Friday, October 8, 2010

Just Released: DEP Records Show 1,435 Natural Gas Drilling Violations in the Marcellus Shale

Contaminated waste water from fracking is often left to evaporate in lined open pits to become air pollution--that's if it doesn't leak into the groundwater first...

Posted by: Noel Jones

Two disturbing reports in the news on hydrofracking. Below is an article by David Hess of the PA Environment Digest's daily blog, which reports:

"The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association has reviewed environmental violations accrued by Marcellus Shale drillers working in Pennsylvania between January 2008 and June 25, 2010. The records were obtained via a Right to Know Request made to the Department of Environmental Protection. 

DEP records show a total of 1,435 violations of state Oil and Gas Laws due to gas drilling or other earth disturbance activities related to natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale in this 2.5-year period.
The Association identified 952 violations as having or likely to have an impact on the environment. 483 were identified as likely being an administrative or safety violation and not likely to have the potential to negatively impact the environment.

The report breaks the violations down by type. For example, of the 952 violations:
-- 268 involve improper construction of waste water impoundments;
-- 10 involve improper well casing;
-- 154 involve discharge of industrial waste; and
-- 16 involve improper blowout prevention.

The report lists the 25 companies with the most violations as well as the 25 companies with the highest average number of violations per well driller. Click here to download the report."

"Improper blowout prevention"--sound familiar? The BP Oil disaster is ongoing...

Then this from The Marcellus Shale Examiner yesterday, published by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection on the state government playing politics before the election:

Governor to Senate: No More Delay; Vote to Support Communities, Environment
A week after the House of Representatives voted to help communities grappling with the consequences of natural gas drilling and to bolster environmental protection programs, Governor Rendell called on the Senate to stop delaying and vote on a severance tax proposal.

The Governor said Senate leaders are honor bound to vote on a proposal after agreeing to do so in July.

“In spite of the expressed commitment made by you in the fiscal code, your comments, and those made by your staff, do not offer a shred of evidence that you have any intention of living up to this
commitment you made to put the severance tax to a vote in the Senate before you adjourn the session. Pennsylvania’s roads, waterways and other state and local infrastructure are being overburdened by the expansion of natural gas drilling. Every day that goes by when these companies are drilling in our state untaxed is another day that our citizens are paying for the escalating cost imposed on us by these companies while they profit from our natural resources,” said the Governor.

‘Operation FracNET’ Removes 208 Unsafe Trucks from Service
The Pennsylvania State Police placed 208 trucks out of service during a three-day enforcement effort that focused on commercial vehicles hauling wastewater from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations in the state.

PSP Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski said 140 of the vehicles placed out of service were hauling wastewater from drilling operations. The others were trucks being used in support of drilling operations or trucks not associated with the drilling industry that were traveling roads where the inspections took place.

The latest enforcement action added to the number of trucks serving the natural gas drillers that have been taken off the road. An Operation FracNET held June 14-16, put 250 trucks and 45 drivers out of service and resulted in 669 citations.

Harrisburg Think Tank Examines Severance Tax Myths, Facts
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center this week released an analysis of claims related to the severance tax proposal now awaiting action in the Senate. The “fact check” looks at how Pennsylvania’s proposed rate stacks up against every other major natural gas producing state in the nation—all of which have a severance tax—and answers questions about how such a levy would affect business and consumers.


Anonymous said...

I saw the Governor's press conferrence on PCN Friday and he was visibly upset with the Republican Senate who promised to come back October 1st to resolve the severance tax. Trusth is they don't want to tax the big corporate giants that are putting big bucks behind Corbett and the republican senators.

PLease Please vote for the Democrats!!!!! They ar ethe voice of the people

noel jones said...

Democrats like Bob Freeman and Bill Wallace have made public statements about safety concerns (and Bob co-sponsored four bills that are working their way through the House and Senate to address those concerns). However, Sen. Bob Mensch has also expressed grave concern over the safety issues of hydrofracking, and he is a Republican. The candidate who has been the most vocal about his opposition to unregulated hydrofracking is Independent Jake Towne. So this is not a Democratic cause, but a health issue for us all, and there are candidates on all sides that understand just how serious the issue is.

noel jones said...

Don't forget:


Film Screening and Q&A with Director Josh Fox

Wednesday, October 13, 7:00PM
Kirby Hall, Room 104
GASLAND explains the dangers and environmental consequences of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. Pennsylvania is among the states most sought after by gas-drilling companies.

I hope everyone who missed it at the Bethlehem Film Festival can make it out this Wed night--it will blow your mind.