The Fracking News – Send it back!!


The Fracking News

The PA legislature adjourned for the year without finalizing a shale bill.  In a final vote, the Senate adopted a version of HB1950, which sets up a conference committee to fully work out a final comprimse bill between the House and Senate.  This conference committee will likley meet in January.

On Tuesday this week, more than 100 people including officials from 40 municipalities gathered to protest the state legislation. As far as I know, Indiana County was invited, but did not attend.

Pipelines:

The Philadelphia Inquirer has extended coverage on pipelines this week. The upshot is they’re virtually unregulated in Pennslyvania.

“Hundreds of miles of high-pressure popelines already have been installed in the shale fields with no government safety checks – no construction standards, no inspection, and no monitoring.  ‘No one – absolutely no one – is looking,’ said Deborah Goldberg, a lawyer with Earth Justice, a non-profit law firm focusing on the environment.

Trout fishermen are weighing in on the pipeline issue, particularly the effects of all the construction.

“In September, near the start of the trout spawning season, erosion from a pipeline project in Potter County damaged five feeder streams for Pine Crek, a world-renowned trout stream desingated as a federal “wild and scenic” river…”

 

There is currently a bill on Corbett’s desk that would allow PA to step up pipeline regulation in the state. However, many  lines in rural areas would continue to be unregulated.

Even in Washington D.C., they’re talking about pipelines. According to Rep. Bill Shuster, his House approved bill to overhaul federal pipeline oversight will strengthen enforcement, and keep the industry in check. However, there are serious criticisms.

Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t directly fix many of the problems,” said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust based in Bellinigham, Wash. “It’s more like, ‘Let’s study the problem for the next couple years and then decide what to do.’

“If they really wanted to do something, Congress would be supporting actual clear rules and regulations,”

Leases

Chesapeake Energy has gone and swooped up leases in a huge area of West Virginia, in a quiet land deal with Range Resources. So quiet that the landowners weren’t even told about it.
Many of the landowners mentioned above felt they didn’t understand the full terms of their lease, and were surprised to learn about the swopping.  In a recent article from the Environmental Working Group found further evidence that leases aren’t fully explained.  In this new report, researchers found that drillers often disclose risks to shareholders, but not to landowners.

Industry denials

As reported here on the Fracking News last week, the EPA has found that fracking fluids spoiled drinking water supplies in Pavillion, WY.

In an all-too-familiar refrain, the company, Encana, denies it. However, former DEP head John Hangar has a more thoughtful review of the EPA study and it’s applicability to PA.

Cabot is also denying the claims of industry whistle-blower Scott Ely of Dimock.  A two year investigation conducted by Cabot of his claims of dumping, and reckless drilling practices found that he was right, they were dumping, but it didn’t affect anyone’s health. No harm, no foul right?

The news outlet, State Impact, has a great new feature that maps MS drilling permits and violations. Check out Indiana County

Lastly, two lessons to be learned

A new report on toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants found that SW PA is home to three of the ten worst plants.  CHC volunteer Dan Budris has a great blog post on the rankings, and what coal means to Indiana County. A good place to start learning about what our power plants do to our health is the the Clean Air Task Force. Check out their interactive map of mortality caused by coal plants.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Germans are building a real green revolution. Check out the small rural Bavarian town of Wildpoldsried. They produce 321 percent more energy than it needs using wind, solar, hydro, and even, and pulls in nearly $6 million in revenue for the town by selling the electricity back to the national grid.

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Comments
One Response to “The Fracking News – Send it back!!”
  1. Mike Knapp says:

    Nice to see CHC addressing the fact that three of the largest pollution sources in the Western Hemisphere are in, or just a few miles upwind, of Indiana County.

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