Responsible Drilling Alliance

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The purple squirrel – economic boom or apocalyptic warning?


Dear RDA members and friends,


We were wrapping up this week’s edition of the newsletter, focusing on the latest law of the land, HB 1950, the egregious death blow to democracy passed by a slim 11-vote margin last week and quickly signed into law by our gas-industry-loving governor, Tom Corporate, oops Corbett.


Before we clicked “send” on that message, what to our wondering eyes should appear but a report of a purple squirrel in Jersey Shore, PA. Lest you think that this squirrel ignored the “Wet Paint” sign, be advised that Krish Pillai, a professor at Lock Haven University thinks the color looks ominously like Tyrian purple, a sign that the squirrel may have been contaminated by bromide compounds found in high levels in gas drilling waste water.


Hold on! Could this be a part of the here-to-fore vastly overstated economic growth claims we have come to expect from the gas industry? While RDA has been working hard to debunk these trumped-up jobs and money claims, do we now need to back off and agree that financial growth is indeed on the way? Think about it. Rather than dropping off precipitously, hunting license sales could instead be a part of an economic boom as sportsmen from around the country flock to PA in hopes of shooting a purple deer.  Afterall, who wouldn’t want a purple 12-point mounted on their den wall? While we’ve been mourning the loss of the PA Wilds, will minions of hikers and photographers be willing to endure endless truck traffic and diesel fumes in the woods in hopes of catching a glimpse of a purple bobcat? Will souvenir shops flourish selling T-shirts and baseball caps emblazoned with the new state bird – the purple ruffed grouse?


Either that, or perhaps this squirrel is a sign; a sign that the apocalypse is indeed upon us! Never mind the legions of mole-men releasing subterranean demons who devour our forested hillsides, now we have purple squirrels to contend with.  From what evil depths has this abomination come from? Is there no sanctuary? While you may have suspected that the rest of the world is looking at Pennsylvania as some kind of Marcellus sideshow, this critter confirms all suspicions. A story about a punk’d out squirrel in Jersey Shore goes viral on the net, while the unconscionable conversion of the Pine Creek region into an industrial gas zone is only recorded by the local Lock Haven Express.  Was this squirrel sent as a warning not to frack with Mother Nature?  Will we pay attention or will we wait until some fracker pokes a lateral line into a sleeping purple Sasquatch with a fetish for high tension lines? How will our new “impact fee” cover that damage?  Not to worry, I am sure our new corporate neighbors will help us out if they accidentally unravel our natural systems. They live here too, right? At least that’s what the full page ad says every week in the Sun Gazette.  

We offer this edited abbreviation of the Huffington Post story. The full article is available here:   




Purple Squirrel Released Back Into Pennsylvania Wilderness 





A purple squirrel captured on Sunday by a couple from Jersey Shore, Pa. has been released back into the wild. 

Jersey Shore residents Percy and Connie Elmert found the squirrel in a humane animal trap they had set in their backyard to catch the pesky critters.
Krish Pillai, a professor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania,commented that the squirrel’s color should not be taken lightly, “This is not good at all. That color looks very much like Tyrian purple. It is a natural organobromide compound seen in molluscs and rarely found in land animals. The squirrel has too much bromide in its system, possibly from all the bromide- laced frack water it’s been drinking. I would raise the alarm. This could mean bladder cancer for humans down the road.”
Unfortunately, high levels of chlorine and bromine have been recorded in drilling wastewater created by hydraulic fracking, which is practiced throughout Pennsylvania, according to the Scranton Times Tribune.  


In Pittsburgh, about 200 miles from the city where the purple squirrel was found, high trihalomethane levels are already a problem.


“Suffice it to say, [trihalomethanes] cause cancer and (can cause genetic mutation),” claims Conrad Volz, director of the Center for Health, Environments, and Community at the University of Pittsburgh. “We have a problem here in Pittsburgh already, the trihalomethane level in finished drinking water is now about ready to go … higher than the drinking water standards. That’s been happening in many areas of western Pennsylvania.”


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Responsible Drilling Alliance Board of Directors
Ralph Kisberg
Robbie Cross
Janie Richardson
Mark Szybist
Barbara Jarmoska
Jennifer Slotterback



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