Science should trump finance in a sane world, but nooooooo…

March 29, 2010

By way of Susquehanna River Sentinel here is an enlightening article by a scientist, Robert Howarth, who is the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell University He is an “internationally known expert on environmental issues and water quality”. (article source:)

But go ahead and listen to light weight politicos like Urban, Rendell, and Cheney.  All they ever see is their own political interest.  None of them ever had an original thought which went beyond manipulation.  Go ahead and ask one, “Hey Dick, give me an original solution.”  Guaranteed it will be ideological, self-serving, transparent, and tired.

Read and think:

Natural gas is marketed as a clean fuel with less impact on global warming than oil or coal, a transitional fuel to replace other fossil fuels until some distant future with renewable energy. Some argue that we have an obligation to develop Marcellus Shale gas, despite environmental concerns. I strongly disagree.

Natural gas as a clean fuel is a myth. While less carbon dioxide is emitted from burning natural gas than oil or coal, emissions during combustion are only part of the concern. Natural gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas with 72 times more potential than carbon dioxide to warm our planet (per molecule, averaged over the 20 years following emission). I estimate that extraction, transport and combustion of Marcellus gas ? together with leakage of methane ? makes this gas at least 60 percent more damaging for greenhouse warming than crude oil and similar in impact to coal.

The most recent method of hydro-fracking is relatively new technology, massive in scope and far from clean in ways beyond greenhouse gas emissions. The landscape could be dotted with thousands of drilling pads, spaced as closely as one every 40 acres. Compacted gravel would cover three to five acres for each. New pipelines and access roads crisscrossing the landscape would connect the pads. Ten or more wells per pad are expected. Every time a well is “fracked,” 1,200 truck trips will carry the needed water.

Drillers will inject several million gallons of water and tens of thousands of pounds of chemicals into each well. Some of this mixture will stay deep in the shale, but cumulatively, billions of gallons of waste fluids will surface. Under current law, drillers can use absolutely any chemical additive or waste, with no restrictions and no disclosure. Recent experience in Pennsylvania indicates regular use of toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic substances. Out of 24 wells sampled there, flow-back wastes from every one contained high levels of 4-Nitroquinoline-1-oxide, (according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation). It is one of the most mutagenic compounds known. Flow-back wastes also contain toxic metals and high levels of radioactivity extracted from the shale, in addition to the materials used by drillers.

Industry tells us that surface and groundwater contamination is unlikely, since gas is deep in the ground and drilling operations are designed to minimize leakage. Nonsense. The technology is new and understudied, but early evidence shows high levels of contamination in some drinking water wells and rivers in other states.

Accidents happen, and well casings and cementing can fail. The geology of our region is complex, and water and materials under high pressure can move quickly to aquifers, rivers and lakes along fissures and fractures. Flow-back waters and associated chemical and radioactive wastes must be handled and stored at the surface, some in open pits and ponds unless government regulation prevents this. What will keep birds and wildlife away from it? What happens downstream if a heavy rain causes the toxic soup to overflow the dam? What happens to these wastes? Adequate treatment technologies and facilities do not exist.

What about government regulation and oversight? The DEC is understaffed,underfunded and has no history with the scale and scope of exploitation now envisioned. Federal oversight is almost completely gone, due to Congress exempting gas development from most environmental laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, in 2005.

We can be independent of fossil fuels within 20 years and rely on renewable green technologies, such as wind and solar. The constraints on this are mostly political, not technical. We do not need to sacrifice a healthy environment to industrial gas development. Rather, we need to mobilize and have our region provide some badly needed national leadership toward a sustainable energy future.

Lead into the sustainable, organic, regional-centric economic future? Nah… let’s go back to the mines, the usury, the elitism… it makes perfect non-sense… and so the fools continue to rule us…


Public Meeting on Gas Drilling

March 25, 2010

On Wednesday,  March 31 st, the Dallas United Methodist Church is sponsoring a public information meeting from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on the process of gas drilling which is coming to this area.  Speakers from the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition (formerly the Luzerne County Citizens for Clean Water) and NoDrill NEPA will address issues such as the community impact of the drilling industry here and elsewhere.  Also presented will be local legislative and township initiatives presently in progress and how you can help.  An open discussion will follow.

The church is at 4 Parsonage Street, Dallas, PA 18612


Yet another spill story:

March 24, 2010

Here is a developing story from Dimock, PA  by the WC Examiner: Drill site spill subject of investigation

Also from the WC Examiner is this story EPA initiates hydraulic fracturing study It quotes U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock: “Ensuring our community has safe drinking water in the midst of our natural gas boom is of significant concern to me and my staff and I welcome the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that it will conduct a comprehensive study to review the effects of hydraulic fracturing.”

Yet Carney continues to be non committal regarding the Frac Act which would end most of the exemptions for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act. He’d rather “study” it for the next two years than empower his constituents to know what is being infused into, and spilled upon, his home town’s lands.


Frack House

March 22, 2010


Poetry Project – a poem by R

March 19, 2010

We all breathe the same air
drive the same roads
see the same sky.
So is it any wonder why
we don’t want our land to die?

Richer, poorer, privileged or middle class
all of us live here
now in fear
of losing what some take for granted
and others hold dear.

To lose our land and our health
all for ill-gotten wealth
is more than we can bear.
We must be strong in the fight.
We can only do this if we UNITE.


An Incredible Web Resource

March 17, 2010

When I slammed this blog together six weeks ago, I poured over website after website and tried to provide links for a quick education. There was much I never got to review.  My initial objective was to get the word out as soon as possible – to give a web presence to the work already started by people like Tom Jiunta and Audrey Simpson.

Recently I became aware of a dynamite set of sites: one a website and the other its matching blog.  They are UN-NATURAL GAS.org and UN-NATURAL GAS.org WEBLOG. They were created by CDOG – Chenango Delaware Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group. They cover national as well as regional drilling stories. Subjects such as cost externalization, community readiness, moratoria, and energy independence. Check out the Organizer’s Page and the comprehensive FAQ page on the website. Also the images section and the “Lies” section. This is the primer for which I have been looking. The site is a work in progress. It is creative, edgy, and informed. I plan to return to it often. Grab a beverage and check it out. Please.


the FrackMountain Poetry Project

March 15, 2010

I invite anyone/and everyone to submit a poem (or song, essay, rant) related to BIG GAS, the Marcellus play, the beauty of this area, its heritage….you get the idea.   I will start things off:

who will want their milk?

Once fields of clover
now radiated mud,

the neighbor cows –
still chewin’ cud.

At my table
I sit and think,

Next time I better buy
elsewhere’s drink.


Community meeting a success!

March 13, 2010

Andrew Byers of the Shaleshock Action Alliance spoke to a packed house last night at the Kingston Township Municipal Building.  (Thank you Kingston Township).

Andrew worked with facts and extrapolated them to the scales of production which have been projected here.  He used slides to show fully developed fields, sites in preparation, and waste ponds being dozed back into the earth.  He spoke about the generators which spew out ozone creating hydrocarbons, pipelines, access roads, dragon tanks, diesel trucks, waste fluids, and radioactive mud.  He spoke to the typical everyday spillage, topsoil degradation, and its cumulative effect on the water system.  He spoke to mismanagement, the Cheney/Halliburton loophole, endocrine disruption, and the industrial sized scale of it all.  He also covered community organizing, monitoring strategies, and local political activism.   It was a rational and fact based portrayal of a world we are allowing to happen.

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Here is the Citizen’s Voice coverage:

Here is the Times Leader coverage:


fracadelia 2

March 12, 2010

Here is a story from Wayne County: Outcry greets possibility of gas drilling at Wayne County schools

I added a Moon Lake Park page above. Sign the petition there or HERE.  Let’s not forget Moon Lake!!!

Also, I have added a Petition Page. There are five petitions and/or legislative links. Go there to voice your concern. PETITIONS HERE

A powerful post from Another Monkey – Please read it.

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I love the gas industry tv commercial where the woman is traveling up a well as if in a stainless steel and glass elevator. So clean and so slick. I guess we will see truck loads of well dressed women heading down our roads soon.

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I have an old friend up north who recently emailed me about his experiences with gas drilling. Here is the sad email. I took out their names at their request:

“Herb. Thanks for the info. (Wife) and I have spent the last 2 years educating ourselves about this issue. We are at ground zero in Dimock and are surrounded by gas wells being drilled. What we have learned so far is scary and our actual experiences dealing with this has been terrible. The beautiful area I have lived in for the last 35 years is being butchered. Many of my neighbor’s water supplies have already been polluted. It is a shame that our government would, in these days and times, allow such environmental exploitation all for the sake of money.

But I have to let you know of my situation – (wife) and I held out from signing a gas lease as long as we could, due to our environmental concerns. However, when we realized all our neighbors had signed and we were surrounded by leased land – we finally gave in and signed. Now seeing what has happened I would gladly return the money if they would pack up and leave. I consider it dirty money. I believe the gas company’s tactic was to offer people money to get their foothold and then they come in and do their thing. (friend’s name)”

See you tonight.


Thanks Dude

March 11, 2010

Don Williams of Wyalusing Rocks Pennsylvania (Penn’s Woods) has an essential reading blog titled Susquehanna River Sentinel. He was the activist who saved us from the inflatable dam. Now he is the main man for staying current and hip with the gas drilling scene.

He is: earth first, speak truth to power, and live with courage. I like that in a dude.

Find his link in the the right hand column under #2 – Local Bloggers – Big Gas in Their Sights.