Friday, August 26, 2011

Dr. Don Siegel on Water Issues Related to Hydraulic Fracturing

"Fact's be Damned" - Dr. Don Siegel

I had started wondering who needs science based facts when you have a "gut" feeling on an issue you do not understand?

See the interview here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Op-Ed: Boston Globe- Maybe Natural Gas Development "fracking" isn't that bad

In the Boston Globe there is an op-ed that rethinks the natural gas development debate. Lately the "discussion" in Otsego County has moved to the "blame the messenger" mode. Emails are circulating that detail personal flaws of those who show interest in safe natural gas development or those who think that banning is not a viable solution.  The argument has little to do with the science or the surrounding facts, it has to do with who funded which study, or how incompetent an agency is, or that certain folks are "liars" or shills.

Sometimes it is good is just to sit back and reevaluate why you believe what you do.

Re-thinking the fracking debate
Globe Columnist / August 22, 2011
THE PROBLEM with “fracking,’’ the process of capturing natural gas from shale reserves, isn’t simply its unfortunate name. It’s the role it plays in the politically explosive debate over how the United States can best reduce its energy dependence. Fracking provokes concerns about public health and the environment, and has pitted scientists, activists, and the energy industry in a seemingly endless battle over the tradeoffs involved in creating a long-term sustainable energy economy...
read more..

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Appraisal from 52 acres in Bradford County with Oil and Gas Assets

A friend and I have been having an ongoing discussion about land values. It seems that there are many folks in Otsego County that are concerned about plummeting property values once natural gas development activities start. She was extremely concerned about not being able to get a 2nd mortgage on her home as a result of her neighbor’s potential gas lease (her neighbor has significant property and it can be assumed that in the event of a well pad on his property, the odds are that she will  be integrated into a unit). I am not a realtor nor am I an appraiser.  However, from my meager understanding of the topic, I gather that the hold up on appraisals on oil and gas leased properties has to do with not having the gas in place valuated. This appraisal from Bradford County that was forwarded to me gives me an idea of what an appraisal of a property with Oil and Gas assets might look like.

Friday, August 19, 2011

In the News - Shale Gas Production Increasing

Marcellus Gas production continues steady growth in Pa. - News - Republican Herald

Marcellus Shale natural gas production in Pennsylvania continued its rapid rise in the first half of 2011, according to figures released this week by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The state's 1,632 producing Marcellus wells pumped out 432.5 billion cubic feet of gas during the first six months of the year - a 60 percent increase from the amount of gas produced in the second half of 2010.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dimock Resident Speaks Out about another Natural Gas Effect in Her Township

This is a blog post taken from the EID - North Marcellus Initiative. It shows a different effect of the happenings in Dimock, PA.


Esther RayiasDimock, Pennsylvania Landowner
You’ve probably heard a lot about where I live, near Dimock, Pennsylvania,  What you may not know, however, is that the reasons behind the moratorium Pennsylvania DEP imposed on natural gas development within the 9 square mile “affected area” or “box” where my family and I reside, no longer exist and, yet, we are still under this restriction, which is hurting all of us.  I recently wrote to DEP Secretary Michael Krancer asking him to lift the moratorium and I hope many of you will assist us by joining in this request and writing your own letters.  What’s happening (actually, what’s not happening) is horribly unfair and we need your help!

Here is the letter I sent Secretary Krancer:

Michael Krancer, Secretary DEP
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market St.
Harrisburg, Pa. 17101

Dear Mr. Secretary,

My name is Esther Rayias and I live with my husband in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.  My two sisters and I own the farm which my family has owned since the early 1900′s.  Five years ago Cabot Oil & Gas came to us about leasing our property.  As my grandfather had leased to gas companies before, we figured it would give us some money to pay real estate taxes for a couple of years.  Imagine how we felt when we were told about four years ago that they wanted to drill for gas on our farm.  But we know that sometime things get in the way.  In March 2010, Cabot started a pad on which to drill the gas well.  My husband and I were thrilled as our daughter was getting married and we figured the money would come in handy.  But, being very practical, we wouldn’t spend money we didn’t have.   In April, 2010, along comes the moratorium on the 9 square mile area.  Of course, we were in the 9 square miles.  Our property has been torn up for approximately 15 months.
As the moratorium has been in place for 14 months now with no end in sight,  my question to you is this; what needs to happen to get the drilling started?  When I can see wells being drilled that are closer to the Carter Road area than I am, I don’t understand.  In fact, there is a well that was recently drilled which is ¼ of a mile from my house, but because it is in a different township and outside of the 9 square mile area, it’s okay to drill.  I don’t understand.

I want responsible drilling to be done; however, I want drilling. I believe that Cabot has been responsible for their actions.  I believe they have met the normal standards; however, the standards can’t be changed because someone in a position of authority has an issue with the industry.
The gas industry has been very good for Susquehanna County and in particular, Dimock.  I know many people who have been helped by this.  I am hoping that my husband and I can also be helped.  My work has been cut in half this year. My husband had to have emergency surgery this year and is now out of work on disability.

I would like someone to answer my question; what needs to happen to get the drilling started?  I would appreciate some answers. Our lives have been on hold because of this.

Thank you for your time.
Sincerely yours,
Esther Rayias

If you agree with us that this is unfair, please help us get out of this box by writing a letter to Secretary Krancer.  There is no longer any reason for this moratorium.  DEP made a bad decision when it tried (and failed) to impose a water line on us and now it seems to creating a new problem by its inaction.  Enough Already!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Will Safe Development of Natural Gas Prevail?

If so, is your community ready or has your community been spending time passing bans?

In West Virginia
Monongalia judge kills Morgantown fracking ban
8/16/2011 1:15 PM By Jessica M. Karmasek  -Monongalia Bureau
MORGANTOWN -- A Monongalia Circuit Court judge last week struck down a ban on fracking by the city of Morgantown, saying the state Department of Environmental Protection has "exclusive control of this area of law."

In  PA
Range Resources challenges Pa. town's ordinance
By JOE MANDAK , 08.16.11, 05:06 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH -- A major Marcellus Shale drilling company is challenging a southwestern Pennsylvania township's ordinance to regulate oil and gas well development.

Sunday, October 03, 2010
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette
When Washington County's Blaine Township -- population 597 -- decided to take on the fossil fuel industry four years ago, its leaders called on a group that wants to nix corporate rights and shift power from Washington and Harrisburg to township boards and city councils.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Town of Dryden's Safe Energy Coalition Responds to Enacted Gas and Energy Development Ban

This written notice by the Dryden's Safe Energy Coalition to the Town Board of Dryden should serve as resounding response to the Ban Natural Gas movement. It raises many interesting points but my personal favorite is this:

"The Town should take notice that a ban is inconsistent with environmental advocates’ position favoring the development of natural gas under the Kyoto protocols.  It is also inconsistent for the Town and individuals to use energy from elsewhere while refusing to allow its regulated development locally."

To see what oil and gas development looks like else where, take a look at some of the pictures that show exactly what bad regulations look like. We need to take ownership for our consumption.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Can contaminated groundwater be remediated?

I am constantly hearing about how natural gas development destroys drinking water aquifers. Destroying is always put in the tragic sense that the water will never be used again... ever.  So, I will address this issue again.

Common misconception:
If something goes wrong at my neighbor's natural gas well pad, my well water and drinking water aquifer will be destroyed forever! I have seen those homes with big water tanks in PA and I do not want a water buffalo in my yard.

Having your drinking water well contaminated to by all means not a good thing; especially if you did not buy into the whole “natural gas development” saga. The water tanks or water buffalos as they are commonly referred to, offer a temporary water supply while solutions to restoring the drinking water supply are sought. Water buffalos are viewed as unwelcome eyesore and are not good for property values but they are also temporary. It turns out that people do not know that there is technology and processes by which groundwater can be cleaned. 
Other ways that drinking water can be returned to portability include the installation of water filtration systems at the well head to can clean up a family’s water supply. Or a home can be tied into a municipal water supply (if feasible).

But who wants to drink filtered water, our water was pristine to start with. Really? Drinking water quality of water wells in our region show such variability, with at least ¼ of the drinking water wells tested in the County containing detectable levels of natural occurring Methane.  Some wells contain detectable levels of natural occurring arsenic! Most people do not really know what is in the water they are drinking.

Where do all the contaminants that were in the water go?
Contaminants are removed in a process referred to as “natural attenuation” Natural attenuation can be biological (natural bacteria, plants and animals in the soil break the chemicals down to simpler forms), could be a physical action (dispersion, dissolution, advection, volatilization etc.) or a chemical process that occurs that eventually leads to a decline in the contaminants concentration.
While understanding what may happen in a potential situation, it is also good to know what is being done to protect water from being contaminated in the first place. After all, prevention is always better than cure. (Chapter 7 of the NYSDEC sGEIS)

I am attaching an excerpt from a press release from the EPA that talks about cleaning up contaminated ground water in Broome County.

EPA Proposes Plan to Remove Contaminated Soil from
Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund Site in Broome County, N.Y.
EPA to Hold Public Meeting on August 16 to Discuss Plan

Contacts: John Senn, (212) 637-3667, or Kasia Broussalian, (212) 637-3581,

(New York, N.Y. – Aug. 4, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed an amended plan to clean up ground water at the Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund Site in Fenton, N.Y. using a variety of natural processes known as “monitored natural attenuation.” The ground water is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds, pesticides and metals, which can cause serious damage to people’s health and the environment. The original cleanup plan, selected by EPA in 2000, called for the extraction and treatment of the contaminated ground water. Data collected since the original cleanup approach was selected indicate that natural processes are working to clean up the site. EPA will oversee the periodic collection and analysis of ground water samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining and that people’s health and the environment are protected.

The public is encouraged to comment on EPA’s proposed plan until August 30, 2011. On August 16, EPA will hold a public meeting to discuss the plan at 7:00 p.m. at the Town of Fenton Town Hall at 44 Park Street in Port Cane, N.Y. The proposed plan is available on EPA’s website at, Fenton Town Hall and EPA’s New York City office at 290 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, N.Y.

The Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund site is a 14.9-acre former barrel and drum reclamation facility. During the reconditioning process, the interior and exterior of the drums and barrels were cleaned and reconditioned using a variety of chemicals. Between 1960 and 1980, liquid waste from the process was discharged into a series of unlined lagoons on the site. EPA removed over 350 drums, as well as all containers, tanks, process equipment and buildings from the site. All of the equipment that was used while the drum reconditioning business was still in operation was decontaminated, all structures located on-site were demolished, and the debris was disposed of off-site.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NYT Series- Drilling Down on the Truth behind Contaminated Wells

Today Ian Urbina in his drilling series released an article titled: One Tainted Well and Concern there may be more.
The article can be found here.
EID responds to the story here with an article titled:  EID Statement on (Latest) Joint Effort by NYT/Environmental Working Group Aimed at Attacking Natural Gas.

John Hanger’s initial response can be found here titled: Initial Statement on EWG Report and Today's NYT Article

I wonder what is going on in the rest of the world. Sometimes is helps to see that everyone else in country is worrying about other equally important stuff besides the NYT and Ian Urbina saga.