Dispatch from Dimock:

The activity has really picked up here and over toward Elk Lake. Truck and tanker activity is steadily increasing. Water / whatever trucks running all night long.  A dump truck roared by while I was along the road and it reeked of an oily smell – what was he hauling? Dirt roads are being widened and built up. Watched Brown Tree employees cut giant trees along a road that I considered one of the most beautiful walks in Dimock.  The well site at Rayias has a pit.  Thought pits were out?  The Lathrop Compressor is just the beginning – it will be expanded as more wells come on line.  Pipeline paths everywhere.  After some optimism last few weeks I am sad to inform you – the destruction is in full swing, it does not look like we will get any help here in Susquehanna County. Heard a Cabot worker bought the bar a round at a local bar, dropped $600.00 on the crowd. Business is good…

- Victoria Switzer

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Independent Weekender story, 6/9/2010:

Dimock looking at frack facility

Dimock Township Supervisors discussed plans for a hydraulic fracturing solution facility which will prepare hydrofracking solution for the gas well industry as well as storage for produced water awaiting shipping and/or treatment.

Somerset Regional Water Resources has submitted plans to the state Department of Environmental Resources and hopes to obtain the necessary permits for waste transfer and storage. The supervisors noted concerns with possible tank registration requirements.

The property, which is owned by Joseph and Nicole Vibbard, will include a large residual waste storage facility, as well as a structure designed for the storage and mixing of gas industry “products” with water before being taken to gas well sites. The property was formerly a veal farm.

Township secretary Paul Jennings said there is a 30-day time line if residents wish to submit comments to DEP about whether to issue the permits.

. . . . .
Switzer said that there are seven driveways in a row, including hers, on the left side of SR 3023, and that with the speed of traffic on that state road passing through Dimock, “It’s there but for the grace of God we haven’t been killed” pulling out of their driveways onto the paved road.

. . . . .
Norma Fiorentino asked if the supervisors knew what was in the water that Cabot Gas and Oil has been applying to the dirt roads in Dimock.

Resident Catherine Probasco said that the water she has seen being applied to Baker Road last summer was oily and foamy. The supervisors said that the calcium for dust control approved at last month’s meeting has been purchased and applied.

Ellis said that Cabot should supply the supervisors with a letter specifying in writing what is in the water they are applying to township roads. “The supervisors should make Cabot give them a report of what they are putting on the road, instead of always praising them.”

Sautner said that he was wondering, “now that the gas wells are here, are we considered residential still, or commercial, or industrial?”

Paul Jennings answered, “That’s up to the assessment office.”

Sautner replied, “Our water is ruined, our property value has dropped down to nothing, but my taxes went up. We are still paying high taxes like anyone else with clean water.”

Lettie Ellis said, “Why not invite the assessment committee to come here to address this?”

Switzer said that there needs to be someone looking out for safety. “A pipeline in Texas exploded today, and there was a blowout at a gas well site in Clearfield,” she said. “Luckily, not in a school yard. Not two hundred feet from a home, like the Carters.”

She noted that there have been 50 incidents of gas migration into water in Pennsylvania. Several residents agreed that if an incident of any kind arose on Hunsinger Road, a disaster would be likely, due to the conditions of that dirt road.
For complete story, click here

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Some selections from a Pennsylvania blog

Frack Mountain

2010.04.30 “NoCana”

“On the broadcast, Steve Corbett related how he has been unable to get anyone from EnCana to talk with him. They are about to change our world in a very surreal, industrial, and irreversible way – yet are too arrogant to address any of these potentialities with the public.

“Even if you had the perfect company doing all the right things, fracking is still a dirty, radioactive, water wasting, toxin injecting, air polluting, community disrupting, waste producing, land damaging, infrastructure intensive, property devaluing, inefficient way to produce energy. Add on top of that a secretive and entitled corporation – you are begging for trouble.”


2010.04.10 Here’s an admission of the possible hazards by the industry

Range Resources Corporation (hydrofrackers) filed this with the SEC in 2006 as part of their prospectus:

Our business is subject to operating hazards and environmental regulations that could result in substantial losses or liabilities Oil and natural gas operations are subject to many risks, including well blowouts, craterings, explosions, uncontrollable flows of oil, natural gas or well fluids, fires, formations with abnormal pressures, pipeline ruptures or spills, pollution, releases of toxic natural gas and other environmental hazards and risks. If any of these hazards occur, we could sustain substantial losses as a result of: • Injury or loss of life; • Severe damage to or destruction of property, natural resources and equipment; • Pollution or other environmental damage; • Clean-up responsibilities; • Regulatory investigations and penalties; or • Suspension of operations. As we begin drilling to deeper horizons and in more geologically complex areas, we could experience a greater increase in operating and financial risks due to inherent higher reservoir pressures and unknown downhole risk exposures.  Source:Range Resources Prospectus


2010.04.09  Dispatch from Dimock

It is like a war zone up here in Dimock. Helicopters hovering overhead all the time dropping their seismic testing “pods” – spooking my horses. Workers in the fields and woods stringing miles of seismic testing wire – trucks heavy equipment driving by constantly – dust – noise – skies lit up at night from the drilling rigs – constant noise from the drilling and fracking. Drillers park their chemical trucks next door here at work and I walk over sometimes and try to read the names of the chemical containers – can’t understand the names of the chemicals but they all have skull and crossbones next to them – what would one think that means! Sorry for the rant – just have to vent once in a while. Chuck.


2010.04.05  an urgent email

… our family has experienced in a very direct and personal way, the devastating impact these gas leases can have on individual property owners. Now we wonder whether anyone will want to buy my Dad’s home, and, if so, at what price? Who would have thought that the beautiful woods, meadows and ponds surrounding my Dad’s home would someday become a liability rather than an asset?

For my family, this recent experience was a wake up call. We applaud your efforts on behalf of clean water and preserving a livable environment for the residents of the Back Mountain area. These efforts serve the larger community and are clearly the more important mission of your organization. However, before it is too late, we also want to bring to the attention of Back Mountain area residents the potential impact of these leases on their property values. Like my Dad, many area residents may be unaware that a gas lease exists near their home and the activities that are allowed under the lease (testing, drilling, laying pipeline, installing lease roads, installing pumps, compressors, separators, tanks, power stations, transporting oil and gas by pipeline or otherwise, “and all other rights and privileges necessary, incident to, or convenient for the economical operation of said Leasehold Premises…” quoting from the Memorandum of Oil and Gas Lease impacting my Dad’s home). I hope that you will communicate our fears to the local area elected representatives. It is truly a scandal that at all levels – national, state and local – elected officials have failed to protect ordinary citizens with reasonable regulation of the gas industry.


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From the Susquehanna County Independent newspaper,  April 21, in the weekly “News From Dimock” feature:

“We residents of Dimock Township owe a great big “Thank You” to the neighbors who have been complaining loudly for months that Cabot’s faulty drilling practices have ruined their drinking water. Some of us did not take them seriously but they kept at it… Finally, DEP has proved them right and declared a year’s moratorium on drilling. This does not purify their drinking water but perhaps it will prevent contamination for the rest of us.  Thank you dear neighbors-especially those who live on Carter Rd. and points east.”


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A November 4th press release from the PA DEP reveals that while “numerous” people in Dimock have been without good water for, oh, a year, give or take, it takes an agreement process with DEP to force Cabot Oil & Gas to address residents’ need for “replacement” water.  It takes an agreement process with DEP to force Cabot Oil & Gas to release to DEP a complete list of people who have reported issues with their water.

DEP says this will provide a “long-term solution.”  That seems optimistic.  How do you “replace” someone’s own clean, clear, safe spring or well water?  And, you have to wonder, eventually,  after northeastern PA and New York’s Southern Tier are pincushioned with  gas wells, where will the “replacement” water come from?  And what will we use to schlep it from hither to thither?  Oh, yeah, now I remember: diesel fuel made from foreign oil.  Yup, that stuff that natural gas was supposed to free us from depending on.


Pennsylvania DEP Reaches Agreement with Cabot to Prevent Gas Migration,
Restore Water Supplies in Dimock Township

Agreement Requires DEP Approval for Well Casing, Cementing

MEADVILLE, Pa., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Department of
Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. have executed a consent
order and agreement that will provide a long-term solution for migrating gas
that has affected 13 water supplies in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County.

The affected area covers nine square miles around Carter Road.

The consent order and agreement outlines a process that will give DEP more
oversight of Cabot’s new well construction work in the affected area. Prior to
drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or hydro fracking, the company will submit
well casing and cementing plans to DEP. Once DEP provides written approval,
Cabot may proceed.

“The goal of the consent order and agreement is to ensure a long-term
resolution to issues that have emerged in Dimock,” said DEP Northwest Regional
Director Kelly Burch. “The company will focus on the integrity of the wells in
the affected area in an attempt to determine the source of the migrating gas.”

This past week, Cabot has provided an interim solution for all of the homes
where water supplies have been affected. Cabot must develop a plan by March 31
to restore or replace the affected water supplies permanently.

Under the consent order and agreement, Cabot must additionally submit to DEP:

– Information on all parties who have contacted the company about water
quantity or quality issues; and

– A plan that specifically identifies how the company intends to prove the
integrity of the casing and cementing on existing wells and fix
defective casing and cementing by March 31.

If Cabot fails to fix the defective casing and cementing by the March
deadline, the company must plug defective wells or implement another
alternative as approved by DEP.

In addition, Cabot paid a $120,000 civil penalty for violations of the Oil and
Gas Act, the Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Streams Law.

The consent order and agreement caps a DEP investigation that began early this
year when numerous Dimock area residents reported evidence of natural gas in
their water supplies. DEP inspectors discovered that the well casings on some
of Cabot’s natural gas wells were cemented improperly or insufficiently,
allowing natural gas to migrate to groundwater.

On Sept. 25, following a series of wastewater spills, DEP ordered Cabot to
cease hydro fracking natural gas wells throughout Susquehanna County. The
prohibition was removed after the company completed a number of important
engineering and safety tasks.

Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. is a Delaware-based company with a mailing address in

For more information on oil and gas wells, visit www.depweb@state.pa.us,
keyword: Oil and gas.

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