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.


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.


Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition To Host Informational Meeting – Press Release from GDAC

October 24, 2010

On Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 7 PM at the American Legion Post in Kingston, 386 Wyoming Avenue, the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition will be hosting an informational meeting for all interested residents of the Wyoming Valley. The evening will include a presentation by Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition founder Dr. Thomas Jiunta and a question and answer session. It is free and open to the public.

“We organized this meeting to alert residents in the Valley that the gas drilling occurring in the Back Mountain will have an impact on them, as well. Water, air, property values, roads, and quality of life may all be negatively impacted,” states Dr. Jiunta.

The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition includes Luzerne County citizens concerned about the many problems horizontal fracturing  (“fracking”) will bring to this populated and developed area. Concerns include polluted water supplies, toxic waste, radioactive mud, dirty air, depleted water habitat, noise, eminent domain, loss of farmland, loss of tourism, higher crime rates, more drug use, more traffic, more accidents, lowered property values, and increased taxes. Their goal is to protect Wyoming Valley communities and the environment from exploitative gas drilling.

Other groups interested in holding informational meetings can contact the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition to schedule at 570.266.5116 or gdacoalition@gmail.com.

For more information, call 570.266.5116, log onto www.gdacoalition.org or email gdacoaltion@gmail.com.



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


The Champagne State

September 10, 2010


Hello, this is Pennsylvania DEP Secretary John Hanger inviting you to vacation here in Pennsylvania.  There are so many things to do in the Champagne State: Take an intoxicating and romantic trip down the bubbly Susquehanna. Milk a dead cow! Come visit one of our many new and exciting theme parks such as Cabot Patch or EnCana Land!

Remember, liberty began and ended right here in Penn’s Woods.  See you soon!


How Natural Gas Drilling has Changed My Eating Habits by Molly M.

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.

How Natural Gas Drilling Has Impacted My Life by Molly M.

August 25, 2010

Following is a guest post from Molly M.  All are invited to submit:

For the past six months my life has been consumed by the prospect of natural gas drilling in my community.  I have attended meetings, been interviewed by the newspaper, written and talked to umpteen legislators, seen Gasland, put a No Frack sign in my yard, talked to everyone within hearing distance, and read, read, read.  On a more personal level, I have taken a hard look at my own lifestyle and the usage of fossil energy resources.  I would love to incorporate solar panels and a wind turbine at my home.  For the time being, I have changed all of my lightbulbs to CFLs, added solar lighting to my yard, added insulation to my home, and installed insulated drapes on my windows.  By using less energy, I hope to deny the energy companies of a little profit…

My driving habits have changed, too.  I am looking into leasing a Prius, although I don’t drive a lot, so my CO2 discharges aren’t excessive.  I combine trips and spend many days without using my car.  I wish I could use other ways of transportation – in a rural area it is hard to use public transportation or walk to many services.

Am I living greener? Definitely.  Perhaps I would anyway – I have always touted being an environmentalist.  Now it has become an absolute passion in my lifestyle.

Has gas drilling affected my diet?  I’ll leave that story for another day…