Saturday, July 25, 2009

Natural Gas Drilling Impacts Private Wells - Also Shows Weakness in Private Well Construction Standards

Back in March 2009, The Times Tribune reported that a natural gas drilling company - i.e., Cabot Oil & Gas Corp - caused methane contamination of a private well in Susquehanna County - Dimock Township.

The article quoted and referenced a PADEP letter dated February 27, 2009 that included that Cabot violated two state laws.

The follow up analysis showed that the methane was coming from a shallow methane producing formation at a depth of 1500 feet and not the Marcellus Shale.

This finding supports to the need to conduct background water quality monitoring of private wells, to install more than one freshwater casing, and to establish construction standards for private wells.

The public needs to take action to protect groundwater and surfacewater quality. This can be done by getting informed and educated, helping to establish private well construction standards, and conducting background water quality monitoring.

For information on training opportunities or background testing, please visit

To read the full article - go to

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Marcellus Shale Web Resources Highlight Facts About Hydraulic Fracturing

WEXFORD, Pa., July 13 /PRNewswire/ —

The Marcellus Shale Committee today announced a new feature on its Web site,, which provides factual information on all aspects of hydraulic fracturing, including a step-by-step summary of each phase of the process, third-party reports and letters from several state regulators regarding the safety of what is often called “fracing” a natural gas well.

The Web page, “A Focus on Hydraulic Fracturing,” is featured prominently on the committee’s homepage.

“Hydraulic fracturing has been used to produce oil and natural gas in this country for more than 60 years, and has been continuously improved through research and investment,” said Ray Walker, MSC Co-Chair and Vice President of Range Resources. “Hydraulic fracturing is a safe technology that has been applied successfully at more than one million oil and gas wells, and this resource provides a significant amount of information on this and other misrepresented aspects of the fracture process.”

The Web page includes a list of the additives used in the process, along with common consumer uses of those ingredients, such as food additives, soaps, lubricants and other products people use daily. The site also provides links to reports regarding fracturing and natural gas development by government agencies and other national groups, as well as letters from several regulatory agencies refuting claims that cite groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing.

“It is important to address the truth about hydraulic fracturing, the composition of the fluids used in the process and the safety and reliability record this technology has demonstrated over the past six decades,” said Rich Weber, MSC Co-chair and President and Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Energy Resources. “A detailed list of chemicals used by the five primary well service companies operating in Pennsylvania was provided to the state Department of Environmental Protection, and is available on the agency’s Marcellus Shale webpage.”

Visitors to this featured Web page can view detailed reports from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Energy Technology Laboratory and industry groups about the importance of natural gas to our country’s energy needs and the safety of fracture stimulation. Letters from five state regulatory agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to the Groundwater Protection Council cite the lack of evidence of impacts to groundwater from the fracture process.

Editor’s Note: The links to all third-party reports and informational resources on the Marcellus Shale Committee’s hydraulic fracturing Web page can be found below.

About the Marcellus Shale Committee: Formed in 2008, the Marcellus Shale committee represents the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania on matters pertaining to the acquisition, exploration, drilling, and development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas resource and provides a unified voice before all state, county, and local government or regulatory bodies. The committee, sponsored jointly by the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association and the Independent Oil and Gas Association of Pennsylvania, includes independent producers with historical expertise in the Pennsylvania oil and gas fields and national companies dedicated to bringing their industry experience and resources to achieve common goals.

Hydraulic Fracturing and Natural Gas Development Information Sources:

Letters from State Regulatory Bodies on Environmental Protections and Safety Records of Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation in Oil and Gas Wells
Modern Shale Gas Development: A Primer
IPAA’s “Energy In Depth” Web site about Hydraulic Fracturing
Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology
EPA Study to Evaluate the Impacts to USDWs by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs
Policy Facts on Hydraulic Fracturing
Other links:

THe above is a reposting of an article that I received on the Marcellus SHale and the work of the Marcellus Shale Group.

If you are located in NEPA - I would recommend visiting the following websites

Friday, July 10, 2009

Green Field Energy and Local Grassroots Organization Offer Free Workshop on Solar and Wind Energy In PA

Green Field Energy Solutions has announced a Free Wind & Solar Workshop to help individuals and businesses “Get Off The Grid™.” It is an uncertain time as we await the final announcement of the utility deregulations and the effects of the predicted skyrocketing energy costs. Green Field Energy Solutions has collaborated with Keystone Energy, Electric City Wind Power Corp, Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council, and Endless Mountains Resource Conservation & Development Council, to offer a free workshop to educate the community on wind and solar considerations and applications.

Green Field Energy Solutions offers renewable energy solutions for clients to become more energy efficient in their home or business utilizing wind turbines to maximize their ability to “Get Off The Grid.” Keystone Energy is a locally owned solar installation company. Since they are a Pennsylvania approved installer, they are able to offer state rebates as well as federal tax credits for qualifying residential and commercial clients. Mass Megawatts Wind Power, Inc and its licensed manufacturing and distribution partner in Pennsylvania, Scranton based Electric City Wind Power Corp will be presenting information on the newest version of the Company’s MAT (Multi-Axis Turbosystem) wind generation unit. The MAT unit is a revolutionary development in wind power generation, only 40 to 65 feet in height, yet scalable from 5 kW up to megawatt sized installations. With a lower cost than other wind power systems, fractional maintenance costs, but providing electricity generation at commercial grade productions levels, the MAT system is a total solution for homes, farms, businesses and communities that want to capitalize on wind resources, yet not pay the price of view shed destruction.

The Wind & Solar Workshop is ideal for all residential customers and business owners who want to learn more about wind and solar technology and the considerations for such applications. It is an exciting time to invest into alternative energy. The federal government is offering some very attractive incentives to include a 30% tax credit, 50% immediate write off for businesses, and energy production credits for businesses that invest into alternative energy.

The sponsors for this event include Community Bank & Trust, Fidelity Bank, The Pocono Northeast RC&D Council, and the Endless Mountains RC&D Council. Community Bank & Trust, serves Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Monroe and Wayne counties, and offers a reduced interest rate for their “Green Home Equity Loan” which includes no application fee, a shopping bag made of recycled materials, and a First Alert Smoke Detector for applicants that are approved. Fidelity Bank encourages its customers to go “green” by banking online, and by taking advantage of their Green Home Equity Loan. Families can receive 0.25% off their home equity loan rate when they make environmentally friendly home improvements. To learn more visit

The Pocono Northeast RC&D and Endless Mountains RC&D Councils are both local 501c3 nonprofit organizations in northeast PA whose mission is to enhance and improve the ecological, cultural, and economic characteristics of the area through projects and programs that promote the management, protection, and sustainable utilization of the area’s resources.

The Wind & Solar Workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM at St. Rose Academy, 1300 Old Plank Road, Mayfield, PA 18433. Reserve your seating by calling Deana Kilmer at (570) 876-0537 or email at

Friday, July 3, 2009

Of Hydraulic Fracturing and Drinking Water

This is a reprint of an email notice I received from the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians - check out their website -

This was written by JEREMY MILLER
Original post may be

A bill introduced earlier this month would bring federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing fluids – chemical mixtures pumped at high pressure into oil and gas wells in order to unlock deposits trapped deep underground.

Environmentalists welcomed the bill, but representatives of the natural gas industry say the legislation could lead to increased costs, job losses and increased competition for water — particularly in the West.

The bill, known as the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, (FRAC) was introduced in both the House and Senate by representatives from Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York. It essentially seeks to overturn a 2005 legislative tweak that placed fracturing fluids outside the regulatory purview of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“Our legislation says everyone deserves to have safe drinking water by ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is subject to the protections afforded by the Safe Drinking Water Act,” said Representative Maurice Hinchey, a New York Democrat and one of the bill’s authors, in a prepared statement. “The bill also lifts the veil of secrecy currently shrouding this industry practice.”

Several kinds of fracturing fluids are used by the gas industry. Some are merely water or compressed gases injected underground at high pressure. Others are slurries that contain a host of chemicals and “proppants” — granular substances composed of resin-coated sand grains or similar synthesized materials — that expand in the ground and hold open fissures for gas and oil to pass through.

Hydraulic fracturing fluids were developed by Halliburton in the 1940s, but their use has increased recently as exploration of deep gas fields in places like the Marcellus Shale and Colorado’s Roan Plateau has stepped up.

Today, nine out of 10 gas wells in the United States currently use fracturing fluids, according to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multistate government group.

Whether or not those fluids are polluting water supplies is a matter of debate, though a lengthy report by the investigative site ProPublica last year noted that this is often difficult to determine — not least because the precise makeup of fracturing fluids are considered trade secrets in the industry.

The pending legislation would require disclosure of ingredients.

Amy Mall, a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that the push for regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act is not without precedent, and that the proposed legislation would simply bring hydraulic fracturing in line with other industry practices.

“Mines and companies that inject waste underground are already regulated by the E.P.A.,” said Ms. Mall. “It’s not like they’re being asked to do something completely new.”

Gas industry representatives, however, insist that states already regulate hydraulic fracturing, and that federal oversight is unwarranted.

“In the past 50 years, more than one million wells have been fractured under state regulation, and not a single well has been linked to drinking water contamination,” said Jeff Eshelman, a spokesman for theIndependent Petroleum Association of America, in an e-mail message.

Mr. Eshelman argued that regulation would increase the costs of building and maintaining gas wells and ultimately lead to the loss of jobs. Pointing to Alabama, the only state where E.P.A. Safe Drinking Water Act statutes have been applied to the underground injection of fracturing fluids, Mr. Eshelman also suggested that water scarcity could become more acute under a new regulatory regime.

According to Mr. Eshelman, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruledin 1997 that only “federally certified” drinking water could be used as a fracturing agent in Alabama coal bed methane projects.

While that decision was voided after the 2005 Energy Policy Act exempted the regulation of fracturing fluids under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Mr. Eshelman said that the FRAC Act could trigger similar rulings across the country and potentially put gas companies in direct competition with municipalities for water.

“This could pose a serious issue for parts of the country, such as out West, where water supplies are a major concern,” wrote Mr. Eshelman.

Websites featured in this post

My personal and professional opinion:

1. The drilling companies should provide a listing and the approximate volume and mass of each chemical used - this should include MSDS sheets. This information should be in a format the community, royality owner, and local governments can understand.

2. Some companies are taking the lead on this issue - for example Fortuna

3. Here is a listing of what Fortuna is using

4. Hydrofracturing is not new - it has been used repeatedly for shallow groundwater development.

5. The chemicals in the frac water will likely cause less of a concern than the connate water and brine water removed from the borehole - I think the primary concern should be frac water treatment, reuse, and management and the possibily for deep well reinjection of the fluid.

6. The recipe for the frac fluid and drilling mud should be confidential - but the chemicals and estimated quality should be reported. Just like any recipe - the details are one thing - but the ingredients are still on the label.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Awards


The Northeast Environmental Partners announce the “19th Annual Evening for Pennsylvania’s Environment” and are seeking a Call For Nominations for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Awards and the Thomas P. Shelburne Award.

The Northeast Environmental Partners (Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Northeast Office, PPL Corporation, Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, and Wilkes University) are proud to announce that the 19th Annual Evening for Pennsylvania’s Environment has been scheduled for Thursday, October 22, 2009 at the Woodlands Inn and Resort. Additionally, nominations are being sought for the Nineteenth Annual Environmental Partnership Awards and the Fifteenth Annual Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Awards are presented annually to recognize the achievements of individuals or organizations that, through partnerships, have achieved excellence in environmental protection or conservation. The Evening showcases the Recipient of the Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award. This award, in its fifteenth year, was established by the NEPA Environmental Partners to recognize an individual who stands out for his or her long-term commitment to environmental quality through inspirational leadership, dedication and commitment to partnering.

The Awards are open to any group, individual, company, program, or organization whose work has had a positive impact on the environment in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s following counties; Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming.  During the past 18 years, over 180 individuals and groups involved in agriculture, forestry, business, industry, education, science, environmental awareness, community service, and government have been honored.

Nominations may be made by a person or persons involved in the activity, or by a third party.

A Nomination Package - please contact the Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Council office at 570-718-6507 or download the forms from PEC’s website at: Nominations must be postmarked no later than July 15, 2009. Award presentations will be made during the Environmental Partnership Awards Dinner being held on Thursday October 22, 2009 at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, Wilkes-Barre PA.

Polycythemia vera public meeting scheduled July 9

Polycythemia vera public meeting scheduled July 9
Testing for marker of rare blood disease to be offered

ATLANTA - The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will hold a public meeting in the Tamaqua High School auditorium, 500 Penn St., on Thursday, July 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. to inform area residents of recent efforts regarding polycythemia vera (PV).

At the meeting ATSDR officials will present an overview of the PV research and other activities that will be funded by a special appropriation. In addition, the principal investigators of three already-identified projects will be on hand for more detailed discussions of their work.

The projects include: the Drexel epidemiological study, the McAdoo Superfund Site Water Outflow Study, and the ATSDR JAK2 screening project.

The JAK2 genetic marker was discovered in 2004 and found to occur in more than 95 percent of PV patients. Many experts believe people with PV and related blood disorders may test positive for the JAK2 marker for a number of years before ever exhibiting symptoms of PV. It is not known at this time if the JAK2 marker always leads to PV or another blood disease.

Since the rates of PV are higher in this area of Pennsylvania than other parts of the state, ATSDR will offer free blood tests to the community for the purpose of screening for the JAK2 gene marker. By volunteering for this testing, residents can learn if they carry this marker, even though they are currently without symptoms of PV. Early diagnosis and treatment of PV can prevent or delay complications. Individuals aged 40 or older are deemed most likely to test positive for the JAK2 marker; however, anyone living in Carbon, Luzerne or Schuylkill County is eligible for the screening.

Blood draw clinics will be set up in Hazelton, Tamaqua and Pottsville from Aug. 3-6 and Aug. 10-13. Individuals are encouraged to make an appointment ahead of time by signing up at the public meeting or by calling 1-877-525-4860.

This is a reposting of an email message from the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians