Moratorium Now!

February 16, 2012

STOP the unbridled assault upon our communities and their environments:

Let common sense prevail!

SIGN Moratorium Petition here:



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!?


EPIC No Frack Event – June 25th – Ithaca College –

June 21, 2011

45 Speakers
6 movies
10 musicians

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: All Fracked Up


Earth Day Statement from Pennsylvania Green Party

April 21, 2011

Here is a press release from Jay Sweeney of the Green Party:

Friday April 22 marks the 41st anniversary of Earth Day. The seventies brought promise with the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the passage of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. That promise fades with the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the damaged nuclear complex in Japan and the threat to Pennsylvania’s water, land and air from drilling for natural gas.The Green Party of Pennsylvania calls upon Governor Corbett to fulfill his oath of office and the DEP to follow it’s mission and protect our environment. “Natural gas drilling will consume the equivalent of Harvey’s Lake, the largest natural lake in Pennsylvania, in less than 2 years time.” states Green Party activist Jay Sweeney. “The dumping of ‘treated’ wastewater into our rivers and streams is a public health threat as noted by Dr. Conrad Volz in his testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works last week.”

The Green Party of Pennsylvania has endorsed a resolution calling for a ban of the hydrofracking process. See below.

“The Corbett administration reminds us, day after day, of who helped get them get into office and who is really pulling their strings,” remarks I.K. Samways, Chair of the Green Party of Pennsylvania. “To treat a severance tax as a third rail while insisting on a political seal of approval for DEP inspection reports is irresponsible in the extreme. Hydrofracking remains a volatile and poorly regulated process, where the very health of our citizens has become little more than a political trading horse. A ban on the process, as called for in the Green Party’s resolution, will put an end to this blatant misuse of our natural resources and keep us on the road to a much more responsible and sustainable energy policy.”

“For years, we’ve been told that natural gas is cleaner than traditional gasoline, and so despite the concerns about water, it was still the more environmental thing to do.” adds former Chair, Hillary Kane. “We now know that fracking releases so much methane into the air at the time of extraction that the carbon footprint of natural gas is actually worse than coal. There is no reason to be doing this.”

The Green Party of Pennsylvania is also sponsoring Earth Day rallies outside DEP Regional offices on Thursday April 21. On Thursday from 11 am to 2 pm, there will be a rally outside the DEP Northeast Regional office on 2 Public Square in Wilkes-Barre. Also on Thursday from 4 to 6 pm, there will be a rally outside the DEP Southeast Regional Office on 2 E. Main St. in Norristown. The Green Party would like to thank it’s Earth Day Coalition partners Citizens for Clean Water, NEPAGasAction.org, End Gasocracy Now!, Protecting Our Waters, Brandywine Peace Community, Buxmont Coalition for Peace Action and Saint Vincent’s Peace and Justice Ministry.

New Green Party of PA Statement on Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale

Green Party of Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Statement

Whereas Marcellus shale natural gas is not a transitional fuel, but an impediment to a clean energy policy that conserves energy and develops solar, wind, geothermal, micro hydro and other renewable technologies, and

Whereas methane (CH4) a greenhouse gas and the principal component of natural gas is more harmful than carbon dioxide (CO2), and

Whereas the Energy Act of 2005 exempted the oil & gas industry from the Safe Drinking Water Act, and

Whereas natural gas fracking results in a level of devastation on the scale of the previous oil, timber and coal exploitation of our natural heritage, and

Whereas the byproducts of the hydrofracking process include the release of radioactive materials into the environment, and

Whereas hydraulic fracturing squanders our precious water resources and poisons drinking water, private wells and public supplies, and

Whereas natural gas extraction poses dangers, including explosions, threatening those employed by the industry as well as the general public, and

Whereas Article 1, Section 27 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania states, “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,” and

Whereas there is a total failure to regulate extractive industries including the failure to prevent illegal water withdrawals by the oil & gas industry in Western Pennsylvania, and

Whereas Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have passed ordinances calling for a ban and a moratorium, respectively,

Be it resolved that, we, citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and members of the Green Party of Pennsylvania, call for the termination and prohibition of all natural gas extraction involving the use of our Commonwealth’s water resources. We call for a ban immediately stopping all high volume, slick water, horizontal fracturing of deep shale, including exploration, in Pennsylvania and worldwide.

Be it further resolved that the Green Party of Pennsylvania believes the short term economic benefits will be dwarfed by the long term economic and environmental consequences of natural gas extraction. Any and all political and legal means must be employed to protect our environment.

In the interim, the right of local communities to protect themselves and assert their rights through local ordinance is supported by the Green Party of Pennsylvania.


It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. ~Ansel Adams

April 13, 2011

Photo by Ansel Adams