The Arrogance of the Industry � Fracking and Indiana County by A7lR5ok


									                         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
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

                                                                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
                                                                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
     6. Send G an email at 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:

  Indiana Gazette, Zoning Board Urged to Deny permit for drilling at Yellow Creek, March 22, 2011, Sam Kusic
   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
  New York Times, Gas Drillers Recycle Wastewater, but Risks Remain, March 1, 2011, Ian Urbina
   Associated Press, Pa. man, company accused of dumping wastewater, March 17, 2011
   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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