Guest editorial – MB writes:


Here’s a quote from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s piece on wind turbines:

"All of us need periodically to experience wilderness to renew our
spirits and reconnect ourselves to the common history of our nation,
humanity and to God. The worst trap that environmentalists can fall
into is the conviction that the only wilderness worth preserving is in
the Rocky Mountains or Alaska. To the contrary, our most important
wildernesses are those that are closest to our densest population
centers, like Nantucket Sound."

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Forested hills, lovely farmland, beautiful streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds, and clean air–all of these things abound in the Southern Tier of NY and Northeast PA. And–wonder of wonders–the area containing these clean and green treasures is home to millions of people and within easy traveling distance for millions more. What a great place to renew our spirits! Wow–if one didn’t know better, it would seem that Kennedy was writing about OUR region!!!

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But no. It was Nantucket Sound he wanted to protect. From a wind farm.

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I understand that wind farms present problems. I really do. Yet, frankly, at this point I would jump for joy if we could have wind farms instead of gas drilling. At least then any sacrifices we might make would be for truly clean and renewable energy and my husband and I wouldn’t have to worry about our house exploding, our water catching fire, our bodies being contaminated with endocrine disruptors and NORMS, our road being filled with dangerous truck traffic, our lungs being filled with smog, or the possibility that we might at some point be told to evacuate because of a gas well fire or a chemical spill or a pipeline explosion (assuming we had not already been killed by the fire or the spill or the explosion). And it’s bad enough that we–who have already had 25 good years here, will be subjected to the nightmare of drilling–what about the little kids who will grow up surrounded by it? Not to worry: I’m sure we can “mitigate” the damage caused to these children’s bodies and spirits by locking them inside (out of the smog) and having them watch videos of beautiful Nantucket Sound on their computer screens.

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I used to think that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was a real environmentalist. I didn’t think he was just one more rich guy protecting his own turf at someone else’s expense. Guess I was mistaken.

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From Hedgehog Lane, Bradford Township, McKean County, PA:

“There is a Crossett truck here this morning.  The second that I saw it pull up, I closed every window because I knew what was coming.  My house is currently full of vapors that are making me nauseous….even with every window closed, this is the result.  What more can I do????  There is nowhere in my house that I can go to escape the fumes, I certainly can’t go outside, and I have no vehicle.  So I am forced to sit here light-headed, dizzy, and with a headache sucking in these fumes.  This is the third time in the past 6 days that we have been exposed to this severity of stench.  This is a very real problem that is going on way too long.”

“I spent 2.5  hours in my basement because the fumes were so bad in my home while a propane truck filled up from the stripper plant.  It’s the 3rd time in 6 days that the stench has been so bad, but today was by far the worst!  The basement even stunk, just not as bad as the rest of the house…I have had calls from neighbors over a pretty large area that say that they experienced the vapors today as well.”

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In a July 27 post, Robert F Kennedy correctly lists some of the reasons we need to move away from burning coal for energy generation.   Unfortunately, his conclusion that the solution is to replace coal with natural gas is as erroneous as his convictions about coal are correct.

At http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/king-coal_b_245117.html he concludes:

“Natural gas comes with its own set of environmental caveats. It is a carbon-based fuel and [its] extraction from shale, the most significant new source, if not managed carefully, can cause serious water, land use, and wildlife impacts, especially in the hands of irresponsible producers and lax regulators. But those impacts are dwarfed by the disastrous holocaust of coal and can be mitigated by careful regulation.

The giant advantage of a quick conversion from coal to gas is the quickest route for jumpstarting our economy and saving our planet.

In response, SplashdownPA writes:

“It sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
“All we need are responsible producers and vigilant regulators!

“Congress can’t even agree that this is necessary! Money isn’t there for environmental protection agencies to hire the number of inspectors necessary to monitor this lawless industry. And YES! coal mining and burning is dangerously toxic, but when Kennedy talks about enough affordable natural gas to last us into the next century, he’s supporting perpetuation of a carbon-based energy industry that has demonstrated it is unwilling to divert a nickel of its profits to safeguard our absolutely VITAL resources: WATER, AIR and LAND. Their best practices are simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Especially not a century’s worth!!!

“Closing coal fired plants would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 20%.. BUT, what measure of CO2 and even more environmentally harmful methane is released into the atmosphere during extraction of natural gas, including toxic air polluting emissions from transporting the millions of gallons of water to and from well pads, treatment or burial of “produced water”, operating drilling rigs, compressors and other associated gas production equipment and activities, over and above emissions from well flares and finally, power plant emissions from energy generation from natural gas? How does all that stack up against that 20%?

“How too does Kennedy justify the permanent depletion and contamination of drinking water supplies across the country, occurring as a result of mining for gas? Surely he can’t think that indicating the need for responsibility and vigilance is going to suddenly manifest a new attitude on all fronts, by all players in this play?

“What guarantees do we have that a gluttonous industry won’t milk the quick fix dry, leaving us with an irrevocable permanent loss in exchange for temporary energy?

“There are important unanswered, and without drilling reform legislation in place, perhaps unanswerable questions. They loom like loopholes in his argument as we continue to learn how criminally untrustworthy corporate America is willing to be in pursuit of the almighty dollar. We’ve seen too how even regulations aren’t foolproof, and how when one entity acts outside the law it encourages others to follow suit.

“Meanwhile, the gas industry has already been irresponsible for deadly releases of toxins into the atmosphere, deadly releases of toxins into our waters, for killing and/or sickening livestock, wildlife and humans, for the seepage of toxic wastewater into our lands, contaminating land and water, the evaporation into the atmosphere of carcinogens from open sludgepits… in short, there isn’t anything healthy or friendly about the production of natural gas and turning a blind eye to the devastating problems of the lesser of two evils does not make the lesser evil any better.”

Read more at:

http://splashdownpa.blogspot.com/2009/07/king-coal-rf-kennedy-jr-weighs-in-on.html

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PA DEP Investigating Natural Gas Well Leak In Lycoming County

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa., July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a natural gas well leak at an East Resources well in McNett Township, Lycoming County.

“East Resources is cooperating fully with our investigation, and has already implemented measures to stop the leak,” said DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell. “DEP staff will continue to work closely with East Resources and local emergency responders to ensure the safety of nearby residents.”

DEP was alerted to the problem last week by a citizen who reported discoloration of water in a tributary to Lycoming Creek and in a nearby spring. DEP staff investigated on July 24 what was then a suspected sediment problem in the creek.

On Monday, DEP received a report of possible natural gas bubbling from the tributary. DEP staff collected water samples from the spring and the tributary. Those samples are being analyzed for methane and other parameters in the department’s laboratory in Harrisburg. DEP staff confirmed the bubbling in two Lycoming Creek tributaries earlier today.

East Resources personnel monitored 18 private water wells in the nearby area that same day, and are providing water to four homes. They also monitored methane levels in the homes.

East Resources has three wells in the area, which are in the Oriskaney [sic] geologic formation, and not in the Marcellus Shale area. Two of the wells are drilled and completed, but not yet in service due to the lack of gathering lines in the area. The third well was previously plugged and abandoned.

East Resources began flaring the Delciotto #2 well on Monday to reduce pressure from the natural gas, and is currently working to flare the other two wells. The company is investigating the possibility that a casing failure in part of the Delciotto #2 well caused the natural gas leak. The company is attempting to seal off the leak with drilling mud to stop the natural gas from escaping.

CONTACT: Daniel T. Spadoni (570) 327-3659

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

- http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-28-2009/0005067720&EDATE=

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We don’t have to wonder how New York State could be affected by HD/HVHF (horizontal drilling / high-volume hydraulic fracturing.  All we have to do is look at what’s happened – and happening – in other states.    Here’s a voice from the Barnett Shale in Texas:

“We have learned that the industry we are dealing with is a mafia within itself, a criminal industry that has the backing of government at all levels. All of the communication the public receives from this mafia-esque industry comes through “public relations” people–that is to say, paid professional liars.

“Our advice to you is don’t ever believe a word they say about important issues. Don’t ever enter into negotiations with them. Any time you are forced to deal with them, be advised that nothing they refuse to put into a contract is an enforceable commitment.

“Once you have signed a mineral lease and the driller has spudded in a bit, you have become a junior co- owner of your property with no power over what is done on the surface or below.”

- Jerry Lobdill, http://www.fwcando.org/, http://fw-credo.com/

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July 8, 2009 -  A landscaper’s backhoe struck a gas well in Mayfield Heights, near Cleveland, Ohio, forcing the evacuation of apartments and businesses,  according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and News Channel 5.  According to a spokesperson for NEOGAP, the accident occurred during the routine process of “reclaiming” the well site – that is, regrading and seeding.

According to the Plain Dealer, a woman who answered the phone at Bass Energy Co, the well owner, hung up on a reporter.  Video shot by Newsnet 5 shows the vice president of Bass Energy ripping the mic from a reporter’s hand and throwing it away in the parking lot, after the reporter followed him to his car to get a comment.

Story:

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/07/gas_leak_in_mayfield_heights_f.html

Story and video:

http://www.newsnet5.com/news/19991581/detail.html

Food for thought:

Were you under the impression that if you live in a town, you don’t have to worry about being affected by the natural gas industry?

Why do states  allow gas wells – an obvious hazard – to be developed in densely populated residential neighborhood and commercial areas?

When the neighborhood opposed the well (see video) why were its concerns ignored?

Do you think your state and regulating agencies are really looking out for you and your community?

Do gas companies make good neighbors?

Do you want the hazards of a gas well near you?

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Does Schreiner’s ‘right’ to extract natural gas supersede residents’ right to clean water and safe homes?    And does the industry’s ‘right’ to process natural gas supersede the neighborhood’s right to clean air?

These folks didn’t move into this neighborhood knowing their air and water was going to be ruined. They had good water and air. Drilling and processing of (un)natural gas by someone else has taken their property.

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June 9, 2009
“Our neighbor who has been out of his house for 11 weeks brought a sample of his water from his newly drilled well up to our house, and it still catches on fire- we got video again.  Plus, now there is some weird black stuff in it- it’s a little like oil but a little like charcoal or something.  Very strange.  Schreiner apparently didn’t know that our neighbor already tested his water, because he told him that he has great water now and can move back in!  I just can’t believe that.  Also, it appears that Schreiner has lied to State Representative Martin Causer’s secretary Rhonda because he told her that the Bailey family was already back in their home- definitely not true.

“Another neighbor told me that he heard that Schreiner has been kicked out of New York state and Sheffield, PA for bad practice before.  I’d sure like to try and find those details.

“Another neighbor has a new well and a reverse osmosis system, and his water is still bad.  DEP alluded to the idea that as long as they can get good water out of one tap in the house for drinking, then that will be all that Schreiner has to do.  Ridiculous.

“The stripper plant is still way too noisy and the vapors coming off of it are not getting any better.  The couple of neighbors who have detectors in their homes (I think CO2 and methane) have had the alarms go off several times.  These are issues that we are going to stress at the next township meeting on the 22nd.”

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June 16, 2009
“My neighbor who has been out of his home for 12 weeks now was forced to move back in tonight.  His water still catches on fire, but Schreiner said that he’s done and won’t pay for a hotel anymore.  DEP claims that it’s perfectly safe… even though when my neighbor runs the washer there is free methane left in the machine after the laundry is done!  Unbelievable. Schreiner says he put $100,000 into addressing our problems, and even though not one house has their issues fixed, he is “done” and if we want more we just have to sue him.  He’s even been giving State Representative Causer’s secretary crap telling her to stop calling him with our complaints and that he is just going to stop answering his phone.”

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DEP, why do you side with industry?

It’s time to take the oil & gas industry in hand.


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