Guest Opinion on County Zoning Hearing

May 6, 2010

My thoughts and my sentiments are that the citizens are in a war here, a war to protect our water supply and the very air that we breathe, but are so out-powered and out-numbered by the huge money of the gas industry, who can buy our politicians and spread their propaganda faster than a wildfire. Incidentally, if and when one of these gas wells blows up, their is potential for a wildfire, not to mention the toxic chemicals it will spew into the air for a hundred miles or so.

The Zoning Hearing for the approval to give the go-ahead to EnCana to drill their well in Lake Township was a slam dunk before the hearing even began. The citizens had no chance at all, and I was convinced of this when I saw the extremely affectionate exchanges between the members of our Zoning Board and the representatives of EnCana at the table before the hearing began. EnCana sends in what appear to be ordinary citizens just like you and I. It would be far easier to enter into strong debate with the big shots in their fancy suits. These people all live in either Wyoming or Colorado so why would they care about our water & air quality. They are highly paid employees of the gas industry. While the citizens were strongly warned not to discuss water issues, EnCana proceeded to show their propaganda power point presentation and talk a whole lot about water! After all, isn’t water one of the most important issues in gas drilling operations? Millions of gallons of water are required for the fracking process of each individual well. Toxic chemicals are added to it before it gets put into the ground, and toxic chemicals remain in the portion of it that comes back up. The gas industry will put huge demands on our water supply and they have the potential to contaminate what water remains. Our small, rural communities are not ready for the gas industry. We are not trained or prepared to handle a gas well fire! In fact, we simply are not trained for any of this, and neither is DEP! Should we have the heavy rains we experienced in June of 2006 which destroyed roads and bridges, not to mention the near collapse of the Huntsville Dam, the plastic liner in the gas company “pit” will not keep it from over-flowing or the sides blowing out, and the toxic ingredients of the pits contaminating nearby creeks, streams, lakes, and yes, our aquifers!

As I take a look out over Harveys Lake and watch the trees slowly move to the breeze, and smell the clean air that is coming through my windows, I wonder what this scene will be in a few years, after the gas industry has bought out everyone, taken the gas and their money, and gone back to Colorado?

God help us all.

Michell’e T. Boice


Very Important Zoning Meeting – May 4th

April 28, 2010

The Lake Twp. drill site hearing Tuesday May 4 at 7:00pm at the Luzerne Co. Courthouse in the commissioners room. The purpose of the Luzerne Co. Zoning Board hearing is to grant a conditional use permit for the drill site located on the Salansky property (corner of Sholtis and Zosh/Ide Road). The site was moved from the Farrell property near the township line to this proposed site due to access considerations.

We need to insist that they do not grant the permit, and if they do it must be with strict restrictions. Per Joe Rutchauskas, “this site is located in the middle of 300 properties within a one mile radius!!

Please attend this meeting to show solidarity!


Fracktured News

March 30, 2010

Another wrist slap for blatant disregard: Drilling Without a Permit

A Tragedy:

Fatal Accident: Woman Killed in Tioga County Crash – Gas Drilling Truck Driver at Fault

an ironic juxtaposition which I had read just the day before the accident: A Sobering Journey to an Inspiring Conference

Janine Dymond of the local Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition is featured in this article: Despite outcry, county eyes Moon Lake Park drilling as money-maker

Good news for starving and homeless lawyers! link here

A Nationwide Petition: SEE PETITION HERE:

More!More!More! 26 wells drilled in Bradford County in February

Letter from the Fields of Factories:

Dear Rep. Pickett, The roads in Dimock continue to deteriorate on a daily basis due to the heavy truck traffic generated by the operations of Cabot Oil & Gas Co. Repairs being made are not keeping up with the pace of damage. I observe drivers on a daily basis swerving into oncoming traffic to avoid entire sections of missing roadway. This issue needs to be addressed before someone gets injured. Cabot’s operations have been suspended by the State in the past due to environmental violations. The State should take immediate action to order Cabot’s vehicle’s off our roads until they repair them. Our citizens health and safety should not be put at risk due to the profit motivated operations of this company. Charles Winschuh, Dimock Township.


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…