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The headline flew around the globe like wild fire. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published their long-awaited draft fracking drinking water study and concluded: fracking has had no widespread impact on drinking water. But if you’ve had your ear to the ground in fracking communities, something didn’t sit right with the EPA’s takeaway. Though the gas industry claims fracking is safe and doesn’t harm drinking water, that story doesn’t match what many landowners report from the fracking fields. At least in Pennsylvania, the reason for this discrepancy comes down to a singular issue: mismanaged record-keeping and reporting by the Department of the Environment (DEP). Based on 2,309 previously unreported fracking complaints unearthed by the non-profit Public Herald, the public can now peek into 1,275 fracking water complaints from 17 of 40 fracking counties. However, Pennsylvania’s official tally of water contamination is only 271 for all 40 counties.
Joe Sestak, Guest Writer: During my 31 years in the U.S. Navy, I saw firsthand some of the most environmentally sensitive places on the planet and the consequences of environmental and conservation failures. And as a Pennsylvanian born and raised, I well know the lessons of the demise of the anthracite coal industry, where the commonwealth was left with a $15 billion cleanup of 2,500 miles of damaged streams and 250,000 acres of contaminated land because of the lack of adequate regulation and the absence of proper oversight.
At a U.S. Senate candidate forum in Pittsburgh on Sunday, the moderators asked the three Democratic candidates on stage if they had received contributions from the National Rifle Association, a political action committee that opposes abortion rights, or the oil and gas industry. All three - retired Navy admiral Joe Sestak, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty -- all replied that they had not. The query sparked a brief quip from Fetterman, who questioned McGinty's answer: "The oil and gas (industry), really," as moderators moved on to the next question. His campaign did not elaborate on his comment Monday, but a national Republican group went further, blasting out a list of contributions to McGinty from executives and employees at energy firms.
McGinty argued that she approached environmental regulation from a pro-economic growth perspective. “My approach to environmental challenges, from my first days in working in the environmental area, has been to see in them economic opportunities in disguise — to see that an environmental problem is really some business’s invitation to invent a new technology, to enhance productivity, to improve efficiency, and to grow their bottom line,” she said in an interview with Grist in 2005.
According to PennLive, previous estimates in Pennsylvania included jobs in highway construction, steel mills, coal-fired power plants, sewage treatment plants, and others that were not directly or even indirectly involved in shale gas development. Industry claimed it was responsible for providing 250,000 jobs to Pennsylvanians. But a new analysis from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has found that the real number is about 29,000 -- less than 12% of the industry claims.
We agree with your editors (“The F in FERC”, Tuesday, December 8) that FERC has operated until now as a rogue agency, rubber-stamping pipeline proposals with no public accountability. But that’s where our agreement ends. Until facts detailing infrastructure need, environmental and economic risks are available, it is premature for the Governor to support any new pipeline — and inappropriate for the Times to suggest — that a compromise on two proposed pipelines might be one that runs “right through the New River and Roanoke Valleys.” As FERC’s traditional review of individual proposals “in a vacuum” has proven increasingly ineffective, we encourage analysis of all Marcellus Shale pipeline proposals located in Greater Appalachia through a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, (PEIS).
MOORE TOWNSHIP — Moore Township wants to ensure that the proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline would be a safe distance from homes. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday directed solicitor David Backenstoe to look into establishing, by ordinance, a mandatory distance separating the line from residential structures. "If the pipeline comes, is there a way to institute building setbacks from it?" he asked.
NEW MILFORD TOWNSHIP -- A family's maple syrup operation is in jeopardy in Susquehanna County. Megan Holleran surveyed her family's sugar bush, a group of maple trees tied to a syrup operation near New Milford and in jeopardy of being chopped down. "It started as a hobby but turned into a business," said Holleran. Holleran's family is taking a stand after a federal judge ruled under eminent domain, the planned Constitution Pipeline can cut through their property, cutting down the maple trees already producing sap.
FERC has given Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC permission to begin cutting trees in Pennsylvania for its $683 million natural gas pipeline -- which would transport gas from the Marcellus Shale to markets in the northeast -- but withheld permission for the clearing of trees in neighboring New York State.
Shale Justice is a coalition of organizations whose aim is to coordinate our efforts, our regionally specific issues, our visions, our talents, and our hard work to end extreme forms of industrialized fossil fuel extraction which poses serious threats to our air, our land and our water.
The individual chapters of the Final SGEIS (April 2015) can be viewed as PDFs (see below). The full 2015 Final SGEIS document is available as two large PDF files: Volume 1 (PDF) (35.8 MB) and Volume 2 (PDF) (8.4 MB). Although they are very large files, they are downloadable and searchable.
Updated July 18, 2015 (4/2/2015)
Find out “WHO” are the corporations, their subsidiaries, the executive leadership, board of directors, associations, industry groups, lobbyists, Public Relation companies, and politicians? How are they connected? What is their message and “WHO” are the messengers?