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.


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


fracadelia

October 7, 2010

The amount of gas drilling vehicle violations in the Northern Tier were no surprise to many.  Operation FracNET was a three day, five county State Police enforcement initiative that inspected 1,135 trucks with a reported focus on  residual waste trucks.  The results:  959 citations, 208 trucks placed out of service, 64 drivers taken out of service.   “The most common problems involved faulty brakes, exterior lighting issues and hauling permit violations.”  Glad to see the industry has been on top of things. 

By any management metric, these are sadly laughable results.  The three day enforcement was a brief and thin view into the daily complex operations of the gas play .  Do the same compliance rates exist throughout this industrial system? 

It is chaos.  It is bedlam.   Trucks upon trucks of traffic, blasting here, drilling there, fracking there, and there.  A thousand critical details go by each day without sufficient oversight. 

This  State Police initiative is welcome and appreciated.  It certainly makes a case for the lack of control the industry has on its transportation sector.  One can only extrapolate this dismal record to other aspects of  management’s purview.

Please note, there have been previous initiates with much the same disheartening results. Guess we taught them a thing or two. They won’t dare violate the law again…
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The corporation is not a person, it is a machine, it reads only numbers. It is fueled by numbers. It is run by numbers. It will die by numbers.

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This severance tax debate is comical. Some legislators applaud it as a hedge against environmental calamity. It is like getting a cancer injection and crying out  “Hooray! I have medical insurance!”

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“The gas industry wants the Senate to give them all  Pennsylvania properties which now have no gas leases.”   

– Clearville’s Blog

Clearville says:  Contact PA Senators before October 12, 2012, the gas industry wants properties with NO GAS LEASES!

STOP FORCED POOLING!
 
Senate emails:

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“If you love the Creator, you’ll love His Creation”

– Jonathan Meritt


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!


Gas Stock I – Defiance

August 24, 2010

Gas Stock was an act of defiance. It signals that despite the odds, the politicos, the Westmoreland Club, the silence of the Sierra Club, the co-opting of Penn State, the compromising of Penn Future, the dearth of lawyer support, the PUC, the lobbyists, the campaign contributions, the advertisements, the unemployment, the bankrupt governments (desperate to close their budgets), the SRBC, the DEP, the Oil and Gas Act, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and on and on … the movement will not give up.

Clean air and clean water are our constitutional right:

The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people. -Article I of the Pennsylvania State Constitution, Sec. 27

Beyond that, we owe it to our children and grandchildren.

And to those of you who follow the Bible: remember, you are called upon to be stewards of God’s creation. Don’t let covetousness cloud your decisions – do the right thing. (God created a garden, not an industrial zone)


Gas Stock I – the trek

August 22, 2010


Photo courtesy of Mark Cour

It was a day well spent.  A day in the sun among old and new friends.  Gas Stock was a gathering which spanned generations, politics, communities, and states.  It was a  campfire around which we joined as one.  Thank  you to NEPA Citizens in Action!

I was part of a small group which hiked from the Susquehanna in Wilkes-Barre to the Fair Grounds in Lehman.  Here is what the Times Leader reported about our trek:

Don Williams, of Montgomery County, set out from Wilkes-Barre’s Nesbitt Park at 6:30 a.m. and walked more than 10 miles to the fairgrounds together with his daughters, Lisa and Lauren Williams, and two local bloggers, Mark Cour and Herb Baldwin.“I’ve attended several of these meetings where the gas industry people basically said, if you drove here and you don’t support what we’re doing, you’re a hypocrite. I remembered that,” Williams said. “That’s why I did it, being able to say I had the lowest carbon footprint here today.”

Actually there was six of us. The person omitted in the Times Leader quote is blogger Hannah Abelbeck.  Sending us off was yet another blogger, John, and his sister Sandy. They showed up at dawn to wish us well and record the riverside ceremony. Afterward, we started out, four bloggers and two sane people.

(“By the time we got to Gas Stock, we were half a dozen strong…”) (apologies to Joni Mitchell).

Our march paralleled in reverse the route of  Toby’s Creek as it moves from the back mountains down to the valley, tumbling fresh water into the Susquehanna and eventually the Chesapeake.

We started our journey atop concrete and asphalt, alongside traffic and amid big plastic signs and display windows. We left the streets in Luzerne and strode along an old railroad bed turned recreational trail. It parallels the highway which was once but a creek side foot path. Now the sound of  traffic permeates the air.

We eventually emerged from the woods onto route 309 in Dallas. It was pedestrian unfriendly from there to the fairground. We stopped by Lisa Baker’s office but no one was there. We took some pictures and left tri-folds of information in the doorjamb. Lisa continues to believe this corporate invasion can be “managed”.

How do you manage billions of  gallons of toxic slurry left inside the shattered rock? How do you manage the diminishing water supply?  How do you tell the regional water cycle it will have to do with billions of gallons less?  How do you insure the infrastructure of wells are maintained and incident free for the next thousand years?  How do you manage a hodgepodge of corporations, companies, and contractors from myriad states and countries whose only goal is the maximization of profit?

The picture above is one taken at Baker’s office.  You will notice the Pennsylvania State Flag is upside down. This was not a mistake. Don did it, as a sign of distress.  Penn’s Woods is in serious jeopardy.

( There is, however, one mistake in the photo: See if you can find it in less than five seconds.)

Meanwhile, to be continued…