April 7, 2011 THE ARROGANCE OF THE INDUSTRY – FRACKING AND INDIANA COUNTY Background in Brief After the fracking process is complete, between 50 and 90% of the toxic waste fluid is left underground in the In February MDS Energy starting drilling a vertical well well indefinitely. The remainder is brought to the into the Marcellus Shale inside of the conservation zone surface and transported in water trucks. There is no that surrounds Yellow Creek State Park. The well is clear disposal method of this toxic fluid. In located just off of Ray Road, down between the Woods Pennsylvania, some is recycled for more fracking, Spa and the North shore of Yellow Creek lake. It’s about increasing its toxicity; some has been reportedly sold to ½ mile uphill from the shore of Yellow Creek lake, and communities to treat roads in the winter; some has about 100 feet from a feeder stream that leads into been transported to water treatment plants (however it McFeater’s Cove. It’s also about 1500 feet from Seph is not clear that PA’s water treatment plants can Mack Boy Scout Camp. effectively treat this water). iv Millions of gallons have In addition to being one of the most popular state parks been illegally dumped, without treatment, into PA in the state, Yellow Creek Lake is the source of drinking rivers.v At least three PA communities to date have water for nearly 5000 people in the Homer City area.i sued the industry for the contamination of drinking water by fracking.vi What Is Fracking? Vertical fracking (hydraulic fracturing) wells produce about 1 million gallons of toxic waste fluid to extract natural gas.ii Much of that fluid is water, but there are a host of dangerous chemicals that are included – many of which are carcinogenic, and extremely harmful to organic life in very low concentrations (parts per billion). These chemicals include additives and naturally occurring chemicals that are dredged up in the flowback process, like lead, arsenic, barium, radium, and benzene.iii Toxic waste fluid containment pit at Yellow Creek drill site Danger to our Parks Increasing MDS Energy had failed to get permission of the county to drill in the conservation zone, and so filed an application in February. There was a public hearing on March 21, at which time residents in the area gave testimony about the negative effects of this drill site. A representative from the Central Indiana County Water Authority who looks after drinking water also testified about the danger of this well site. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. Mike Knapp, the leasing agent for Slide courtesy of Earth Sciences Department (Hydrology), SUNY MDS energy, reports an estimated 30 to 40 wells are Oneonta currently planned for installation within the 6,000 acre conservation zone. April 7, 2011 THE ARROGANCE OF THE INDUSTRY – FRACKING AND INDIANA COUNTY What You Can Do Indiana County Commissioners can rewrite the zoning ordinances for conservation areas, and explicitly prohibit hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The threat to Indiana County’s natural areas and water sources includes conservation areas around Blue Spruce, Hemlock Lake and Pine Ridge Lake. 1. Write your County Commissioners today, tell them why you think it’s important for them to take immediate action to ensure the safety of our water, and prohibit Marcellus Shale drilling in Special Recreation and Conservation Areas. 2. Write a Letter to the Editor to the Indiana Gazette telling them the same thing. 3. Encourage and support your local environmental community organizations, like Friends of Yellow Creek, to take an active role in the campaign to protect Yellow Creek, and Indiana County. 4. On April 13, 10:30am, come to the public hearing of the County Commissioners at the Indiana County Courthouse, and support those who will be asking the Commissioners to take immediate action. 5. Send any research that you’ve come across documenting the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing to email@example.com. 6. Send G an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be put on the distribution list for Protect Yellow Creek. We’re still developing what this looks like, but this way you’ll be plugged in. Other Resources: www.marcellusprotest.org www.marcellus.psu.edu/resources/publications.php www.fractracker.org/p/resources.html i Indiana Gazette, Zoning Board Urged to Deny permit for drilling at Yellow Creek, March 22, 2011, Sam Kusic ii Votz, Conrad Daniel, Written Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and its Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, Joint Hearing “Natural Gas Drilling, Public Health and Environmental Impacts”, April 12, 2011 iii Bishop, Ron Ph.D., CHO, Chemical and Biological Risk Assessment for Natural Gas Extraction in New York, March 28, 2011 iv New York Times, Gas Drillers Recycle Wastewater, but Risks Remain, March 1, 2011, Ian Urbina v Associated Press, Pa. man, company accused of dumping wastewater, March 17, 2011 vi Pittsburgh Post Gazette, State orders drilling halt after 2 wells are polluted in Forest County, April 5, 2011; PA Environment Digest, Dimock Residents To Share $4.1 Million In DEP Settlement With Cabot Oil; WTAE Pittsburgh, Lawsuit Alleges Clean Water Violations With Marcellus Waste, March 10, 2011.
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