Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pennsylvania: The Best (Worst) State Government Oil & Gas Money Can Buy

It is no wonder that the gas industry in Pennsylvania feels so confident in their ability to invade Pennsylvania. After all, they certainly spent enough to buy it, or at least the 'political favor' they need.

Not since the day of Tammany Hall has our political system seen such rampant corruption on all levels. I don't pretend to have a difinitive solution, but I do offer one course of action that is within our grasp. Vote out the encumbents.

It won't fix the system, but it will send a message to the political 'hacks' that the money they accept in campaign contributions will not insure they're re-election. Almost all politicians, the day after they are elected, begin to campaign to be re-elected. We need to make them understand that their only hope of re-election is to honestly serve the voters who put them in office.

They need to understand that without our votes, they will be of no use to the special interest groups, lobbyists, or corporate influenece pedlers if they don't have our votes, and to get our votes, they MUST serve the best interest of the people they're supposed to represent.  

Follow the Money - Pennsylvania Politics

Here is our Davidson Township, Sullivan County, PA Management Plan(?)

What I'm getting from this is, in the event of an emergency ie: gas well explosion, pipeline explosion, chemical spill, etc., we're on own!    

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trading off health for profit?

"They're trading off health for profit. It's outrageous. We're not a Third World country," said Elaine Crumpley, a retired science teacher who lives just outside Pinedale, Wyoming.

I would like somebody to please give me one reason, based on scientific research, why this will be any different in PA, or how any amount of money can be worth our children's health.

Don't blame the gas companies for this... blame the politicians that allow this and enable them.

According to our present county commissioners, Sullivan County, PA, should expect to see approximately 1200 multi-well pads (each one 5 acres), totaling 6000+ wells in Sullivan County in the next few years. According to the industry, a compressor station will be needed for approximately every 10 well pads. Add on: metering stations, stagging areas, and thousands of miles of gathering lines & 39 miles of interstate transmission lines. And, let's not forget the truck traffic, and massive water consumption that goes with this industrialization. In a county of 452 square miles (two of them water), with a third of the county un-leased state forests, it doesn't leave much room for anything else.

Since our local and state elected leaders think this is such a wonderful thing, ask them why this is going to be any different. I'm sure they would be happy to answer all your questions, and address all your concerns. After all, it is their job.

Sullivan County Commissioners:
Darla M. Bortz
Robert Getz
Betty Reibson

State Rep. Tina Pickett
Capitol Office:
Phone: (717) 783-8238
Fax: (717) 260-6536
District Offices:
Towanda, PA 18848
(570) 265-3124
Sayre, PA 18840
(570) 888-9011
Sullivan County
(570) 946-7673
Susquehanna County
(570) 934-2557

State Senator Gene Yaw
FAX: 717-772-0575
District Offices
Williamsport, PA 17701
FAX: 570-327-3703
Towanda, PA 18848
FAX: 570-268-4313 - find an active community group in your area

Friday, March 4, 2011

Living in "Gasland" Pennsylvania

Dimock residents Victoria Switzer & Craig Sautner speak the truth about living with gas wells. 

 Part 1   Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

Craig Sautner show us his state-of-the-art 'water treatment plant' in his basement. Too bad it doesn't clean the water.

The "Cabot" solution to bad water in Dimock, PA

Thursday, March 3, 2011

SRBC response - "water use and consumption & the SRBC"

Mr. Trallo,

I apologize for my delay in getting back to you in response to your email. It was not my intention to "insult your intelligence" by way of the information I presented on Monday. If you recall I specifically stated that I was confident that all parties in attendance were intelligent individuals and that I was there only to present data and inform, not attempt to persuade any single or group of individuals. I understand that you feel I did not successfully present data on it's own face value as I promised. It saddens me to hear that you feel that the SRBC (and other agencies), have neither the ability nor desire to appropriately regulate the use of the resources under their respective regulatory authorities. I assure you that I have found all of the staff that I have dealt with at the agencies you mention, and there are many, to be very dedicated and conscientious individuals. I respect the conclusion that you have reached after analyzing the information that you have gathered. I also thank you for taking your time to provide your input and comments and will use them as I prepare and give future presentations.

Eric Roof

Eric Roof
Manager of Compliance
Susquehanna River Basin Commission
1721 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
Voice: 717-238-0423 x209
Fax: 717-909-0468

1760 Elmira Street
Sayre, PA 18840
Voice: 570-731-4839

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Radiation, Endocrine Disruptors, Heavy Metals, Toxic Chemicals... do these belong in our drinking water?

Radioactive 'produced water' can not be treated. The only thing that can be done is to remove (reduce) the total dissolved solids (TDS), and petroleum by-products (diesel fuel) to within 'drinking water standards' before returning it to the water cycle. The benzene, toluene, lead, arsenic, acetone, mercury, etc., are merely diluted.

see: The Endocrine Disruption Exchange: Dr. Theo Colborn

*Note: it's NOT clean water anymore. It's simply within drinking water standards. That means that over the course of time, as more 'produced water' is treated and introduced back into the water cycle, the TDS, and petroleum products... along with the radioactivity that can not be removed, will have a 'cumulative effect' on our drinking water.

How stupid do people have to be to be willing to accept this? Don't we owe it to our children and grandchildren not to allow this to happen?

Being born and raised a city-dweller, I know what it is like to live with pollution and drinking water that tastes like sulfur and bleach, and air that smells like an exhaust pipe. That is exactly why I don't live there anymore!

There are many people who have moved to the Endless Mountain regions in recent years for the same reason.

Those of you who were born and raised here in a clean, pristine, pollution-free environment have absolutely no idea what you're in for.

Here's a good analogy. It's like the Grand Canyon. You could read about it, talk with people who have been there, look at pictures and videos, but unless you've stood on the edge and looked around, and down, you can't grasp the depth and magnitude of it. This is the same thing. If you haven't lived with it, you won't understand it.

Radiation, endocrine disruptors, known carcinogins, poison, etc. Has anyone actually stopped to think what the 'acceptable' level of these things are in your drinking water... or your children's and grandchildren's? After all, it's one thing to be willing to risk your own health and safety for a buck, but what about theirs? What right to you, we, or me, have to gamble with their health?

For me, the 'acceptable' level of these toxins in my children's water is zero, and I do not have the right to gamble with their health. On the contrary. It is my responsibility to safeguard their health, and their future. Just as it is yours.

So, before we make these kind of monumental choices we should all put our children's and grandchildren's faces on them and ask ourselves if this is worth the risks. Whoever thinks it is, I trust will be prepared to assume the responsibility... and the guilt.

We all know damned well the gas industry won't.

So, think with your head, and act with your heart... not your wallet.
Pittsburgh’s drinking water is radioactive, thanks to fracking.

John Trallo
Sonestown, PA

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NPR Radio: Drilling for Natural Gas: Rewards and Risks
More sophisticated drilling techniques are unlocking this country's enormous reserves of natural gas. But many say environmental concerns – including radioactive waste water – have yet to be fully addressed. The state of Pennsylvania is in the forefront of the current rush to extract natural gas, and it also seems to be in the middle of an increasingly contentious debate over related environmental risks. The process of extracting natural gas involves forcing millions of gallons of water deep into the earth to break up rock and release the gas. Environmentalists say that in some states, including Pennsylvania, this waste water which is often laden with heavy salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials is being improperly discharged into rivers and streams. Please join us for conversation on the risks and rewards of drilling for natural gas.

John Quigley - former secretary Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resourses
Ian Urbina - reporter, NY Times
Dr. Tony Ingraffea - Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering, Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow, Cornell University
Kathryn Klaber - president, Marcellus Shale Coalition
Amy Mall - policy analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council
John Hanger - former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

My letter to: the SRBC

Eric Roof, Compliance Program Director, SRBC

Thank you taking the time, and coming to Sullivan County, and presenting at the Energy Task Force Meeting.

Before I continue, please allow me to qualify myself. I am not what most people would consider a rabid environmentalist, a tree hugger, or a NIMBY, although those seem to be the labels the industry, and pro-industry proponents like to use to describe anyone that publicly disagrees with them. So, be it. I am simply a human being who does not recognize the right of the gas industry, or any other industry or entity, to pollute, contaminate, deplete, or poison my water supply, and will not tacitly accept it.

I am college educated, a teacher, musician, writer, father, and grandfather. I was raised in a tough Philadelphia neighborhood, I traveled for sixteen years, and lived in New Jersey before settling in Sullivan County, PA in 2002. In other words, I've got 'street smarts' as well as 'book smarts', and I've seen a good portion of the world. I also pride myself in having a healthy supply of common sense.

Of the major concerns of many citizens, including myself, is the industry's obvious disregard for PA laws, and regulations for properly disposing the toxic and radioactive waste that is part of the drilling process.

In conversations I've personally had with drillers, pipeline workers, and industry reps who have been staying in town here, it seems the industry would prefer to pay whatever fines are levied against them when/if they're caught violating the law then to take the time to do things right.

As one gas industry employee stated: "It's easier and cheaper to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission. The gas companies know that, and the fines are already figured into their operating costs. That's just the way this industry works. Making money for their shareholders is the top priority."

This sentiment has been echoed by other industry workers I've spoken with as well. Furthermore, when you look at the number of violations, accidental spills, and leaks from waste trucks, flow-back ponds, etc., it falls in line with that sentiment.

The gas industry talks about 'transparency' and being our 'good neighbors', but they don't practice what the preach and more people are becoming painfully aware of that everyday.

When the SRBC, the DRBC, the DEP, or the PA Oil and Gas Commission put forth misleading statistics (ie: the industries water consumption compared to other industries), it not only breeds mistrust, but it insults our intelligence.

*Yes, I'm the guy who pointed out that the gas industry, while it draws less water than some other industries and activities, it doesn't return 80% to 90% of what it uses back into the water cycle. Other industries: agriculture, industrial (gas and oil industry excepted), recreational, nuclear, and human and animal consumption return 99.9% back to the water cycle.

I would also like to point out, that (and I'm sure you must be aware) that there is no more, or less, water on the earth today than there was the day the planet formed. Out of all the water on the planet, only 3% is fresh water. 2% of that water is trapped in the polar regions. That leaves a mere 1% available for human, animal, industrial, and agricultural use. Notice, I said use, not consumption and, there is a distinct difference.

In conclusion, I must say, that it is impossible to believe that the SRBC can, or is ever going to, protect our water supply. The SRBC, and the DRBC, are the faucets, and the gas industry is turning Pennsylvania into it's toilet. This is NOT an industry that can be trusted or controlled, and I must question the judgment (or the integrity) of any agency, or agency representative that wants the people of Pennsylvania to believe otherwise.

If the SRBC is going to be trusted and taken seriously, these consumptive and contamination issues must be publicly addressed. When the SRBC, or the DRBC, uses the same narrowly focused tactics that the gas industry uses, it diminishes it's own credibility.

Mr. Roof, as a representative of the SRBC, you owe it to the people you address to present the truth, sans any convenient omission of the facts. Half-truths are not the truth, any more than slightly contaminated fresh water is still 'safe' drinking water. The SRBC must honestly consider, and openly address the 'cumulative effect' of gas drilling and water use and consumption that goes with it.