ShaleTest image

From the ShaleTest website: Is a Non-Profit Organization providing environmental testing services, public speaking engagements and educational materials to private individuals and groups whose lives are affected by natural gas development.

Purpose: To provide environmental testing of private individuals drinking water, air and soil, for those affected or potentially affected by natural gas development whose personal financial situation prohibit the costs of test.

Additionally, to provide testing of water where drinking water is sourced (area lakes, rivers, streams and other large bodies of water), for evidence of fluids and /or chemicals associated with natural gas development.  This may include the testing of potentially affected wildlife.

Also, to provide educational awareness to the public of the dangers associated with natural gas development.  This is to be accomplished by holding public meetings, speaking engagements, visual presentations and distribution of literature, pamphlets, books and other documents such as videos and pictures. is a new national group that has a mission:  “To provide lower income and compromised individuals with environmental testing of their drinking water, air and soil that might have been impacted by natural gas development.  Our testing involves analyzing and measuring these elements for the presence of natural gas development fluids or associated chemicals and compounds. We also provide the public with educational awareness to the dangers associated with natural gas development.” Currently, ShaleTest has testing volunteers in Texas, Pennsylvania and Arkansas, and is recruiting in other states.




From “The Spill Seekers,” Outside Magazine, November 2010


While I was in Louisiana, there was an event at the Cajundome, in Lafayette, called the Rally for Economic Survival:  11,000 people packed the place to hear the governor, the lieutenant governor, and, of all people, the executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Marketing and Promotion Board rail against the Obama administration for stealing their jobs by imposing a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling.

“Enough is enough!” raged the lieutenant governor, Scott Angelle, in his thick Cajun accent.  “Louisiana has a long and strong, distinguished history of fueling America, and we proudly do what few other states are willing to do. …America is not yet ready to get all of its fuel from the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees!”

True, but of the six billion to seven billion barrels of oil consumed by the U.S. each year, only about 10 percent comes from federal Gulf of Mexico waters; we get the same amount from both the Persian Gulf and Canada.  Louisiana is no longer a significant source of crude, on- or off-shore.  What it does supply is cheap labor and a pliant local government.  In this, it’s eerily reminiscent of Third World places ruined by oil.  The BPs of the world would have you believe oil brings prosperity to the countries where it’s discovered, but it brings misery so dependably that economists have a name for the phenomenon:  the resource curse.

Ecuador, Venezuela, Iraq:  Bad things happen to countries “blessed” with oil.  The Niger Delta is the Mississippi River Delta’s separated-at-birth twin, offering the scariest cautionary tale of all.  This tropical river delta held some of the greatest wetlands on earth, with abundant shellfish, crabs, and shrimp, the foundation of the economy and culture, but it also harbored vast oil reserves.  In the past 50 years, Shell has grown preposterously wealthy off that oil, while Nigeria, with the tenth-largest oil reserves in the world, has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  Almost three times as much oil has spilled into the Niger River Delta as was spilled by the Deepwater Horizon:  546 million gallons and counting.  The creeks are black, and the crabs and shrimp are dead.  There are always leaking, corroded wellheads and pipelines.  Gangs of rebels and oil thieves roam the jungle.  Flaring rigs fill the air with mercury, arsenic, and carcinogens.  Disease is rampant.  The government is cardboard.

Southern Louisiana is no Nigeria, but it’s also no longer quite recognizable as the United States.  The trailer homes on pilings, the dearth of education, the chronic disease, the fat parish chiefs – I know the Third World when I see it.  Cajuns haven’t grown rich on crude; Houston has.  And when the oil runs out, there’s nothing left to fall back on.

I bet Angelle would simply argue that oil is worth billions more than seafood.  But that’s only because we aren’t sophisticated enough to put a value on all the multifarious “ecosystem services” the gulf provides:  benefits of the natural world, resources and processes we all too often take for granted.  If we were to add these things to the ledger – all that gulf seafood and the health savings from it, the hurricane protection and wildlife habitat in all those marshes, to name only a few – and apply the calculus of their self-perpetuating sustainability, the astronomical value would blow your mind.  It leaves petroleum in the pit.  … How much are all those acres of disappearing land worth?  What price the mental anxiety of a culture watching its homeland disintegrate?  How much added value do you assign oyster reefs because they’ve never, ever blown up and killed anyone?  It’s only ignorance – an inability to tally all the gains and losses – that makes oil look good.


Do yourself a favor: pick up a copy at your favorite newstand and read the whole piece.  And say thanks to Outside Magazine.



Pipeline ‘pig’ crashes through Grand Prairie home



Watch the Video here:

Posted on October 20, 2010 at 10:48 PM

GRAND PRAIRIE — Those worried about the growing number of gas pipelines in North Texas may have new justification for their concerns.

This time, it’s not a leak or an explosion, but a pipeline testing device that was launched into the air like a missile.

Some say the end result could have been just as deadly.

To Grand Prairie residents living near a pipeline construction project at Arkansas Lane and Highway 161, the equipment and activities had been little more than a eyesore.

Until last Friday, that is, when a device called a “pig” — being used to pressure test a pipeline under construction — was launched like a missile out of the end of a pipe, straight toward a house 500 feet away.

As the photographs provided to News 8 showed, it was a direct hit — right into Robert Heredia’s bedroom.

“It looked like a war zone in here when it hit, it was really bad,” Heredia said.

He and his wife were not at home at the time, but his daughter Christina was. While she was in another part of the house, he realizes the incident could easily have had tragic consequences.

“If it would have been 20 minutes later, she probably would have been in here getting ready to go to work,” Heredia said. “That’s what gets me as a dad… you know what could have happened.”

The 150 lb. flying object was retrieved by its owners, DFW Midstream. They admit their mistake and have offered to pay for damages to two homes.

. . . . .

“It could have killed somebody,” [Heredia] said. “Still I haven’t heard from anybody since Friday, the day it happened.”

Heredia feels that by just paying for his damages, the company avoids paying a price for endangering lives.

Even though the accident took place on Friday, the incident was not officially reported to the Texas Railroad Commission until Wednesday after News 8 began inquiring about what happened.

Reportable incidents are supposed to be brought to the attention of Railroad Commission investigators within two hours.



It’s not free money.
Landowners and communities must count the costs.



Thanks to  Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition for this outstanding video




There isn’t really so much recoverable shale gas out there.   And there isn’t nearly enough market for what’s currently coming out of the ground.  What’s a dinosaur of an energy player to do?

Here’s what:  First, convince investors that natural gas is the next big thing.  (You can do this with lots of slick commercials on the financial channels.)  Drill lots of wells with their money.  Foreign countries make perfectly good investors – after all, what’re they gonna do when it all collapses – start a war? on US soil?  Second, but simultaneously, convince greedy and gullible lawmakers that there are almost limitless supplies of your commodity and lobby them to pass HR 1835 to give favorable tax treatment (at taxpayer expense, of course) to encourage conversion of the US transportation fleet to natural gas.  This will not only create a desperately-needed market for all that gas in storage that no one knows what do with, but it might finally improve the unit price  (and your stock price, too).    Quick, pull it off while it still looks like there’s more natural gas than anyone knows what to do with!

Once you’ve paid yourself handsomely from investor and taxpayer dollars, get the heck out before everyone else sees the bubble’s about to pop.   The profits from the construction of all those retooled factories and natural gas filling stations will be in your pockets.  Who cares if the factories are at a standstill and the filling stations are obsolete?

P.S. Be sure to invest some of that lucre you duped out of investors and taxpayers into bottled-water companies and municipal water suppliers.  After all that drilling, there’ll be lots of demand for replacement water supplies.

Must-see Powerpoint:


Arthur Berman:

Shale Gas -

Abundance or Mirage?

Why the Marcellus

Will Disappoint Expectations

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We knew it happens; here’s proof:

Wetzel County Action Group photo used with permission


Tanker dumping fluid onto public road

see also   Sootypaws Journal – Fracture Waste