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General News    H2'ed 9/7/10

We Need Protection from Marcellus Shale Drilling

Message David Meiser

Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter

P. O. Box 606
September 7, 2010
Harrisburg, PA17108

Contact: Thomas Au (717-234-7445)

For Immediate Release

We Need Protection from Marcellus Shale Drilling! Extended Press Statement

The Marcellus drilling boom has swept across Pennsylvania before our state government was prepared to handle this. It has imposed a heavy costs on our state environment: from air pollution due to hydrocarbon emissions; pipelines defacement our forests and natural areas, drilling pads and wastewater pits scarring our landscapes; heavy rigs damaging our roads; billions of gallons of water taken from our streams with the potential to them to dry up; and operational errors contaminating our land and water and air

Pennsylvania communities are affected as well, people being killed and injured from accidents, communities and towns having to pay for additional services such as training and equipment necessary for emergency personnel to deal with fires, toxic spills. Towns are also involved in costly legal battles to make companies comply with regulations and zoning. All these expenses are occurring which communities have to absorb in a time of economic downturn!

The state was not prepared for the onslaught. As a result, thousands of permits were issued before the problems you read about in the newspapers were revealed. The problems included:

1. A gas well explosion in Clearfield County, which led DEP to impose requirements on operation of blow-out preventers.[1]

2. The contamination of drinking water wells in Dimock and in other counties due to poor casing and cementing of the wells; [2]

3. The gas explosion where two workers were killed in Explosion near Pittsburgh. [3]

4. Fracking spills which have ruined Pennsylvania Streams[4]

5. The lack of wastewater infrastructure to treat wastewater[5]

6. The Pennsylvania State Police finding that 40% of trucks serving the Marcellus industry had safety violations; and the destruction of rural roads by heavy trucks.[6]

7. Pennsylvania DEP issued 1435 violations in 2.5 Years; 952 were identified as likely to harm the environment.[7]

8. The quarantine of cattle after a mixture of fresh water and wastewater leaked from an impoundment pit[8]

9. The spilling of 12,000 gallons of synthetic drilling mud spilled in Sproul State Forest[9]

10. Numerous fish kills from Marcellus Shale Drilling, like the one that occurred in Cross Creek Park in Washington County[10]

This is just the tip of the iceberg to the numerous problems and issues which face Pennsylvania because of natural gas drilling.

If we can't protect our communities and natural resources, then we should not drill!

Pennsylvania needs strong regulation and government oversight that will make drilling safe.

Before this legislative session ends, we are demanding the Pennsylvania Legislature to intact the following:

  1. A moratorium on any and a hold on any current permits until state government enacts laws and regulations to make Marcellus gas well drilling safe and environmentally sound. (HB2609; SB1447)
  2. Reform the Oil and Gas Act to require mandatory inspections, require disclosure of fracking chemicals, to extend the presumption of pollution, to require adequate bonds, and to protect municipal zoning and police powers. (HB2213)
  3. No more gas leases on public lands in Pennsylvania until a full cumulative analysis can be conducted on the impact of existing leasing of public lands. (HB2235)
  4. Enact a severance tax comparable to other states and provide for funding for communities impacted by gas drilling and for environmental conservation. (e.g. HB1489)
  5. Block efforts to compel unwilling landowners into a "forced pooling" arrangement. These laws only benefit the gas companies.

Unless the Pennsylvania legislature acts now, Pennsylvania will suffer reckless environmental degradation, loss of drinking water, destruction of our precious state and national forests, increased air pollution, increased exposure of toxic chemicals used in the drilling process and from the inherent toxic chemicals in natural gas and the loss of the quality of life and liberty of all. Pennsylvania needs proven assurance their irreplaceable water sources will remain clean and safe to drink long after the gas has been extracted.

We demand the legislature protect the environment and the people of Pennsylvania from these hazards

Article I, section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states: "The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."

[1]. Long, By Mark. "Blowout Occurs at Pennsylvania Gas Well - WSJ.com." Business News & Financial News - The Wall Street Journal - WSJ.com. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704764404575286910201269800.html>.

2. Frack Fluid Spill in Dimock Contaminates Stream, Killing Fish." ProPublica. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <http://www.propublica.org/article/frack-fluid-spill-in-dimock-contaminates-stream-killing-fish-921

[3]. Mandak, By Joe. "Ksl.com 2 Killed in Explosion near Pittsburgh-area Well." Ksl.com Utah News, Sports, Weather and Classifieds. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=157&sid=11687897>.

[4]. "Fracking Fluid Spill in Pennsylvania Contaminates Stream, Killing Fish | Ecopolitology." Ecopolitology - Politics of Energy and the Environment. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <click here;.

[5]. "Deep Shale Gas Wells: So Much Wastewater, So Little Treatment Capacity." Allegheny Front - Environmental Radio for Western Pennsylvania. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <http://www.alleghenyfront.org/transcript.html?storyid=200901131429410.746191>.

6. "State Enforcement Blitz Focuses on Trucks Hauling Drilling Waste Water." Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=4451&PageID=457781&mode=2&contentid=click here;.

[7]. "Marcellus Shale Gas Drillers Committed 1,435 Violations in 2.5 Years, Report Says | PennLive.com." Central PA Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather - PennLive.com. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <click here;.

[8]. "Natural Gas Well Leak Results in Contaminated Water and Cattle Quarantine | Food | AlterNet." Home | AlterNet. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. click here

[9]. "Spill in State Forest Moves Gas Drilling Moratorium Debate - News - The Times-Tribune." Scranton News, Sports, Obituaries, and Shopping | The times-tribune.com | The Times-Tribune. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <click here;.

[10]. "Waste from Marcellus Shale Drilling in Cross Creek Park Kills Fish." Post-Gazette.com. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09156/975204-58.stm>;.

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