Friday, June 29, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Recent Gas Drilling News (06-22-12 11:59PM EDT)

"Josh Fox’s New Fracking Video: The Sky is Pink:"
:" ...This week the debate over hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) intensified in New York State after a proposal to allow fracking on a limited basis was leaked. Now, Gasland director (and Our Hero) Josh Fox has weighed in with a new 18-minute video, The Sky is Pink, addressed directly to Governor Cuomo, who has said he wants his policy decision about hydraulic fracturing to be one “based on science.” Fox gladly runs with that, and argues that “just as there is no safe cigarette, there is no safe drilling.”..." " (ecocentric Blog)- (See also "Fracking is hardly leakproof" (Josh Fox & Barbara Arrindell via Albany Times Union)- & "The Sky is Pink" (Josh Fox via EcoWatch)- & "VIDEO: Fox Pundits Dismiss Fracking Risks: "...Fox News pundits have repeatedly claimed that fracking poses no risk to water supplies, even though there are several documented cases where extraction of shale gas and activities related to fracking have contaminated water. Watch how their blanket denials of risk contrast with real news reports on the damage natural gas extraction has done to water supplies:..." " (Media Matter for America)- )


"Poll: Vast Majority of New Yorkers Want Cuomo To Wait for More Research Before Opening Empire State to Fracking: "..."Precaution Over Politics" is Common Sense Message From State Residents; Majority of Those in 5 Counties Reportedly Targeted for Fracking Also Want Science Verdict First. More than seven out of 10 New York state voters (72 percent) think that Governor Cuomo should "wait for all the necessary health and environmental studies to be completed first before opening the state to fracking," according to a major new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey..." " (Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy) (New York)- , , ,

"Experts: API/ANGA Fracking "Study" Is "Fatally Flawed": "..."We have analyzed the widely publicized report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) which asserts that methane emissions from the natural gas sector are 50 percent lower than US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. The study relies on a critically flawed survey design, completely ignores many other recent studies, and would not have passed peer-review in a scientific journal. In contrast to this API/ANGA report, a recent and objective study which measured the entire rate of methane emissions from an unconventional gas field, the first of what should become one of many such studies, demonstrated emissions that were higher than EPA estimates.." " (Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy)- , &

"Methane, water spout: "...Shell Appalachia subsidiary SWEPI LP suspended operations in Union Township while they contain and investigate methane and water releases around the Guindon K 706 well pad. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is also working in the area. (For multiple photos and an in-depth story, pick up the June 20 edition of the Wellsboro or Mansfield Gazette.)..." " (Photos, The Wellsboro Gazette) (Pennsylvania)-

"Chesapeake to Pay $1.6 Million for Contaminating Water Wells in Bradford County: "...Chesapeake Energy has agreed to pay $1.6 million in damages to three families in Wyalusing, Bradford County. The case may be the first Marcellus contamination lawsuit to get resolved without a nondisclosure agreement, meaning the parties can speak freely about the case. Todd O’Malley, an attorney for two of the families, says the plaintiffs insisted on not signing a confidentiality agreement. “They wanted the public to know what the settlement was about,” says O’Malley..." " (StateImpact Pennsylvania)-

"As Shell Works To Stop Methane, Neighboring Farmer Worries About His Cows: "...f you go looking for evidence of Shell’s methane migration problem in Tioga County, as StateImpact did today, you won’t be able to see the 30 foot geyser of water and natural gas. First, the flow has been reduced to a few feet over the course of the last week. Second, the company has blocked off access to the site...For farmer Leo Shanlay, who lives a bit more than a mile from where the problems are occurring, evidence that something might be amiss came from his cows. Shanlay’s nine calves won’t drink any water from his drinking well. “Before, when I dumped water in, they drank it right away. Now they wait four or five hours before they drink it,” he said, standing in front of an idling tractor. The calves started losing interest in his well water on Tuesday. They’re happy to drink the water his uncle trucks in from another site, though..." " (StateImpact Pennsylvania)-

"Pa. families settle gas drilling pollution lawsuit with Chesapeake Energy for $1.6 million: "... But Jared McMicken of Wyalusing said the agreement reached Thursday provides little comfort since his drinking water was ruined by nearby drilling, and his family must move. "We've lost our house, and we're not going to get out of it what we got into it," he said. "We have a bunch of people who have to leave their homes."..." " (Associated Press) (Pennsylvania)- &

"Well Control Teams On The Scene In Tioga County: "...An update on Shell’s potential methane migration problem in Tioga County: company spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh says a well control team has been called in to help. Here’s her emailed statement: We have both a groundwater protection technical team and a well control team actively working on the origin and cause of the water and methane release. As a precaution, we have suspended our well completion work on the well pads in the area. The release – from and near water wells within a hunting club – is not located on any of our well sites. We are depressurizing gas wells in the larger area in order to reduce pressure subsurface. We’re also working operations around the water wells, including excavation in a secured, control zone..." " (StateImpact Pennsylvania)-

"DEP Investigating Potential Shell Methane Migration: "...As Governor Corbett pushes to give Royal Dutch Shell a $1.65 billion tax credit, the Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a potential methane migration problem in Union Township, Tioga County, involving the company’s natural gas drilling arm..." " (StateImpact Pennsylvania)-

"Tioga County Methane Migration: Onetime Geyser Being Brought Under Conrol: "...(Wellsboro, Tioga County) — A geyser of methane-infused water has been reduced to waist-height, as Shell Appalachia works to contain mysterious methane migration near a cluster of three of its natural gas wells in southeastern Tioga County. The geyser was shooting water more than thirty feet into the air at one point, but Tioga County Emergency Services Coordinator Denny Colegrove said it was down to less than two feet by yesterday evening. Shell is flaring off nearby wells in order to reduce underground gas pressure. “We’re seeing that brings down — it depressurzes — the gas that could be contributing to migration in the immediate area,” said Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh..." " (StateImpact Pennsylvania)-

"Methane migration probed in Tioga County: "...Four residents within a one-mile area had been evacuated as of Thursday. A company spokeswoman said in a statement that the current methane levels indicate "a very low hazard risk to people, vegetation and fish." Dan Spadoni, a spokesman with the Department of Environmental Protection's north-central regional office, said the agency was alerted Sunday that a drinking water well had overflowed inside a hunting cabin near the well pads in Union. Thursday afternoon, regulators had not yet determined the source of the methane, which also was suspected to be causing bubbling in a nearby stream and "additional surface expressions" along a neighboring road..." " (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)( (Pennsylvania)- &

"Mahanoy Township oil/natural gas drilling ordinance may need amending: "...MAHANOY CITY - Mahanoy Township may need to amend its zoning ordinance to have permitted use and special exceptions for oil and natural gas exploration, drilling and extraction to conform with new state legislation. The subject was discussed at Thursday's meeting of the Mahanoy Township Board of Supervisors by township solicitor Eric Lieberman. "The township adopted a Marcellus shale drilling ordinance a while ago in case there would be any oil and gas drilling in the area," Lieberman said. "Well, along comes the state Legislature and they adopt something called Act 13, which basically is an all-comprehensive act that deals with the oil and gas industry and how things are going to be handled from a regulation standpoint."..." " (Times-Shamrock Communications) (Pennsylvania)- &

"City joins lawsuit opposing unified drilling zone: "...Connellsville City Council adopted a resolution Wednesday night to support a lawsuit opposing Act 13, which amends the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act to establish a unified zoning scheme across the state..." " (Trib Total Media, Inc.) (Pennsylvania)-

"Report: 3rd largest natural gas reserves on East Coast are in Bucks, Montgomery counties: "...Bucks and Montgomery counties are sitting on the 3rd largest natural gas reserves on the East Coast, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey. The report now has residents and environmental activists worried what will happen should gas companies start drilling Nancy Alessi, a Nockamixon Township supervisor, said the recent report will be a magnet for drilling companies..." " (WFMZ) (Pennsylvania)-

"County joins study of natural gas for use in its fleets: "...Crawford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to spend $1,500 to join in a feasibility study on the possibility of compressed natural gas as a fuel source. That study is expected to provide an answer by about Aug. 1. “I think this is appropriate for us to see how this may impact our fueling and transportation,” said Commissioner C. Sherman Allen, noting the county has about 100 vehicles of all types in its fleet. PENNCREST School District is spearheading the effort to look into the possibility. Other organizations involved in the study are Conneaut and Crawford Central school districts, Vantage Health Care Network, Universal Well Services Inc., Crawford Area Transportation Authority, Allegheny College and National Fuel Gas..." " (Meadsville Tribune) (Pennsylvania)-

"Collection of realty transfer tax breaks a record in Bradford County: "...TOWANDA - As a result of the gas drilling boom, the collection of the realty transfer tax in Bradford County hit a record high for the county in 2011, the register & recorder of deeds said..." " (Times-Shamrock Communications) (Pennsylania)-

"Natural gas boom changing demands, opportunities for land development" (Pittsburgh Business Times) (Pennsylvania)-

"Montrose Hospital closing in on construction funding goals: "...Endless Mountains Health Systems received almost $200,000 from several donors Thursday, including a $100,000 contribution from Linde Corp. of Honesdale. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. spokesman George Stark said that with the recent efforts, the $5.6 million project is nearly 90 percent funded. Cabot, based in Houston, Texas, kicked off the fundraising effort in March with a $1 million donation. It also promised to match community contributions up to $1 million, which would provide EMHS with $3 million of the $5.6 million needed to complete the physicians' clinic portion of the new hospital building project. The Cabot-EMHS fundraising effort is set to conclude by July 21, the date of the annual Cabot Picnic. In addition to Linde Corp., other contributions noted Thursday came from natural gas industry companies: Erick Flowback Services donated $30,000; Rain For Rent donated $25,000; and Weir-Seaboard donated $25,000..." " (Times-Shamrock Communications) (Pennsylvania)-

(Event) "SAE International to Host Symposium that Delves into Impact of Shale Gas on Vehicle Development: "...The SAE 2012 Shale Gas Impact on Vehicle Development Symposium will focus on the impact of natural gas vehicle adoption, shale exploration and natural gas Infrastructure on bi-fuel vehicle production. Co-sponsored by SAE International and energy industry publisher Hart Energy, the event will be held August 28, 2012, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh..." " (SAE International) (Pennsylvania)-

"To drill or not to drill?: "...Gas may be important for some things, but listen to this, gasbags: Without water there is no life! Therefore, there is also no money. Get it?. The list of distortions and half-truths from the gas companies is as long as my arm. Yet they act as though they are the perfect neighbors, acting like the big, bad New York liberals are the bad guys, smearing their good names and trying to keep them from saving the country just because they’re afraid of a little dish detergent in their water..." " (Opinion, Wayne Independent) (Pennsylvania)-

"Officials OK deal for aerial images: "...WAYNESBURG – As expected, Greene County commissioners approved an agreement with a photography company to provide aerial images of the county...Photographers from the company will update the image database, and Kelley surmises they will find the county has many more gas drilling rigs than the last time the images were taken. Pictometry has been providing high-resolution images of the county for use in several county departments, including emergency management, assessment and planning. Assessors use the images to calculate property values and detect any violations of the state’s Clean and Green program for agricultural properties. Emergency dispatchers can use it when coordinating a response to a disaster, and planners can study the images to determine the best location for a new building or road..." " (Observer-Reporter) (Pennsylvania)-

"Federal agency that approved Spectra pipeline is running 'a rigged game,' Jersey City claims in new filing: "...Jersey City has issued a scathing, 43-page rebuttal to a federal agency’s decision to approve Spectra Energy’s natural-gas pipeline, with a top city attorney claiming the agency is biased toward energy companies and has ignored the city’s concerns about safety along the pipeline route. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that gave the controversial pipeline its approval on May 22, is “running a rigged game,” approving pipeline routes proposed by energy companies while ignoring “viable alternatives” suggested by other parties, the attorney writes. The document is the city’s official request for a rehearing in front of FERC, the first of only two options the city has to stop the pipeline now that it has federal approval. Houston-based Spectra wants to begin constructing the roughly 15 miles of new pipe, which will snake underneath Bayonne, Jersey City and offshore Hoboken, this summer..." " (The Jersey Journal) (New Jersey)-

"N.J. OKs bill banning waste from hydraulic fracturing: "...TRENTON, N.J - Lawmakers have approved legislation that bans hydraulic fracturing byproducts created in other states from entering New Jersey. The Assembly voted 56-19 for the bill Thursday...Data on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection website show some fracking waste has already entered New Jersey..." " (Times-Shamrock Communications) (New Jersey)-

"Jersey City mayor says natural-gas explosion in Nyack is 'perfect example' of dangers of Spectra pipeline: "...Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is pointing to a natural-gas explosion in Downtown Nyack, NY yesterday as yet another reason why Spectra Energy should not build a gas pipeline here in Hudson County. According to NBC News, no one was hurt in yesterday’s Nyack explosion, which was the result of sparks hit gas in a pipe during a gas main replacement project, according to a utility spokesman..." " (The Jersey Journal) (New Jersey)-

"Methane near Canton under investigation: "...CANTON - Operations at a natural gas well in Union Township near here have been suspended pending the results of an investigation of a methane migration. According to Shell Appalachia spokeswoman Deb Sawyer, during routine operations on the Guindon 706 well pad in Union Township last Friday, well operators were informed that a private landowner in the area was experiencing a change in the functioning of his water well..." " (Williamsport Sun-Gazette) (Ohio)-

"Shale Gas Boom: Hydraulic Fracturing and Potential Legal Claims: "...Plaintiffs have filed approximately forty shale-related lawsuits across the country. These lawsuits include: (1) tort lawsuits; (2) environmental lawsuits; or (3) industry lawsuits. As the shale boom accelerates more suits are anticipated..." " (RIGZONE & Mb50's "Liquid Mud" Blog)- &

"Howarth and Ingraffea: Gas Industry Fracking Study So Biased it is 'Almost Useless': "...Two of the largest gas industry lobbying bodies in the US, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), released a ‘study’ earlier this month claiming methane emissions from natural gas production to be 50 percent lower than the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 estimates. However, according to a joint statement prepared by professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea and released by the Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) this week, the study is nothing more than industry-purchased propaganda that does not adhere to basic standards for scientific accuracy and consistency..." " (DESMOGBLOG)- (See also "FUGITIVE EMISSIONS FROM OIL ANDNATURAL GAS ACTIVITIES"- )

"Fracking with Propane Instead of Water: "...A Canadian company has found a method that uses propane instead of water. Gasfrac says the propane technique uses biodegradable chemicals and doesn’t pollute groundwater. But as The Allegheny Front’s Matt Richmond reports, others say propane fracking is risky business..." " (Audio, Living on Earth)-

"Gas drillers get more time to comment on U.S. fracking rules: "...The Obama administration gave U.S. natural-gas producers more time to comment on draft standards for disclosing chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, rules an industry group has said are unnecessary. The Interior Department will add 60 days to the comment period, spokesman Adam Fetcher said today in an e-mail. Comments on the fracking-disclosure rules had been due by July 10. “To ensure that the public and key stakeholders, including industry and public-health groups, are able to provide important feedback that will help inform a final rule, Interior has decided to extend the public-comment period,” Fetcher said. “We don’t expect this extension will have an impact on the timing for a final rule later this year.” ..." " (FuelFix/Houston Chronicle)-

"OSHA issues alert related to hydraulic fracturing: "...Crystalline silica is part of sand. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say workers who regularly breathe it are at greater risk of developing silicosis. They say silica also is linked to lung cancer and tuberculosis. A hazard alert they issued Thursday describes how engineering controls, work practices, protective equipment, worker training and product substitution can protect employees..." " (Associated Press)- (See also "Worker Exposure to Silica during Hydraulic Fracturing" ( National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health & Occupational Safety and Health Administration)- )

"Pipeline industry opponents will use spills against it: "...Industry figures show at least 3.4 million litres of hydrocarbons have leaked from pipelines in the province every year since 2005. That is likely something that environmental groups trying to stop both projects will latch on to, suggests Doug Bloom, chairman of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and president of Spectra Energy. “I think any kind of incident, no matter how small, is going to be picked up by those who are going to oppose any kind of energy development, and they’ll try and use it as a rationale for not doing it,” Bloom said Thursday after attending a Chamber of Commerce luncheon..." " (The Canadian Press)-

"NC governor inundated with pleas to veto fracking bill: "...A spokesperson for Perdue told the News & Observer of Raleigh that her office has received 7,641 emails and 2,824 phone calls since the issue began getting attention, and that they are "overwhelmingly opposed to fracking with very few supportive comments." Perdue also heard from Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of Dish, Texas, a town at the center of that state's fracking industry. Now an advocate for communities affected by fracking, Tillman visited Raleigh earlier this month to talk to state lawmakers about the serious environmental health problems the rural community north of Fort Worth has experienced. In a letter sent to Perdue this week, Tillman -- a conservative independent -- detailed concerns about the legal questions around property rights raised by the North Carolina bill. Here is the text of his letter; to view the original signed version click here..." " (Institute for Southern Studies) (North Carolina)-

"Explaining the Fracking Bill: "...The state Senate voted 29 to 15 Thursday to concur on Senate Bill 820, a bill that would legalize hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina...The Bill’s Path..." " (Raleigh Public Record) (North Carolina)-

"Fracking Danger: Read It Yourself: "...I am a former resident of Pennsylvania and have family and friends who live in “hotbed” areas of hydraulic fracturing. ..Many states and countries throughout the world have made fracking illegal. Why is North Carolina rushing into something that is only going to bring harm to its citizens, as well as to the animals and environment?..." " (Letter to editor, The Pilot) (North Carolina)-

"Speakers talk about fracturing: "...Oil and gas companies need to do a better job of explaining the scientific evidence that shows hydraulic fracturing doesn’t contaminate drinking water or cause earthquakes, according to speakers at Thursday’s sessions of the LSU Center for Energy Studies Gulf States Energy Retreat. Mike Brownell, director of regulatory affairs for Chesapeake Energy Corp., said part of the problem is that there are so many federal agencies — the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Land Management, the Environmental Protection Agency — taking their own individual look at the process in which water, chemicals and sand are forced into a formation to crack rock and release oil or natural gas. The same thing is going on in states, he said..." " (The Advocate) (Louisiana)-

"Council Digs Thru Drilling Permits : "...(D)uring a workshop on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, beginning at 4:00 p.m., Fairfield Mayor Roy Hill laid out his concerns regarding gas wells being considered for drilling within the City and made a comparison of two types of wells to Fairfield City Council members and attendees. According to Hill, there are two gas well permits that are being considered, one by XTO Energy, Inc. and another by Valence Operating. The XTO well would be slant drilled to a depth of 11,500 with little sour gas content. The Valence well would be drilled straight down to a depth of 13,500 where large quantities of sour gas are present...Mayor Hill indicated that the health, safety, and peace of mind of the citizens should be the main concern. Other things to consider would be future growth of the city and revenues generated by gas wells. There are already several wells within the City that contain less than 8 parts per million of sour gas. The XTO well, that was later approved during the regular City Council meeting, will contain similar levels..." " (Freestone County Times) (Texas)-

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Conflict in the Cemetery

Conflict in the Cemetery
This is yet another example of the inexcusable behavior displayed by many 'industry representatives'. The people of Pennsylvania are emotionally and finacially invested in their chosen way of life and deserve to be treated with respect. It is bad enough that we are being marginalized and dismissed by our elected officials. To be further insulted and disrespected by the industry in unacceptable. Kudos to RB for standing up, and for all her well focused and intelligent activism.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Finding A Better Way

Finding A Better Way
Fracking (aka, hydraulic fracturing or industrial gas drilling) is a dangerous way of getting oil and gas and a shortsighted energy strategy. It's poisoning our air and water and on its way to jeopardizing the health of millions more Americans.
We can find a better way—one that protects our health and gives us clean, safe energy sources that never run out.

The Great Fracking Debate -- Streaming LIVE

The Great Fracking Debate -- Streaming LIVE
On July 1, Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg will be a panelist on a nationally broadcast fracking debate presented by Intelligence Squared in partnership with the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Goldberg and Kate Hudson of Riverkeeper will debate NY Times columnist Joe Nocera and former DOE Assistant Secretary Susan Tierney. The motion: "No Fracking Way: The Natural Gas Boom Is Doing More Harm than Good."

The debate will be broadcasted LIVE at Please RSVP to receive updates about this event.

All times are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:45 PM
If you'd like to attend this event, use this link and click on the button to RSVP:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

PA Nat/Gas News: Re-cap 6-3-12 to 6-9-12

“PA Municipalities v Act 13 have their DAY IN COURT”
Yesterday, a coalition of seven PA municipalities, a physician and the Delaware Riverkeepers had their first day in court as they explained to a panel of seven Commonwealth Court judges why they believe PA's Act 13 should be declared illegal.
RDA member John Trallo of Sullivan County passes along the account from an anonymous source who was in the courtroom:

"DEP 'keeps you in dark' about spills, officials say: "...Gas drilling-related companies spilled oils, gases or chemicals about 134 times onto land and into water across Pennsylvania since Jan. 1, 2011, but the state rarely, if ever, notified the public. By law, it doesn't have to. Officials from a dozen Western Pennsylvania townships affected by the spills want such notification. State Department of Environmental Protection records obtained by the Tribune-Review show at least 27 spills from shale drilling in 19 townships in the agency's 10-county southwestern region during that time. Most officials the Trib contacted said they knew nothing about the incidents..." " (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) (Pennsylvania)-

“Drilling's ‘Best Practices’ Gone Bad in Leroy, PA”
I'm hearing that some scientific type folks descended upon Bradford County, Rte. 414 and the surrounding countryside yesterday. I'm hearing the super-high-tech methane detection devices that they brought along got a meter-pegging workout. And I'm also hearing the geology dude in the entourage was talking about a huge fracture zone that never should be drilled/fracked and something about "going nationwide" with what was happening to the people here.

“The Cabot Groundwater Methane Hoax” ...Cabot employees and their consultants go to great lengths to ignore the obvious – aging well bores are a proven source of ground water contamination. This is their paper, as it appeared in the Oil and Gas Journal (with commentary highlighted in yellow).
Note the following:
1. They use water tests that had been done before they drilled any shale gas wells – almost no tests done after drilling.
2. They blame thermogenic methane in groundwater entirely on naturally occurring faults
3. They fail to even mention the most common source of mobilized methane near gas wells – fugitive emissions from aging well bores.
“Industrial Activity/Building Including: Open Pit Flowback Impoundments, Compressor Stations, Well Pads in a Flood Zone”
This is where the municipality comes in. If that area is listed or shown in the flood insurance rate maps to be in a flood zone or especially the flow zone of the flood zone there are issues with the National Flood Insurance Program regulations. The DEP could get the municipality kicked out of the NFIP like Union Dale Borough in Susquehanna county was and still is since 2003.

Why is this important? After the NFIP all private insurance ended. So everyone that has a flood policy in that municipality would be endanger of loosing the NFIP policy either directly with the NFIP or through the write your own program of the NFIP. This program allows all approved companies to sell flood insurance, but just for processing claims and the paperwork. They get a % of the premium to do that and I think it is 8% and it is cheaper than the NFIP costs for the same items. The force placing of flood insurance can be done, but it would be at least 10 times more expensive.
Finding a private company that still sells flood insurance is very hard and I have to get a company not licensed in PA to place one since no private policy is approved other than NFIP policies in PA now, but again 10 times is the cost, or more.
There is an ordinance that has to be passed to enter the NFIP and if the DEP by issuing a permit that violates that ordinance, guess what. 1 to 10 days in jail and $100 to 1000 in fines some many be per day or just once. It depends on how the ordinance was written.
I was licensed as a Insurance Producer in 2004. (combined old agent and broker licenses)
Look at the FIRM for the area to see if it is in a defined flood zone and then the flow zone of the flood zone. Then Look at the ordinance for the municipality for joining the NFIP or look at the regulations for building in a flood zone to see if that is allowed. If it is a flow zone, notify the municipality, DEP that a possible violation of the NFIP regulations is about to occur that could remove the municipality from the NFIP. Then call agents in the area to inform them or talk to them, they are all trained in this or some had it long ago.
Bret Jennings
Councilor, Great Bend Borough
Director, Hallstead Great Bend Joint Sewer Authority.

FEMA’s response:

If a community does not enforce their flood related building codes and other NFIP related requirements, the community will be notified if the potential for probation and suspension from the NFIP, probably by their state floodplain office, and if they problems continue and are not corrected, the community does risk those penalties. As set forth in the federal regulations, the insurance availability is reliant upon the community’s adoption and enforcement of these flood related codes.
The community can work with their state and FEMA to return to the program, but the issues that they did not address that led to that suspension would need to be corrected. Some types of problems include: allowing building in the high risk area that do not meet elevation requirements; allowing elevated buildings to have enclosures in the area below the elevated part, or anything which affects the flow of flood waters; and the failure to adopt the required flood related building codes. If a community is suspended, the NFIP policies cannot be renewed by the agents that sell them.


International Agency Calls for Action on Natural Gas Safety

Published May 30, 2012
Forcing natural gas out of shale rock through hydraulic fracturing is riskier than conventional gas development and requires tougher rules than those now in place, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says

The IEA says such measures are entirely feasible, adding at most 7 percent to the costs of drilling. And the agency says they are necessary.

"There is a very real possibility that public opposition to drilling for shale gas and other types of unconventional gas will halt the unconventional gas revolution in its tracks," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in a statement.

"The industry must win public confidence by demonstrating exemplary performance."
Among the standards IEA advocates: Full, mandatory disclosure of "fracking" chemicals, "robust rules" on well construction and design to prevent groundwater pollution, and an aim for zero venting and minimal flaring of methane. Methane, the major component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas.
To prepare the report, the Paris-based agency obtained input from more than 50 industry experts, environmental groups and government agencies around the world.


"Federal agencies probe Range Resources' Yeager Marcellus Shale gas drilling site: "...Federal health and environmental agencies are investigating whether Range Resources Inc.'s Yeager Marcellus Shale gas drilling site in Washington County caused toxic air and groundwater pollution that damaged the health of nearby residents. The Atlanta-based Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said this week it has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since March 2011 to assess health problems reported by residents living in a valley below Range's wastewater pond and a drill cuttings pit at the Amwell Township site..." " (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) (Pennsylvania)- &


"Commissioners offer separate support in gas drilling lawsuit: "...As the Commonwealth Court concludes four days of arguments regarding certain aspects of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, local officials have offered support to the plaintiffs in the proceedings. Last week, Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky issued a letter to Robinson Township Supervisor Chairman Brian Coppola who along with various other municipalities, agencies and physician mounted a challenge to a section of Act 13 – the state's oil and natural gas drilling law..." " (Herald Standard) (Pennsylvania)-

"Fox Twp. approves gas well sites, with stipulations: "...Recently the Fox Township Supervisors approved a request for a conditional-use permit for EOG Resources to install three additional gas wells in the BooneMountain area. The company's original request was to install a total of five new gas wells; however, two of the sites must be relocated in order to meet the township setback requirements. Their approval of the request included the stipulation that the Fox Twp. Zoning Enforcement Officer Robin Singer be permitted on the well sites to inspect them, without interference, to assure the sites are meeting all township zoning requirements..." " (The Daily Press) (Pennsylvania)-


"Subsidies may grow for Shell Oil: "...Taxpayers could be on the hook for cleaning up pollution at a zinc smelter site in Beaver County, increasing the public price tag if Shell Oil Co. buys the property for a new petrochemical plant. Shell, which would not have to pay property taxes for 15 years at the Horsehead Corp. site and could qualify for $1.7 billion in state credits, might have its environmental cleanup bills covered by federal tax incentives, state officials said on Friday. Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh could not be reached for comment. The news of additional subsidies for Shell, the world's second-largest company with more than $20 billion in profits last year, left state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, "very troubled." "Wouldn't it make more sense for the company that caused the pollution to pay for the costs of cleaning it up, rather than the taxpayers?" asked Leach, who yesterday sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett questioning the various credits the state is offering Shell and called for public hearings on the matter..." " (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) (Pennsylvania)-


"Corbett: "We weren't being secret" about $1.7B nat.gas tax credit: "...He rejected criticisms that the plan had been hatched in secret and sprung on lawmakers at the last minute. "We weren't being secret about it," he said. "We said we were working on a tax program. We didn't get into the details because we didn't know them yet."..." " (The Morning Call Blog) (Pennsylvania)-

"PA may pay for cleanup of Shell refinery site: "...HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Lawmakers briefed on Gov. Tom Corbett's package of financial incentives for a planned petrochemical refinery in western Pennsylvania said June 6 that it could also include the cost to clean up pollution from the zinc smelter that has operated there for decades. The revelation by two state senators is the latest about Corbett's negotiations on the facility with Shell Oil Co., a subsidiary of Netherlands-based oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC..." " (The Associated Press) (Pennsylvania)-

"Tennessee Gas discusses controversial pipeline detour: "..."While Tennessee appreciates the views of Pike County," the letter said, the environmental assessment does not support the conclusion of loop opponents that the existing pipeline is the only route that should be considered or approved by FERC. "The nature of the (park) as a federal park and the obstacles to crossing the (park) are legitimate facts that (FERC) considered in determine the overall public interest," the letter said. Pike County commissioners held a phone conference with NPS Northeast Region Dennis Reidenbach, Donahue's supervisor; and representatives from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's office..." " (The Ponoco Record) (Pennsylvania & New Jersey)-

"Tom Corbett puts the Frackers first/At least Tom Corbett still is beloved in one corner: "..."Gentlemen, welcome to this annual gathering of the Natural Gas Producers of America! I think I can speak for all our industry's leadership in saying it's a great time to be a fracker!" The chairman continued, "We're especially honored to have a special guest at this year's convention, a man who has set unprecedented standards for hospitality and cooperation with our industry — the governor of Pennsylvania, Mr. Tom Corbett!" The audience applauded enthusiastically..." " (Satire, The Morning Call) (Pennsylvania)-

"Theo Colborn on Gas Development and Air Pollution: "...Dr. Colborn, a world-renowned expert on chemicals' effects on human and environmental health, talks with KDNK's Ed Williams about the implications of natural gas development in the Thompson Divide, Colorado's new fracking fluid disclosure law, and more..." " (Audio, KDNK) (Colorado)-

Monday, June 4, 2012

Experts: Drillers must coordinate to prevent sprawl

Experts: Drillers must coordinate to prevent sprawl
About Timothy Puko
Tribune-Review Staff reporter Timothy Puko can be reached via e-mail or at 412-320-7991.

By Timothy Puko

Published: Sunday, June 3, 2012, 8:14 p.m.Updated 16 hours ago

Gas wells, compressor stations and pipelines springing up across the state could chew up as much land as the strip mine industry once did, a Penn State University researcher said.
That's why, five years into the state's drilling boom, it's important to take steps soon to help keep gas drilling development from sprawling out of control, said Patrick Drohan, a soil, forest and fish expert studying drilling at Penn State.
Those steps include things such as consolidating pipeline paths, coordinating with logging and farm operations, and forming regional planning groups, researchers say.
"These are simple things. This is not rocket science," said David Yoxtheimer of Penn State's Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, which hosted more than 75 researchers from at least four states at a conference last week in Moon. "In some cases, these ideas are being realized, but there are a lot of other opportunities out there."
Land planning and control are hot-button issues in Pennsylvania this week, because the state's gas drilling rules under Act 13 face a major court challenge.
Lawmakers approved uniform conditions covering the state's more than 2,000 municipalities, and several Western Pennsylvania communities are among plaintiffs suing in Commonwealth Court to overturn the rules. Judges will hear arguments in the case on Wednesday.
Industry representatives said they are sharing rights-of-way and infrastructure.
"There's definitely environmental and economic advantages of joining forces," said Andrew Paterson, a technical expert at the industry group Marcellus Shale Coalition.
Researchers said better planning among drillers, with government and citizen involvement, are key to realizing a lot of the best recommendations. Collaboration can put multiple pipelines into one right-of-way and ensure drilling happens at times when vegetation is most likely to regrow.
Pipelines are a big part of the issue, said David Ball, a Peters councilman who is one of the plaintiffs suing to overturn Act 13. The rules don't address pipelines, but other rules restrict how much say municipalities have on where and when drilling can happen and where compressor stations can go. The towns are suing, in part, to ensure they have a day-to-day say on managing.
"Why can't the gas companies share utilities?" Ball asked, comparing pipelines to utility poles that telephone and power companies share. "All of them see transmission as a major source of revenue."
The timing of drilling can make some sharing difficult, Paterson said. The industry shares widely; independent pipeline companies typically hold contracts to take gas from multiple production companies, he said. Other companies are starting to share water pipelines and equipment in central and northern Pennsylvania, industry officials and researchers said.
"The clearest thing that the people of Pennsylvania need to recognize is that most of the companies are doing what's required by the law. In doing the next step, some of the companies will voluntarily do what's available," Drohan said.
"But other companies will say 'We're already doing what's required by the law, so there's no reason for us to go the next step.' ";postID=259146997811453992

Portrait of a Fracking Town: Dimock, Pennsylvania

Frack Watch: Portrait of a Fracking Town: Dimock, Pennsylvania

Susquehanna County is classic Pennsylvania farm country that’s fast turning industrial. In the last four years, 525 horizontally drilled natural gas wells have been constructed, and 200 more are permitted. Cows, horses, and sheep graze in fields bordering five-acre industrial well pads. Miles of pipeline are being laid down in wide swaths of cleared land slicing through fields and woods. Hundreds of trucks rumble down the winding country lanes.

Hydraulic fracturing, which uses huge amounts of water, sand, and chemicals to free up deposits of gas deep within the Marcellus Shale, has brought boom times to this struggling farm region. “Many local businesses who were on the verge of failing are now flourishing,” says Jim Grimsley, a member of the pro-fracking group Dimock Proud, which claims to represent majority opinion in the township. “Local people who were making minimum wage are now doing well driving tanker trucks or working on the pipelines. I look at it as progress.” People have been able to pay off their mortgages and buy new cars. Tony Ventello, executive director of the Progress Authority, an economic development agency serving Susquehanna and several other Pennsylvania counties, notes the tax base in neighboring Bradford County increased by $35 million over the last three years. (No data is available for Susquehanna County.)

Yet the county has paid a price. “Fracking has torn the community apart,” says Julie Sautner, a resident of Dimock, which was the first stop featured in Gasland, Josh Fox’s Oscar-nominated documentary, and is famous for being the township where gas drilling went wrong. In 2008, the wells of 18 families were polluted by chemicals and excessive levels of methane due to sloppy drilling by Cabot Oil & Gas. After getting sick, the Sautners haven’t been able to use water from their well in the last two and a half years, but their predicament has earned little sympathy from pro-fracking groups. They and other litigants against the gas company have gotten flack for not settling with Cabot Oil & Gas. They’ve also been blamed for the state’s moratorium on drilling by the gas company in a nine-mile-square area, which some residents believe has kept them from getting royalty payments on wells that otherwise would have been drilled.

“Two emotions dominate the stock market: fear and greed. They also drive natural gas,” says Bill Fischer, a retired state trooper who sold his house in Silver Lake a year ago and moved to New York State. “You can’t blame the farmers. They are as much a victim of this as anybody. If neighbor fights neighbor, they’re not fighting the gas companies.”

One problem is unequal distribution of the benefits. Early on, the land men’s deceptions persuaded some property owners to lease their land for as little as $25 an acre; now lease signers are getting upward of $5,000. Royalty payments on produced gas also vary, depending on the rate negotiated, how much gas is coming out of the well, and what it’s selling for. Usually the gas surges and then falls off pretty quickly: The Sautners were getting $2,700 a month three years ago but now receive only $300.

A study of the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling in Susquehanna County in 2010 by Penn State found that the millions of dollars spent by the industry—approximately $6.23 million per well on average, excluding lease payments—mostly went outside the area. Sales tax revenues did increase 10 percent, reflecting the increased purchase of new tractors, cars, and four-wheelers along with repairs to houses and barns. The county gained 162 new jobs, a 2 percent increase over the year before. Landowners received $92.1 million in leasing income, but more than 34 percent of this went to owners living outside the county. The study cautioned that the county should prepare for the day when the money and the gas will be gone.

Farming is one casualty: Susquehanna County’s largest dairy farm recently divested itself of all its cows, and organic farmers are leaving the area. Brooklyn township resident Rebecca Roter said the owners of a 950-acre dairy farm near her are anxious about possible contamination of their water from nine recently fracked horizontal wells, with 19 more wells due to be drilled soon. Their son is training to be a diesel mechanic so he can work on the compressor stations.

Roter and activist Vera Scroggins say many people are afraid to complain when their well goes bad, especially if a family member works for the gas company. Businesses stay mum, so as not to lose customers. Roter says the elderly in particular are at risk. For example, an 80-year-old man in Bradford County has to heat bottled water on his stove to bathe. After his well was impacted a year ago, “he developed a red rash over his body from showering in the water,” she says. “Two drilling companies have supplied him with bottled drinking water, but he has no water buffalo [a large outdoor storage container]. His two 90-plus-year-old neighbors are in the same situation.”

She likens the area to a company town. The gas companies have poured money into the area, donating generously to local charities and institutions. Two gas wells drilled several hundred yards from a school have enriched the Elk Lake School District. A portion of the lease money and royalty payments are being spent on upgrading the career center to include courses related to the natural gas industry.

Billboards touting the benefits of the natural gas companies have monopolized the roadways ever since billboard company Park Outdoor Advertising declined to renew the contract for three antifracking billboards. Those who speak out risk getting tarred and feathered by pro-fracking groups and the industry. For example, photographs of Roter and three other activists were displayed at a recent employee safety meeting held by gas company WPX Energy and employees were warned to avoid them. Roter also discovered that Energy-in-Depth, an industry-supported group whose blogs target activists, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain all e-mail correspondence between her and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I find it unnerving to be profiled for protecting the air and water,” says Roter. She doesn’t blame the community for largely staying silent. “People are just afraid. They don’t have the experience of advocating and are ill-equipped to deal with the rapid impact of industrialization. It’s overwhelming.”

In the township of Silver Lake, former resident Fischer, who says the area contains some of the state’s most pristine lakes and streams, successfully petitioned the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to designate the entire watershed as an exceptional value, which prohibits discharge of pollutants into the waterways. Sixteen wells have nonetheless been permitted in the area, with drilling due to begin this summer. Several colleges will be monitoring the various environmental impacts, which gives resident Jen Gregory hope that the area won’t be spoiled.

Gregory, her husband, and two young children moved a year ago from a nearby road to escape the truck traffic. They had considered moving to New York (she works for a regional planning organization in Binghamton) but decided to stay in Pennsylvania, where “at least we know the players.”

“This is a war we are fighting. It’s left to the public to fight, because Pennsylvania has given us no choice,” says Gregory. “The tactics the gas companies follow are from the [military] service. We don’t know what the long-term economic or environmental effects will be. I’m scared, just like the rest.”

World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change
Pollution due to carbon emissions due to rise says IEA : Coal burning power plant, Kentucky, USA
Any fossil fuel infrastructure built in the next five years will cause irreversible climate change, according to the IEA. Photograph: Rex Features
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
If the world is to stay below 2C of warming, which scientists regard as the limit of safety, then emissions must be held to no more than 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the level is currently around 390ppm. But the world's existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of that "carbon budget", according to the IEA's analysis, published on Wednesday. This gives an ever-narrowing gap in which to reform the global economy on to a low-carbon footing.
If current trends continue, and we go on building high-carbon energy generation, then by 2015 at least 90% of the available "carbon budget" will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure. By 2017, there will be no room for manoeuvre at all – the whole of the carbon budget will be spoken for, according to the IEA's calculations.
Birol's warning comes at a crucial moment in international negotiations on climate change, as governments gear up for the next fortnight of talks in Durban, South Africa, from late November. "If we do not have an international agreement, whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door to [holding temperatures to 2C of warming] will be closed forever," said Birol.
But world governments are preparing to postpone a speedy conclusion to the negotiations again. Originally, the aim was to agree a successor to the 1997 Kyoto protocol, the only binding international agreement on emissions, after its current provisions expire in 2012. But after years of setbacks, an increasing number of countries – including the UK, Japan and Russia – now favour postponing the talks for several years.
Both Russia and Japan have spoken in recent weeks of aiming for an agreement in 2018 or 2020, and the UK has supported this move. Greg Barker, the UK's climate change minister, told a meeting: "We need China, the US especially, the rest of the Basic countries [Brazil, South Africa, India and China] to agree. If we can get this by 2015 we could have an agreement ready to click in by 2020." Birol said this would clearly be too late. "I think it's very important to have a sense of urgency – our analysis shows [what happens] if you do not change investment patterns, which can only happen as a result of an international agreement."
Nor is this a problem of the developing world, as some commentators have sought to frame it. In the UK, Europe and the US, there are multiple plans for new fossil-fuelled power stations that would contribute significantly to global emissions over the coming decades.
The Guardian revealed in May an IEA analysis that found emissions had risen by a record amount in 2010, despite the worst recession for 80 years. Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, a rise of 1.6Gt on the previous year. At the time, Birol told the Guardian that constraining global warming to moderate levels would be "only a nice utopia" unless drastic action was taken.
The new research adds to that finding, by showing in detail how current choices on building new energy and industrial infrastructure are likely to commit the world to much higher emissions for the next few decades, blowing apart hopes of containing the problem to manageable levels. The IEA's data is regarded as the gold standard in emissions and energy, and is widely regarded as one of the most conservative in outlook – making the warning all the more stark. The central problem is that most industrial infrastructure currently in existence – the fossil-fuelled power stations, the emissions-spewing factories, the inefficient transport and buildings – is already contributing to the high level of emissions, and will do so for decades. Carbon dioxide, once released, stays in the atmosphere and continues to have a warming effect for about a century, and industrial infrastructure is built to have a useful life of several decades.
Yet, despite intensifying warnings from scientists over the past two decades, the new infrastructure even now being built is constructed along the same lines as the old, which means that there is a "lock-in" effect – high-carbon infrastructure built today or in the next five years will contribute as much to the stock of emissions in the atmosphere as previous generations.
The "lock-in" effect is the single most important factor increasing the danger of runaway climate change, according to the IEA in its annual World Energy Outlook, published on Wednesday.
Climate scientists estimate that global warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels marks the limit of safety, beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible. Though such estimates are necessarily imprecise, warming of as little as 1.5C could cause dangerous rises in sea levels and a higher risk of extreme weather – the limit of 2C is now inscribed in international accords, including the partial agreement signed at Copenhagen in 2009, by which the biggest developed and developing countries for the first time agreed to curb their greenhouse gas output.
Another factor likely to increase emissions is the decision by some governments to abandon nuclear energy, following the Fukushima disaster. "The shift away from nuclear worsens the situation," said Birol. If countries turn away from nuclear energy, the result could be an increase in emissions equivalent to the current emissions of Germany and France combined. Much more investment in renewable energy will be required to make up the gap, but how that would come about is unclear at present.
Birol also warned that China – the world's biggest emitter – would have to take on a much greater role in combating climate change. For years, Chinese officials have argued that the country's emissions per capita were much lower than those of developed countries, it was not required to take such stringent action on emissions. But the IEA's analysis found that within about four years, China's per capita emissions were likely to exceed those of the EU.
In addition, by 2035 at the latest, China's cumulative emissions since 1900 are likely to exceed those of the EU, which will further weaken Beijing's argument that developed countries should take on more of the burden of emissions reduction as they carry more of the responsibility for past emissions.
In a recent interview with the Guardian recently, China's top climate change official, Xie Zhenhua, called on developing countries to take a greater part in the talks, while insisting that developed countries must sign up to a continuation of the Kyoto protocol – something only the European Union is willing to do. His words were greeted cautiously by other participants in the talks.
Continuing its gloomy outlook, the IEA report said: "There are few signs that the urgently needed change in direction in global energy trends is under way. Although the recovery in the world economy since 2009 has been uneven, and future economic prospects remain uncertain, global primary energy demand rebounded by a remarkable 5% in 2010, pushing CO2 emissions to a new high. Subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption of fossil fuels jumped to over $400bn (£250.7bn)."
Meanwhile, an "unacceptably high" number of people – about 1.3bn – still lack access to electricity. If people are to be lifted out of poverty, this must be solved – but providing people with renewable forms of energy generation is still expensive.
Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace said: "The decisions being made by politicians today risk passing a monumental carbon debt to the next generation, one for which they will pay a very heavy price. What's seriously lacking is a global plan and the political leverage to enact it. Governments have a chance to begin to turn this around when they meet in Durban later this month for the next round of global climate talks."
One close observer of the climate talks said the $400bn subsidies devoted to fossil fuels, uncovered by the IEA, were "staggering", and the way in which these subsidies distort the market presented a massive problem in encouraging the move to renewables. He added that Birol's comments, though urgent and timely, were unlikely to galvanise China and the US – the world's two biggest emittters – into action on the international stage.
"The US can't move (owing to Republican opposition) and there's no upside for China domestically in doing so. At least China is moving up the learning curve with its deployment of renewables, but it's doing so in parallel to the hugely damaging coal-fired assets that it is unlikely to ever want (to turn off in order to) to meet climate targets in years to come."