Happy Holidays and Go to Hell

December 25, 2011

They looked up
and saw a star
burning in the east
not all that far

and to the earth
it gave great fright
as the pounding continued
both day and night

go to hell
go to hell
go to hell
go to hell

Mammon is King
and life is to sell

 

 

image source:


PROBLEMS WITH FRACK WASTE WATER by Richard Ashton

August 9, 2011

                   New Environment Bulletin Number 387

Syracuse, N.Y (June 27, 2011)

It is possible that either The Wyoming Valley Sanitation Authority (WVSA) or The Lower Lackawanna Sanitation Authority (LLSA) will  build a treatment plant for hydraulic fracturing (frack) waste water, adding to their existing facility. WVSA is  adjoining Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a block away from the Carey Avenue Bridge, and LLSA is in Duryea, both on the Susquehanna River. Either one or both of these plants could  treat a large proportion  of the  frack water from Northeastern Pennsylvania and South Eastern New York.

WVSA has looked into this possibility carefully and has dropped plans for now mainly because of the truck traffic it would cause in residential neighborhoods. If either of these plants treat frack water in the future, it may be transported to these plants on 5000 gallon tanker trucks at the rate of one truck every five minutes, maybe day and night. Indeed a million gallons of frack water a day could be coming to Wyoming Valley. And what is in this water? This is how Dr.  Thomas Jiunta1 describes the chemicals added to the water:

“over 300 of them in an average fracking solution, have been revealed by scientists, to be at least 75 percent hazardous to our health, including many cancer-causing substances. Not only are the additives carcinogenic and proven endocrine disrupters, but unfortunately the fracturing process causes normally underground toxic organic and inorganic substances and heavy metals to come to the surface. These include volatile organic solvents naturally found underground such as the methane extracted and also compounds, such as benzene, toluene and propane. They also include heavy metals which are trapped in the shale and are then soluble in the mixture that comes back up including: Lead, arsenic, mercury, barium, chromium and strontium. In addition, brine is extracted which ranges from sea water type salinity to six times this salinity. Radioactive elements which are normally found under ground, are brought up.”

With all of those trucks passing through towns in the valley for decades into the future, there are bound to be leaks, spills and catastrophic crashes. In addition we need to guard against air pollution from the water being processed at the our local sanitation authorities.  Laura Legere, Staff Writer for the Citizen’s Voice2 reported:  “a centralized impoundment that holds the waste water from 10 wells could theoretically release 32.5 tons of methanol into the air each year – meaning it could qualify as a “major” source of toxic air pollutants under federal rules.” We can expect that waste water from many more than ten wells will be held at the treatment facility, and so we are threatened by toxic air pollution in the Wyoming Valley.

The function of the treatment plant at our sanitation authorities would be to separate chemicals from the frack water, and then ship it back to be reused in the drilling operations. The sediment from this process will contain these hazardous chemicals. According to published reports the plan is to deposit the sediment in state approved land fills. These chemicals such as elements arsenic, cadmium and radium last for thousands of years, while a typical land fill holds waste for only twenty years, after which it leaks into the environment.  Thus the land fill solution to waste storage may be only temporary, and future generations will be saddled with our waste again. To illustrate this issue consider radium.

Marvin Resnikoff, Ph.D.3 studied the radioactivity on rock pieces in the flow back from drilling operations and concluded the following:
* Radioactivity in Marcellus is 20 times higher than background.
* Radium-226 is soluble in water and is in waste water
* Drilling fluid is reused many times and some Radium-226 can accumulate each time.
* Ra-226 is a carcinogen so causes cancer.
* This could cause landfill workers to be exposed.
* 1600 years is the half-life of Ra-226,

Since the radioactivity of individual trucks may be below the ability of landfill radiation  detectors to measure, large amounts of radio activity in the waste may not be detected until they build up over time in the landfill.

Resnikoff further concludes:

Workers at a landfill where drill cuttings are dumped can be expected to exceed the health-base dose limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the NRC.

Based on calculations radiation exposures received by a future resident farmer of the land at the landfill will exceed allowable regulatory limits.

Radioactive scale cuttings and fluids are more appropriately deposited in a radioactive land fill  designated for this disposal.

Thus we can conclude that the typical land fill with a 20 year lifetime may be inadequate to protect the environment from these hazardous and radioactive chemicals. Resnikoff recommends use of a nuclear waste land fill which is designed to hold for 1000 years. (Is that enough time, given a 1600 year half-life of the radium?)   Also the constantly reused frack water can be expected to become increasingly radioactive. Indeed radioactivity in the truck parts, in particular in rust builds up over time, so that the drivers may become increasingly threatened with excess radiation exposure and may need to be considered nuclear hazardous material workers and regulated as such.

In conclusion, if we get to the point of having a million gallons per day of  Marcellus Shale drilling waste water processed in the valley, we will need to take many precautions to avoid its health and environmental threats.

References:
(1) “Letter to the Editor”,  Thomas Jiunta  Wilkes-Barre, PA: Citizens Voice (May 13, 2010)
(2) “Wastewater: A risky business”   Laura Legere (Staff Writer) Wilkes-Barre: Citizen’s Voice,  June 22, 2010.
(3) “Radioactivity in Marcellus Shale,” Marvin Resnikoff, Ph.D., 526 W. 26th Street #517, New York, NY 10001 : Radioactive Waste Management Associates, (May 19, 2010).
See also:  “Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement On The Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regulatory Program” NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Mineral Resources, Bureau of Oil & Gas Regulation 652 Broadway, 3rd Floor, Albany, NY 9 (September, 2009).

Richard Aston
Registered Engineer
astonrj@yahoo.com
Wilkes-Barre, PA
June 1, 2011


Reasons against Fracking Gas Drilling – Can You Add to this List?

July 20, 2011

There will be tens of thousands of gas wells drilled and fracked over the next two decades using slick water horizontal hydrofracking

This Massive-Scale Gas Drilling Will Bring You:

Lower Property Values
Higher Taxes
Polluted and Unusable Water
The loss of rivers  of water to the earth deep below.
Toxic Waste (heavy metals, carcinogens, brine and radioactive materials) (10 to 30 tons of chemicals per well)
Open Waste Pits
Undisclosed Chemicals
Endocrine Disruption
Carcinogens Left Underground
Spills
Industrial Zones
Air Pollution
Earth Pollution
Water Pollution
Asthma
Depleted Water Habitat
Noise Pollution
Eminent Domain
Forced Pooling
Loss of Farmland
Loss of Tourism
Disrupted Wildlife Habitat
Higher Crime Rate
Choking Truck Traffic
Truck accidents
Workers Dying
Citizens Dying
Broken Roads
Increased Accidents
Lower Quality of Life (why do you love this place?)
Deforestation
Loss of habitat
Earthquakes
Fractured Bedrock
Dubious Farm Products
Bubbling Rivers
Animal Kills
Increased Health Costs
Increased Infrastructure Costs

Educate yourself and take action!

Don’t be fooled by the propaganda you see on television and billboards.

All this is happening within the context of:

Machine-like Corporate values (IE the maximization of profit)
Political values (IE re-election is the god)
Mismanagement and disregard for the community (see Accidents and Violations Section here and elsewhere).

Then mix in weakened laws,  a depleted DEP, and rapid expansion.

Isn’t this a case for MORATORIUM!?


Consider Harveys Lake for “exceptional value” watershed designation

December 10, 2010

We must try every possible (and impossible) avenue, strategy, tactic, and maneuver we can think of to stop the ruination of Pennsylvania by the gas drilling industry. Whether it is a protected species or place. Whether it is super inflated performance bonding. Or, perhaps, the discovery of forgotten laws. Moratoriums, and rights ordinances. Political and populist activism. Consciousness raising, demonstrating, civil disobedience … There is no one way. When you are in a fight, you don’t use just one hand. You use your whole body and spirit to defeat the invader.

Here is a letter to a state representative, asking that Harveys Lake be considered “exceptional”. While it can be argued that all bodies of water are exceptional, the state does have that designation to consider as a solution for this particular body of water. Why not try it?

It has come to our attention that DEP issued a drilling permit on Dec. 3rd for a gas well on Sterling Farms in Wyoming County. This is about a mile from our lake. It is inconceivable that an agency charged with protecting our environment could issue a permit for drilling within such close proximity to the lake.

I see in today’s Citizens’ Voice that the state is nearing a decision on making Silver Lake (also a glacial lake) a designated “exceptional value” watershed, which will prohibit gas drilling activities in that area. For the life of me, I can’t understand why the citizens need to be pointing out to the DEP where these exceptional water sheds exist! Do they do any research before handing out these drilling permits?

A single accident like the one in Clearfiled County in June can potentially destroy Harveys Lake. This would be a crime of significant proportions.

Throughout the years, DEP has had a great deal of influence on protecting our lake. Our public sewer system was state mandated, as is the current moratorium on any new connections to this system. Residents are experiencing difficulty in obtaining permits from DEP to build docks on their shoreline property because of the potential to harm plankton. We have our own ordinance banning the use of port-a-potties/job johnnies because of the potential leakage into the lake. It is ludicrous to allow gas drilling so close to this lake!

I am asking for your immediate attention as I consider this a matter of urgency! Please do whatever you can to stop this madness. Harveys Lake is the state’s largest natural freshwater lake and is pristine. If that doesn’t qualify it for “:exceptional value” status, I don’t know what does! Michell’e Boice (letter to Representative Karen Boback)


“wake up” citizens and property owners – by Carol Caughill

October 24, 2010

get involved, grow a spine, go to the meetings, e-mail, call, write to your senators and representatives – let them know how strongly you feel – march, if necessary – scream, holler, shout at the top of your lungs to be heard – DO NOT sign leases – put out signs that protest “fracking” and let the people in Harrisburg know that we know where their money is coming from – vote for anyone that actually cares about how we feel about the environment and our right to clean air and clean water – speak your mind to anyone who will listen – protest the eco terrorism – call it what it is – vote the people that support the gas companies out of office – elections are right around the corner! – use your brains and think – stop being sheep – for what? a few dollars that will be gone in a few years, along with the gas companies after they have destroyed this beautiful state – i say again – WAKE UP!


Good job GDAC, Good job Tom

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


“natural” gas is NOT “clean energy”

October 15, 2010

From the Safe Water Movement’s petition to support a total ban on gas drilling in low-permeable deposits in New York State:

1. With a failure rate of between 2 to 8 percent, horizontal drilling and hydrofracking pose an unacceptable risk to our drinking water and the quality of groundwater, aquifers, lakes and streams.

13.Recent preliminary assessments reveal that “natural” gas is not “clean energy” but rather just another polluting, non-renewable fossil fuel contributing to global warming”

Links about dirty gas:

The Dirty Truth Behind Clean Natural Gas (from the National Wildlife Federation)

Gas is dirty energy and may be dirtier than coal ( regarding Australia)

The Dirty Truth Behind Hydrofracking (from Environmental Graffiti )

The Dirty Truth Behind The New Natural Gas ( from Kentucky Rural Water Association) ( a comprehensive overview )

The Dirty Secret of Shale Gas (from Motley Fool)

Public Health Impacts of Oil & Gas ( from No Dirty Energy )
(Take the PLEDGE)

Cornell’s Howarth Warns EPA… (good links )