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Action request, News stories, and a bit of Christmas humor – Dec. 20th 2010 Newsletter

Settlement in Dimock leaves residents distraught, Cabot pleased

It has been a long and grueling nightmare for the 19 Dimock Township, PA families whose well water was contaminated by Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation’s faulty gas wells. With the final settlement in place, Dimock residents feel like they’ve been given the short end of the stick, while Cabot representatives are satisfied. No surprise, as Cabot saved nearly $8 million over the original proposal that would have run a new water line to Dimock at Cabot’s expense.

Read the full story here.

CALL TO ACTION – 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 21st


The first national survey of the public’s attitudes about natural gas drilling zeroes in on PA and NY and will be conducted by Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), and commissioned by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute. Since 2003, CSI has carried out more than 25 major national and state opinion polls on energy issues. CSI is an independent think tank that receives no support of any kind from any energy-related company, organization or individual.

Event participants will be:
Pam Solo, founder and president, Civil Society Institute
Graham Hueber, senior researcher, Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation
Anthony Ingraffea, PhD, Professor of Engineering, Cornell University.

To participate in this phone-based news conference with full, two-way Q&A, dial 1 (800) 860-2442 at 11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, December 21, 2010. Ask for the “fracking public opinion survey” news event.

A streaming audio replay of the event will be available on the Web at by 3 p.m. EST that day.

For more information, contact: Leslie Anderson, (703) 276-3256 or

Legislators View Marcellus Drilling’s Impacts On State Forests

State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming, and Garth D. Everett, R-Lycoming, visited the 215,000-acre Tiadaghton State Forest in north central Pennsylvania last week to see how Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling impacts the landscape and use of a forest.

The legislators saw a presentation by Pennsylvania General Energy Vice President Robert Kuntz, and then toured the company’s drilling operation and surrounding state forest. The lawmakers also met with representatives of the Responsible Drilling Alliance, Trout Unlimited, the Lycoming County Conservation District and a local hiking club.

Pennsylvania has already leased nearly 725,000 of the 1.5 million acres of state forest.  Vitali said he plans to reintroduce legislation to put a three-year moratorium on additional state forestland being leased for Marcellus natural gas drilling.

The bill also would require a comprehensive environmental impact study by the state Department of Environmental Protection within the first two years of the moratorium, and a Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study in year three on the environmental, economic and societal impacts of drilling in state forests. The bill also would give the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources sole discretion to determine which land should be leased for gas drilling after the moratorium ends.

The bill passed the House 157-33 last year, but the Senate did not act on it. Governor-elect Tom Corbett has said he plans to rescind the order signed by Gov. Ed Rendell in October that puts a moratorium on leasing new acreage in state forests for Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

Water Authority Going To Court To Protect Watershed

The Brockway Municipal Water Authority of Jefferson County, PA has filed an injunction against Flatirons Development, a Marcellus Shale drilling company.  This could be a precedent-setting lawsuit in PA.

Residents in the Brockway area have formed a community group to support the water authority with their lawsuit. The Brockway Area Clean Water Alliance is gaining support and contacting legislators to protect their water supply from what they say is unacceptable practices by Flatirons Development.

The Brockway Municipal Authority claims they had no idea that the company had so much construction planned for the 4,000 acres of leased watershed land.  “The water authority’s understanding was that they were going to put in one well pad, a compressor pad, and a gas line,” said PJ Piccarillo, a founding member of the Alliance.  “This has turned in to several well pads already built, several more proposed, and now a water impoundment area. Flatirons Developments plans to level 23 acres of timber on the watershed to build a 10 million-gallon impoundment. The woods provide a habitat that protects natural aquifers. Taking out vast stretches of forest land can have an impact on the quality of the water,” states Piccarillo.

Both the Municipal Authority and Flatirons Development are hoping to settle the matter out of court, but if they can’t come to an agreement, a hearing is scheduled for Dec. 29 at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Demonstration at NYC’s Waldorf Astoria

Click here to watch the video.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Atop the Marcellus

(with apologies to Clement Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas in rural PA, but few folks were smiling, it was a sad day.

The frackers were coming to drill on the land, the Chamber of Commerce will give them a hand.

Gas executives nestled all snug in their beds, as visions of dollar signs danced in their heads.

With Corbett in Harrisburg, and some “Green Dogs” gone – our new leaders sure look like gas industry pawns.

In Dimock PA there has been such a clatter – the water’s gone bad, why doesn’t that matter?

In our streams and our rivers, the water is bubbling.  Drillers say “NOT OUR FAULT!” which is certainly troubling.

Gas flares on the crest of the new fallen snow give a luster of red-orange to objects below.

When what to our wondering eyes should appear, but tanker trucks hauling the toxins we fear.

The landmen come knocking, they mislead when they speak.  Be wary of promises from Chesapeake.

They descend like the vultures, they circle their prey, from farmers to widows, they promise to pay.

“Fifty dollars an acre, now one hundred, two! Up to one thousand, six thousand, it’s true!

“To the top of the heap!  Don’t let the deal stall! Now sign the lease! Sign the lease! Sign the lease, all!”

The permits were granted, but try as they might, DEP had no staff who could visit each site.

The drilling commenced. The water went bad. Folks started to realize that they had been had.

And so they joined forces and shared their sad tales – in state after state, regulations had failed.

They held their heads high and spoke truth to power: “This is the moment, this is the hour…

We’re claiming our right to clean water and air, to the seventh generation we all pledge our care.

Don’t drill in my backyard, or in anyone else’s. You can’t ravage the earth just to fatten your purses.”

In spite of the obstacles, local groups formed. Now thousands belong; gas companies, be warned:

“You are NOT persons, despite what courts say. This land is our land, we will have our way.

As we take back our state… our water, our air. Our victories are won on a wing and a prayer.

And then in that instant, up on the roof, we heard someone crying, we needed no proof.

As we drew in our heads and were turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

His look was distraught, as his tears sadly fell. Oh why are you weeping, dear Santa – do tell!

“High up in the sky my red sleigh has been flying; and when I look down, I see the earth dying.

Tho it seems overwhelming, hang in there. Be strong! The truth’s on your side. Hydrofracking is wrong.

And we heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, “Fracking’s not safe – Now keep up the fight!”

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