New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines at the end of last year when he announced a ban on hydraulic fracking in his state. That was unquestionably a victory for environmentalists, but in neighboring Pennsylvania, however, fracking is still underway. This summer, I visited the northeastern region of the Keystone State to see what the the front lines of America’s shale gas boom looks like.
Far off the radar of Google Maps, I found Craig Stevens mowing the front lawn on his 115-acre property in Susquehanna County. Craig, a former National Rifle Association recruiter, hasn’t had a drink from his faucet in about a year and a half, and for good reason.
“Blood started shooting out of my face,” he told me at his home, licking the sweat off of his gray mustache. “The water started tasting like metal. Slightly at first, then it got stronger. I had spontaneous nosebleeds. Eight of them over two weeks. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but the day I stopped drinking the water is the day the nosebleeds stopped.” Craig had the water tested. “Barium and strontium levels are through the roof,” he said. Continue reading Meet the Insurgents on the Front Line of America’s Fracking War→
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – On Thursday, Governor Tom Wolf will announce a moratorium on new oil and gas leases in state lands, but will leave nearly 700,000 acres of Pennsylvania’s 1.2 million acres of state forests on the table for drilling.
The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources states that 385,400 acres have already been leased for Marcellus Shale drilling and 290,000 acres could be developed through private leases.
Thursday’s order does not stop the Department of Environmental Protection from permitting wells, pipelines, or compressor stations on existing leases, where there is room for as many as 6,000 wells, according to PA DCNR. If all of those wells are drilled and developed, approximately 25,000 forested acres would be converted for roads, pipeline right of ways, and well pads. As of October, PA DCNR had approved more than 1,000 Marcellus wells on state forests and nearly 600 of them — clustered on about 230 well pads — had been drilled. Continue reading Bad Call: PA Governor Wolf Pursues Drilling on 700,000 Acres of State Land→
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking regards Governor Tom Wolf’s reinstatement of the moratorium on state forest and park drilling to be an important first step in protecting Pennsylvania from fracking, but continues its call for an end to fracking everywhere in the state.
“Today’s decision, just days after hundreds of Pennsylvanians rallied at Governor Wolf’s inauguration for a ban on fracking, is evidence of the power of the movement to stop fracking in our state,” said Jenny Lisak, of Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, a member of the Pennsylvanians Against Fracking steering committee. “Keeping fracking out of state parks is welcomed news, but I am fearful that the negative impacts of this process will be concentrated in communities already being harmed. We must stop fracking around the state.”
Wolf publicly criticized then-Governor Tom Corbett for the decision he made last May to lift the moratorium on state forests and, for the first time, open state park land to fracking. A petition the Wolf campaign circulated at the time said, “In 2010, a moratorium was placed on fracking in Pennsylvania public lands because an exhaustive scientific study concluded that further drilling would irreparably harm the state forests and parks.” Continue reading Coalition Calls on Governor Wolf to Stop Fracking Statewide After Parks Ban→
For the first time in United States history, an ecosystem — a watershed, to be exact — has filed to defend itself in a lawsuit. The suit aims to reverse a local ban on the injection of fracking wastewater.
Little Mahoning Watershed in Indiana County, Pennsylvania recently filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend its own rights to exist and flourish. But watersheds can’t hire lawyers or speak, so how can one defend its rights, and do watersheds even have rights?
The Little Mahoning Creek waterway flows through Grant Township, where elected officials unanimously passed a “Community Bill of Rights Ordinance” in June 2014 which declared “the rights of human and natural communities to water and a healthy environment,” including what’s commonly called the “Rights of Nature.”
There are thousands of miles of pipelines moving through Pennsylvania, but no state or federal agency seems to have a single comprehensive list of how many or specifically where they are located.
The state Department of Environmental Protection doesn’t have a list like that, though it does have a comprehensive map of gas wells in the commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has a list of Act 127 (non-public utility) pipeline operators from 2011 through 2013 that includes more than 13,000 miles of existing natural gas lines and those carrying hazardous materials through the state.
A new report confirms that fracking companies are willing to violate rules “intended to protect human health and the environment.” The report tracks lapses and the findings are both shocking and scary.
The report, Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S., analyses Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry over a four-year period and found that the top offenders of regulations—averaging more than one environmental violation every day—represented a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 companies like Cabot Oil, to mom-and-pop operators, to firms like Chevron.