7:00 PM, THURSDAY JANUARY 20 UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 1319 Eighth Street Drive, Watsontown, PA
Sponsored by Warrior Run Residents for Responsible DevelopmentThis hard-hitting documentary film tells the story of hydraulic fracturing â€“ the drilling process developed by Halliburton that is used to extract natural gas from deep shale deposits such as PAâ€™s Marcellus. In the film, Fox travels the U.S. conducting interviews with families, EPA whistleblowers, congressmen, and scientists whose stories of government cover ups, human and animal illness, devastated property values, and poisoned drinking water all relate back to the technology known as â€œfrackingâ€. The focus of the movie is on the exact form of industrialization rapidly expanding throughout our region.
Hangarâ€™s FarewellPennsylvaniaâ€™s outgoing Department of Environmental Protection Secretary,Â John Hanger, sent a message Thursday night thanking department employees and other supporters for their work and offering his good wishes to incoming DEP Secretary Michael Krancer, a judge with the stateâ€™s Environmental Hearing Board. Hangar had this to say about a severance tax on gas drilling; a fee that incoming Governor Tom Cobett has promised the industry he will NOT impose. â€œTaxing gas drilling offers an enormous opportunity to pay for a decades long environmental clean up of our watersheds, our lands, and our air. A drilling tax could easily raise $200 million per year to pay for restoring streams destroyed by coal mining and to finance open space purchases and much more environmental improvement. Governor Ridge enacted Growing Greener. Governor Rendell won passage of Growing Greener 2 but its funds have now been invested and are exhausted. Pennsylvania has much more clean-up to do and needs Growing Greener 3. A drilling tax that is supported by at least 63% of Pennsylvanians could finance for decades environmental clean up that could to do enormous good for our environment. This is a major opportunity presented by the Marcellus gas reserve. Failing to tax the Marcellus makes no sense and is a major piece of undone business. The Marcellus gas industry is now huge, with billions of foreign investment pouring into Pennsylvania and with tax-free profits going back to China, Norway, India, and Great Britain. Every state has a drilling tax and none of those states has killed their golden goose. And the Marcellus goose is the most golden of all because the gas here is comparatively low cost to produce, low-cost to deliver to markets in New York and Boston, and high profit. We must tax it and use at least one-third of the revenues to fund Growing Greener 3 and other environmental programs.â€ Read more of Hangarâ€™s comments at: http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/energy/2011/01/dep-hanger-offers-parting-words.html
Big Payoffs From Gas Industry
Given to Opponents of Frack Chemical DisclosureThe U.S. Congress isnâ€™t going to regulate hydraulic fracturing any time soon. ButÂ the Department of Interior might.Â For starters, Interior isÂ mulling whether it should require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use to frack wells drilled on public lands, and alreadyÂ the suggestion has earned Interior Secretary Ken Salazar an earful. On January 5, a bipartisan group of 32 members of Congress, whoÂ belong to the Natural Gas Caucus, sentÂ Salazar a letterÂ imploring him to resist a hasty decision because more regulationsÂ would â€œincrease energy costs for consumers, suppress jobÂ creation in a promising energy sector, and hinder our nationâ€™sÂ ability to become more energy independent.â€ A week later, 46 House Democrats followed up byÂ signing a letterÂ to SalazarÂ urging him to at least adopt the disclosureÂ requirement because, as Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., said,Â â€œcommunities across America have seen their waterÂ contaminated by the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturingÂ process.â€ “The public has a right to know what toxins might be going intoÂ the ground near their communities, and what might be leakingÂ into their drinking water,”Â said the letter, which was sent by theÂ three initial sponsors of now-stalled legislation to regulateÂ fracturing, Hinchey, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Rep. DianaÂ DeGette, D-Colo. In the context of todayâ€™s roiling political and energy debates, itâ€™sÂ not at all clear who will win. But if money is an indicator, theÂ anti-regulatory group has the upper hand. An analysis of campaign finance dollarsÂ contributed to the members of Congress shows that theÂ Natural Gas Caucus received 19 timesÂ more money from the oil and gas industry between 2009 andÂ 2010Â than the group who signed Rep. Hincheyâ€™s letter. The top greased palm belongs to Co-Chair of the Gas Caucus, Tom Murphy, the PA Republican who accepted over $200,000 from the gas industry. AccordingÂ to data from Open Secrets, the 32 members against disclosureÂ received $1,742,572.Â By comparison, theÂ group supporting full disclosure of fracking chemicals – which has 14Â more people than the Natural Gas Caucusâ€”received $91,212 fromÂ the industry. In 2009, 19,000 new gas wells were drilled,Â adding to the 493,000 gas wells already producing in the UnitedÂ States. According to Hincheyâ€™s office, disclosure on federal landsÂ would set an important precedent, because that informationÂ would become part of the public record and, when combined withÂ state-based disclosure rules, â€œwould provide a great deal of usefulÂ information for those concerned with the risks these chemicalsÂ may pose.â€ Traditionally, the exact recipes of chemicals used in the fracturingÂ process have been kept secret by the companies to protect theirÂ competitive advantage, and the fracturing process itself is exemptÂ from federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. TheÂ disclosure issue has become a rallying point against natural gasÂ development in the United States because scientists haveÂ repeatedly said that they canâ€™t thoroughly examine waterÂ contamination cases for links to drilling because they donâ€™t knowÂ what to test for. Â Condensed by RDA from the original byÂ Abrahm Lustgarten ProPublica, Jan. 14, 2011, 2:46 p.m.
Quotes of the week:
From the forum held in Laporte on January 14thâ€œThis is a corporate business plan, not a national energy strategy.â€ Dr. Tony Ingraffea, speaking of the current rush to drill that is utterly lacking in any comprehensive plan. â€œThis is a complex industry that will not learn unless they practice. We need to give them space to figure it out. I come from the religion that the industry will do it right.â€ Dr. Terry Engelder, referring to the gas industryâ€™s need to be given time and space here in PA so they can learn how to drill wells correctly. Engelder quoted John F. Kennedy and informed those present that PA citizens must be willing to make sacrifices to allow this â€œpracticeâ€ to occur. NOTE: RDA agrees with Dr. Ingraffea, who noted that over 10,000 deep shale wells have already been drilled in Texas. Ingraffea questioned how much more practice the gas industry might need to get it right, and how much we will have to sacrifice in order for the industry to fully implement its business plan.
Share Your PhotosDickinson College’s ALLARM [AllianceÂ ofÂ Aquatic Resource Monitoring]Â is requesting photos taken at or nearÂ MarcellusÂ drilling sites that provide visual images in any of the following categories: Gas Related Earth Disturbances
- Sediment plumes in creeks near a site
- Mud/sediment on access roads
- Improper erosion and sedimentation control measures on the pad/storage pond/staging areas
- Foamy and/or discolored water
- Dead organisms (plant/animal/fish) near a site
- Gas bubbling
ALLARM is looking forÂ good photos toÂ illustrate what to look for when monitoring around drill-sites.
If youÂ have any pictures that you could share or references to websites and blogs thatÂ illustrate any of the above categories,Â please contact Julie Vastine at: Julie Vastine, Director The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) Dickinson College – Environmental Studies Dept. phone: 717.245.1135Â fax: 717.245.1971Â email: firstname.lastname@example.org