NoCana! “Dry Baby Dry!”

November 19, 2010

Wendy Wiedenbeck of EnCana

“Dry Baby dry!” has been Audrey Simpson’s battle cry (and prayer) since she first heard of EnCana’s plans to drill three experimental horizontal gas wells in the Back Mountain region of Northeast Penn’s Woods.

We first met Audrey on January 14, 2010. She was video taping a presentation by EnCana to the Back Mountain Community Partnership. I recall how simplistic and benign EnCana’s presentation was. They did not mention trainloads of chemicals, just some water and sand. When we publicly questioned them, they became defensive and contentious.

After the meeting, Audrey approached Karen, Leanne and I,  “We have to organize!”.  Then she introduced herself.   She had been following this Marcellus “play” for a while and she knew  it was bad mojo.

That was the beginning of NoDrillNEPA which eventually merged with Tom Jiunta’s group (Luzerne County Citizens for Clean Water) to become GDAC – Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition.

I called Simpson tonight to discuss the news that EnCana was pulling out of Luzerne and Columbia Counties. We recalled that back in January, we saw this outcome as a remote possibility. Here it was nine months later, and the dream was now reality.

This may be good news for the Back Mountain, but EnCana’s departure is totally fortuitous. Like being spared of small pox while others around you are wasting away.

The Susquehanna, Delaware, Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio remain threatened and suffering. Thousands of fellow citizens continue to be treated as guinea pigs, The Pennsylvania State Constitution continues to be usurped. Citizens will have their properties seized by private entities. Our governor will pay back the gas industry for its contributions to his campaign.

Ours was a chance victory in a large war. This won’t be won without a constitutional battle. For the time being we must do everything we can to help slow, stall, challenge, and ban this supposed juggernaut. Place by place. Day by day.

Otherwise, they will be back.

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I would think this EnCana announcement will not effect the continuing attempts to traverse the area with pipeline.

Always remember, the landmen were there when we were not. We must find a way to help struggling family farms. They are the backbone of rural Pennsylvania.

We need to re-think and re-tool for a green humanscale future. It is the only sane path.


The Kidnapping of a River and the Truth

November 16, 2010

The kidnapping of a river, wherein it is murdered and buried – gallon by gallon:

In Don William’s most recent blog post, 600,000 natural gas wells!, his sources report the industry is expecting to drill from 200,000 to 600,000 wells in Pennsylvania.

In my recent post, Fracked Dry, I reported that the 200,000 figure was one which was put forth by Penn State as the “high end”. As I related at the time, I thought their figures low. While 200,000 is a devastating amount, 600,000 is homicidal.

It represents 1.5 TRILLION gallons of water profoudly polluted and permanently removed from our water cycle.

Only a small percentage of the water shot down during the fracking process comes back up. The rest is left below – abandoned in the form of a radioactified toxified super salty slurry.

1.5 Trillion gallons is equivalent to 204 Harvey’s Lakes or 1,341 Huntsville Reservoirs left beneath the earth’s surface.

1.5 Trillion gallons represents 57 days worth of water flow throughout the entire Susquehanna watershed.

Can we afford to loose 16% of our water cycle?

Also, 600,000 wells means 360 billion pounds of chemicals shot into the innocent earth. That’s 7.5 million tractor trailer loads of chemicals. That’s a convoy which would wrap around the earth over four times!

And what amount of air pollution will this pervasive drilling bring to our children’s and mother’s lungs?

Again, this is homicide, suicide, filicide, matricide, populicide, and ecocide.

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The Kidnapping of truth:

And how about that CBS corporation. Their 60 Minutes episode on fracking, titled Shaleionaires, was laughable. “Cleaner” gas was assumed, wealth was assumed, water was forgotten. In the conclusion there was hope of a bright solution and prosperous future, if we just eliminate those pesky human errors, reign in cost cutting, and don’t drink the frack fluid.

I thought it was counterproductive.

The blog, Fracked, has much to say about the 60 Minutes piece. See Sixty Fracking Lame Minutes and Shale Gas Drilling: Pros and Cons.

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Here is a poignant comment on Shaleionaires from the CBS website:

I was relieved to see SOMETHING about the gas drilling on 60 Minutes, but the piece does not begin to cover the issues and the fear and anger we experience living in the midst of the new “gold rush.” I live in southwestern PA near Waynesburg, PA and there is a well being drilled on nearly every hill top, dividing communities, pitting neighbor against neighbor and providing very little comfort/peace/environmental protection. A public forum was held in Pittsburgh recently and the representative from the DEP was very rude to the angry citizens who only want their questions answered. We were told we now live in a heavy industry area and no longer in the agriculture area. I already have had breast cancer from living in a heavy industry polluted town in WV and now face this invasion, because that is what it feels like, an invasion. As the farmers gather their thousands and reportedly millions, sell their cattle and either move or ride around in their caddys the rest of us try to come up with Plan B, sell now? wait? See what happens? Endure the filth, the smell, the noise and wait for more cancer?
Why can’t we commit to solar and wind power with such fervor????????

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Covert Fracking Cheerleaders: WVIA, the Kirby Theatre, WILK, Time Leader, Citizen’s Voice, CBS,… and many more. Some are transparent, others avoidant, others play both sides. It all has to do with donors and advertisers. Income is the game.


constitution who?

November 14, 2010

oil buys solar

marketing tricks
consciousness

walmart drains
main street

landmen salt
farmland

into
deadly
pastures,
we gladly go

lobbyists over democracy
secrecy over transparency
state over citizenry

the Marcellus play

bow to it
bend to it
march to it
sleep through it

into the past –
a  mine shaft,

we trundle.


FRACKED DRY

November 10, 2010

Over the next thirty years, given the present technology, 500 billion gallons of water will be retired underground in Pennsylvania through the process known as horizontal fracturing.  This is according to email discussions I have had with Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research

500B is equivalent to 68 Harvey’s Lakes, or 263 Huntsville reservoirs, or 200 Wallenpaupacks (a relatively shallower but more expansive body of water).

This water will no longer be available for human use.  It will lurk in the shattered caverns below.   This dispersed sea will be waiting for a flaw, a break, an errant burst of pressure…

In a recent email from the Marcellus Shale Coalition titled, In the Know on H20, the industry relates:

Well, consider this: All told, the Susquehanna and its surrounding watershed convey more than 26 billion gallons of water through the Commonwealth every single day.

500B is over nineteen times this amount.   Nineteen days of water flow gone forever, Nineteen days of flow, desecrated, banished, and waiting… Can we afford it?

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The industry will tell you they are going to develop “better” technology. I question they can do it without water. I will research this more.

I will post the calculations and assumptions and caveats under separate cover.

The 500B could go lower, it could go higher.  But I suspect 5ooB is on the low side.

The 500B is Pennsylvania only! What about the amount of water being retired throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe?  How many tens of trillions?

Add to this, the global warming trend – and it will be unintentional suicide by corporate paradigm.

Photo:Times Leader


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.


Somewhat random thoughts on the election

November 4, 2010

The Democrats deserved it. There was no “change”. From the very beginning it was clear. If it were really change: Pelosi would have jettisoned Murtha – and O’Bama would have fired Geithner. If it were really change, the Inauguration would have been more modest.

And the notion of the Jonas Brothers hiding in the White House to surprise Malia and Sasha O’Bama on their first night there, is patently elitist.

Leadership is not trash talk or spin, photo-ops or junkets. It is first and foremost, setting example.

The Democrats and the Republicans have turned into a professional wrestling act. They attack and boast. Good versus Evil. We suck it up like adolescents. It seems we are stuck in a culture based on immaturity.

The campaign ads were despicable. They insult us all. If your solutions are so vapid or nonexistent that you have to throw mud, what kind of person are you? Certainly not a leader. None of you!

As far as the Marcellus Play, it is up to the citizens to demand a moratorium as the only sane plan. The politicos won’t do it on their own, the gravy train is too sweet.


At the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

November 1, 2010


We took mister NoFrack Sign along, hoping to raise some consciousness.  Also, we  knew there was always a possibility his image might make the national media.   At the very least, we thought him a conversation starter.

As we  walked to the National Mall, it became clear this event would include costumes, signs, and a festive sense of play.  The closer we got, the more we realized it would also to be well attended.

 

 

 

“I Screwed You All.  But Thanks for Blaming it on the Black Guy”

 

 

We were unable to get near the stage or jumbo-trons so we carried our sign along Constitution Avenue.  We were greeted by many call outs from New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia people.  We spoke with folks who were active in the fight, and we were formally interviewed by an area weekly.  People were constantly taking pictures of the sign and asking what it meant.  Many thought it was a reference to the television show Battle Star Galactica which, we were told, uses the word “frack” as a euphemism for the word  “f*ck”.   One guy even shouted out  “Yea, that’s right, stop using fake curse words!”

 

A Sierra Club member from New York State.

 

A mother and daughter from New Jersey.

A young man who inquired about the sign.

The crux of the matter.

 

 

Let freedom ring!