Responsible Drilling Alliance

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4 News Stories, 1 Call to Action – Nov. 22nd 2010 Newsletter

Farmers hurt by Marcellus “boom”

Natural gas drilling has tapped into the pockets of cash-strapped dairy farmers who are now being charged additional fees to transport their milk. Because of competition for truck drivers, milk companies now have to compete with gas companies to keep drivers and dairy farmers are being asked to pay the extra costs.  Claims one farmer, “The Marcellus Shale has upset the free-market economy … we’ve got to do something to help the farmers. To me, it seems unethical and it’s unfortunately the farmers who have to carry the burden.”

(Source: The Evening Tribune – article by Justin Head)

Houses for shale

Property owners with gas leases may find their property can’t be financed for a new mortgage. Broker Lori Rudalavage, who owns LA Mortgage in Clarks Summit, has been trying to sort out the policies being put into place at major banks. It hasn’t been easy, and it concerns her. “When it comes down to obtaining a mortgage on leased properties, more and more of [the banks] are saying, ‘No, No, No.’”

Rudalavage has been told that Wells Fargo would not be inclined to lend money on a property with a gas lease. In a memo, a top executive at that bank writes it would be “…very difficult to obtain financing due to the potential hazard.”

(Source: Pike County Courier)

MARC1 – A precedent-setting pipeline – SPEAK OUT!

Although the official comment period has closed, Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg suggests that area residents who have not already done so should send comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the MARC1 pipeline project planned by CYNOG for the Rt. 220 corridor from NW Lycoming County, through Sullivan and into Bradford Counties. For a refresher on the MARC1 project, refer to the October 25th issue of the RDA newsletter, archived at Attorney Goldberg’s suggestions include:
  • Don’t just vent anger/frustration. You need to give FERC reasons why the pipeline should not be built.
  • ALL environmental and socioeconomic impacts are relevant:Â
    • community character
    • aesthetics
    • recreation (hunting, fishing, hiking, swimming, etc.)
    • agriculture timber
    • all other environmental and socioeconomic concerns
  • You can provide information. Factual information should be about impacts you have personally observed or can document from academic studies.  Research studies are readily available on the web. Send the relevant studies to FERC and ask that they be considered. (Do NOT use advocacy materials; refer only to studies completed by those with scientific credentials.) Impacts from pipelines are best; cumulative impacts from pipelines and other facilities are also useful.
  • You can pose specific questions and ask FERC for information.
  • Read what already has been submitted by CYNOG.  If you can find errors, based on personal knowledge or scientific study, point these out to FERC.
Attorney Goldberg is looking for people who really know the area and are willing to do a bit of reading to see if the pipeline company’s claims are accurate. Anyone interested, please email: You must first register to submit comments to FERC. Click here to go to the FERC website. Select “eComment” from the list of online applications. Once you have completed this section, you will receive an email with a link to use for your comments. Follow that link and enter this docket number in the window: CP10-480 Click the blue + to select. Enter your comments. Note:  If your text is more than 6000 characters in length, it will error out and you will lose everything you typed.  Suggestion: First type your comments in a Word Doc. Copy and paste onto FERC’s comment field. If there is an error – you will have your original and can resubmit.

Truck muck

Gas drilling wastewater dumped into Susquehanna River

“By the time it is discharged into the Susquehanna River, it will look like spring water”, says Norm Zellers, operations support manager for Sunbury Generation LP, referring to fracking fluid from trucks bearing the sign “residual waste”. Sunbury Generation can treat and dump up to 80,000 gallons of drilling fluid a day, authorized to do so since November 2008 by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Zellers is adamant that what Sunbury Generation treats isn’t polluting the Susquehanna River. “I’ve heard the stories about cancer-causing agents and harmful chemicals,” he said. “We’ve analyzed and analyzed (these fluids) and I don’t see it.” Area physician William L. Yingling, MD, disagrees, stating, “Mr. Zeller’s assurance that what’s going in the river isn’t polluting it is misinformed, willingly ignorant or downright deceptive.” Dr. Yingling notes that one of the largest databanks on frackwater includes those chemicals that Mr. Zellers doesn’t test for and cannot extract from the water he supposedly cleanses. “These chemicals are endocrine disrupters and they are having a disastrous effect on many species including humans, “ says Dr. Yingling. Additional information on endocrine disruptors found in frackwater is available at these web sites: (Source: The Daily Item – article by Evamarie Socha, reply by William Yingling, MD)

Drilling violations lack feedback loop

A Scripps Howard News Service investigation reports that Pennsylvania has issued 8,309 violation notices to gas drilling companies since 2007. However, DEP officials cautioned investigators that their files include thousands of violations that have no date of being fixed and cannot be trusted as accurate. Instead of keeping the books up-to-date, inspectors are devoting their limited manpower in the field rather than completing paperwork. (Source: Scripps Howard News Service)

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