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Ban Fracking on 9/13 — Spread the Word!

Contaminated Water from Pennsylvania Fracking

Mark your calendar: Call the White House at (888) 498-2945 tomorrow and tell the President to Ban Fracking!
Don’t think that what has happened in Pennsylvania and new York State can’t happen in West Virginia!
Help build the momentum by spreading the word for the National Call-in Day to Ban Fracking — Tuesday, Sept. 13th! (THAT’S TOMORROW!)

Did you know there may be a connection between yesterday’s earthquake and fracking?

I have an article at OpEd News that I’d like everyone to take a look at. It is not irrational, but is based on recorded facts and is worth considering in our opposition to fracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

Here’s a quote:

Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

How Fracking Causes Earthquakes

“According to geologists, it isn’t the fracking itself that is linked to earthquakes, but the re-injection of waste salt water (as much as 3 million gallons per well) deep into rock beds.

Braxton County West Virginia (160 miles from Mineral) has experienced a rash of freak earthquakes (eight in 2010) since fracking operations started there several years ago. According to geologists fracking also caused an outbreak of thousands of minor earthquakes in Arkansas (as many as two dozen in a single day). It’s also linked to freak earthquakes in Texas, western New York, Oklahoma and Blackpool, England (which had never recorded an earthquake before)”

The author of the article is By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, a 63-year-old psychiatrist and author who is an American “refugee” living in New Zealand. She blogs at http://www.stuartbramhall.com.

How has Fracking affected life in Pennsylvania (and how will it affect us)?

The Marcellus Shale

If you didn’t hear This American Life with Ira Glass this weekend, or if you don’t subscribe to its podcast, then you missed an excellent piece on the development of natural gas drilling on the Marcellus Shale. Don’t worry, though. Would Under The LobsterScope not pass on an important program like this?

Here’s the lead-in:

A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation, to discover that his state is sitting atop a massive reserve of natural gas—enough to revolutionize how America gets its energy. But another professor in Pennsylvania does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: that getting natural gas out of the ground poses a risk to public health. Two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences.

Now, to play the program entitled Game Changer, with excellent narration by Sarah Koenig, click HERE.

This is part of our continuing serious of articles and information on Hydraulic Fracturing, or “Fracking” and the effect it will have on our water and land right here in West Virginia (and New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio – all sitting on the Marcellus Shale and all targeted by the unregulated natural gas industry.

The State of Fracking May Be Changing…

In an update to our covering the fracking (hydraulic fracturing) production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, there are things happening and statements being made worldwide against the practice… even from the industry itself (however, these are for capital reasons and not for the environmental dangers that most of us are concerned with.)

If you want to review how fracking works, the National Geographic has a very good animated illustration HERE (although it does not adequately address the polluting of the water table – indeed, it more or less shows the industry point of view.)

France, as a nation, has now completely banned Fracking because of the pollution of water supplies by chemicals used in the process such as Benzine (a carcinogen), Toluene (a central nervous system depressant) and Xylene (a neurotoxin.) French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said before the French National Assembly vote:

“We are at the end of a legislative marathon that stirred emotion from lawmakers and the public. Hydraulic fracturing will be illegal and parliament would have to vote for a new law to allow research using the technique.”

Official photo of Governor Beverly Perdue (D-NC).

Beverly Perdue, Governor of North Carolina

In this country, the New Jersey State Senate voted to ban the practice, which contaminates drinking waterand  North Carolina’s Governor Bev Perdue vetoed a state senate bill that would have allowed fracking in the state. Here in West Virginia, which is on part of the Marcellus Shale, the energy industry has so far retained its hold.  The New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is poised to lift the ban on fracking, however he state issued new guidelines for fracking that will prohibit the practice in state parks and in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds.

New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, an opponent of fracking, in a statement on Cuomo’s position, said:

“If hydrofracking is not safe in the New York City watershed it’s not safe in any watershed. There’s a tacit admission on the part of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that it is not safe and yet it is being allowed.”
Despite claims to the contrary, hydraulic fracturing has never been regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This act was enacted in 1974 to ensure water supply systems serving the public meet appropriate health standards. However, Congress included language in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 making it clear once and for all that underground injection fluids or propping agents were excluded from the SDWA (evidence, of course, of heavy industry lobbying.)
The industry has recently come out to complain that the cost of fracking is currently slightly more than the income that can be received from the practice and is reisting any regulation on it. Because of the cost problems, many natural gas companies have moved into oil drilling due to it’s subsidized profitability. This will not likely be a lasting situation if the Federal government refuses to regulate it. The Feds are waiting for an EPA report which will come out in 2012 (unless the Republicans can eliminate the EPA, which the conservative right is trying to do, supposedly as a deficit cut.)
We’ll keep you updated on more in the future.

Sandra Steingraber speaks on Fracking…

Those of you who are regulars on this blog, or who have heard me question some of the candidates for Governor in West Virginia, know of my concerns with Hydro Fracturing or “Fracking” to remove natural gas from shale. So far I have had no satisfactory responses from candidates, Democrat or Republican, to my concerns. They ALL think this can be made safe (it can’t) and they will make sure it is. Between you and me, they are all getting campaign funds from the Natural Gas industry.

If you have seen the movie “Gasland,” you know some of the problems that are related to this practice of pumping toxic chemicals mixed with water into underground shale… chemicals that get into the water supply and pollute rivers and streams. You all know the extremes… faucets with flaming water, cows in fields dying from poisoned grazing land, rivers being polluted and the toxins heading downstream and eventually into great water areas like the Chesapeake bay.

Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., ecologist, poet, mother, and activist gave an incredible speech during a rally in Albany NY, May 2, 2011, to ban fracking in NY state. Sandra’s story about her cancer and finding out that her cancer is linked to the drinking water or her hometown became a movie called Living Downstream (www.livingdownstream.com), based on a book she wrote about her discoveries.

Here’s the speech.

If you speak with candidates before you vote and you live in any of the states that contain the Marcellus Shale (NY, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, etc.), make sure you bring up the issue… and see if YOU get a satisfactory answer.

Major Fracking Accident in Pennsylvania…

I’ve posted before on the dangers of Fracking (the horizontal drilling in the Marcellus Shale for natural gas using toxic fluids called “hydrofracturing”) and have been questioning the gubernatorial primary candidates in WV, where fracking is about to expand from where it now stands, asking what they are going to do to protect citizens.

If you have seen the film “Gasland” then you know what the real dangers are… and no one seems to have solutions to protect our water and air.

This from WNEP in Bradford County, PA (not far from us  West Virginians):

Officials said thousands of gallons of fluid leaked over farm land and into a creek from a natural gas well in Bradford County.

Now there is a massive operation underway to contain the spill of drilling fluids.

The rupture near Canton happened late Tuesday night, contaminating nearby land and creeks.

The blowout happened on the Morse family farm in LeRoy Township outside Canton, a farming community.

Chesapeake Energy officials said a piece of equipment on the well failed.
Now a major response is underway to stop the leak of frack fluid and get control of the well.

Water is gushing from the earth at the Chesapeake well pad.  It has been all hands on deck to put a stop to the leak of fracking fluid that, according to company officials, spilled thousands and thousands of gallons into nearby land and waterways.

“We’ve been able to limit the flow. We’re still doing additional work to regain full control,” said Brian Grove of Chesapeake Energy. He added there is no telling yet how much of that extremely salty water mixed with chemicals and sand has impacted the nearby Towanda Creek, but no gas has escaped into the air.

“The biggest thing is the footprint on the environment. Well obviously this is a big footprint,” said neighbor Ted Tomlinson. “It’s one of those things that happens. Gotta live with it, I guess.  Here to stay.”

Neighbors like him were asked to leave their homes as a precaution. Some did, and some did not.  “Our family’s been on this corner a long time and expect to stay and expect a good-faith effort from Chesapeake so that we can live here,” Tomlinson added.

His concern is for his drinking water well just several football fields away from the blownout gas well.

“That’s typically everyone’s concern in the area, is well water,” Tomlinson added. We don’t want all that other stuff. We want to keep on drinking it.”

Keep your eyes on this one and see when we get the politicians AND corporations in lying mode.

Nearby Neigbors in PA: A Colossal Fracking Mess

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marce...

Drill Apparatus in PA for Marcellus Shale

This is a long and detailed article from Vanity Fair by Christopher Bateman (with Photographs), and it should be read by everyone in the Marcellus Shale area (like West Virginians). 

This a very partial fragment… go into Vanity Fair on the link below and read it all.

clipped from www.vanityfair.com
Sixty miles west of Damascus, the town of Dimock, population 1,400, makes all too clear the dangers posed by hydraulic fracturing.
Although there is a moratorium on drilling new wells for the time being, you can still see the occasional active drill site, manned by figures in hazmat suits and surrounded by klieg lights, trailers, and pits of toxic wastewater, the derricks towering over barns, horses, and cows in their shadows.
Dimock is now known as the place where, over the past two years, people’s water started turning brown and making them sick, one woman’s water well spontaneously combusted, and horses and pets mysteriously began to lose their hair.
“It was so bad sometimes that my daughter would be in the shower in the morning, and she’d have to get out of the shower and lay on the floor” because of the dizzying effect the chemicals in the water had on her, recalls Craig Sautner, who has worked as a cable splicer for Frontier Communications his whole life.
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