If at first you don’t spill enough, try, try again

  • Dimock, PA, approximately Thursday, 9/3:
    A blowout occurs during drilling under a road and wetland for a gas pipeline, resulting in a large spill of drilling mud.  Witnesses report a greasy, gray film running down a water body.  Local people who hear about the blowout have difficulty getting the straight story, despite persistently asking questions of DEP and drilling company representatives.
  • Dimock, PA,  Wednesday, 9/16, afternoon:
    “At least a thousand” gallons of frack fluid escape from the Heitsman2 well site and run down into Stevens Creek. According to the fracturing subcontractor, Halliburton, the fluid contains carcinogenic substances.
  • Dimock, PA, Wednesday, 9/16, late evening:
    A much larger spill of the same fluid occurs.  Reports say the total volume of both spills the released frack fluids is as much as 8500 gallons.
  • Dimock, PA, Tuesday, 9/22
    Another spill of the same fluid occurs.   This one is of “hundreds of gallons.”

DEP reports fish swimming erratically and kills of small aquatic life.

On 9/22, after the third spill in a week’s time, DEP cites Cabot with 5 violations.

Following DEP’s action, the fish are still dead.

On 9/25, DEP orders Cabot to stop all hydraulic fracturing activities in Susquehanna County.

Reports indicate that, subsequent to DEP’s order, the fish are still dead.

. . . .

Why do regulating agencies pretend that physics pays any attention to regulations?

Why do they pretend that their disciplinary action is effective, when no disciplinary action can reverse the damage once it’s done?

On 9/30, the NYS DEC will issue its draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, the next step in paving the way for New York to enjoy the  benefits of industrial-scale gas drilling with horizontal drilling / high-volume hydraulic fracturing in low-permeability gas reservoirs.

The fish in our brooks and rivers are, for the time being,  still alive.  But it’s only a matter of time and physics – not regulation – before the same fate befalls them.