment 3.10.14
Impoundment under construction at proposed Shaheen drilling site. Photos shot from adjacent landowner's property.
            
          Other reports say "the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and Department of HUD (Housing and Urban Development) will not provide financing if surface or sub surface gas rights have been leased within 300 feet of a residential structure OR within 300 feet of property boundary lines." 
 
            However, the web site "bankrate.com" has a more detailed analysis; search the site for "how oil and gas rights affect mortgages." Sources quoted by the site point to the number of variables that enter into decisions and that these can vary from state to state.
             
            According to American Banker, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could call a loan "if a borrower enters into a mineral rights agreement." A Freddie Mac spokesman reportedly said "no public information" is available to show whether that has happened, but acknowledged such policies. It specifically bars borrowers from "taking any action that could cause the deterioration, damage or decrease in value of the subject property." Borrowers can not enter into a mineral lease "without express approval."
 
             State Employees Credit Union, described as a $27 billion asset credit union, reportedly said it would stop making mortgages on properties where the landowner sold the oil rights (severed them). "You could end up where someone puts a drilling platform on that property . . . We'd have to tell their neighbors, 'We're sorry, your property value just went down.'"
 
            American Banker also quotes a New York vice president of residential mortgage lending as saying "the ultimate warning sign for banks may be insurance" because borrowers need homeowners' insurance to get a mortgage.
  
            "'We're actually seeing insurance companies cancel [insurance] renewals when they find a [gas or oil] lease on the property'. . . ."
 
            All the impact fee money in the world can't buy the quality of life we still maintain here, although it is fast eroding. Even with a severance tax, which our state still does not require, there may be no-one left here to benefit from money that comes to communities where no-one wants to live.
 
            Ironically, Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, the country's largest natural gas producer according to the Wall Street Journal, has joined other homeowners in suing a water authority that seeks to meet frack water demands with a new tower next door to Tillerson's multimillion dollar Texas ranch. Besides affecting Tillerson's view, he cites the "noise nuisance and traffic hazards" that will be associated with frack water trucks filling up at the proposed tower.
 
            WSJ says "companies have fracked at least nine shale wells within a mile of the Tillerson home," including one owned by ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO.
 
            We know XTO well here in Lycoming County, a presence more widely publicized since state Attorney General Kathleen Kane filed criminal charges against XTO for illegal discharge in Penn Township of 57,000 gallons of fracking wastewater -- containing chlorides, aluminum, and barium --  at a site also showing evidence of prior illegal discharges. The discharge contaminated a local spring and ran into a nearby stream feeding Sugar Run, a tributary of the Susquehanna.
 
            Tillerson's lawyer said the ExxonMobil executive and his neighbors are concerned about the impact on their property values.
 
For additional, detailed analysis, including discussion of a peer reviewed study, read this December 2013 article in The Boulder Weekly.
 Shaheen site wide
Wide shot of well pad and impoundment under construction.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Seriously? This industry will stoop to new lows to try to silence any legitimate opposition to their taking over of Pennsylvania

This is on the front page of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette with a very graphic photo of a well explosion... alleging that this is what these supposed "eco-terrorists" are doing in Pennsylvania. This is a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate, malign, and vilify any individual, organization, or grassroots community group who expressed legitimate concerns or objections to this industry taking over PA, threatening public health, the safety of our children, the sense of place in our... communities, and the fabric of our way of life. Nom one I know, has ever mentioned engaging in any violent, or illegal acts of vandalism, in any way, shape, or form. On the contrary, the people I am associated with, and know who oppose this extreme industrial operation, and all the danger it brings withy it, are non-violent, and would not have anything to do with anyone, or any organization that would engage in, endorse, or be involved in any violent action. We do support any individual, or organization that feels the need to exercise their constitutional right to free speech, to peacefully assemble, and to engage in legal, non-violent, civil disobedience. We would not stoop to the bullying and intimidation tactics the gas industry has tried to use in an attempt to silence those who dare to challenge their right to put our families, our homes, and our communities at risk, nor would we ever.

Ecoterror target

Gas companies bolster security in response to threats

February 23, 2014
By MORGAN MYERS (mmyers@sungazette.com) , Williamsport Sun-Gazette
Crimes targeting energy companies are escalating in severity and frequency, government and industry officials report. Simple acts of vandalism have morphed into arson, drive-by shootings and strategically placed improvised explosive devices, according to Lycoming County Department of Public Safety Director John Yingling.


"The threat could be anything from a disgruntled employee or environmentalist action group to an individual upset with a land lease or right-of-way agreement or even just a random act of violence," Yingling said.


In June, unattended seismic equipment waiting to be flown out by helicopter was torched in Brown Township, Lycoming County. While no accelerant was used, the blaze was set intentionally, according to Dan Millward, project manager for CGG Veritas.


"There's no way the fire could have jumped from one cache of heli-bags to the next," Millward said.
In Tioga County, charred debris from suspected improvised explosive devices was found at two drilling sites, according to Shell Oil spokeswoman Kelly OpDeWeegh. No one was injured, state police said.


"These devices often are found at critical junctures of infrastructure," said George Stark, Cabot Oil and Gas external affairs director. "They seem to be strategically placed by someone with knowledge."
Energy companies have increased their security measures in response to the escalating threats, according to former Marcellus Shale Coalition CEO Kathryn Klaber.


"Companies have invested millions of dollars in each one of their operations and so taking care to protect those facilities is very important," Klaber said.


Wireless cloud cameras enable security teams to monitor well sites remotely, even from a smartphone, according to eLine, a surveillance system provider for the oil and gas industry. Motion detection may be set up and will trigger an email alert with a link to associated video.


"These companies potentially could have very high-tech security equipment that can read license plates or scan for facial recognition," said Marcia Finn, state police press secretary.


Gas company officials were hush-hush when asked for details about their security strategies.
"We try not to talk too much about the security we use because then it gets people looking for it," said Robert Boulware, Seneca Resources Corp. stakeholder relations manager. "There's several different layers of security and they may not be the same from location to location," said Stark, declining to get into Cabot's strategy.


Jersey Shore-based security firm Gas Well Services, which contracts with exploration and production companies such as Anadarko Petroleum Corp., declined to comment. However, its website advertises services ranging from roving patrols to "armed and/or unarmed security guards."


If the notion of armed guards sounds extreme, so are the actions taken by some alleged criminals.
In December 2012, a gunman stepped out of his dark-colored pickup truck and fired four rounds at a security guard near a well site in Snow Shoe Township, Centre County. There were no reported injuries, according to state police.


Prominent anti-gas activist Alexander Lotorto condemned such acts of violence but said he understood the motivations behind them. Like a pressure cooker with no release valve, unvented frustrations may mount and boil over, he said.


"It's all a consequence of steam building up in the system and finally being let out by someone who fired a shot," Lotorto said. "I want to be respected and heard. Somebody who might employ violence probably wants the same thing."


Lotorto likened today's hydraulic fracturing for natural gas to the mining of anthracite coal in the 1800s.


"Pennsylvania has gone to war with industry before over conditions in coal mines," Lotorto said.
Most gas workers are non-union and have no procedure for airing grievances at work, Lotorto claimed.


"If they were to bring up a problem with the company, they get blacklisted," Lotorto said.
But disgruntled employees are only part of a broad spectrum of possible security threats to the energy sector, according to Yingling.


"Some items that look like IEDs could also be used in a drug manufacturing process or could just be a tailpipe," Yingling said.


"Most incidents, no one has been able to pinpoint that they're against the industry. It could've been random," said Craig Konkle, energy development emergency response coordinator.


Random or not, the gas industry has ramped up its awareness programs, according to Konkle.


"We have quarterly meetings in this county, which involve law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, Emergency Management Agency and industry folks. The state police have different intelligence groups that send out bulletins of certain activity that might be investigated," Konkle said.


Depending on the type of activity or infrastructure impacted, the case could get kicked up to the state Department of Homeland Security or the FBI, according to Boulware. The discovery of an explosive device could be deemed a terroristic threat, according to Boulware.


"I guarentee you, it's bigger than you think," Boulware said. "I bet there's a whole lot more going on than what people are willing to tell you."

WHEN THE GAS INDUSTRY USES THE STATE POLICE AND THE FBI JOINT TERRORISM TASK FORCE TO SILENCE A CITIZEN: INTELLIGENCE OFFICER AT MY DOOR

WHEN THE GAS INDUSTRY USES THE STATE POLICE AND THE FBI JOINT TERRORISM TASK FORCE TO SILENCE A CITIZEN: INTELLIGENCE OFFICER AT MY DOOR, 2.14.14.


by Wendy Lynn Lee


UPDATE: TREMENDOUS THANKS TO ALL OF THE SUPPORTIVE FOLKS WHO'VE RESPONDED TO THIS POST. I HAVE BEEN JUST OVERWHELMED AND AMAZED AT THE NUMBER OF BLOGS AT WHICH IT'S BEEN REPOSTED--AND THE NERVE IT HAS CLEARLY TOUCHED. I WILL BE UPDATING AND ADDING POSTS AS THIS STORY DEVELOPS, AND I HAVE BEEN TRACKING THE SITES WHERE IT'S BEEN REPOSTED. I HAVE LISTED THESE AT THE BOTOM OF THE POST.

I was brushing my teeth, and getting kidney meds into my cat, Switch, when I heard my three dogs going nuts downstairs.

I jostled down the stairs, wiping toothpaste off my face to attend to the rapping, and the doggies.

There was a man at the door.

I thought it was a Jehovah Witness, so I was wondering whether to make coffee.

I arrived at the door, signaled to the fellow--who I could now see was holding out a badge--that I needed to get my dogs outside. 'Barky, not bitey," I believe I said.


The man's name is MIKE HUTSON, Pennsylvania State Police, Intelligence Unit, Williamsport Office.

He was investigating reports of "vandalism" at unspecified compressor station locations, and he had with him a copy of the excellent Jeremy Alderson's Fall/Winter (2.2) Edition of the NO FRACK ALMANAC (http://www.nofrackalmanac.com/downloads/volume2_2.pdf).

He wanted to know about the pictures--the ones I have included here.

He wanted to know about the activists in the anti-fracking movement--and whether or not "they" commit acts of vandalism and/or violence.

He wanted me to give him names of "bad apples."


I know of no such "apples."

So, I scoffed.

Such a notion--as I made very clear to Mr. Hutson--is preposterous.

I reminded him of the activism of Nelson Mandela, Rigoberta Menchu, Aung San Suu Kyi , Ella Baker, and Martin Luther King, and made very clear that these were our heros.


I mentioned Socrates who was willing to die for what he stood, and that he was executed for daring to question authority.

In fact, if there's to be a discussion of violence, I said, he'd be far better to investigate the industry. It will use whatever it can to silence us--and that is what brought the state police--an intelligence unit in a big black window-tinted van--to my door in rural Pennsylvania.

Many of us in this movement spend time wondering if we are surveilled. We try to avoid paranoia--all the while we know that, given the immense power and money at stake, this is an industry that does not conceive of the law as anything other than either a nuisance or a weapon to cast legitimate exercise of free speech as "eco-terrorism."

We see that everyday in its flagrant flouting of environmental, safety, and zoning law, and in it's liberal use of retired intelligence agents to harass, follow, surveil, and intimidate us.

Many of us have experienced vandalism clearly intended to silence our voices.

I used to wonder if I was surveilled, if my phone was tapped.

Now when I call my mom, I say into the phone that the agent listening might as well go get donuts.


Now I have the state police intelligence unit at my door.

What more effective way to intimidate a movement activist than to make up a complaint about "vandalism" at "compressors" that will get the police to her door?

But I have a message for this industry:

I AM NOT AFRAID OF YOU. AND I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE STATE YOU WIELD AS YOUR PERSONAL POLICE FORCE.

Here's the good news:

First, I got nothin' to hide. In fact, I'll bet that makes the industry even more nervous. I'm a mommy and a professor with some goddamn convictions, a steady paycheck, and a deep sense of duty to my four kids.

Doesn't get more ferocious than that.

Second, as a movement, we must be making some real headway for the industry to go to all the trouble to fake a vague charge against some unspecified folks in order to get an intel-officer dispatched on the tax payer 's dime and time to the door of an activist with no arrest record, no history of violence.

What she's got is a raft-load of knowledge about an industry that ought to be criminalized, a capacity to write down what she knows, a good camera, and some guts.

And she's keeping all four.

*Update: Thank you "BJ" for bringing the following two items to my attention--particularly thefact that Mr. Hutson is with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

http://stepsofpa.com/PDF/11_Terrorism.pdf

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/10/hazardous_devices_found_at_gas.html

Wendy Lynne Lee
Shale Justice

All photographs: Wendy Lynne Lee, taken with a Nikon, and a telephoto lens on PUBLIC ROADS.

POSTED ALSO AT:

http://www.ronpaultribune.com/index.php/90-content/dailypaul-com/13619-gas-industry-uses-the-state-police-the-fbi-joint-terrorism-task-force-to-silence-a-citizen-intelligence-officer-at-my-door-2-1

http://www.dailypaul.com/312489/when-the-gas-industry-uses-the-state-police-and-the-fbi-joint-terrorism-task-force-to-silence-a-citizen-intelligence-offi

http://pennsylvaniafrack.com/2014/02/16/when-the-gas-industry-uses-the-state-police-and-the-fbi-joint-terrorism-task-force-to-silence-a-citizen-intelligence-officer-at-my-door-2-14-14/

http://protestationdotorg.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/when-the-gas-industry-uses-the-state-police-to-silence-a-citizen-intelligence-officer-at-my-door-w/

http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2014/02/14/when-the-gas-industry-uses-the-state-police-to-silence-a-citizen-intelligence-officer-at-my-door/