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Several of Eagles Mere’s talented photographers and videographers have been documenting the impacts of drilling in the region. Thanks to their efforts, this gallery contains many diverse photographs of the area we all know and love. A special thanks goes out to Terry Wild, Julie Stauffer, Courtney Rau, Lucy Stitzer, Rick Liebert and Mary Ann Stanton for sharing their talents and time so freely.

We also have added photos taken from some other areas of PA that have undergone extensive drilling so you can see what that looks like, and videos of interest.

Videos /Interactive:

New 9/3/15   PA Act 13 and Zoning   One of the best ways our communities can protect themselves from the negative effects of gas drilling is to have strong and current zoning in place.   ​We encourage you to take some time to watch this 7-minute video summarizing recent changes to PA oil and gas zoning laws.  Mark Szybist, an attorney with the Responsible Drilling Alliance in Williamsport, does a great job in succinctly laying out the history and recent changes to the PA​ zoning laws that will continue impact all of us throughout Pennsylvania.

6/12/12  Updated Aerial Photos of Gas Drilling    Marcellus Air 8 is a June 8, 2012 flight over southern PAs Marcellus shale gas drilling. Most of the shale gas drilling photos on this page were taken over Greene County and Washington County, Pennsylvania. GPS markings provide approximate locations for most photos.   The best way to see shale gas production is from the air!

Science and the Fracking Boom: Missing Answers (NPR Interactive) Whether in Colorado, Texas or Pennsylvania, people living on the front step of the natural gas boom have the same questions: What kinds of pollutants are entering our water and air, and are those pollutants making us sick? Explore key components of the natural gas production process — and the questions scientists are asking.

Protect Eagles Mere Video Courtney Rau created this 5-minute video highlighting the beauty and people of Eagles Mere.

FOX 29 Eagles Mere Report    TV News report featuring Eagles Mere from from May 2011.

Getting It Right for Eagles Mere Video     PEMA co-sponsored a symposium in Laporte on the environmental effects of gas drilling. There were many members of the media who covered the event—one of them was Cris Conkey from Shaleshock Media. Cris was very interested in Eagles Mere, its long history and how the gas industry will impact this historic town. He produced this independent video, Getting It Right for Eagles Mere—Julie Stauffer, George Jenkins & Colonel Donald Kane are interviewed, plus there are clips from the EM Toboggan Slide and the January symposium.

NOTE: PEMA did not suggest, sponsor, contribute, edit, or otherwise have any role in the development of this video. PEMA does not endorse its content or otherwise have an opinion about the statements made within the video. The credits at the end, which include a reference to PEMA as well as other organizations, were not approved by PEMA and are not intended to indicate any form of association between PEMA and the video producer. The individuals featured in the video are not PEMA Board members and do not speak for PEMA. This video is a completely independent film and, as it does include a variety of community and expert perspectives on the gas drilling issue, PEMA is making the community aware of the video as part of the educational aspect of our mission

 

The Promise and Problems of Shale Gas, Part I             By energyNOW July 27, 2011

Tapping the energy stored in a rock formation called the Marcellus Shale has been an economic boon to Pennsylvania, but is the state paying an environmental price? View this informative 19-minute video in which energyNOW! Chief Correspondent Tyler Suiters interviews residents of Bradford County in northern Pennsylvania, scientific experts and former state regulators on the topic.

 The Promise and Problems of Shale Gas, Part II             By energyNOW July 28, 2011

In the second part of this special report, energyNOW! Chief Correspondent Tyler Suiters visits Dr. Poune Saberi, a family physician at the University of Pennsylvania investigating health complaints in the gas-producing areas of the Marcellus Shale. View this 7-minute video.

 

 

 

 

Don Hopey     Pittsburgh Post Gazette      October 28, 2016 12:04 AM

The Pennsylvania Medical Society’s 300-member House of Delegates unanimously approved a resolution calling for the fracking moratorium, registry and research at its annual meeting on Sunday.

The society’s 300-member House of Delegates unanimously approved a resolution at its annual meeting Sunday in Hershey calling for the fracking moratorium, registry and research.

Dr. Walter Tsou, past president of the American Public Health Association and the author of the resolution, noted that a similar resolution was rejected three years ago, but now “growing evidence has shown its increasing deleterious effects outweighs any economic benefit.”

He said the medical society’s board of directors will meet next month to plan how to get the state Legislature, the Department of Health and the governor’s office to act on the resolutions.

The medical society might not get much help from the governor’s office, however.

Jeffrey Sheridan, Gov. Tom Wolf’s spokesman, said Thursday night that the governor does not support a statewide moratorium.

“The governor understands the importance of the natural gas industry and he wants the industry to succeed while protecting the health of our residents and our environment,’’ Mr. Sheridan said. “Gov. Wolf has proposed methane regulations that are in the process of being implemented, and his administration developed some of the most stringent regulations on unconventional well drilling in the country that were recently finalized.

“The governor will continue to find ways to support the industry while ensuring we are protecting the environment and the health of Pennsylvania residents.”

Protect Pennsylvania: Health Professionals for a Livable Future, an activist alliance of physicians and nurses organizations opposed to shale gas development, said in a news release it supports the medical society’s resolution, and criticized the state Legislature for failing to establish a health registry or fund research into the health impacts of the decade-old shale gas drilling and fracking industry.

According to Protect Pennsylvania, many communities that benefited economically from the initial shale gas boom are now experiencing environmental and human health consequences.

“Pennsylvania has invested heavily into shale gas drilling, but in-state health studies have demonstrated worsening asthma, premature births, neurological and mental symptoms, and other adverse effects,” said Protect Pennsylvania’s news release, which cited bans or moratoriums on shale gas development in New York, Maryland and Vermont as appropriate precautionary steps.

Statements by the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association and the Marcellus Shale Coalition, both representing industry concerns, touted the air quality improvements and health benefits from substituting natural gas for coal. PIOGA characterized the medical society’s resolution as “completely misinformed,” and the health risk concerns as “unfounded.”

The coalition cited U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy’s statement that, “natural gas has been a game changer with our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions that have been very hard to get our arms around for many decades.”

The medical society’s call for a moratorium came just a day before the release of a new study by the Yale School of Public Health that found numerous carcinogens used in fracking have the potential to contaminate the air and water of nearby communities and increase the risk of childhood leukemia.

Published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the study examined more than 1,000 chemicals that may be released into the air or water by fracking and found that information on their cancer-causing potential was lacking on 80 percent of the compounds, “an important knowledge gap,” it said.

Of the remaining 119 compounds, 55 were identified as confirmed or possible carcinogens, and 20 of those are linked to increased risk for leukemia or lymphoma.

An expansive new analysis by Yale School of Public Health researchers confirms that numerous carcinogens involved in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing have the potential to contaminate air and water in nearby communities.

Fracking is now common in the United States, currently occurring in 30 states, and with millions of people living within one mile of a fracking site. The study suggests that the presence of carcinogens involved in or released by hydraulic fracturing operations has the potential to increase the risk of childhood leukemia. The presence of chemicals alone does not confirm exposure or risk of exposure to carcinogens and future studies are needed to evaluate cancer risk.

“Because children are a particularly vulnerable population, research efforts should first be directed toward investigating whether exposure to hydraulic fracturing is associated with an increased risk,” said lead author Nicole Deziel, Ph.D., assistant professor. Childhood leukemia is a particular concern because of the severity and short latency period of the disease.

The study is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. Click here to view the study.

To our knowledge, our analysis represents the most expansive review of carcinogenicity of hydraulic fracturing-related chemicals in the published literature.

NICOLE DEZIEL
The team examined an extensive list of more than 1,000 chemicals that may be released into air or water as a result of fracking. “Previous studies have examined the carcinogenicity of more selective lists of chemicals,” said Deziel. “To our knowledge, our analysis represents the most expansive review of carcinogenicity of hydraulic fracturing-related chemicals in the published literature.”

According to the findings, the majority of chemicals (>80 percent) lacked sufficient data on cancer-causing potential, highlighting an important knowledge gap. Of the 119 compounds with sufficient data, 44 percent of the water pollutants and 60 percent of air pollutants were either confirmed or possible carcinogens. Because some chemicals could be released to both air and water, the study revealed a total of 55 unique compounds with carcinogenic potential. Furthermore, 20 chemicals had evidence of increased risk for leukemia or lymphoma specifically. This analysis creates a priority list of carcinogens to target for future exposure and health studies.

Fracking, also known as unconventional oil and gas development, has increased dramatically in recent years, and the practice is expected to grow in the future. The process involves drilling deep, as far as two miles, into the earth and releasing a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals that fracture the rock and release the gas or oil trapped inside. While fracking increases the production of domestic oil and natural gas and decreases prices, it is controversial because of the significant amounts of water that must be used as well as transported to fracking sites, as well as the release of carcinogens.

The team has begun been testing air and water samples for some of these known and suspected carcinogens in a community with particularly intense exposure to fracking to evaluate whether people there are exposed to these compounds, and if so, at what concentrations.

Heavy rains brought flash floods to Lycoming County, which washed out a bridge on Wallis Run Road. The yellow pipeline marker shows the location of the Sunoco pipeline that ruptured and spilled an estimated 55,000 gallons of gasoline into Wallis Run creek.

SUSAN PHILLIPS                StateImpact PA     OCTOBER 21, 2016

Flash floods and landslides in north-central Pennsylvania have caused a Sunoco pipeline to rupture, spilling an estimated 55,000 gallons of gasoline into a tributary of Loyalsock creek in Lycoming County. Sunoco’s control center responded to the rupture at about 3 a.m. Friday morning, after a decrease in pressure was detected and residents noticed a strong smell of gasoline, according to Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields. The Department of Environmental Protection says it sent staff to the spill in Gamble Township along with local emergency crews, the state Fish and Boat Commission, the EPA, and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
The DEP says the area is difficult to access safely because of heavy flooding. The agency says the flood waters will have to recede before determining the source of the rupture, which may not be until Saturday as rain is expected to continue. In the meantime, Sunoco had shut down the 8-inch line that runs from Reading to Buffalo, N.Y. Sunoco has taken a lot of heat for its pipelines recently. Local opposition against the Mariner East 2 pipeline has resulted in arrests and lawsuits. Sunoco is also behind the planned Dakota Access pipeline that has drawn international attention for protests by Native Americans. And a recent analysis by Reuters of government data on pipeline spills shows Sunoco pipelines leak more often than any other operator, with 200 releases since 2010.
Several area towns have had to shut off or alter their drinking water sources and some area residents have been encouraged to conserve water. Lewisburg resident Carol Parenzan says she was contacted by her local water company, Pennsylvania American Water, Friday afternoon with a notice about the spill, asking customers to conserve water.

“We’re definitely experiencing more extreme weather events and we have aging infrastructure and here’s a perfect example,” said Parenzan who is executive director of the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association. “We need to stay up to date on the age of this infrastructure and its condition.”

Parenzan says the same pipeline was exposed to flood waters when a nearby road caved in back in 2011 during Tropical Storm Lee. The pipeline was originally built in 1937, according to Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields. He says the sections in the area of rupture were replaced in 1992 and 2011.

Carol Kafer, president of the Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association posted photos of the rupture on Facebook. She also described what she saw:

“When I went outside this morning, the air was so full of petroleum fumes that I could taste it,” Kafer wrote. “When I took these photos around 8:30 am this morning, the air in the area was still rank with petroleum fumes. Bottom line:  Fuel lines should not be placed near or under streams in mountainous areas that flood violently.  Two mishaps in 5 years is not acceptable.”

PA American Water also reached out to its commercial customers to conserve and DEP reports it may have closed its intake. The DEP says Shamokin Dam Borough closed its intake as a precaution and may use water from Aqua PA.

Sunoco Logistics emergency crews say they plan to use skimmers to remove the gasoline from the surface and containment booms downstream. The company says its meeting with impacted residents, who can contact a representative at 800-759-5644.


 David Singer          Observer Reporter          September 28, 2016

A Range Resources natural gas well in Hopewell Township

Provisions in the natural gas and oil drilling law known as Act 13 were ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The case, Robinson Township et al v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was challenged primarily in four areas – a medical gag against physicians; a provision that only public water customers would be notified of spills or leaks at gas drilling sites, not those who use private water sources; Public Utility Commission’s ability to withhold impact fee money if local ordinances didn’t comply with state law; and eminent domain privileges for natural gas companies using private land for storage of natural gas.

All were struck down as violating either state or U.S. constitutions.

The medical confidentiality enforcement against physicians – a gag order – was ruled unconstitutional despite an earlier Commonwealth Court ruling that proprietary chemicals in fracking fluids were valid as trade secrets not to be discussed with patients. The high court ruled “no other industry in the commonwealth has been statutorily shielded in this manner” and it would create an undue conflict of interest for a doctor weighing obligations to effectively treat and consult with a patient or to accidentally disclose supposed proprietary business information.

In the spill issue, the court ruled the state Legislature has 180 days to change the notification requirements to alert anyone affected by a spill or leak. Attorney John Smith, who represented many of the appellants in the case, said it was obvious private water consumers would need notification.

The lead appellant in the case, Brian Coppola, a former Robinson Township supervisors chairman, said the water notification issue was important.

“We had a very large spill in the township. The township wasn’t notified, the homeowners and well water users weren’t notified; we found out by accident. When I became a supervisor, I took an oath to uphold the state constitution. When (former) Governor (Tom) Corbett and the legislature signed this into law, I knew it was unconstitutional. The law was 100 percent on our side,” Coppola said.

Smith said the rulings show how state lawmakers allowed industry interests to trump health and safety.

“It shows how influential oil and gas lobbyists were in drafting this law and that the constitution took a back seat,” Smith said.

As for the provisions allowing eminent domain, Smith said there was no public purpose for a company to cite eminent domain to annex private land for storage of natural gas. The ruling said the eminent domain provision “is unconstitutional on its face, as it grants a corporation the power of eminent domain to take private property for a private purpose … in violation of the U.S. Constitution.”

Coppola said the eminent domain denial will prevent other industries from trying to operate a public utility.

“This was a victory for every Pennsylvanian,” said Peters Township councilman and appellant David Ball. “This completes the picture, from zoning to water to allowing doctors to treat their patients without worry, it’s finally done, because the original law was complete legislative overreach.”

David Spigelmyer, president of Marcellus Shale Coalition, said the organization is disappointed in aspects of the court’s ruling.

“(The ruling) will make investing and growing jobs in the Commonwealth more-not less-difficult without realizing any environmental or public safety benefits. Despite this ruling, our industry remains deeply committed to adhering to the high bar set by Act 13, a common sense bipartisan law that modernized our oil and natural gas regulatory framework and serves as a national model for other states,” Spigelmyer said.

Don Hopey        Pittsburgh Post-Gazette      Sept 21, 2016

Pennsylvania’s five-year forest management plan nixes new oil and gas leasing and drilling in state forests and parks where the state controls subsurface mineral rights, and for the first time addresses climate change impacts.

The 234-page plan released last week by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources details an oil and gas management policy that supports the public lands drilling moratorium ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf in January.

“DCNR felt that moratorium was appropriate and developed a position statement to guide our decision making over the next five to 10 years,” said Seth Cassel, division chief of the department’s Forest Resource Planning Section. “We don’t think it’s wise to do additional gas leasing on state forest and park lands now.”

According to the forest plan, the Forestry Bureau holds 123 oil and gas leases on a total of 301,000 acres, primarily in the north-central part of the state. The bureau estimates those leases are 16 percent to 20 percent developed, and that as many as 3,000 wells could eventually be drilled to fully develop the existing leases. Drilling can continue on those leases.

Of the 2.2 million acres of state-owned forest land, 1.55 million acres remain unleased, with a little more than 812,000 of those unleased in shale gas development areas.

“We recognize that while there is a lot of forest in shale gas areas that could be developed, we feel there’s also a lot of already leased land that’s not been fully developed and there’s already a lot of opportunity to do so,” Mr. Cassel said. “We want to use this time to monitor gas development impacts on other forest values.”

He said the moratorium on new oil and gas leases, though unpopular with the drilling industry, was supported by many of the more than 300 people who attended 12 public meetings held to gather input on the 2015 draft management plan, and also in the 4,800 comments on the plan received by the bureau.

The new plan, the first update of the bureau’s management document in nine years, also details the potential impacts of climate change on state forests and the role those forests can play in mitigating the changes. Mr. Cassel said the changing climate creates near- and long-term stresses on forests from invasive plants, pests and insects, to drought and extreme weather events, different frost cycles and longer growing seasons.

“It’s not just the warmer weather, it’s that things are more extreme. Very hot and very cold temperatures can impact the kinds of trees that will grow and also their vigor and health,” Mr. Cassel said.

The DCNR is working with the U.S. forest Service’s Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science to identify forest “vulnerabilities” and develop responses to those impacts.

“The issue,” he said, “has evolved to the point that people are recognizing there will be impacts.”

The forest management plan can be viewed at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/

Marie Cusick           StateImpact PA        August 29, 2016

Drill cuttings are the waste dirt and rock associated with gas development. The state Department of Environmental Protection has allowed the waste to be reused as construction material under a special research and development permit.

Pennsylvania environmental regulators have green-lighted a proposal to use 3,950 tons of natural gas drilling waste for an experimental road construction project at a Lycoming County hunting club.

This approval marks the first time the waste– known as drill cuttings– can be re-purposed as construction material at an area that’s not an industrial site. The work is being done by Clean Earth, the same firm that backed out of controversial plans to put 400,000 tons of drilling waste near Pennsylvania’s “Grand Canyon” last year amid a public backlash.

Drill cuttings are the waste dirt and rock that come up from deep underground in gas development and may contain naturally-occurring radiation and chemicals. Usually, cuttings are disposed of in landfills.

This latest project involves using drill cuttings on a nearly mile-long stretch of roadway at the Bobst Mountain Hunting Club in Lycoming County. Representatives from Clean Earth and the hunting club did not respond to messages seeking comment.

“We’re worried about this,” says Bryn Hammarstrom, of the Pine Creek Headwaters Protection environmental group. “This stuff has been miles below the surface for millions of years, and now it’s being placed on the surface where it’s vulnerable to leaching into the water table.”

Over the past five years the DEP has allowed tens of thousands of tons of drill cuttings to be re-used as construction material on polluted former industrial sites, known as brownfields. The practice grew through the use of a special research and development permit. However, in March the department said it wouldn’t renew any of the R&D permits, siting a lack of transparency around how they were issued. All expire in March 2017.

Clean Earth has until December 15 to complete the road work at the hunting club, says DEP spokesman Neil Shader.

“In the future all proposed research and development projects will go through a standard permit application and review process which will include full public participation, review and comment,” says Shader. “Clean Earth has been made aware that this is the last phase that will be allowed under the existing permit. ”


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