two stories of violence

November 7, 2010

Here are two recent stories of very violent incidents, involving out of state gas drilling employees. The victims include all taxpayers.

I was reluctant to post these stories for fear some readers might think I am trying to generalize about all drillers. That is not my intent here. It is merely to illustrate some grisly particulars in an already recognized trend:

In a press release from Rendell’s office in Harrisburg, state police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski reported more arrests and incidents involving drugs, assaults and illegal weapons in northern Pennsylvania, where much of the drilling into the Marcellus Shale is taking place in the state.

“More and more, it seems the police reports coming out of the northern tier include arrests because of drug use and trafficking, fights involving rig workers, DUIs and weapons being brought into the state and not registered properly,” Pawlowski said.

“We’ve even encountered situations where drilling company employees, who have been convicted of a sexual assault in another state, come here to work and do not register with our Megan’s Law website.” (see news article here)

Also,  see: Police chief: Gas drilling causing increase in crime locally

Gas industry worker charged in Pa. stabbing death
By Jason Whong November 5, 2010, 9:25 pm
pressconnects.com

CHARLESTON TOWNSHIP, TIOGA COUNTY, Pa. — A gas industry worker from Texas has been charged in the Thursday night stabbing death of a local man from whom he rented a room.

Pennsylvania State Police in Mansfield arrested Billy Holden Landry, 49, of Liverpool, Texas. He is charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault in the death of Shawn Charles Miller, 44, of Cherry Flats Road in Charleston Township, east of Wellsboro.

Police were called just before 11:30 p.m. Thursday to 158 Cherry Flats Road, where Miller rented two upstairs bedrooms to Landry and another gas industry worker.

Miller had no pulse when medics arrived, according to a criminal complaint against Landry filed in District Court in Wellsboro.

Miller was pronounced dead at the scene by the Tioga County Coroner’s Office.

Police said the men were arguing before the stabbing.

Kimberly A. Hess said she witnessed the argument at the home that her mother, Connie Everitt, shared with Miller, Everitt’s boyfriend of 13 years. Miller rented the two upstairs bedrooms in the three-bedroom home to “oil-riggers,” she said.

Hess said she spent the night on the couch and was awakened by Miller asking Landry and the other man, Mike Helton, to be quiet.

“They were drunk, and one had a girl over, and they were all just rowdy and making noise,” Hess said.

Hess said she heard a voice from upstairs taunting Miller and asking him to come upstairs.

Miller remained at the bottom of the stairs and asked them to “shut up, be quiet,” she said.

Hess said the men came downstairs, one with a knife, as Everitt tried to keep the men apart.

Everyone was “eventually pushed down on top of Shawn,” Hess said, as the fight moved toward the television.

“There was a candle that got broke, and I seen blood coming … from Shawn’s wrists, from the top of his hand, actually. And I thought it was from the candle getting broken,” she said.

Miller took a few steps, then fell over. “That’s when we realized he had gotten cut … right below his chest,” Hess said, as she traced a line across her abdomen with her finger.

Landry and Helton left immediately afterward, she said. “They left without their shirts on or anything. They didn’t grab their bags or nothing.”

Just after midnight, Landry went to state police in Mansfield and told the dispatcher that he wanted to speak with a trooper “about a situation he was involved in,” according to the complaint.

Landry told the dispatcher that “two females had beat him up” and that he had stabbed a man “in self-defense,” according to the complaint.
Related

When a trooper interviewed Landry, he said he was protecting himself and that “nobody should take a beating and not protect themselves.”

Police found Helton after 5 a.m. Friday in a trailer in Richmond Township, sleeping in a pair of blue jeans “stained throughout” with blood, according to the complaint.

Helton told police the blood on his pants probably came from Miller, according to the complaint.

Police were unable to say Friday night whether Helton had also been charged in the stabbing.

On Friday afternoon, Landry told police he was hit in the head with a candle and knocked to the ground during the fight and was held down as Miller punched him repeatedly in the face, according to a court document.

Landry told police he removed a knife that was sheathed on his belt and cut and stabbed at Miller, and, as he was driving his truck later, he discarded the knife, according to the complaint.

On Friday afternoon, Hess sat in her home in Wellsboro and described Miller as a nice man who treated her “like his own daughter.”

“I just hope that they get what they deserve. They need to rot in jail,” she said.

Bar fight, black eye leads to Buckeye’s arrest
BY MIichael J. Rudolf (Staff Writer)
thetimes-tribune.com
Published: November 4, 2010

TUNKHANNOCK – A 25-year-old former gas worker from Ohio was extradited to Wyoming County on Wednesday to face charges related to an Oct. 23 bar fight here.

Tunkhannock Police traveled to Ashland, Ohio, to pick up Nathan A. Milam, who is accused of beating another man with a pool cue during a fight at Beagles Pub, East Tioga Street.

According to the police complaint, Patrolman Dustin Cokely responded to a reported fight and found another man outside, bleeding heavily from his face, with his eye and nose swollen. Police learned the victim had fractures near his eye and nose.

The man told Patrolman Cokely that he was playing pool with three other people, including Mr. Milam, but did not know their names. Asked what started the fight, the man said he missed a shot, then someone hit him.

Patrolman Cokely went into the bar and spoke with several patrons, none of whom had ever seen Mr. Milam. A woman told Patrolman Cokely she saw Mr. Milam strike the victim, then run out the back door. The witness gave police a description. Patrolman Cokely said an anonymous caller contacted state police later that day to say Mr. Milam had been dropped off in Binghamton, N.Y., planning to take a bus to Ohio.

Dave Wenzel, a supervisor for a gas drilling contractor. told police he saw Mr. Milam shooting pool. A few moments later, he heard a loud crack near the pool table, and saw a man on the ground covered with blood.

Borough police picked up Mr. Milam in Ohio, where he waived extradition. He is charged with aggravated assault and simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment and is in the Wyoming County Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday in Tunkhannock.


Ho-Hum: Just Another Little Old Pipe Line Explosion… what’s for dinner?

September 10, 2010


At least one person killed by gas line explosion near San Francisco airport. Sadly, this is nothing new. Here is an “incomplete” list of pipeline accidents in the United States since 1965:

* 1965: Gas transmission pipeline, north of Natchitoches, Louisiana, belonging to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company explodes from stress corrosion cracking, killing 17 people. This accident lead to then President Lyndon B. Johnson to call for the formation of a national pipeline safety agency. (March 4, 1965)
* 1968: Ruptured LPG pipeline, near Yutan, Nebraska. Repair crews responded to a pipeline rupture, thought vapors were dispersed, but ignited a vapor cloud by driving into it. Five repairmen were killed. (December 5, 1968)
* 1969: Low pressure natural gas distribution system, Gary, Indiana. (June 3, 1969)
* 1969: High pressure natural gas pipeline. A 14-inch (360 mm) natural gas pipeline running at 789 psi near Houston, Texas ruptures, causing a massive fire. Construction work downstream of the accident lead to a pressure build up that caused the rupture. September 9, 1969.
* 1970: Colonial Pipeline Company, petroleum products pipeline, Jacksonville, Maryland, (September 3, 1970.
* 1970: 1970 Propane vapour cloud explosion in Port Hudson, Phillips Pipeline Company propane gas explosion, Franklin County, Missouri. Leak lead to propane cloud explosion with a force of several tons of TNT. (December 9, 1970)
* 1972: Rupture of propane pipeline, near Butler, Alabama. A road grader in use hit a high pressure propane pipeline. A short time after the line was ruptured, a car drove into the vapor cloud, igniting it, and killing four people. (June 20, 1972)
* 1973: Natural gas liquids pipeline rupture. Austin, Texas A natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline ruptured due to an improper weld. Six people killed. (February 22, 1973)
* 1975: Natural gas liquids pipeline rupture. An NGL pipeline ruptured due to previous mechanical damage at Devers, Texas. 4 killed in vapor cloud fire. (May 12, 1975)
* 1975: LPG pipeline rupture. An LPG pipeline ruptured near Romulus, Michigan, due to previous mechanical damage to the pipeline and over pressurization from operator error at a storage facility. Nine people were injured in the vapor cloud fire. (August 2, 1975)
* 1976 LPG pipeline rupture. An LPG pipeline ruptured near Whitharral, Texas, leading to vapor cloud fire that killed five and destroyed two homes. Electrical resistance weld (ERW) failure is suspected for the failure. (February 25, 1976)
* 1976 Petroleum products pipeline. A front loader hit an eight inch petroleum products pipeline in Los Angeles, California during a road widening project along Venice Boulevard. 9 were killed, and serious property damage occurred.(June 16, 1976)
* 1976 Natural gas pipeline rupture. A road grader hit a 20-inch (510 mm) gas transmission pipeline near Cartwright, Louisiana. Six killed in the following fire. (August 9, 1976)
* 1977 LPG pipeline rupture. A LPG pipeline ruptured near Ruff Creek, Pennsylvania from stress corrosion cracking. The resulting propane vapor cloud ignited when a truck driven into the cloud stalled, then created a spark when it was restarted. (July 20, 1977)
* 1978 LPG pipeline rupture and fire. An LPG pipeline at Donnellson, Iowa ruptured from past mechanical damage and improper lowering for road improvements. The vapor cloud ignited several minutes after the rupture. Three people were killed. (August 4, 1978)
* 1978 A gas pipeline in Brookside Village, Texas ruptured and exploded, killing five people, and injuring 43 others. Seven mobile homes were also destroyed, (October 24, 1978)
* 1979 Natural gas pipeline rupture. An anchor handling boat, PETE TIDE II, damages an unmarked gas pipeline with a grappling hook offshore from New Orleans, Louisiana. A fire followed, and the two of the crew were missing and presumed dead. (July 15, 1979)
* 1980 A pipeline carrying naptha ruptured under a street in Long Beach, California, causing a fire that destroyed one home and damaged several others. Two people were injured. Lack of communication of pipeline valve setups, and pressure relief valves set to open at too high a pressure were identified by the NTSB as causes of the accident. (December 1, 1980)
* 1981 A 12-inch-diameter (300 mm) pipeline near Ackerly, TX, was hit by a rathole drill, releasing an ethane-propane mix. There was then an explosion & fire that killed4 people. (September 27, 1981)
* 1983 An 8-inch (200 mm) LPG pipeline was hit by a rotating auger used for planting trees near West Odessa, TX. After several minutes, the escaping LPG ignited, killing 5 people & injuring 5 others. (March 15, 1983)
* 1984 An 8-inch (200 mm) NGL pipeline near Hurst, TX, was hit by a front loader, and the escaping gases ignited, causing burns to the equipment operator. (February 28, 1984)
* 1985 A 30-inch-diameter (760 mm) gas pipeline weakened by atmospheric corrosion ruptured near Beaumont, KY. 5 people were killed, and 3 injured. (April 27, 1985)
* 1986 A 30-inch-diameter (760 mm) gas pipeline ruptures due to corrosion near Lancaster, KY. 3 people had serious burns, and 5 others had lesser injuries. (February 21, 1986)
* 1986 A backhoe snags a gas distribution line in Fort Worth, TX, causing a break that leaked gas into a unoccupied building. Later, that building exploded, injuring 22 people, destroying the unoccupied building, & damaging 40 other buildings. 57 automobiles in the unoccupied building were damaged or destroyed. (March 12, 1986)
* 1986 Petroleum products pipeline rupture at Mounds View, Minnesota. Gasoline at 1,434 psi sprayed a residential area around 4:20 am local time, then ignited. Two were killed, and many homes damaged or destroyed. Confusion by the pipeline company lead to a delay in shutting down the pipeline. Electrical resistance welded (ERW) seam failure caused the rupture. (July 8, 1986)
* 1989 Petroleum products pipeline failure after the San Bernardino train disaster, California. Damage from derailment cleanup caused petroleum products pipelines to rupture, spraying homes with gasoline. Three killed in following fire.
* 1989 New York City Con Edison Steam Pipe explosion, rupture 3 are killed in the 3rd ave- Grammercy Park area.
* 1990 Propane pipeline rupture and fire, North Blenheim, New York, March 13, 1990. Stress from previous work done on a pipeline causes rupture, vapor cloud moved downhill into a town. 2 killed and numerous buildings destroyed when the cloud ignited.
* 1993 On Sunday, March 28 at 8:48, a pressurized 36-inch-diameter (910 mm) petroleum product pipeline owned and operated by Colonial Pipeline Company ruptured near Hemdon, Virginia. The rupture created a geyser which sprayed diesel fuel over 75 feet into the air, coating overhead powerlines and adjacent trees, and misting adjacent Virginia Electric Power Company buildings. The diesel fuel spewed from the rupture into an adjacent storm water management pond and flowed overland and through a network of storm sewer pipes before reaching Sugarland Run Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River.[4]
* 1994 Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion and Fire Previous damage cause a natural gas transmission pipeline to rupture at Edison, New Jersey on March 23, 1994.
* 1996 Butane Pipeline rupture and fire, near Lively, Texas, August 24, 1996. 2 killed after driving into an unseen butane cloud. Leak was caused by external corrosion.
* 1997 Pipeline Rupture and Fire, Indianapolis, Indiana, July 21, 1997.
* 1998 Natural Gas Explosion and Fire, South Riding, Virginia, July 7, 1998.
* 1998 Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture and Subsequent Explosion, St. Cloud, Minnesota, December 11, 1998.
* 1999 Natural Gas Explosion and Fire at a gas pressure station, Wytheville, Virginia, destroying a home and motorcycle store.[5] (January 3, 1999)
* 1999 Natural Gas Service Line and Rupture and Subsequent Explosion and Fire, Bridgeport, Alabama, January 22, 1999
* 1999 A pipeline in a Bellingham, Washington park leaked gasoline, vapor from the leak exploded and killed 2 10 year old boys and an 18 year old man on June 10, 1999. Issues causing the rupture were found to be previous pipe damage by excavation, incorrectly set up pressure relief valve, unexpected remote valve closure, and new software tests on the live controlling computer.
* 2000 Hazardous Liquid Pipe Failure and Leak, Explorer Pipeline Company, Greenville, Texas, March 9, 2000.
* 2000 Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture and Fire Near Carlsbad, New Mexico This Explosion Killed 12 Members Of The Same Family. Cause was due to severe internal corrosion of the pipeline. (August 19, 2000)
* 2000 Rupture of Piney Point Oil Pipeline and Release of Fuel Oil Near Chalk Point, Maryland, April 7, 2000.
* 2002 Rupture of Enbridge Pipeline and Release of Crude Oil near Cohasset, Minnesota, On July 4, 2002 an Enbridge pipeline ruptured in a marsh near Cohasset, in Itasca County, spilling 6,000 barrels (~250,000 gallons) of crude oil. In an attempt to keep the oil from contaminating the Mississippi River, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources set a controlled burn that lasted for 1 day and created a smoke plume about 1 mile high and 5 miles long.[6]
* 2003 Excavation Damage to Natural Gas Distribution Line Resulting in Explosion and Fire, Wilmington, Delaware, July 2, 2003.
* 2004 On November 21, 2004, a 14-inch-diameter (360 mm) petroleum multiproduct pipeline sprung a leak that was transporting gasoline at the time of the release. The pipeline, owned and operated by the California-Nevada Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder-Morgan Energy Partners, is the main source of petroleum fuel products for Las Vegas, NV. An 80 foot geyser was discovered on the morning of November 22, 2004, after numerous complaints of a strong gasoline odor on Interstate 15 in northern San Bernardino County, CA.
* 2007 On January 1, an Enbridge pipeline that runs from Superior, Wisconsin to near Whitewater, Wisconsin failed, resulting in a spill of ~50,000 gallons of crude oil onto farmland and into a drainage ditch.[7] The same pipeline was struck by construction crews on February 2, 2007, in Rusk County, Wisconsin, spilling ~126,000 gallons of crude. Some of the oil filled a hole more than 20 feet deep and was reported to have contaminated the local water table.[8]
* 2007 2007 New York City steam explosion, on July 18, 2007
* 2007 A 12-inch (300 mm) propane pipeline explodes, killing two and injuring five others near Carmichael, AL on November 1, 2007. The NTSB determined the probable cause was likely ERW seam failure. Inadequate education of residents near the pipeline about how to respond to a pipeline accident was also cited as a factor in the deaths.
* 2008 Natural gas pipeline explodes and catches fire on February 5, near Hartsville, TN Believed to have been caused by a tornado hitting the facility.
* 2008 A gasoline release from a petroleum pipeline occurred on November 25, 2008 at a retail mall in Murrysville, PA. Officials said the release occurred from the six-inch line at about 9:30 a.m. while a Sunoco Logistics crew was working on a ball valve. .
* 2009 A rupture of pipeline near Cygnet, Ohio, owned by Philadelphia-based Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, resulted in one of the largest oil spills in Wood County history. Feb. 18, 2009.
* 2009 Natural gas pipeline explodes and catches fire on May 5, 2009 near Rockville, IN in Parke County about 24 miles north of Terre haute, IN. PHMSA indicated the possibility of external corrosion in its Corrective Action Order (CAO) to the pipeline company. Pictures have been released around the area showing the damage caused. 49 homes were evacuated in a one-mile area of the explosion. No injuries reported.
* 2009 http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6707144.html reference: Bushland, Texas — Two people hurt when a natural gas pipeline exploded in the Texas Panhandle. The explosion early Thursday 5 November left a hole about 30 yards by 20 yards and close to 15 feet deep. The blast shook homes, melted window blinds and shot flames hundreds of feet into the air. The home nearest the blast — about 100 yards away- was destroyed. Bushland is about 15 miles west of Amarillo.
* 2009 A new 42-inch (1,100 mm) gas transmission pipeline near Philo, Ohio fails on the second day of operation. There was no fire, but evacuations resulted. (November 14, 2009)
* 2010 On Monday, July 26, the pipeline company, Enbridge Energy Partners LLP (Enbridge), reported that a 30-inch (760 mm) pipeline belonging to Enbridge burst in Marshall, Michigan. The company estimates over 800,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into Talmadge Creek, a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River.[9] [10] [11]
* 2010 On Thursday, September 9, a high pressure gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, CA. It destroyed 53 homes and damaged 120 homes. One person died and many were injured. 10 acres burned total. [12]

SOURCE: Wikipedia

In addition to the above list, there seems to be many more pipeline accidents out there: Just do a You Tube search for “Gas Pipeline Explosions” and you will find other examples of pipe line accidents. I am sure there are also other good sources out there.

The point is: these explosions happen frequently, are often deadly and always destructive. They are a function of material failure, corrosion, human error, and random misfortune.   It could just as easily happen here in NEPA. Why not? We seem to be good at making the national news for all the wrong reasons.


the threat of democracy

May 28, 2010

If this evil and blatant usury of our land is not stopped by our elected and sworn representatives by listening to reason, constituents, and the constitution – if they wimp out on their duty to make sure anything done to this state is done right or not at all; if this illegal attack supplants democracy – then democracy will be wrestled back, one way or another.


drill the bitch

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:


Guest Opinion on County Zoning Hearing

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


Very Important Zoning Meeting – May 4th

April 28, 2010

The Lake Twp. drill site hearing Tuesday May 4 at 7:00pm at the Luzerne Co. Courthouse in the commissioners room. The purpose of the Luzerne Co. Zoning Board hearing is to grant a conditional use permit for the drill site located on the Salansky property (corner of Sholtis and Zosh/Ide Road). The site was moved from the Farrell property near the township line to this proposed site due to access considerations.

We need to insist that they do not grant the permit, and if they do it must be with strict restrictions. Per Joe Rutchauskas, “this site is located in the middle of 300 properties within a one mile radius!!

Please attend this meeting to show solidarity!


Yet another Public Meeting on April 7:

April 5, 2010

Dr. Tom Jiunta will serve as a panelist at the following event:

ADVISORY FROM JOE SESTAK, DEMOCRAT FOR SENATE

WEDNESDAY, 11 AM: Joe Sestak to hold public forum on Marcellus Shale development

MEDIA, PA – Recognizing that development of the Marcellus Shale requires an approach that is both profitable and protective of Pennsylvania’s natural resources, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak is inviting organizations and individuals with differing views on the issue to a public forum on Wednesday, April 7 at 11 AM at The Peace and Justice Center.

“I believe the Marcellus Shale should be developed to provide jobs and revenue, but we must follow the fundamental rule: Pennsylvania comes before energy company profits,” said Joe. “At this event, we will address questions from both sides of this complicated and often-contentious issue.”

EVENT DETAILS

WHAT: Public forum on Marcellus Shale Development
WHO: U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak
WHEN: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 11 AM
WHERE: The Peace and Justice Center, 63 N. Franklin Street, 2nd Floor, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

*There will be additional press availability upon request following the event.

Joe has long been an advocate for responsible development of the Marcellus Shale, which has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs throughout Pennsylvania while pouring millions of dollars into rural economies. Acting on legislative language Joe introduced and helped pass last year, the EPA announced last month it would begin a $1.9 million study of the possibly adverse affects of hydraulic fracturing, or “hydrofracking,” on water quality. Joe is a co-sponsor of the FRAC Act to repeal a Bush-era loophole that allows drillers to skirt the Safe Drinking Water Act.

For more information, contact: Jonathon.Dworkin@joesestak.com, (610) 891-8956