Senator Casey Introduces Three Natural Gas Bills

The following is a press release from Senator Robert Casey regarding three bills he has reintroduced.

(1) S1215: Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (aka: The Frac Act)

(2) S S3964: Faster Action Safety Team Emergency Response Act (aka: FASTER)

(3) S3720: Marcellus Shale On-the-Job Training Act of 2010

Senator Casey’s release describes these bills. However, if you want to read the bills themselves, click here and type in the bill number or name in the appropriate location, or scroll through the list of legislators to find the person sponsoring the bill: http://thomas.gov/

NOTE: newly introduced bills may not be posted immediately. At the time I received this information the three bills described in this release are not yet on this site.

Seeing Gas Drilling’s Ugly Side Firsthand

The following is a blog – a personal perspective –  on visiting Dimock, PA and seeing for the first time gas drilling’s impact on that area. After taking the last couple of weekends to travel around PA to see this sort of thing for myself I know how scary and powerful it can be. This blog is well done and I wanted to share it with all of you. Thanks for the link Anne!

Visiting Dimock, Seeing Gas Drilling’s Ugly Side Firsthand

Kate Sinding
Senior Attorney, New York City
Posted April 15, 2010 in Curbing Pollution

Like so many who have been following controversial gas drilling issues in the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale region (the geological formation that stretches from West Virginia to upstate New York), I have been hearing and reading about, and seeing images of, Dimock, PA for the past roughly year-and-a-half.  For those not in the know, Dimock has become the unfortunate poster child for all that can go wrong when industrial gas drilling in the Marcellus isn’t adequately regulated and companies make mistakes.  Residents have experienced the wide array of adverse effects associated with shale gas production – many of them, it should be noted, inherent in the activity even under the best of circumstances. These impacts include: exploding water wells, contaminated water supplies necessitating daily fresh water deliveries (complete with home invasion in order to accept the regular deliveries), rural landscapes utterly transformed into industrial zones, constant diesel fumes, 24-hour-a-day traffic and noise that literally shakes the walls of homes.

I finally had the opportunity to visit Dimock in person earlier this week.  This is the first of a series of posts that I’ll file giving some of my impressions.  I’m doing this not because I have something new or unique to offer, but because the experience so affected me.  And the people who invited me into their homes deserve to have their stories told. I have been working on the Marcellus Shale gas drilling issue for about two-and-a-half years, but as much as I have read, listened to stories, seen photos and video footage and talked about the potential adverse impacts, nothing can compare to seeing, hearing and smelling them live….

Only when you’re standing in the front yard of someone’s dream home – which was once surrounded only by their residential neighbors and farms – and see, hear, smell and feel the vibrations of the incessant truck traffic that passes at all hours of the day and night can you truly understand how transformative it is when gas production arrives in a community.  Only when you hear the constant industrial noise from every direction as new well pads are cleared, well bores drilled and then fracked – noise that likewise exists around the clock – can you comprehend how those whose lives have already been turned upside down by drilling gone wrong can never escape the constant auditory reminders.  And only when you stand in the backyard of a family who moved to the beautiful Dimock countryside after their last home burned to the ground and see the well pads to both their immediate left and right does it become clear that – even if everything had gone “right” – this family now lives in an industrial zone….

Visiting  Dimock, Seeing Gas Drilling’s Ugly Side Firsthand

To read the full blog, see photos and read others’ reactions to the blog, click here:

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ksinding/visiting_dimock_seeing_gas_dri.html

Marcellus Hearing in Williamsport, PA

Anne Harris Katz attended the four-hour hearing on Marcellus gas impacts two days ago, in Williamsport.  Here are her comments:

“I was in the audience for the entirety of this hearing, the content of which is covered in the two articles below. Of all the public events I have attended on Marcellus Shale impacts, this one had the most balance among the perspectives of industry, regulators, and groups concerned about protecting the environment and economy.

The articles in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette do a reasonable job covering the approximately four hours of testimony and Q & A between testifiers and legislators. There was not time for questions or comments from the audience, but the legislators asked good questions and made useful comments. I take issue with referring to what went on in this event as a “lively debate”. This was a public hearing at which formal testimony was taken. In my estimation it was not a debate. It would be helpful for those who could not attend to have access to a transcript of everything said. ”   AHK


Here are the two links to the articles on the Sun Gazette that she mentions.

Gas industry’s potential impact on the environment discussed at public hearing

http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/542033.html?nav=5011


Impact on bay cleanup not known

http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/542034.html?nav=5011

Leasing of PA state land for natural gas drilling

Here is a link to the transcript about the PA House Majority Policy Committee’s public hearing regarding the leasing of state and for gas drilling.

http://www.pahouse.com/policycommittee/documents/31810hmpc.pdf

Stand up for what you believe in – You know what’s at stake!

Pittsburgh – Philadelphia – Ohiopyle – Harrisburg

It’s time to show up and be counted

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR STATE FORESTS

Stand up for what you believe in – You know what’s at stake!

Be a Hero for our Forests
Attend an event to show your support for protecting our precious state forests from further natural gas drilling and for an impact fee to ensure drillers pay their fair share

Currently the state legislature is moving forward with a budget plan that relies on new natural gas drilling leases on state forest land to cover the budget shortfall – threatening our public natural resources and compromising public access to our forest land.

We need forest heroes- our legislators and Governor Rendell must pledge not to support a budget that relies in drilling in forests. Instead, they need to enact a gas extraction impact fee to pay for the damage to natural resources and communities that drilling causes. Our legislators need to support the impact fee and the Save our Forests legislation (HB 2235), which puts a five year freeze on new deep natural gas drilling leases in state forests.

Come to one of these events to stand up for our forests:

April 14, 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. – Philadelphia
Demonstration to Save Pennsylvania’s Forests
Gov. Rendell’s Southeast Office
200 South Broad Street (near Broad and Walnut).
Join us during your lunch hour as we conduct a fun demonstration with a local arts group to show support our remarkable state forests.

April 15, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Ricketts Glen
Picnic in Ricketts Glen State Park to Save Pennsylvania’s Forests
Rickets Glen State Park Picnic Pavilion #2
695 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814
Gather your friends and family and join us for a relaxing lunch in the park to show your support for protecting our state forests and to simply enjoy the beauty of Ricketts Glen State Park.

April 17, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.- Philadelphia
Annual PennFuture Watershed Workshop: Bold Action to Protect Water Quality in Philadelphia and Beyond
Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
This workshop will discuss changes Philadelphia is making to ensure the health of our waterways and take a look at Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, and why it is relevant to local water quality.

April 20, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.- Pittsburgh
Rally for the Trees to Save Pennsylania’s Forests
Portico steps of the City-County Building, 414 Grant St, Pittsburgh, PA  15219.
Grab your friends and spend your lunch hour showing your support for Pennsylania’s state forests.

April 20, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Ohiopyle
Celebrate Our Forests – and learn more about gas drilling
Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center
15 Sherman Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Learn more about natural gas drilling – what it is and what the impacts will be – and share your stories about what our state forests mean to you.  We’ll deliver your stories to elected officials on Earth Day in Harrisburg.

April 22, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Harrisburg
Earth Day Rally to Protect Penn’s Woods
Pennsylvania State Capitol Main Rotunda
Gather your friends, postcards, and signs and join us in a rally encouraging our legislators to protect Penn’s Woods.

Coordinator www.PaForestCoalition.org

Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases the Facts on Flowback Water Treatment

CANONSBURG, Pa., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ — The Marcellus Shale Coalition today issued the following statement to provide the facts regarding water use and flowback water management in the development of natural gas from the Marcellus formation: “Pennsylvanians deserve to get the facts about water management for Marcellus Shale development.  We need to put an end to the suppositions that could threaten our state’s ability to create jobs and investment here at home. “Regulations governing the use and management of water needed to drill a Marcellus Shale well in Pennsylvania are among the most stringent in the nation, and ensure the protection of the Commonwealth’s water resources.  Water withdrawals from streams and rivers must be approved, including the withdrawal location and amount of water required for each well, as well as detailed storage and treatment plans. …

Some might ask how stringent are the regulations, and are they stringent enough. One of the regulatory agency representatives at a recent Marcellus Shale public meeting, said federal regulations are stronger than those in PA, but the feds only regulate a small portion of gas industry activities.

“The industry currently treats or recycles all of its flowback water. Recycling accounts for approximately 60 percent of the water used to complete Marcellus Shale wells, with greater percentages predicted for the future.  There are more than a dozen approved water treatment facilities available to treat flowback water, with plans for additional capacity in the future …

Some might ask what the nature of the treated or recycled end product actually is. How much of the original toxic materials and total dissolved solids (TDS) are removed by the treatment, and are ALL the permitted treatment facilities producing the same end product before discharge? Are some discharging only partly treated – or even untreated – fluid?  Is discharging any of the treated fluid into a waterway, injecting it deep into an abandoned well or burying it in a landfill environmentally benign and of no risk to public health? Also, given the number of wells currently producing flowback fluid, is a dozen treatment facilities adequate to protect the environment and public health?

“Claims about elevated levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the Monongahela River from natural gas development have been refuted by studies that attribute a minimal amount of the total TDS levels to Marcellus Shale drilling activity. In fact, historical monitoring shows the variability of TDS levels in the Monongahela and other rivers to be a cyclical phenomenon over the past 30 years. …
Some might say that TDS is a scientifically-established environmental pollutant, known to damage freshwater aquatic organisms, endanger public health, interfere with potable water supplier’s services and with industries using water. They might ask whether adding more TDS to the Monongahela – or to any waterway – makes sense, regardless of whether the TDS comes from gas drilling activities or from some other source.
To read the entire press release, click here:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marcellus-shale-coalition-releases-the-facts-on-flowback-water-treatment-83561557.html

For those unfamiliar with what the Marcellus Shale Coalition is, click here: http://www.pamarcellus.com/

Largest Private Clean Air Fund in Texas Bans Nat’l Gas Projects

Stating that “it’s become impossible to ignore the incongruity of the claims of a ‘cleaner’ natural gas industry, versus the facts on the ground in our own backyard,” the grassroots directors of the largest private clean air fund in Texas have voted to suspend consideration of any further anti-pollution grants promoting the use of the increasingly controversial fuel and voiced support for a regional moratorium on new gas drilling….

… it’s become impossible to ignore the incongruity of the claims of a “cleaner” natural gas industry, versus the facts on the ground in our own backyard. Among the most important of those facts are:

1) The natural gas industry is poorly regulated.
2) The gas industry is adding to local air pollution problems.
3) The gas industry is consuming and contaminating large quantities of water.
4) The gas industry is abusing private property rights.

Could this be Pennsylvania in  few years?
To read the full article, click here:

http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=0011-u4wRWTE7TQUNuwD0BlMyMjUJwF130yNEAAQBxmklz9AdoTvSlsUAegNg2cypcqJ_cI3Rx2fHV6NKZTwiB-vnUfTVdIEfjMLQMsbc9L71YAW0Y7uDQsU71ZZCvt_C-C