Fracktivists Rally, Interrupt Inauguration

Anti-fracking activists took to the streets of Harrisburg yesterday calling for Governor Tom Wolf to ban fracking on the day of his inauguration.  Led by Gasland director Josh Fox, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, a coalition of 90 organizations held a press conference just down the street from the Capitol.  Speakers denounced the idea that shale gas drilling is safe and called for protections against water and air pollution.  Sam Bernhardt of Food and Water Watch accused Wolf of “being overcome by the fracking industry.  He promised that fracktivists will be “a constant presence as Gov. Wolf tours Pennsylvania in 2015.

Josh Fox:

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Indeed they didn’t wait as they marched to the east side of the Capitol where the new Governor was being sworn into office.  There they interrupted the festivities with catcalls, whistles and chants.  It was entirely inappropriate and likely cost them much potential support for their aims.  Many of those attending the event are in positions which could influence fracking legislation, policies and even potential bans such as the State of New York just instituted.

Gov. Wolf addressed the protesters in his remarks calling on them to help him develop renewable energy sources and keep energy development clean and safe.  In this he is a striking breath of fresh air after his predecessor who was bought and paid for by the fracking industry and allowed the Commonwealth’s landscape to be raped and pillaged.

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News & Notes March 23, 2012

It’s so nice out my fingers want to type in “April”…

The blog morphed over to a cloud server yesterday.  I apologize if anyone had issues getting access during the transition.  Let me know of any problems.  I also added links to various social media/web sharing sites.  Please use them liberally.

Rep. Tony Payton Jr. withdrew from the April ballot due to petition problems.  He’ll likely run as a write-in.  Tony’s a good guy who we need in Harrisburg.

John Perzel, who wasn’t, was sentenced to from 30 months to five years for using taxpayer money to buy a $10 million campaign database system for the HRCC.  It seems they’re still using the software.

Jane Orie’s case went t trial after she spent two+ days on the stand denying she ever gave orders for her staff to do campaign work on state time.  I suppose we think they simply decided to do it themselves?  How stupid does she think the jurors are?  It didn’t help when the DA ran a rebuttal witness onto the stand who testified he saw it being done massively and openly one day when he visited her office.

Prospective voters are already lining up to obtain state ID’s.  We’re spending $10 million to pay for these when abused kids and disabled Pennsylvanians aren’t getting services, when Gov. gasbag is shutting down the parks fund and our roads are crumbling.  All this to solve a problem which doesn’t exist.  Meanwhile people are having to pay bus fare, stand in long lines, if they’re able (many are not) or pay to get copies of their birth certificates.  Having to pay to vote is illegal.

Blue America has a facebook page up about Tim Holden and fracking.  Go “like” it.

Though the EPA issued a press release claiming water in Dimock is safe some who went and examined their documents found otherwise:

In response, Water Defense and “Gasland” director Fox went to Dimock to personally collect the EPA test summaries from six of the eleven families and had the samples reviewed by independent experts. They found that the summaries actually did report explosive levels of methane, heavy metals and hazardous chemicals. According to Water Defense, all six of the results contained at least one serious health concern, either from chemicals present or methane levels. In four of the six summaries, methane levels exceeded the 7 mg/l actionable threshold necessary for mitigation under Pennsylvania law, the standard they say was previously cited by former state DEP Commissioner John Hanger. One of the test results showed methane levels at seven times that limit. The results also showed dozens of other contaminants, according to the organization, including heavy metals and chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, although safe levels have not been established for a majority of these chemicals. Water Defense has called for the complete test results to be released by the EPA for further analysis, citing inconsistencies in the available data.

Fox News says it has never called President Obama a Muslim.  This is called revisionistic history.

Manan Trivedi has a bio video up:

Gas Well Explodes, 2 Dead This Time

Another Marcellus gas well exploded and this time two workers were killed.  DEP responded promptly this time because, apparently, someone notified them in time and I have to wonder how many more wells are going to explode, how many houses will follow as gas seeps up through the ground from fracking and whether the ground water near this explosion is now poisoned.

The EPA is conducting some public hearings on hydro fracturing and 1200 people showed up for one in western Pennsylvania to listen to oil and gas industry spokespeople claim no one has ever proven gas has contaminated ground water.  That is correct bit consider why:  since Dick Cheney’s energy task force exempted them from the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act the EPA has no authority to test the air, water or ground for contaminants, the industry doesn’t have to tell us what they’re putting into this fracking fluid (it isn’t water after you infuse it with hundreds of toxic chemicals and substances), and science isn’t exact enough to prove beyond a doubt any direct causal relationship.

Of course it doesn’t take a genius to understand that people live for hundreds of years on using water supplies then cannot directly after wells are drilled.  It doesn’t take a genius to know if there’s enough gas in your water you can light it on fire the gas came from somewhere new, perhaps that well across the road…

Some of Mark Critz’s brilliant campaign people were on Facebook this week claiming no wells have been contaminated and that its all about “jobs, jobs, jobs!”  Yes, theirs.  What good are jobs when all the people are being poisoned?  The jobs won’t help much once we’re all dead.  If wells aren’t being contaminated by this drilling why is DEP providing replacement water to hundreds of people?

Congressman Joe Sestak is now calling on the EPA to investigate and prevent water supply contamination.  Though he sees the economic benefits from gas exploration he thinks it must be done safely and responsibly:

“There is extraordinary economic potential associated with the development of Marcellus Shale resources,” said Congressman Sestak. “However, as the oil spill in the Gulf reminds us, there is also great risk. It is, therefore,  critical that this study is detailed and completed in a transparent manner. I encourage the EPA to create a thorough and scientifically based study, and I suggest that they do so in as expeditious a manner as feasible, given strong economic pressures and rapid development already taking place, especially in Pennsylvania.”

In his comments, the Congressman outlined key points which the study must address: the impact of many wells in a small area, as is already the case in Pennsylvania; the effectiveness of municipal wastewater treatment systems in handling the fluid drawn out of the wells; standard engineering controls and safety practices related to the drilling technology; and the risks posed by abandoned wells, acknowledging that more than one-half of the location of Pennsylvania’s abandoned oil and gas wells are unknown.

“Communities in Pennsylvania are facing significant amounts of drilling in relatively small areas,” said Congressman Sestak in his comments. “They were approved and initiated prior to this study, and created, I believe, in an expeditious manner that is potentially harmful. While we must understand the impact of fracking in individual wells, this study must also consider anticipated high-density drilling in relatively short periods of time to account for the cumulative effects of drilling on a region’s drinking water supply.”

Along with these comments, Congressman Sestak has joined Senator Casey in support of the FRAC Act, which would restore Safe Drinking Water Act protections for drilling operations using fracture drilling. In addition, after a blowout and explosion at a drilling site in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania last month, Congressman Sestak wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to urge improved safety measures to protect Pennsylvanians from the potentially detrimental effects of hydraulic fracturing noting that oversight was inadequate and putting workers at risk.

Individuals or organizations wishing to contribute written comments to the EPA regarding the proposed hydraulic fracturing research study can do so from now until September 1, 2010 by emailing comments to hydraulic.fracturing@epa.gov or by mailing them to:

Jill Dean

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Mail code 4606M,

Washington, DC  20460

Rendell Cuts DEP While Key Aides Move to the Gas Industry

Now we may know why Gov. Rendell gutted the DEP budget the past two years:  his office is a revolving door to lucrative jobs in the shale gas drilling industry.  Fast Eddie’s Administration has been frought with appearances of corruption his entire tenure.  Major contributors received tens of millions in tax money in return for generous campaign contributions and Rendell’s former law firm got huge state contracts.  There have been direct connections between being cozy with the Guv and getting tons of tax dollars back to your company.  Albert Boscov is just one example.  The department store magnate gave Rendell hundreds of thousands in $50,000 campaign contributions then $50 million in tax funds to buy back his firm.  The state even contributed money for a statue of the man in Reading.  Boscov is one of many who got very, very good returns for their money.

Now three of Rendell’s aides have left his office to work for shale gas drilling companies.  K Scott Roy, Sarah Battisti and Barbara Sexton have all gone straight from the Governor’s Office to gas drillers.  If you’re wondering who sold you out now you know where to look for a culprit.  There are usually reasons when the people get screwed and these normally reside directly within campaign finance reports.  This year the gas industry is buying Tom Corbett lock, stock and barrels.

Penn’s Woods to be Renamed Gasland

Pennsylvania, once a place of green hills, clean water and beautiful spaces is being ravished and her open spaces raped by energy companies exploiting the Marcellus Shale deposits and greedy lawmakers, is renaming itself Gasland.  The HBO documentary film illustrates the effects of fracking on water supplies and our environment but people like Tom Corbett and others would rather sell us all down the river.  A very dirty, polluted river at that.

Gas drilling operators are seeking to seize your property’s mineral rights by eminent domain so they can pollute your drinking water and despoil our waterways without your permission.  Thank the Bush Supreme Court for this because they determined the public use of property seizure by eminent domain is legal when used for private corporate profit rather than the public good.  In fact, in this case, it would be greatly to the public detriment.

How much do you think your property will be worth with no access to potable, clean drinking water?  Try zilch.  This stands to be the largest land grab since America seized Indian lands and engaged in a century long period of genocide towards our aborigines.  Perhaps this is the circle closing on greedy white men who are now going to seize the same lands we took from the Iroquois and Delawares.  Take some advice:  leave now while you can.