October 19, 2010
Tom Jiunta at Lehman Meeting (Times Leader)
Tom Jiunta and the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition have been working tirelessly to advance a petition in support of an ordinance which would protect the water supply of Lehman Township. Tonight they presented the ordinance which is similar to one recently passed by the the Licking Township (Pennsylvania) Board of Supervisors. The Lehman ordinance was drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund Defense Fund.
The proposal presented to the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors, would make it unlawful:
“for any corporation to import water into Lehman for use in the extraction of subsurface natural gas or to deposit waste water, “produced” water, “frack” water, brine or other materials, chemicals or by-products of natural gas extraction into the land, air or waters within Lehman Township.”
per the CELDF website.
Here is the early online edition from the Times Leader: Lehman supers hold off vote on anti-drill law
This initiative is about citizen’s rights and the heart of a democratic society. We share the air and the water. Collectively, we have a constitutional right to clean air and water. Any sane society would insure that. No individual, or corporation has the authority to usurp these basic human rights.
Although advised otherwise, the Supervisors insisted on keeping the venue at the Lehman Township Building instead of larger venues in the immediate area. Consequently some citizens left because they could hear nothing from the entrance hall. That is, they were not allowed to participate in the process due to venue constriction. It is an age old strategy of those who want to impede the democratic process rather than support it. The Supervisors’ obstructionist behavior is not a surprise given the reality that two of them were found to be ethically compromised by the state ethics commission.
(And thank you to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Defense Fund for your statewide efforts to bring power back to the people.)
The supervisors refused to take action on the proposal, citing a fear of law suits and a lack of authority,the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition and the CELDF will continue to put this issue forward. See the Citizen’s Voice coverage here: Lehman Twp. supervisors take no action on drilling ordinance
September 1, 2010
Following is a guest post from Molly M. All are invited to submit:
I travelled to Dimock, PA, several weeks ago to see for myself what was going on at my neighbors to the north. I was astounded to see gas drilling pads in many farm pastures. On several sites, cows were being pastured and fed adjacent to the pads. I had read about cows being quarantined in Tioga County after they were suspected of drinking polluted flowback water. In Washington County cows died after exposure to drilling fluids. At Dunkard Creek, where all aquatic life died from an algae bloom caused by drilling, beef cows were photographed standing in orange-tainted water. I have decided not to eat beef any more. Every time I look at a steak, I see those cows standing next to a drill site.
My new discoveries opened my eyes to other concerns. How about the farmers who were present at the farmers’ markets? Had they leased their lands? If I knew for sure they had, I bypassed their stands. I am also boycotting a restaurant next to a drill pad in Fairmount Township.
I began searching for alternative food sources and discovered the joys of shopping at the Lands at Hillside. The folks who bought this wonderful farm from the old coal barons opted not to lease these lands. Hooray! Now I buy hormone-free milk, free range eggs, Hillside Gold butter, fresh ice cream, and other goodies. Life is good, and my tummy agrees.
August 3, 2010
Last night, just before midnight I bought the domain name rights to NoFrackMountain.com. I think this is what I am after and it seems to be the name that speaks to my mind. But what of FrackMountain.com? It speaks to an emotionally grounded irony should the corporate plan come to fruition. BUT! FU<K ENCANA! and their home boys. That is why I say, drop frackmountain, and dig NOFRACKMOUNTAIN! Sorry about the "fu<ks" But if any situatioin calls for it, this does… bend over .
May 31, 2010
They didn’t die
for eminent domain
or Made in China
or farmland foreclosure…
May 30, 2010
The Citizens’ Voice chose a holiday weekend Saturday to squeak out its opinion that: Drilling’s OK, but commonwealth must be protected. Below is their piece followed by my letter to them.
Development of the Marcellus Shale gas formation has followed lines that generally have applied to resource extraction throughout the nation’s history.
There are substantial economic benefits and substantial environmental costs. Folks doing the actual extraction work hard and play hard, bolstering the local economy but not always in accordance with local cultural and behavioral standards. Some people profit; some people suffer losses through affected property values. The government plays catch-up because the industry drives the market and the technology.
All of that has played out in the early days of the Marcellus Shale Development. Yet there also is a broad, sensible and achievable consensus that the gas can be extracted in a way that boosts the economy without devastating the environment.
The problem is that the political debate, as political debates often are, has been driven from the ends of the spectrum rather than the middle.
As a bill in Harrisburg to establish an 8 percent “severance” tax on gas extraction has begun to move, for example, anti-tax Republicans have claimed that it would stifle further development of the Marcellus Shale field. It’s a remarkable assertion, because similar taxes just about everywhere that gas drillers operate have done nothing of the kind. Rather, those taxes are considered by the industry as part of the cost of doing business.
The plan is for an 80-20 split of the proceeds among the state government and affected local governments, which could use the money for regulatory enforcement and to mitigate the impact on roads on other infrastructure.
In Harrisburg this week, state police contended that crime has increased in drilling areas, a downside to the boom that few had anticipated. That requires continued vigilance, and also is a good argument for the severance tax, part of which could be directed to law enforcement in affected areas. It also should be an incentive to expedite the training of more local workers for jobs in the expanding industry.
Industry estimates indicate that gas extraction could be a major industry across much of Pennsylvania for as long as a century. Lawmakers should move now to ensure that the commonwealth at large benefits from the boom, and that the environmental and social costs are mitigated.
Regarding your May 29 editorial titled “Drilling’s OK, but commonwealth must be protected”: You conclude by stating “Lawmakers should move now to ensure that the commonwealth at large benefits from the boom, and that the environmental and social costs are mitigated.”
To mitigate means to lessen. I guess more crime is OK, just not too much? Dead aquifers are OK, just not too many? You also claim there is a “broad” consensus that this gas extraction can be done without “devastating the environment”. Just where is this broad consensus? In the clubhouse?
May 24, 2010
Gas Drilling Will Bring You:
Lower Property Values
Polluted and Unusable Water Sources
Toxic Waste (heavy metals, carcinogens, brine and radioactive materials)
Open Waste Pits
Carcinogens Left Underground
Depleted Water Habitat
Loss of Farmland
Loss of Tourism
Disrupted Wildlife Habitat
Higher Crime Rate
Increased Drug Use
Choking Truck Traffic
Lower Quality of Life (why do you love this place?)
Fractured Bedrock Below (where 10 to 30 tons of chemicals per well, liberated radioactivity, brine, and heavy metals are left underground to slowly migrate toward your family’s water supply)
Educate yourself and take action to stop this now! The first well is drilling this August. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda you see on television and billboards. 1.5% percent of the county households will benefit, 98.5% will suffer.
NOTE – Add on top of this: mismanagement, acts of nature, maximization of profit, and out of state corporations. Then mix in weakened laws and a depleted DEP. And put it all in the context of rapid expansion. Isn’t this a case for MORATORIUM!?
May 19, 2010
The beast is circling and beginning to take bites, a variance here, a clearing there. Soon will come a train of trucks carrying the rig. Like a missile on parade in Red Square, it might as well have a hammer and sickle on its side. The bit will drive into the bone of Mother Earth and leave her contaminated. This will happen in front of those who allow it.
Those who refuse to sign a lease will soon be tied down and forced to witness the rape. If big gov and big gas have their way, eminent domain will be granted to those who pipe the gas. You thought you could make a stand? Not in Corporate America (the former United States).
See Companies seek eminent domain status to lay gas pipelines:
May 7, 2010
EnCana “leased” your community –
This map published in the Times Leader on Thursday, May 6, demonstrates how ubiquitous and widespread EnCana’s fracturing plans are. At the County Zoning Board hearing on Tuesday night, I asked the EnCana representatives how many wells are planned if the exploratory ones are productive. Wendy Wiedenbeck of EnCana said they have no idea because all this activity is strictly “exploratory” and that is their sole plan at this point. She would not discuss any possible numbers.
So, let me get this straight, they commit to leasing over 25,000 acres without a vague notion of possible scenarios? They commit at least $25 million without any production projections? I don’t believe it. Looks to me like hundreds of wells. Looks to me like a major industrial footprint. Looks to me like a at least a billion gallons of toxic water left underground to slowly traverse the fractured shale, seeking a point of inexorable egress.
The Back Mountain feeds the valley its water –
The Citizen’s Voice reports:
the Huntsville reservoir is the source of water for approximately 30,000 people in Dallas, Kingston Township, Swoyersville, West Wyoming and Wyoming. The Ceasetown reservoir is the source for approximately 70,000 people in the areas of Ashley, Courtdale, Conyngham Township, Edwardsville, Hanover Township, Hunlock Township, Larksville, Nanticoke, Newport Township, Plymouth Borough, Plymouth Township, Pringle, Salem Township, Shickshinny and portions of Wilkes-Barre City.
May 6, 2010
My thoughts and my sentiments are that the citizens are in a war here, a war to protect our water supply and the very air that we breathe, but are so out-powered and out-numbered by the huge money of the gas industry, who can buy our politicians and spread their propaganda faster than a wildfire. Incidentally, if and when one of these gas wells blows up, their is potential for a wildfire, not to mention the toxic chemicals it will spew into the air for a hundred miles or so.
The Zoning Hearing for the approval to give the go-ahead to EnCana to drill their well in Lake Township was a slam dunk before the hearing even began. The citizens had no chance at all, and I was convinced of this when I saw the extremely affectionate exchanges between the members of our Zoning Board and the representatives of EnCana at the table before the hearing began. EnCana sends in what appear to be ordinary citizens just like you and I. It would be far easier to enter into strong debate with the big shots in their fancy suits. These people all live in either Wyoming or Colorado so why would they care about our water & air quality. They are highly paid employees of the gas industry. While the citizens were strongly warned not to discuss water issues, EnCana proceeded to show their propaganda power point presentation and talk a whole lot about water! After all, isn’t water one of the most important issues in gas drilling operations? Millions of gallons of water are required for the fracking process of each individual well. Toxic chemicals are added to it before it gets put into the ground, and toxic chemicals remain in the portion of it that comes back up. The gas industry will put huge demands on our water supply and they have the potential to contaminate what water remains. Our small, rural communities are not ready for the gas industry. We are not trained or prepared to handle a gas well fire! In fact, we simply are not trained for any of this, and neither is DEP! Should we have the heavy rains we experienced in June of 2006 which destroyed roads and bridges, not to mention the near collapse of the Huntsville Dam, the plastic liner in the gas company “pit” will not keep it from over-flowing or the sides blowing out, and the toxic ingredients of the pits contaminating nearby creeks, streams, lakes, and yes, our aquifers!
As I take a look out over Harveys Lake and watch the trees slowly move to the breeze, and smell the clean air that is coming through my windows, I wonder what this scene will be in a few years, after the gas industry has bought out everyone, taken the gas and their money, and gone back to Colorado?
God help us all.
Michell’e T. Boice
May 5, 2010
It is late and it has been a long greasy night. We took a gut blow at a packed County Zoning Board hearing.
It was to be expected. The Oil and Gas Act limited zoning board power to allow “optimal development of the oil and gas resources” of Penn’s Woods. The state took control of our communities.
The overall system is complex and segmented, it favors the ones who can afford to lawyer up. If the Zoning Board did anything outside of their tight little paradigm, EnCana could shoot a barrage of suits from the mother ship at a county already near financial ruin. Or, at least, that is how many think it would play out.
I feel so bad for those who live closest to the drilling site. I am told, there are 300 families living contiguous to the property. I want them to know, we will continue to fight for their rights. But also, they must join in.