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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Add Quakes to Rumblings Over Gas Rush

Published: December 12, 2011
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Until this year, this Rust Belt city and surrounding Mahoning County had been about as dead, seismically, as a place can be, without even a hint of an earthquake since Scots-Irish settlers arrived in the 18th century. 

But on March 17, two minor quakes briefly shook the city. And in the following eight months there have been seven more — like the first two, too weak to cause damage or even be felt by many people, but strong enough to rattle some nerves.
“It felt like someone was kicking in the front door. It scared the stuffing out of me,” said Steve Moritz, a cook who lives on the city’s west side, describing the seventh quake, which occurred in late September. It was the strongest one, with a magnitude of 2.7.
Nine quakes in eight months in a seismically inactive area is unusual. But Ohio seismologists found another surprise when they plotted the quakes’ epicenters: most coincided with the location of a 9,000-foot well in an industrial lot along the Mahoning River, just down the hill from Mr. Moritz’s neighborhood and two miles from downtown Youngstown.
At the well, a local company has been disposing of brine and other liquids from natural gas wells across the border in Pennsylvania — millions of gallons of waste from the process called hydraulic fracturing that is used to unlock the gas from shale rock.
The location and timing of the quakes led to suspicions that the disposal well was responsible for Youngstown’s seismic awakening. As the wastewater was injected into the well under pressure, the thinking went, some of it might have migrated into deeper rock formations, unclamping ancient faults and allowing the rock to slip.
As the United States undergoes a boom in the production of gas from shale, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has come under fire from environmentalists and others for its potential to pollute the air and contaminate drinking water. But the events in Youngstown — and a string of other, mostly small tremors in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, British Columbia and other shale-gas-producing areas — raise the disquieting notion that the technique could lead, directly or indirectly, to a damaging earthquake.
Scientists say the likelihood of that link is extremely remote, that thousands of fracking and disposal wells operate nationwide without causing earthquakes, and that the relatively shallow depths of these wells mean that any earthquakes that are triggered would be minor. “But still, you don’t want it to happen,” said Mark Zoback, a geophysicist at Stanford University.
Others point out that among the thousands of small earthquakes in central Arkansas since last year that were thought to be linked to disposal wells was one of magnitude 4.7, and that a disposal well at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado — for wastewater from weapons production, not gas drilling — was tied to numerous quakes in the 1960s, including several of magnitude 5.0 or higher that caused minor damage in Denver and other cities. Deeper geothermal wells have caused damaging quakes as well.
“It’s true that you can’t have an earthquake larger than a given fault can provide,” saidSerge Shapiro, a professor at the Free University of Berlin who has studied what scientists refer to as induced seismicity. “But an earthquake even of magnitude 4 in a populated area can be an unpleasant thing.”
Officials with D & L Energy, the Youngstown company that has been disposing of the waste, and with the Ohio government say there is no proof of a link between the disposal well and the earthquakes. “Right now we can’t definitively say yes or no,” said Tom Tugend, deputy chief of the gas and oil division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. But the state has asked the company to plug the bottom 250 feet of the well with cement as a precaution, to ensure that it is sealed from the deeper rock where the earthquakes are thought to have occurred.
State officials are also working with researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a part of Columbia University, who have installed four temporary seismometers within several miles of the well. If more earthquakes occur, the instruments will help determine location and depth more precisely. “It should help us make the case one way or another — is this related or not,” said John Armbruster, a Lamont seismologist.
C. Jeffrey Eshelman, a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said that as far as the industry was concerned, “it has been impossible to determine whether hydraulic fracturing has anything to do with” the quakes like those in Ohio.
“But it’s in our best interest to understand what’s going on,” he said. “Although they are minor incidents, they are still something to be taken seriously.”
Scientists say that although it is known that wells — and reservoirs and quarries, among other things — can induce earthquakes, it can be difficult to prove a connection because there is not enough data. So specific cases often become a subject of debate.
“Scientific research needs to be done to understand the data on fluid injections and volumes,” said William Leith, senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards at the United States Geological Survey, which has re-established a project to study induced seismicity in response to the string of suspicious quakes in shale-gas areas.
In Arkansas, the State Oil and Gas Commission was concerned enough about a possible link between disposal wells and earthquakes that in July it ordered that one well be shut down, and it placed a moratorium on new ones in an 1,100-square-mile area. Three other disposal wells closed voluntarily. While small earthquakes are still occurring in the area, their frequency has declined substantially.
In Oklahoma, a state seismologist concluded that there was a “possibility” that a series of small quakes in January about 50 miles south of Oklahoma City were induced by a nearby fracking operation. “The reason I can’t make any real conclusive statements is just because of the limitations of the data,” the seismologist, Austin A. Holland, said.

In northwestern England, however, an independent report commissioned by a drilling company, Cuadrilla Resources, concluded that two quakes of magnitude 1.5 and 2.3 near the city of Blackpool last spring were related to a fracking well. The report suggested several ways to avoid further quakes, including monitoring and limiting the pressures and volumes of fluid used.
Fracking is known to cause very slight tremors — far weaker than even the Youngstown quakes — when the fluid is injected into the shale under high pressure. Drilling companies often send sensitive instruments called geophones into the drill holes to analyze these tiny tremors because they indicate whether the rock is fracturing as expected.
But the larger earthquakes near Blackpool were thought to be caused the same way that quakes could be set off from disposal wells — by migration of the fluid into rock formations below the shale. Seismologists say that these deeper, older rocks, collectively referred to as the “basement,” are littered with faults that, although under stress, have reached equilibrium over hundreds of millions of years.
“There are plenty of faults,” said Leonardo Seeber, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “Conservatively, one should assume that no matter where you drill, the basement is going to have faults that could rupture.”
Drilling and disposal companies do not usually know that those faults exist, however. Seismic surveys are costly, and states do not require them for oil or gas wells (although larger companies routinely conduct seismic tests as part of exploration). Regulations for disposal wells are concerned about protecting aquifers, not about seismic risk. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates oil- and gas-related disposal wells unless its cedes its authority to the states, has no seismic requirements for its disposal wells, an agency spokeswoman said.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fracking Your Water

ExxonMobil Chairman/CEO Rex Tillerson sounded very confident when he told a congressional hearing last year that extracting natural gas by the “hydraulically fractured” process has not led to even one “reported case of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated.”
But drinking water supplies in Pavillion, Wyo., and Dimock, Pa., are suspected of contamination from such drilling and a study by Duke University researchers showed that methane can leak into drinking water near active fracking sites.
The oil companies are backing up their story with an effective ad campaign. Example: ExxonMobil’s ad in the Sept. 19th New Yorkerclaims existing gas buried deep beneath our water supplies could “meet our needs for over 100 years.”
Besides having “thousands of feet of protective rock between the natural gas deposit and any groundwater” drillers’ install “multiple layers of steel and cement” in shale gas wells to keep the gas “safely within the well,” the ad said. The slurry is made up of sand, water, and chemicals—but drillers don’t have to identify the chemicals.
That’s because in the 2005 energy bill, crafted in part by goodfella Vice-President Dick Cheney, “fracking was explicitly exempted from federal review under the Safe Drinking Water Act,” writes Elizabeth Kolbert in an incisive article in the December 5th “New Yorker.” This exemption, dubbed the “Halliburton Loophole,” does not require drillers to reveal which chemicals they use, so they could be carcinogens such as “benzene and formaldehyde.” Might this be why some irate homeowners say their tap water can be set on fire?
This hasn’t stopped more than 1,000 Pennsylvania and New York property owners from accepting up-front payments (with a pledge of future royalties) to allow drilling,
Even though “as much as forty per cent of (the water used in extraction) can come back up out of the gas wells, bringing with it corrosive salts, volatile organic compounds and radioactive elements, such as radium, ” Kolbert writes.
Pennsylvania has asked drillers to stop taking this flowback water to municipal treatment plants and New York State has ordered a moratorium on fracking permits. And it is seeking to ban fracking in New York City’s upstate watershed.
Says Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, “Once hydrofracturing begins in the (Delaware River) basin, the proverbial ‘faucet’ cannot be turned off, with any damage to our freshwater supplies likely requiring generations of effort to clean up.”
In a letter earlier this year, Tom Curtis, deputy executive director of the American Water Works Assn., called upon the EPA to evaluate every pathway for drinking water contamination and asserted a new study is needed that will cover fracking’s impact on water supply.
“Impacts on existing water resources can only be ascertained by properly designed monitoring programs,” Curtis wrote. “Protecting drinking water should trump everything.”
Indeed. It’s past time for state governments to ban all fracking until additional research finds conclusively it is safe to continue the practice—if it does.
The oil firms are claiming natural gas can satisfy the nation’s energy wants for anywhere from a century to 250 years. No doubt. But wind power, by contrast, is a resource that lasts forever. What’s more, if harnessed,  there’s enough of it blowing in just a couple of Dakota counties to light up the entire USA year-round, and without polluting the water we drink and upon which all life depends.
Sherwood Ross is former administrative assistant to the Chicago Department of Water & Sewers and served as public relations director for the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Assn. His views do not necessarily represent those of AWWA. Reach him atsherwoodross10@gmail.com.

Anti HB1950 and SB1100 Being Considered in the PA State House

Latest Press Releases & News
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Media Relations
contact gdac@mail.com.
The End of Local Self Government?
PA House Bill (HB 1950)
PA Senate Bill (SB 1100)
Eliminate Local Zoning
& ALL Local Regulation
of Natural Gas & Oil Drilling
The Luzerne County-based group, Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition (GDAC), along with several other Pennsylvania community groups, are collectively voicing their opposition to Pennsylvania House Bill 1950 in a jointly signed letter to government leaders.

HB 1950 is a bill, passed on November 2nd
 by the House Finance Committee that threatens to strip local governments of the ability to create ordinances that fit the desires and needs of their residents.

In the jointly signed letter, entitled “Who Is Stripping What Was Left of Community Rights from PA Municipalities?”, community groups point to Governor Thomas Corbett and some Pennsylvania State representatives as the responsible parties.
"We clearly need a separation of corporation and state. What began as a drilling problem is now a democracy problem," said Wanda Guthrie, a Westmoreland County resident. "Many municipalities are working diligently and thoughtfully to draft ordinances that will protect their communities through careful zoning and municipal codes. Each PA community is unique - a state-mandated one-size-fits-all solution is not the answer."
Our state government should honor and protect Pennsylvanian’s rights to decide acceptable risk for their own community, rather than showing favoritism to an industry. This is not just any industry- it's heavy industry that comes with environmental and health consequences." 
In response to residents’ growing concern about drilling, an increasing number of municipalities are either banning this heavy industry within their boundaries or enacting community rights ordinances. For a complete list of bans and moratoria go to: http://shalethreat.org/styled/bansmoratoria.html.
In addition to stripping local governments of the right to create ordinance limiting oil and gas activity, it also outlines a drilling impact fee. Locally, Luzerne County residents may not see any of its share of a severance tax, even though it has recently become a hotbed of Marcellus Shale activity, including metering stations, pipelines and compressor stations. HB 1950 lays out a complicated formula for municipalities that do not have wells.
GDAC is calling on residents and local government officials to contact state legislators and the governor to oppose HB 1950, which will soon be moving to the floor of the House. 
As stated in Article I, section 27 of the PA Constitution: the people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania government has a trusteeship responsibility to protect that environment on behalf of future generations. 
For more information or to make arrangements to have a speaker from
the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition to do a present to your group-
call 570.266.5116 or email gdacoaltion@gmail.com
“Like” Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition on Facebook.com
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Media Relations
contact gdac@mail.com.
An Open Letter to Concerned Back Mountain Residents:

Proposed Local Zoning Changes
Will Allow Industrial Activities in
Agricultural & Residential Areas

Dear Concerned Residents-
As an avowed & unrepentant minimalist, I continually try to see the forest for the trees...

Dallas Township, Kingston Township & other local municipalities are proposing revisions to their zoning ordinances to deal with the ongoing invasion of gas drilling corporate interests into our rural communities. Unfortunately the approach being considered will have an adverse and detrimental effect on our way of life. 
They have acceded to the dictates & recommendations provided by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS.) This is a non-profit association that purports to advise our elected township supervisors on matters of local governance.

This would be all to the good if not for the fact that PSATS has been infiltrated & totally influenced by the gas industry corporate interests. Main sponsors for the PSATS conference in Hersey PA on April 17–20th are Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, Talisman Energy, Marcellus Shale Coalition & Pennoni Engineering. 
Don’t be deceived by industry created media releases that your local elected officials are trying to protect you.

Concerned residents are encouraged to attend the Dallas Zoning Board
Hearing on Thursday April 28th & the VOTE on Tuesday May 3rd
at Dallas Twp. Municipal Bldg, 601 Tunkhannock Highway, Dallas, PA 18612
You are being used as dupes in a cruel hoax. By the dictates of the revised ordinances township supervisors will be required to issue conditional permits for gas drilling, hydraulic fracturing, gas transmission pipelines, compressor stations, metering stations, gas processing plants & all associated equipment & operations in Districts zoned as Agricultural & Manufacturing. 
Conservation Districts are exempted from these conditional uses, however only a small portion of land is zoned as such. The Kingston Township ordinance takes it even a step further by allowing conditional use for horizontal drilling & hydraulic fracturing in Districts zoned as Residential.

Passage of any of these ordinances will open the flood gates to the industrialization of your rural & peaceful communities. The conditions imposed on the gas industry by these ordinances are simply not stringent enough to protect your interests & are in fact the same conditions that the industry has already imposed on themselves.
The real purpose of these ordinances is to take the pressure off of your elected officials & negate their oaths to protect the health, safety & welfare of their constituents. Township Solicitors & Planning Consultants are in favor of enacting these ordinances because it would keep them in compliance with the PA Municipal Planning Code which parrots the dictates of the PA 1984 Oil/Gas Act & will avoid involving them in conflict.
Dallas Township’s current zoning ordinance requires that a special exception is required for industrial activities such as natural gas compressors & metering stations. This requires that an application be subjected to a review by a Zoning Hearing Board & could be denied if the Board determined that the proposed use was incompatible with the zoning district. 
As evidenced by the huge turnout at the Dallas Middle School for recent hearings held to discuss the application by Chief Gathering to build a compressor station/metering station & later a metering station near the Dallas School Complex, there is considerable public support to restrict these activities. 
Under the proposed ordinances the Township Zoning Officer would be required to issue a permit under a conditional use. There would be no hearing where residents could express their displeasure. Is there any question why the industry is intent on the enactment of these ordinances? Decisions by local municipalities have the potential of decreasing the industry’s already bloated bottom lines & resistance by local residents trying to protect their way of life is causing them a degree of consternation. 
Now is the time for you to take a strong stand against the destruction of your communities. Attend the hearings on these ordinances in your municipalities & demand that your elected officials not sell out your constitutionally guaranteed rights to clean air & water.
Neil E. Turner
VP Gas Drilling Awarness Coalition
of Luzerne County
Resident of
Harveys Lake, PA
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Media Relations
contact gdac@mail.com.
Free & Open to the PUBLIC- Concerned Citizens Are Urged to Attend-
The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition's 3nd presentation of our
“Educational Series for an Informed Citizenry”
"Life In The Gas Fields"
by Calvin Tillman, Mayor of DISH, Texas 
& Tim Ruggiero of Decatur, Texas

From insightful first hand experiences, Tillman & Ruggiero will conduct a frank presentation/discussion of the
dangerous reality of living among gas drilling, compressor stations, & pipelines, plus the hazardous environmental
quality-of-life threat they pose to communities from toxic pollution of drinking water, air, soil & property values.

Monday, April 27th at 7:00 PM
Temple B’nai B’rith
Bergman Auditorium
408 Wyoming Avenue, Kingston, PA 
Mayor Tillman & Mr. Ruggiero will be travelling throughout the Marcellus Shale regions speaking to
these communities about the negative impacts of gas drilling & its associated industrial activities.

This event is sponsored Tillman & Ruggiero is also co-sponsored by the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition
which includes Luzerne County citizens concerned about the potential problems gas drilling by "fracking"
(hydraulic fracturing) & its associated industries will bring to our populated & developed areas.

GDAC's goal is to educate & thereby protect our communities & environment from exploitative gas drilling.
Concerns include polluted drinking water, toxic waste, radioactive mud, dirty air, depleted water habitat, noise,
eminent domain, loss of farmland, loss of tourism, higher crime rates, increased traffic, more industrial accidents,
lowered property values, & increased local taxes.
For more information or to make arrangements to have a speaker from
the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition to do a present to your group-
call 570.266.5116 or email gdacoaltion@gmail.com
“Like” Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition on Facebook.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 24th, 2011
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Media Relations
contact gdac@mail.com.
Statement to Dallas Area School Parents on the Status
of the Chief Natural Gas Compressor Station Application
Dear Concerned Parents:

Recent articles concerning the proposed Compressor Station in Dallas Township indicated that Chief is allegedly
investigating relocating the Compressor Station to another site, instead of next to the Dallas schools.
Because Chief had intended to file an amended application to Dallas Township even before this recent revelation
Zoning Officer Len Kozick said there will no Zoning Hearings scheduled until an amended application is received.
If, after considering another site, Chief decides to continue efforts to locate the Compressor Station next to the
schools, there will a Public Notice period of two weeks and a re-scheduled Zoning Hearing. 
GDAC will closely monitor this issue and will publicize information as soon as it is available.
Two items that are currently under consideration by the Compressor Station Committee:
1) GDAC does not take the position that as long as it’s not in my backyard, then it’s ok. If the neighbors around
the proposed new site ask for assistance, we will consider how we might be helpful.
2) In the article in the CV on Monday about the Compressor Station tour, Chief’s Steve Hamilton mentioned that it
wasn’t the station he would be concerned about – it would be the pipeline the gas will go into. Ted Wurfel agreed.

Senator Baker is currently sponsoring a Gas Pipeline Safety Bill – GDAC is in the process of proposing some key
modifications to this bill that would improve pipeline safety even further. Everyone who is concerned about the
safety of the pipelines in front of the Dallas Schools should get involved in this effort.
Thank you,
GDAC Compressor Committee
For more information or to make arrangements to have a speaker from
the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition to do a present to your group-
call 570.266.5116 or email gdacoaltion@gmail.com
“Like” Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition on Facebook.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 22nd, 2011
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Media Relations
contact gdac@mail.com.
Free & Open to the PUBLIC- Concerned Citizens Are Urged to Attend-
The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition's 2nd presentation for the
“Educational Series for an Informed Citizenry”
"Public Health Impacts of Natural Gas COMPRESSOR STATIONS"
a frank discussion by Dr Conrad Daniel Volz & Ms Samantha Malone
. of the University of Pittsburgh

Dr Volz’s research is focused primarily on how industrial & municipal contaminants, (including toxic heavy metals & elements) & endocrine disrupting chemicals (particularly those that are estrogenic) move through the air, water, soil & groundwater & affect humans & how to block this movement.

Monday, March 7th at 7:30 PM
Misericordia University
Insalaco Hall- Rooms 216-21
301 Lake Street, Dallas, PA 18612
Conrad Daniel Volz, Dr.PH, MPH is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Environmental & Occupational Health at the Graduate School of Public Health, Director for its Environmental Health Risk Assessment Certificate Program, & Director for the Center for Healthy Environments & Communities. He also has a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor in
the School of Law & is a technical consultant to the University of Pittsburgh Environmental Law Clinic-
& specializes in human & ecological receptor exposure assessment & environmental spread of contaminants.
An additional presentation will be given by Samantha Malone, MPH, CPH, of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Healthy Environments & Communities Communications. She is the founder & webmaster ofFrackTracker.org an online mapping system to inform citizens of the extent & impact of
Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale areas.
For more information or to make arrangements to have a speaker from
the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition to do a present to your group-
call 570.266.5116 or email gdacoaltion@gmail.com
“Like” Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition on Facebook.com.
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Media Relations
contact gdac@mail.com.
Dallas Schools Parents Concerned about Compressor Station
Parents & taxpayers in Dallas Township concerned about Gas Compressor Station
near Fairground Road, approximately 1,300 feet from Dallas Schools complex. 
Natural Gas Compressor Stations are where the gathering lines bring the gas from the wells to be "cleaned" for market. It will be there as long as drilling occurs in Northeast Pennsylvania. It removes all the moisture (gas leaves the well in liquid form) and all the contaminants (uranium, NORM, chemicals, heavy metals) and is where all the gas is sent to the transportation line or trucks to market. 
Parents are concerned that a Compressor Station is major industry and emits high levels of pollution (air, noise, potential spills from waste being transported, truck traffic). They are also concerned about a compressor station’s high potential for explosions.
Concerned residents are encouraged to attend the Dallas Twp. Zoning Meeting-
Dallas Twp. Municipal Bldg, on Wednesday, Februrary 9th at 7 PM.
Parent Kim Jacobs states, ""It just makes no sense that anyone would even consider constructing a compressor system so close to a school complex. i hope the people in charge of approving or rejecting this have done suitable research and are weighing in on all of the negative aspects and potential problems associated with compressor stations. We all need to put the best interest of the Dallas students and residents in the surrounding area first."
Students themselves, are concerned, too. Dallas High School senior Demetra Szatkowski states, “I am concerned not only for myself and my siblings, but for all the people in the Dallas School District. It is shocking that the majority of people in this area do not know about this, and I certainly hope that the people entrusted to protect us will not allow us to be put at risk. Harming children for a profit makes absolutely no sense.
Dallas residents in cooperation with the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition have organized and have created fliers and a video opposing the compressor station available at www.gdacoalition.org. A Facebook page - SOS - (Save Our School) has also been started and a petition opposing the compressor station as currentlt planned is in the works.
The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition includes Luzerne County citizens concerned about the potential problems gas drilling by 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 traffic, more accidents, lowered property values, and increased taxes. The goal is to protect our communities and environment from exploitative gas drilling.
For more information or to make arrangements to have a speaker from
the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition to do a present to your group-
call 570.266.5116 or email gdacoaltion@gmail.com
“Like” Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition on Facebook.com.
"X-Country" Band Reunites for
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Fundraiser-
Sunday, January 30, from 5 PM - 10 PM
Brews Bros. West
75 Main Street in Luzerne
Admission is $10
Northeast Pennsylvania's hottest bands -- including a reunion of "X-Country" -- will perform a benefit concert for the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition of Luzerne County. The kitchen will be open as well as a cash bar. There will also be a basket raffle with great prizes, including a flat screen television.
The Scheduled Band Line-up Includes:
5 PM to 6 PM:
“Southern Sky”
 featuring members of "Abilene" and the "New York Times Band"

6:30 PM to 7:30 PM:
"As Is"
 playing classic & modern rock
8:30 PM:
 NEPA’s infamous Modern Country Party Band Reunion.

Scott Cannon, guitarist of X-Country, encourages everyone to attend. 'X-Country' thought that the issue of gas drilling is so important to our region that we've decided to re-unite after 4 years in support of GDAC. It's sure to be a great night."

This event is sponsored by the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition which includes Luzerne County citizens concerned about the potential problems gas drilling by horizontal fracturing (“fracking”) will bring to this populated and developed area.

Concerns include polluted drinking water supplies, toxic waste, radioactive mud, dirty air, depleted water habitat, noise, eminent domain, loss of farmland, loss of tourism, higher crime rates, increased traffic and collisions, lowered property values, and increased taxes. The goal is to protect our communities and environment from exploitative gas drilling.

For more information or reservations, call 570.266.5116 or contact gdac@mail.com.
“Like” Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition on Facebook.com
For Immediate Release December 3, 2010
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition Media Relations
contact gdac@mail.com.
There will be a statewide rally for a moratorium on gas drilling on January 18, 2011 (Inauguration day) at 9:30 a.m. meeting at 3rd and Market, Strawberry Square, Harrisburg. 
So that concerned citizens from Northeast Pennsylvania are able to attend, the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition has organized this bus trip. PUBLIC IS INVITED.
Meet at Wegman's, Wilkes-Barre, at 6:15 a.m. Bus departs at 6:30 a.m. sharp. 
Approximate return time is 5:30 PM. 
The cost is $20 and includes transportation and gratuity. All incidental costs are extra.
Reservations are required- please makes checks payable to:
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition
PO Box 275, Dallas, PA 18612. 
For more information or reservations, call 570.266.5116 or contact gdac@mail.com.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

PA Representative T. Mark Mustio--(R-District 44) and HB1950

This is a cell phone text from T. Mark Mustio in regards to legislation that will allow the PA State legislature to take away all rights from local municipalities in regards to writing local rules and ordinances that would control the Marcellus Shales predatory industry. But instead, Mustio supports allowing a statewide ordinance that would benefit the industry.

Mr. T. Mark Mustio appears in his text that he has more concern for the Marcellus Shale industry than the voters in his representative district. Mustio comes from the insurance industry. He is a partner in a Moon Township insurance business. Is Mustio or his associates selling insurance to this industry?

It is documented that water, air and soils have been polluted by Fracking fluids that have been spilled or dumped. Mustio appears to lean more toward the Marcellus Shale industry. Also, Mustio has taken money from the energy industry. Even a small amount of cash still ties them to the industries in which they accept money. It is a relationship between the pimp and the john. In this case, the pimp is the energy/gas industry and T. Mark Mustio is acting as the john.

This is what I initially wrote to T. Mark Mustio-R-44

Dear Rep. T. Mark Mustio (PA-44),

I just signed a petition addressed to you titled Petition Opposing  PA HB 1950 & SB 1100. So far, 11,541 people have signed the petition,

including 82 of your constituents.

The petition states:
"Oppose PA HB 1950 and SB 1100, which would preempt strong local ordinances regulating Marcellus drilling in Pennsylvania and replace them with weak and inadequate state regulations."
My additional comments are:
It is time to prevent the predatory drilling companies from taking over local ordinances, and to prevent Corbett from achieving a second term.
You can reply to me directly, but if you'd like to respond to all of your constituents who have signed the petition, click here:http://signon.org/target_talkback.html

To download a PDF file of all of your constituents who have signed the petition, click this link:http://www.signon.org/deliver_pdf.html

Mr. Y (name changed for this posting to protect individual)
moon township, PA

After I wrote Rep. T. Mark Mustio in regards to HB 1950, this was his response:

From: Mark Mustio <signon-reply@signon.org>

To: (my email address) >

Sent: Thu, Dec 22, 2011 6:00 pm

Subject: Re: I'm the 11,541st signer: "Petition Opposing  PA HB 1950 & SB 1100"
                                                                   "Bla bla bla"
T. Mark Mustio

Sent from my iPad

From: Mark Mustio [mailto:mmustio@pahousegop.com]
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 3:49 PM
To: Mr. X
Subject: RE: HB1950 and SB1000

landowners are constituents too. 

T. Mark Mustio
44th Legislative District
District Phone      412-262-3780
Harrisburg Phone 717-787-6651

The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you received this information in error, please contact the sender and delete the message and material from all computers.

From Mr. X ..... 12/19/2011 3:46 PM >>>
I think you are somewhat describing my area South Fayette.  My whole issue is having a drill site across the road (750 feet) from the school system.  I personally do not care about the rights of the lease holders; I care about the safety of our children. 

Don’t you agree?

From: Mark Mustio [mailto:mmustio@pahousegop.com]
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 3:39 PM
To: Mr. X

 Re: HB1950 and SB1000

The municipalities in my district have ordinances that fit in the legislation.  The area that I have a problem with are those municipalities (or their elected officials) that have swallowed the anti drilling koolaid and have in essence banned drilling by adopting an ordinance that has so many stipulations they have taken away oil, gas and mineral rights owners ability to gain from their rights.
T. Mark Mustio
Sent from my iPad

On Dec 19, 2011, at 3:08 PM, Mr. X wrote:
I know, but the municipality does have the knowledge to determine where in the Township drilling can occur.  If you take that away, it is a free for all.

From: Mark Mustio [mailto:mmustio@pahousegop.com]
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 3:04 PM
To: Mr. X
Subject: Re: HB1950 and SB1000

If a municipality eliminates drilling all together then there needs to be state intervention.  
T. Mark Mustio
Sent from my iPad

On Dec 19, 2011, at 1:52 PM, Mr. X wrote:
Please do not “Vote†to eliminate the Rights of all the Municipalities to manage their own Zoning Rights.  This issue has never been considered before, why is it being considered for the Natural Gas industry?

I swear to God, I will never vote for any Politician that votes to remove the Local Zoning Rights from the individual Municipalities!!!!

(Name deleted for obvious reasons.)

I added the red color and bold text. In this thread between Mr. X and T. Mark Mustio, you see that Mustio cares more about the need for drilling than the rights of individuals. He believes that anyone who does not want the drilling and Fracking predators entering their community and possibly destroying it through practices that could create significant problems, have been drinking the Kool-Aid. He believes that it is the state's right to intervene if communities decide to ban it or restrict drilling and Fracking in such a way that the industry moves on.

Another note: Mr. X sent out this email and it got forwarded to me, and many others, including PA Rep. Jesse White, of Washington County.

In the top thread where Mustio writes back, "bla, bla, bla", you see the arrogance of this PA paid employee who cares more about the drillers and Frackers and their needs, than the very people he is supposed to represent. He proclaims that this industry is also his "constituent". Industries don't vote, Mustio, people vote. And, most of the people in this industry do not live in your 44th district.

I believe that Mr. T. Mark Mustio is the one who has been drinking gallons of the Fracking Kool-Aid.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Range Resources Uses Military “Psy-Ops” to Counter Pennsylvania Drilling Opponents

 BY   From http://stateimpact.npr.org 11-8-11

CNBC obtained tape of sev­eral gas drilling exec­u­tives encour­ag­ing mil­i­tary tac­tics to counter anti-drilling activists and con­trol the mes­sage in Penn­syl­va­nia. On one seg­ment, Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella says the com­pany has decided to become more involved in Penn­syl­va­nia communities.
“…we have sev­eral for­mer “psy-ops” folks that work for us here at Range because they’re very com­fort­able in deal­ing with local­ized issues and local gov­ern­ments,” said Pitzarella at an indus­try con­fer­ence held in Hous­ton last week.
On tape, Pitzarella is heard say­ing the mil­i­tary “psy-ops” spe­cial­ists mostly help write local ordi­nances. He says they devel­oped their tech­niques in the Mid­dle East.
Pitzarella tells State Impact Penn­syl­va­nia that his com­ments were taken out of con­text. He says the employee ref­er­enced has a mil­i­tary back­ground, and expe­ri­ence dis­cussing emo­tion­ally charged issues. Pitzarella says his main mes­sage to con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants stressed the impor­tance of dia­log and transparency.
Matt Carmichael, from Anadarko Petro­leum, referred to drilling oppo­nents as “insur­gents.” Read the full CNBC arti­cle here.

Salts From Drilling, a Drinking Water Danger, Still Showing Up in Rivers

From Essential Public Radio 90.5 12-8-11


(Ann Murray/Allegheny Front.)
Stanley States, of PWSA, tests for bromide in the Clarion River.
Standing on a catwalk over a pool of water near the banks of the Ohio River, Frank Blaskovich points at a series of pipes draining into the far end of the pool.
There, that’s the river water coming in,” says Blaskovich, water treatment manager for Wheeling, West Virginia.
His job is to take water from the Ohio River and make it into safe drinking water for his city of 30,000. But since 2008, the Ohio has been too salty, so he’s had to dilute it with groundwater from backup wells. Blaskovich doesn't like doing this, because each added step costs money.
The price of water will eventually go up, which probably will lead to a possible rate hike,” he says. But he’s blending the river water anyway because it’s got high levels of bromide. Bromide is a salt, which by itself is harmless. But combined with chlorine at a drinking water plant like this one, it forms chemicals called trihalomethanes. Long term exposure to trihalomethanes increases the risk of bladder and other cancers.
Because of high bromide levels in the rivers, Wheeling and dozens of plants in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia have violated the EPA’s limits on trihalomethanes over the last three years. Over that time, 33 different  Western Pennsylania drinking water systems have exceeded EPA standards for the carcinogen.
Bromides come from many places, including sea water, coal-fired power plants, and chemicals. But the Ohio’s spike in bromide occured three years ago, and Blaskovich thinks that’s no coincidence.
That’s when deep drilling for gas sort of took off in this area of the country,” he says.
Each Marcellus shale gas well produces millions of gallons of salty water. The water is full of bromides, and until recently, drillers in Western Pennsylvania trucked this discharge to wastewater plants for disposal.
The plants could treat the water for metals and other pollutants, but not bromides. That requires expensive new technology. The plants would simply release the treated water — bromides and all — into rivers and streams.
But after trihalomethane levels started creeping up at drinking water plants, regulators took note. In March, the EPA expressed concern over Pennsylvania’s handling of Marcellus discharge, and a month later, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection asked drillers to stop sending wastewater to treatment plants.
DEP secretary Mike Krancer says a voluntary program would be quicker than making a new rule. “The industry — and I knew they would — did the responsible thing and complied, so we had compliance in 28 hours instead of 28 months,” Krancer says.
According to DEP records reviewed by The Allegheny Front, the request stopped most, but not all, drillers from sending Marcellus shale brine to these plants. After the request, some facilities, like the Franklin Brine Treatment plant south of Erie, saw their oil and gas wastewater shipments drop by 70 percent.
Drillers say that they are recycling more water now, or sending it to Ohio, where it’s injected into deep storage wells.
If drillers are sending much less of their salty water to treatment plants, bromide levels in the rivers should be going down. But, at least this year, that hasn’t been the case, says Jeanne VanBriesen, a Carnegie Mellon scientist who’s monitored bromide on the Monongahela River for the past two years.
We thought in such a wet year, we would see almost no bromide, it would be below our detection limit in most of our samples, and it was not,” she said.
But the question remains, where is the bromide coming from? Answering this question has been a mission for Stanley States, director of water treatment at Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. This mission led him to the banks of the Clarion River, in Elk County, on a chilly November day. States has been measuring bromide in the source water for his Allegheny River plant in Pittsburgh.
Wearing black and yellow waders, he got into fast-flowing river. Into the current, he hurled a wire basket with a plastic jug inside. He'll analyze the contents of the jug at two separate labs to see if bromides from the Clarion could affect drinking water in the Allegheny further downstream. 
Source-water protection is part of what we’re supposed to do as drinking water people,” says States, during a break in his sampling. “Our treatment doesn’t begin at the plant — it begins in the river system.”
States has been working with University of Pittsburgh researchers to identify bromide hot spots. They’ve sampled above and below places like municipal and commercial treatement plants that have taken Marcellus Brine in the past.
Back in his office, he says that coal-fired power plants can raise bromide levels. But he found these aren’t the biggest bromide producers.
It’s pretty clear the only places where there’s significant increases in bromides are downstream from these industrial waste water plants,” States says.
Citing scientific convention, States did not name the treatment plants he’s monitoring, though he does provide their locations. This raised doubts about the study’s credibility, for DEPSecretary Krancer.
I thought that the charge being made particularly suspicious and baseless, certainly, because supposed names of violators were not disclosed. I have to look at that with a bit of suspicion,” Krancer says.
The Allegheny Front shared the study with a handful of water scientists. They generally agreed that States used standard methods for a study of this kind. They said that it provides a snapshot of pollution levels in certain spots, not a definitive picture of the river’s overall health. One strength, they said, is that the study covers a long period of time. States has sampled 38 places once a month for a year.
States stands by his study.
Krancer, the DEP secretary, says that it’s probably too early to declare an ongoing bromide problem in the rivers.
Assuming the data are accurate, and that bromide levels are still high, does it mean that Marcellus brine is still the cause? That is unclear, says Carnegie Mellon’s VanBriesen. She says that there could be other potential sources of bromide. These include wastewater from conventional oil and gas drilling, the kind that’s been produced in Pennsylvania for decades.
Almost anything to do with fossil fuel production has the potential to contain amounts of bromide we should manage and think about,” VanBriesen says.
So does this mean that water from hydraulic fracturing wasn’t really a problem in the first place? That’s what some plant operators say. One of these operators is Paul Hart, who owns three oil and gas treatment plants, including the Franklin Brine plant. Hart said that DEP used “bad science” in asking drillers to steer clear of his plant.
But VanBriesen, of Carnegie Mellon, disagrees.
We know this wastewater has bromide in it,” she says. “Any waste you take out of the system that contains bromide will reduce amount of bromide in the basin.”
In the spring, the EPA will tighten their standards for trihalomethanes. That has water plant operators like States worried. “And the public will be very upset if they have to receive public notification that their water doesn’t comply with the safe drinking water act,” States says. “They’re going to want answers.”
Chief among their questions, States says, is who’s responsible for getting bromides out of the rivers.
Bromide in the Allegheny River and THMS in Pittsburgh Drinking Water: A Link with Marcellus Shale Drilling
Stanley State’s survey of the Allegheny River and its tributaries. The study includes bromide data from above and below industrial treatment plants, coal-fired power stations, and municipal treatment plants. It was presented at an American Water Works Association conference last month.
Western Pennsylvania drinking water systems that have exceeded the EPA’s limit of 80 parts per billion annual average for trihalomethanes, since 2008. SourcePennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Drinking water reporting system.
The Allegheny Front’s Ann Murray also reported on this story.