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									                 ALLEGHENY COUNTY COUNCIL

                           - - -

James R. Burn, Jr.       -    President District 3
Charles J. Martoni       -    Vice President District 8
John P. DeFazio          -    Council-At-Large
Matt Drozd               -    District 1
Jan Rea                  -    District 2
Michael J. Finnerty      -    District 4
Vince Gastgeb            -    District 5
John Palmiere            -    District 6
Nick Futules             -    District 7
Robert Macey             -    District 9
Jim Ellenbogen           -    District 12
Amanda Green Hawkins     -    District 13 (via telephone)

               Allegheny County Courthouse
                 Fourth Floor, Gold Room
                     436 Grant Street
             Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219

           Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 5:00 p.m.

              429 Forbes Avenue, Suite 1300
                  Pittsburgh, PA 15219
            (412) 232-3882 FAX (412) 471-8733

     Joseph Catanese - Director of Constituent Services
     Jared Barker - Director, Legislative Services
     Jennifer Liptak - Budget Director
          ACTING CHAIR MARTONI: Would you all rise for
the Pledge of Allegiance, led by John DeFazio?
          (Pledge of Allegiance.)
          ACTING CHAIR MARTONI: Please take your seats.
Okay. We're going to begin the meeting. Our Chairman
isn't here, but he's on the way. We're going to begin the
meeting. Let me remind you that the purpose --- the
primary purpose of this hearing is to allow the
opportunity for public comment regarding Marcellus Shale-
related natural gas drilling within Allegheny County.
Okay. So we have an order of speakers. We appreciate you
coming up. And we do have people waiting. We'd
appreciate, if you're done, to leave the room for another
person to come in that might be in a hallway. We'd
appreciate that. Okay? Under the Fire Code, we're only
allowed so many people in here. We can't just stack the
place. We have to be careful we don't break the rules.
Okay? So we're calling the meeting to order. Are we
ready to call the speakers?
          MS. LIPTAK: Yes, sir.
          ACTING CHAIR MARTONI: Go ahead. Greg
Wrightstone --- Wrightstone (changes pronunciation).
Greg, are you here? Greg Wrightstone. Mel Packer.
Following Mel will be Jeanne McMullen. Would Jeanne
please come ---?
          MR. PACKER: Thank you. I'm Mel Packer. I live
at 623 Kirtland Street, Pittsburgh, PA. There are rare
times in our lives when we, as average citizens and local
politicians, can honestly say our decisions will make a
difference for our families, our children and future
generations. But such a decision will enable our children
to look back at our lives we led and the examples we set
and say, I'm proud of my parents.
          In the not-so-distant past, parents helped build
things, build cities, towns, to say to kids, I helped make
that happen. Today there are too few material things we
can point to, but they are still monumental decisions to
be made that affect the lives of future generations. How
we handle Marcellus Shale hydrofrack is, without a doubt,
one of those decisions --- one of those moments that
whatever decision we make will have dramatic lasting
effects on our land and our water. But there's no doubt
our children will someday say to us, what did you do, or
why did you vote to let that happen?
          Over the last couple of weeks, we've been
inundated by reports that speak danger and costs that
should be heeded. These are not conjectures. Based on
science and investigative reporting by responsible
mainstream media outlets. For example, this morning's
Post-Gazette, a Heinz Endowment study warns of local
environmental damage, illness and death, concluding the
southwest PA's air quality remains unacceptably poor. The
Heinz Endowment gives a detailed report that gives the
region a failing grade for air quality and is likely to
get worse. And it goes on detailing a grim future for our
          From the Associated Press, by Mead Gruver
3/8/11, Wyoming air pollution now worse than Los Angeles
due to gas drilling. Ozone levels last Wednesday in
Wyoming got to 124 parts per billion, two-thirds higher
than the EPA maximum and above the worst day in Los
Angeles all of last year. The elderly, children and
people with respiratory conditions were advised to stay
indoors. One retired teacher said, they're trading off
health for profit. It's outrageous. We are not a third-
world country. This is in Wyoming, the land of clear
vistas, blue skies and clean air.
          And finally, a plant biologist I know e-mailed
me the following. We were just up in Moshannon State
Forest in Clearfield County. You can't imagine the damage
that's done. There's trucks every five minutes on the
forest roads that were formerly small and quiet. They've
cleared huge patches of land for well pads. The lights
and noise are constant when actively drilling. This used
to be intact forest habitat. Now it's patches.
          As one driller said to us, these whole woods are
going to be tore up by the time we're done here. It's not
Commonwealth land anymore. The local people can't hike,
hunt and fish when the forest is transformed in this way,
and the wild resources ---. This should be the heritage
for future generations. It's sabotaged for short-term
          So we have to ask ourselves, is this the legacy
we leave to our children and grandchildren? Destroyed
forests, increased water and air pollution at a time when
global climate warming is already threatening us? How
will we answer? Will we act on our morals, on our
convictions or we simply tow the age-old line that
whatever creates profit is good? Take the campaign
contributions. Damn the consequences. I know I'll be
able to face my kids and say I did the right thing and my
children will agree with me. I hope that you, our elected
reps on Allegheny County Council, whose job is to
safeguard the public interest, will be able to say the
same. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Jeanne McMullen. She's not here
yet? Okay. I would invite Jessica McPherson to speak.
Jessica McPherson? Is Jessica out in the hall? Jessica,
are you here? We'll move to Bradley Wilson. Mr. Wilson?
          MR. MARTONI: We have a speaker out there, we
          CHAIR BURN: Okay. If you're out in the hall,
I'm going to read off the next five names. Jeanne
McMullen, if you're out there, you're next. Jessica
McPherson, if you're in the hall, please come in now.
Bradley Wilson, Ken Zapinski. Jeanne McMullen, Jessica
McPherson, Bradley Wilson, Ken Zapinski.
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: I know one of them is in the
check-in downstairs.
          CHAIR BURN: Okay. We'll get back to them.
Elizabeth Schneider?
          MR. ZAPINSKI: Ken Zapinski.
          CHAIR BURN: Oh, you're here?
          MR. ZAPINSKI: Yes.
          CHAIR BURN: Okay. Ken Zapinski, followed by
Elizabeth Schneider.
          MR. ZAPINSKI: My name is Ken Zapinski. I'm
senior vice-president for the Allegheny Conference on
Community Development. Development of the Marcellus Shale
can help address the energy needs of the United States for
decades ahead. We live in an industrial age where
affordable energy is the foundation for economic vitality,
whether it be electricity that powers our laptops, the
batteries in our cell phones or the power needed to
produce the steel used to build our cities, our cars and
our appliances.
          Since all energy production involves some
environmental, economic and social costs, we need to make
informed choices in balancing how we obtain our energy.
We are already seeing the impact that the development of
the Marcellus Shale can mean for jobs, investment and
prosperity in the Pittsburgh region. No employment sector
has grown faster over the past several years in this
region than oil and gas extraction. Last year alone,
there were more than 40 Marcellus Shale industry business
expansion projects in the region, producing more than
2,000 jobs. And because of the nature of the industry,
those benefits are touching people in rural communities
where economic opportunities were previously limited,
residents in the Mon Valley and points in between.
          It is essential, however, that Marcellus Shale
development be done in an environmentally responsible way.
We believe that is possible in Pennsylvania. Marcellus
Shale drilling is an industrial process that, like all
industrial processes, has the potential to impact the
environment. It is essential that the industry and the
state, in regulating shale drilling, work together to
apply best practices and high standards, as is the case
with any industry: public safety, noise, traffic, worker
health and safety, and other issues.
          One of the characteristics unique to shale
development is that its impacts and related economic
benefits are not concentrated in a single factory but are
spread over a broad geographic area. That is why it makes
sense for the state, through the Department of
Environmental Protection, to have primary oversight over
the industry and its impacts. It is essential to have the
proper processes and procedures in place to ensure minimal
impact on the environment.
          An independent review of Pennsylvania's drilling
regulations last year found that, quote, the Pennsylvania
program is, overall, well managed, professional and
meeting its program objectives, closed quote. And some of
the improvements recommended by the group, the Non-profit
State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental
Regulations, Incorporated, are already under way.
          DEP must be properly staffed, financed and
empowered to monitor industry performance. When problems
arise, companies need to address the issue promptly and
make things right. And DEP must be able to hold companies
accountable to the law and regulations. This country and
the world need affordable energy, and all energy
production involves heavy industrial processes that touch
the environment. Marcellus Shale development, if done in
a responsible manner, can be part of the answer to our
21st century energy challenges and can continue to bring
jobs, investment and economic vitality to the Greater
Pittsburgh region. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Elizabeth Schneider, followed by
Mark Schneider and then Bob Howard.
          MS. SCHNEIDER: Elizabeth Schneider, 5331 Cox
Avenue, Lincoln Place, Pittsburgh. Good evening. Eight
months ago, I stood before this same Council, along with
some 40 or so other county residents, urging Council to
educate themselves on issues related to Marcellus Shale
and hydraulic fracturing. Some of you have chosen to
educate yourselves. Yet it appears that more of you have
closed your minds and only hear what the industry and the
DEP want you to hear as you push for us to move forward
with drilling without fear and without consequence. I
believe this is wrong. The confidence that you have in
our state regulators is misguided and ill-advised.
          The DEP has supposedly enacted new rules in
regard to water withdrawal policies and the discharge of
drilling wastewater into our rivers. And yes, they have
increased the number of state employees that regulate the
gas drilling. Yet it is obvious that the DEP cannot keep
up with this reckless and out-of-control industry. DEP's
approval of water management plans has overstepped its
authority. Ex-secretary Hanger admitted that this
approval, quote, does not, in fact, constitute an actual
authorization to withdraw water from the Commonwealth's
streams, lakes and rivers, end quote. Pennsylvania law
gives the DEP no power to authorize such water withdrawal.
          In the last week, the DEP has made numerous
statements regarding its ability to properly monitor and
protect our drinking water supply from radioactivity
associated with drilling wastewater. They claim that
testing done by their department in 2010 showed that
radioactivities are at or below state levels in rivers
where wastewater is being dumped. These results mean
nothing, as we have come to discover that this testing was
done upstream from the treatment plants permitted to
accept drilling wastewater. The EPA has requested a
compliance review of all permits issued by the state to
water treatment plants handling wastewater. It appears
that the EPA also questions the DEP's ability to protect
          In 2010, the DEP reports that there were 1,454
wells drilled, 1,500 inspections and 271 violations,
violations ranging from the discharge of industrial waste
to rivers and streams without permit, improper
impoundments to unreported defective, insufficient or
improperly cemented well cases. These violations are
public record. My concern is what the DEP is not
documenting. For whatever reason, what are they not
          I have no faith in the current oversight of this
dangerous and humanly irresponsible drilling industry.
We, the residents of this Commonwealth, are not being
protected. You, as our elected officials, need to step up
and be courageous. Take a stand and make a demand for a
higher level of accountability and protection from this
industry. Thank you.
          MR. SCHNEIDER: Mark M. Schneider, 5331 Cox
Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15207. I'd like to start off by
saying I'm very opposed to the process of hydraulic
fracturing. It may be clearer burning, but there's no
such thing as clean burning natural gas. Emergency crews
in Pittsburgh alone responded to hundreds of asphyxiation
and carbon monoxide alarm calls this year. The large
demand for natural gas only exists because of a lack of an
alternative fuel source. The lack of an alternative fuel
source is caused by profit over people.
          For over 32 years, I've been paying increasing
taxes, while listening to the government complain that
they don't have enough money. In Pittsburgh I've
listened to government say that higher taxes would fix the
problem. Renaissance II would fix the problem. A new
one-percent entertainment tax. New stadiums. Rivers
Casino. Now I'm hearing that gas extraction is going to
fix the problem. I'm hearing this from a government that
has a city under Act 47. What we need is a government
that plans for the future instead of micromanaging the
present. What we need is renewable fuel.
          Learning about the gas extraction process and
exactly how it destroys an environment and poisons people
makes me almost as sick as watching industry lie about it.
The only thing that upsets me more than that is watching
our government support it. I don't care how many pretty
white fences they build or the fact that they're so nice
that you can invite them into your home. They're
poisoning people to make money. To deny that fact is
simply ignorant. Because of what we learned over the last
year, my family and I have replaced all of our appliances
with electric. We switched electric providers to a
renewable energy company. To a renewable energy company.
          During this fight, I've heard to many people say
that we need natural gas. We need air. We need water.
We do not need natural gas, and I'm here to prove it. We
had the gas meter removed from our home on February 4th,
2011. Later on tonight when you have nothing else to do,
close your eyes for a minute and imagine the wind blowing
over a wheat field in Kansas. That's where my energy's
coming from. Now imagine the two beautiful little
children in Hickory that are crying with sores on their
heads from showering in wastewater. That's where your
energy's coming from. And open your eyes and do something
about it.
          CHAIR BURN: Our number four speaker has
arrived. Jessica McPherson, followed by Bob Howard. Mr.
Howard, thank you for your indulgence. Jessica, thank you
for being here.
          MS. MCPHERSON: Hi, folks. When people think of
natural gas drilling pollution, they typically think of
water, but I want to talk about air pollution, because
it's just as serious. There are several kinds of air
pollution created by the industry that should concern us.
First of all, it creates a tremendous amount of diesel
exhaust. Not only do the thousands of trucks for water
and chemicals run on diesel, but so does all the equipment
on a rig site. Throughout the industry, from well to
pipeline, high levels of volatile organic compounds,
nitrous oxides and methane are released. These form ozone
and smog. There are now remote areas of Texas and Wyoming
that have smog like Los Angeles entirely because of
drilling. Our region cannot afford this.
          Perhaps some of you saw the excellent Post-
Gazette series a month or so ago that described how we
already have some of the worst air in the country because
of outdated coal power plants and industrial plants. The
Post-Gazette also said that this isn't just unsightly.
It's unhealthy, causing higher rates of asthma and many
cancers and more deaths from heart disease. Will it be my
child who lives life in fear of not being able to breathe?
Will it be your father who dies ten years too soon from a
heart attack in the street on an especially smoggy day?
This industrial onslaught at such a large scale doesn't
come for free. This is going to touch us, people.
          But that's not all. I haven't talked about the
toxic air pollutants: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene,
xylene. These all come out of the earth at high volumes
with the gas. And they are semi-volatile, meaning they
evaporate, given the chance. And does the industry ever
give them a chance. Not only are there leaky valves all
over the well equipment, but they're often deliberately
vented in the air, especially from condensate tanks. You
can't see these vapors, but they are very bad for you.
They cause cancer and liver system damage.
          Unlike the regional air quality issues, these
impacts will be felt most acutely by those who live
nearby. Studies conducted in drilling regions in the west
show that residents living near wells, compressor stations
and other drilling infrastructure quickly develop many
symptoms of poisoning from these compounds, sometimes
resulting in disabling illnesses. Water treatment plants
proposed to clean frack water through distillation are
especially concerning from an air pollution standpoint,
because all the chemicals that volatize out of the water
are often released into the air.
          But wouldn't the DEP do something about this if
it was really a problem? They just did a study and didn't
find any problems. Unfortunately, that's because they
didn't look. Their instruments couldn't detect pollutants
until they were at least levels of 2 to 16 times greater
than the health standards. And air pollution impacts are
only considered for individual installations. The
cumulative impact of many well sites placed together, as
well as condensate tanks and other infrastructure, is
never considered. Basically, the DEP asks the industry,
does your new well create over 50 tons of air pollution?
And they say, no, it only emits five. Never mind that
we're installing a hundred of them. So now you have 500
tons of pollutants in the air. That's not considered.
          The industry tells us we have to switch from
coal to natural gas because natural gas burns cleaner.
Well, when we add up all the impacts of the process, we
find that the difference isn't the case. There are other
ways for economic development that aren't so deadly. They
may not make as much money for Range Resources or
Chesapeake Energy, but they're a much better deal for us.
          CHAIR BURN: If you would give them to our
clerk, he'll make sure that they're distributed to all of
us. Thank you very much. Bob Howard, followed by Paula
Jean Tonsor, Stephanie Simmons, Philip Morath. Mr.
          MR. HOWARD: Good evening. I'm Bob Howard from
Marshall Township in Allegheny County. Thank you for
taking time to hear from citizens of Allegheny County and
take into consideration our inputs.
          First, I'm not a member of the gas or petroleum
industry. I am here to request a rational response based
upon the facts. I'm here to ask this Council not to be
bullied by zealots asking you to believe the worst that
can happen will be the average. These zealots come from
the same mold that told our great-grandfathers, the George
Westinghouses, alternating power and light was much too
dangerous and that people would be electrocuted daily in
the streets. And on a daily basis, houses would blow up
and burn to the ground. Who here would be crazy enough to
put a moratorium on electricity? Who here would take
electricity from the poor and return us to the candles
that only the rich could afford? Who here would take
electricity and have us breathe in candle soot?
          Yet that is exactly what zealots are asking you
to do when it comes to natural gas from Marcellus Shale.
They are asking you to ban cheap, inexpensive energy in
favor of imported oil from a volatile Middle East.
Because of natural gas from Marcellus Shale, gas prices
have fallen and many of us heating our homes this winter
in Allegheny County have saved hundreds of dollars. These
zealots are asking you to increase the cost of heating our
homes. Perhaps they live on trust funds, but many of us
in Allegheny County live on fixed incomes.
          We cannot afford to have the heat turned off by
zealots. Has anyone ever been electrocuted? Has a house
ever caught on fire? Yes. But only a madman would
suggest a moratorium on electricity in Allegheny County.
These zealots would destroy thousands of jobs in Allegheny
County and deprive thousands of trained apprentices and
workers low on the totem pole a chance to earn a decent
wage. These zealots would have you engage in the illegal
taking of private property rights without compensation.
These zealots would subject the county to class action
suits by citizens deprived of their private property and
unable to develop their Marcellus Shale rights.
          It's time for you to cease pandering to zealots
and start listening to the citizens who realize that risk
can be managed much as is done with George Westinghouse's
alternating current to provide cheaper energy, more jobs
and protection of property rights. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Paula Jean Tonsor, Stephanie
Simmons, Philip Morath, Kenneth Weir. Paula, are you with
us? Okay. Followed by Stephanie Simmons, Philip Morath,
Kenneth Weir. Thank you.
          MS. TONSOR: I'm Paula Jean Tonsor. I live in
Garfield. So it's interesting that that fellow was just
talking about property rights, because another right that
we have as Pennsylvanians is the right to clean water.
And if you develop gas production in a county when the
reserves in the Marcellus Shale are projected to least for
15 years of Americans' energy needs, where will we be when
that's over?
          Let's gauge that by the industry's impact on
human beings' most basic need, water. So before a drop of
frack water ever hits the ground, we have a problem. Gas
companies aren't required to disclose the chemicals they
use. So as EPA Advisor Wilma Subra points out, accidents
have happened and will happen, but responders can't
appropriately address these public health disasters
because no one knows what chemicals we're being exposed
          Of course, this nonsense has gone on long enough
that we do have some pretty good ideas. The Endocrine
Disruption Exchange Study, the sample of produced water
from a 2006 spill, and their analysis of just the
constituents identifiable against CIS members shows that
100 percent of these are associated with respiratory
effects. Over 90 percent cause sensory organ damage.
Seventy-seven (77) percent are associated with damage to
the GI system and liver. Immune system damage is linked
to 55 percent. And 59 percent have effects in the other
category, which is an interesting title because the most
often cited effect in that category is the chemicals'
ability to cause death. None of these figures even
consider effects of long-term, chronic exposure, such as
what we face when living in a contaminated environment or
on-the-job exposure.
          DEP and EPA studies have also shown that frack
water contains proven neurotoxins, carcinogens and
endocrine disrupters and radioactivity, often thousands of
times over the federal limits for safe drinking water.
And apparently, the industry can't clean up after itself
without using our water supply for a trash can; right? So
when wastewater isn't illegally dumped on fields and
streams, it's often trucked to sewage treatment plants,
where it's mixed with clean water and dumped wholesale
into our rivers. Sometimes they just spill the water from
the chemicals in an energy-intensive process that leaves
behind highly toxic radioactive salt solids that
municipalities now buy and spread on roads for de-icing so
that the toxins enter our water system anyhow through run-
          So there's no ignoring that gas production and
clean water don't mix. The bottom line is that no
technology exists to render these chemicals safe for human
beings. In Allegheny County, hundreds of thousands of us
depend on drinking water from the very rivers that receive
the brunt of gas industry waste and contamination. Where
would we ever obtain enough water to replace what we can
choose now to protect? Long-term economic growth in shale
country is not going to come from 15 years of gas
revenues. Those jobs that you want are going to be in the
medical industry, caring for our poisoned families and
friends for generations after the gas is gone. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Paula, before you speak, I have a
public service announcement from outside. The guards have
brought to my attention that many of your fellow speakers
right now are not able to get up onto the fourth floor
because of the large crowd that we have outside, either
here to observe or to wait their turn to have a chance to
speak, as well. So we respectfully ask that if there is
anyone in the room who has already spoken or does not plan
on speaking, to allow us an opportunity for the folks
downstairs who want to speak to come up.   If you wouldn't
mind just swapping positions with them so that our folks
outside and security can make sure that the people coming
up onto the fourth floor have an opportunity to be heard
as well. So if you could just give me 30 seconds. I see
some folks here indulging that request. Thank you very
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: Can we hear you outside?
          CHAIR BURN: Yes, ma'am. We have a speaker out
there for you, absolutely. And that's why we put it out
there. We knew we were getting a very large crowd. And
we appreciate the involvement very much. Thanks, Paula.
We'll be right with you. Let's shift a little bit here.
Thanks. Paula Jean Tonsor?
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: She just spoke.
          CHAIR BURN: Paula, I'm sorry. Stephanie? That
doesn't mean you get six minutes, though. Folks, give us
just a second. We're going to shift some folks around.
Thank you. Again, for the folks out in the hallway
listening, some of the people in the room that were not
signed up to speak or who have already spoken are offering
their seats to people who, in fact, are signed up to
speak. So if you are on the list to speak and you're out
there, you are welcome to come in and find one of our
seats here within the capacity that is allotted under the
codes for this building. Having said all of that,
Stephanie? Thank you.
          MS. SIMMONS: Thank you. Steph Simmons,
Allegheny County, Forever Pittsburgh 21. Part of a
sensible terra-based risk assessment analysis includes the
evaluation of the collective geology of a given region and
its existing assets or detriments to a given approach or
          In the case of unconventional horizontal
acquisition of natural gas in the Marcellus black shale,
there is no evidence that real world environmental hazards
and their history in the region, as well as legacy, were
included in the initial assessment. Apparently, nor were
migration problems, structural integrity or transfer and
transport incidents. At a 4.5-percent accident rate, this
particular form of gas acquisition has exceeded the mere
1.4 accident rate of coal mining over its entire historic
existence. This does not include the number of accidents
that may have had a gas migration or contamination
component, but no one wants to talk about the implications
of that. Even in the vacuum that was black shale gas
acquisition assessment by the industry, the risk was
labeled as high by those consultants paid to assess this
approach. High risk to workers and even to the shale
itself. Supporting documents are enclosed.
          Already aging infrastructure in the Commonwealth
does not lend itself well to a geological approach that
would, without a doubt, advance deterioration of said
infrastructure by increasing instability of the
sedimentary layer and strata, as well as filling substrate
vacated by gas vapors with sand insufficient to support
between 7,000 and 10,000 feet of low and high volatile
bituminous coal, anthracite, various combinations of soil,
limestone, quartz, presence of cadmium, cesium, lead,
mercury, strontium, radon, methane, aquifers, underground
streams, the Wisconsin Glacier and the proverbial
partridge in a pear tree.
          The process of acquisition of natural gas within
the shale along a pre-Jurassic fault line releases salts
that are highly corrosive and acid pH so low that
macroinvertebrates and macrophytes cannot thrive in it.
Soil pH is impacted as well, creating a highly undesirable
environment for any infrastructure that touches air, soil
and water in this region.
          To exacerbate this already critical element,
water treatment plants have been changing the preferred
method of treatment away from chlorine to other water
purifiers like chloramine. This is due to presence of
bromides that come hand in hand with this industry. Some
forms of treatment used in Allegheny County will dissolve
rubber, leech old sediment, heavy metals, including lead
and other hazards, out of those aging pipes and directly
into businesses and households. Remediation equipment is
cost prohibitive per household in a county with the
largest population of elders on fixed income, and whose
remaining population, thanks to a legacy of industrial
revolution history, can expect to live 10.34 years less
than our comparable neighbors.
          For infrastructure in our region, this is the
perfect storm of stupid, as threats come from every angle
originating from a single source, a proverbial pebble drop
called black shale natural gas acquisition, whose
concentric circles of impact could be so profound that
they could impact the infrastructure of every community.
The endocrine-disrupting chemicals used by this industry,
along with AMD and future --- along with xenobiotics. I
thank you very much for your time.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Thanks to those in the hall that
are working with us on the traffic control. Thank you out
there for your cooperation. Philip Morath, Kenneth Weir,
Erika Staaf, Loretta Weir. Yes, sir.
          MR. MORATH: I was born, raised and educated in
the State of Pennsylvania. My early career was in
environmental consulting, which mainly included
underground support shank removal, groundwater remediation
and water well placement. I now work in the gas industry,
so I'm acutely aware of arguments on both sides of the
Marcellus Shale issue.
          To say the country has not seen the scope of
resource extraction in a long time does not have the fond
memories of when this type of industry was in the area.
There will always be economic and environmental impacts
that have to be weighed. That said, fracking is a safe
process as long as the well is cemented properly, and
there are procedures to make sure this is the case; for
example, cement bond logs. Companies in the industry also
test the water quality of drinking water sources
surrounding the pad location before operations commence to
establish a baseline.
          I'm here today to address the tangible concerns
of increased traffic, which can decrease air quality and
damage roads. It's in the best interest of the gas
industry to drill long laterals, because the vertical
portion of the well bore is the most expensive. The
longer the lateral, the less surface disturbance. Many
leases in southwestern PA are taking full horizontal
drilling as a viable technology.
          Current regulations in PA do not allow wells to
be drilled until all mineral owners agree to the well
being drilled. This causes companies to drill wells as
they can be permitted. Sometimes this means leaving and
returning to the same pads multiple times; in other words,
increased traffic. If the regulations were changed to
allow for the development of minerals as long as the
majority of mineral owners agreed, companies could
streamline the well permitting, drilling and completion
process so that local impact of truck traffic could be
minimized. As long as companies are held to antiquated
regulations, development of acres will occur in spurts.
          Ask the people of Allegheny County to encourage
their state government officials to pass fair legislation.
I also personally encourage a local extraction tax so that
townships and counties that are impacted receive funds to
ease the impact of resource extraction.
          I'd also like to address the accusations of out-
of-staters coming to develop Marcellus Shale. Since I was
young, I wanted to stay in the State of Pennsylvania.
However, for a portion of my career, I left to work for
Barnett Shale for a company in Texas. I did this because
I wanted to work shales, and the company I worked for in
Pennsylvania divested in Marcellus acreage. While I was
in Texas, I was taught how to evaluate shale and exposed
to optimized development plans. I would not have learned
this if I had stayed in Pennsylvania. While I enjoyed my
time in Texas, I missed friends and family at home. I was
able to obtain employment of Marcellus here in the area
and moved back to Pennsylvania as soon as I could.
          I now work, live, pay taxes and buy products in
Allegheny County. Many of the people I work with have a
similar story to mine. They left Pennsylvania to increase
their professional skills, have since moved back to use
what they have learned to develop a local resource in the
proper fashion. When I moved back to Pennsylvania, I may
have had a Texas plate on my car and a Texas driver's
license, but I've always considered myself a
Pennsylvanian. Thank you for your time.
          CHAIR BURN: Kenneth Weir, followed by Erika
Staaf, followed by Loretta Weir. Sir?
          MR. WEIR: Prove it. That is an industry-
favored line, prove it. They will say, let's stick to the
scientific facts. I say, disprove this, the numbers.
It's their numbers and the probabilities of environmental
accident. Governments use probabilities in budget
forecasting. The military use it when planning strategic
deployment and arms spending. Banks use it. Life
insurance, car insurance, health insurance, homeowners'
insurance, all them use probabilities in some form.
          The reason is very simple. Over the years,
these institutions discover a pattern; simply, two plus
two equals four. It always has and it always will. But
the biggest, most insidious, cunning, disgusting non-use
of this proven practice of probabilities is being heaped
upon us by our supposed leaders in government and the oil
and gas industry. As of August 2010, the 26 drilling
companies with the most violations, on average, have a 76-
percent risk factor. That is, for every 100 wells that
this group drills, we can predict with relative certainty
that they will have an accident which puts our
environment, our health and our safety at risk 76 times.
Let me repeat that. 100 wells, 76 accidents.
          And there are big names on this list:
Chesapeake, Range, EQT, Talisman, Atlas, Chief, Cabot and
East Resources. These are factual, hardcore numbers
compiled by the PA Land Trust and taken from the DEP
website. In the information you are receiving is a
documented paper written by Dr. Joe Evans, which will show
in detail the types of violations and the percentage of
each. It's their numbers. It's our problems. Just
          Let's compare some facts. Remember the drilling
accidents directly affecting our environment, health or
safety, on average, by their numbers, three out of every
four wells drilled. The risk of being in an airplane
accident is 1 in 354,319; the drilling accidents, 3 out of
4. The odds of being audited by the IRS, 1 in 75;
drilling accidents, 3 out of 4. The odds of a hole in one
in golf, 1 in 5,000; drilling accidents, 3 out of 4. The
odds of bowling a 300 game, 1 in 11,500; the drilling
accidents, 3 out of 4.
          And any politician who has taken an oath, a
verbal contract with the people they represent to protect
the health, safety and welfare and to uphold the PA and
U.S. Constitutions, who can look us in the eyes and say
that this industry is average, or an environmental
accident in three out of every four wells that they drill
is a good risk, should be removed from office for
violating his or her oath to the good people of this
county, state and region.
          We are told by Washington, by Harrisburg, by the
industry, by the media, that these decisions are and will
be made by people who have had their pockets lined with
gold from these fools and who have ignored this proven
method for determining risk. This industry cannot be
allowed to continue their assault on the health, safety
and intelligence of the people. They have proven by their
numbers that they are incapable of getting it right. Bad
laws which allows this practice to continue must be
challenged by a movement of all people. This corporate
onslaught must be banned until ever if they can't prove it
wrong. And after all, numbers don't lie. People do.
          CHAIR BURN: Erika Staaf, followed by Loretta
Weir, Claudia Detwiler, Edith Wilson.
          MS. STAAF: Good evening. I'm Erika Staaf with
PennEnvironment, and a resident of Pittsburgh.
          In Susquehanna County, Cabot Oil and Gas spilled
more than 7,000 gallons of dangerous hydraulic fracturing
fluid into Stevens Creek from their Marcellus Shale drill
site, causing a fish kill. In Clearfield County, a
Marcellus gas well owned by Enron Oil and Gas spewed gas
and an estimated 1,000,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing
fluid 75 feet into the air, only to be contained 17 hours
later. These are just two examples.
          Given the industry's track record elsewhere in
Pennsylvania, I would caution the Council to carefully
assess the effects that gas drilling in the Marcellus
Shale would have on environmental heritage, public health
and the quality of life of all county residents, before
you go too far down the road in allowing drilling.
          We support a moratorium on drilling in the
county until proper rules and regulations are in place to
fully protect its residents and environment. Regulations
we would support include better air quality regulations,
banning drilling in county parks, and implementing
setbacks from waterways and structures.
          I will focus my comments today on banning
drilling in county parks. Allegheny County's parks are
true gems and are special places that bring communities
together. These parks are where people come to hike, run,
boat, fish, swim, bird watch, ski, snowshoe and enjoy
countless other recreational activities. They add an
unquantifiable value to the county and to the region.
They also serve as important habitats for wildlife species
that would otherwise be absent so close to an urban
          On the state level, as you might have heard,
more than 40 percent of our state forests have been leased
to gas drillers, and our state parks could be next. And
I'll clarify that. Forty (40) percent of our state
forests that lie on top of the Marcellus Shale region.
With pristine areas and recreational opportunities
expected to dwindle in these areas as Marcellus Shale
drilling increases there, it would be the wrong decision
for the county to follow the state's lead and lease county
parks for gas drilling.
          Marcellus Shale gas drilling is an intensely
industrial activity that uses millions of gallons of
chemically treated water. It requires the clearing of
land, construction of pipelines, water impoundment and
access roads, along with hundreds of truck trips. Add to
that the hundreds of incidents such as those I mentioned
above that have already occurred in Pennsylvania, and it
seems clear that our county parks should be off limits to
any deep well hydraulic fracturing and associated
           However, more broadly, I again want to
underscore that we also support and encourage a moratorium
on deep well drilling anywhere in the county until and
unless the industry can demonstrate that drilling here
will not negatively affect our environmental heritage,
clean water, public health and quality of life for all
county residents. The burden of proof should be on the
gas drilling industry and not the public.
           CHAIR BURN: Loretta Weir, Claudia Detwiler,
Edith Wilson, John Detwiler.
           MS. WEIR: Hi. My name is Loretta Weir. I
would like to respectfully remind County Council of the
oath that is taken when they're sworn in; to preserve,
protect, defend and obey the Constitution of the United
States and the constitutional laws of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania
Constitution states, the people have a right to clean air,
pure water and the preservation of the natural scenic,
historic and aesthetic values of the environment.
Pennsylvania's public natural resources are common
property of all the people, including generations to come.
As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall
conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all people.
           The Home Rule Charter further states, we, the
people of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania believe that the
Home Rule government will transfer substantial authority
over our county government from the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania to the people of Allegheny County. As far as
I know, despite recent developments in Wisconsin, Ohio and
other states, democracy has not officially been cancelled.
I have not received news that our Constitution has been
null and void, although actions from powerful
corporations, such as this gas industry, would hope
           Let's use common sense. The Oil and Gas Act
essentially hijacked the government and the people and the
municipalities by stripping them of their rights. Just
common sense. The Halliburton loophole exempted this
industry from the following acts: Clean Air, Clean Water
and the Superfund Cleanup Law. It's more than just a
little suspect. It's just common sense.
          The overwhelming scientific evidence from
experts like Theo Colborn, Dr. Ingraffea, Wilma Subra, Dr.
Volz, Dr. Stolz and many others, including the experts we
have here today, should be considered authorities. Their
work should be studied with the utmost seriousness. It's
just common sense. Unprecedented fish kills, state
forests with contaminated water around areas of drilling
and explosions, a coincidence? No. This is common sense.
Reports of illnesses around compressor stations and drill
sites. Do you think our people are making this up? No.
This is common sense.
          To boom in our economy; are you kidding me?
They've been drilling in our state for five or six years.
We face huge deficits. Look at the recent budget cuts.
It's just common sense. I just heard unemployment rate is
up. The cuts to the EPA and the environmental agency is
part of their best practices. Unbelievable. Our governor
took $1,000,000 from this industry, and they courted other
politicians as well. And these people are looking out for
you? No. This is common sense.
          These people are pathological liars. They are
not social deviates in their own strata, however. How
many times can we be lied to before we believe a liar?
What's the next lie? They're going to tell us that
they're going to follow up the carcinogenic agents in our
water by following it up with some radiation treatment for
us, coming from the same water. That will be great.
You're not sick. We didn't do it. A thousand birds died
because they were scared of fireworks. Okay. A thousand.
When I growing up, I didn't see fish die from fish kills.
I didn't see this kind of stuff. I didn't get warnings
about the water. So this is common sense. You don't need
a Ph.D.
          CHAIR BURN: Claudia Detwiler, Edith Wilson,
John Detwiler, Eve Goodman, Joni Rabinowitz.
          MS. DETWILER: Claudia Detwiler, 5723 Solway
Street, Pittsburgh. I want to talk about deceptive job
projections, and I'm going to make six points very
quickly. The first is phony research. I hope by now we
all know that the so-called Penn State Studies were funded
by the drilling industry, and that the lead researcher was
associated with an oil and gas consulting firm in Wyoming.
But the problems go way beyond this compromise. The
research itself is seriously flawed in the methodology
behind those astounding job projections, but the strategy
worked. The industry quotes those phony projections as
credible academic research, and everybody is cowed by the
          Point number two is jobs does not mean jobs for
Pennsylvanians. The industry needs people with strong oil
and gas experience. This is not most Pennsylvanians who
are looking for jobs. When challenged, industry reps will
say how much they would like to hire Pennsylvanians. This
is just silly. An industry with millions of dollars of
equipment and a high-risk workplace is not going to hire
inexperienced people when they can get plenty of
experienced people who travel with them.
          Point number three is most drilling-related work
is short term. Industry people like to cite a study
showing that 410 individuals and 150 occupations are
needed on a single well. This is very deceptive. They
don't want us to know that 98 percent of those drilling-
related jobs represent specific tasks that are required
only for the short period while wells are being drilled,
not in production mode. They also don't want us to know
that their projections for the life of a well are suspect
at best. They talk about being here for 40-plus years to
imply security. But these projections are based on the
first few years of activity for a well. Well activity
drops almost 50 percent in the first year and continues a
rapid decline after that. Again, phony numbers. So if
you're a Pennsylvanian who gets an industry job, you had
better be ready to take your family on the road like the
workers now pouring into Pennsylvania. Industry jobs will
not strengthen Pennsylvania communities.
          Number four. Those job projections are heavy on
low-paying employment. They say jobs, and you are
supposed to hear family-sustaining employment. This is
also not true. Most of those projected jobs are the low-
end sales clerk and service industry jobs. And remember,
even those jobs are temporary. Once the drilling and
fracking has occurred and the well is in production mode,
most workers move on.
          Number five, some businesses will suffer.
Tourism is the second most lucrative industry in
Pennsylvania. Hunting and fishing are major tourist
economies in many communities. Agriculture provides
employment to one in five Pennsylvanians. These
businesses stand to lose.
          Number six, individuals at risk. I am starting
to see articles about under-reported accident rates in
this industry and also ads by law firms for workers
injured on drilling sites. Is this really the best we can
do for Pennsylvania's workers? Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Edith Wilson, John Detwiler, Eve
Goodman, Joni Rabinowitz, Dr. Sharon Brown.
          MS. WILSON: Edith Wilson. I live at 223 Elm
Street, Pittsburgh, 15218. And I am thanking Greg
Coleridge, a resident of Ohio, and Ben Price of the
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, for much of
the context of my remarks. I am providing two documents
for you to read. What Does it Mean to Get Fracked by Ben
Price and Greg Coleridge's op ed, Fracking Democracy.
          The Pennsylvania Constitution guarantees our
right to clean air and clean water. To protect and
preserve these rights, it's time we demand a ban on
fracking. Fracking is a threat, not only to our physical
and environmental well-being. The way gas drilling
corporations are escaping local democratic control is a
real political threat, as well.
          Greg Coleridge, in Fracking Democracy, mentions
the growing number of communities passing legally binding
outright bans against the risky practice of fracking. He
also comments on the bizarre legal notion that
corporations possess Bill of Rights and other
constitutional protections that were intended solely for
human beings. He concludes that we are called, as
socially concerned humans, to protect our communities and
work to put people, not corporations, in charge of their
own futures.
          In a press release yesterday, Ben Price said,
state law preempts municipalities from regulating the
industry to protect the community. But it's just not true
that residents don't have the right to decide whether or
not they get fracked. We don't have a gas drilling
problem. We have a democracy problem. Its symptoms are
the state's refusal to recognize the right to local
community self-government and the issuance of permits to
drilling corporations that empower them to violate the
rights of the human and natural communities. In other
words, we are getting fracked.
          And what does it mean to get fracked? He
concludes that getting fracked isn't inevitable unless we
are willing to lose our fundamental rights without a
fight. People in Pittsburgh, several other communities
and soon more, have decided to act on the premise that
their right to community self-government, to water and a
healthy environment are a higher law than state
preemptions and federal exemptions for corporations
licensed and chartered in the name of the people. These
communities have taken steps to enact local laws
establishing a community Bill of Rights and prohibiting
corporate fracking. These are people who will not
surrender their rights. They won't voluntarily get
fracked. I urge Council to do the same. Ban fracking in
Allegheny County. We don't want to get fracked. Thank
          CHAIR BURN: Mr. Detwiler, followed by Eve
Goodman, Joni Rabinowitz, Dr. Sharon Brown, David
Meieran --- Meieran (changes pronunciation).
          MR. DETWILER: Thank you, members of Council.
My name is John Detwiler. I live in the City of
Pittsburgh. You've heard a lot about the downside of
Marcellus Shale drilling. Now I'm going to talk about the
upside. For Allegheny County, there isn't any. Some
working folks and landowners will do all right, and some
of them are here tonight. The multinationals will make a
killing. Haven't you been reminded, you're here to
represent the best interests of the county? And I hope
that you will do the same with the whole issue, as you've
done with the courtesy you've shown to all the speakers
tonight, which is very much appreciated.
          There are a lot of industry talking points, and
they're recited over and over again by Tom Ridge and the
other corporate pitchmen. And you could decide to just
parrot some of those talking points as your reasons for
going along with the industry's program. But if you
really want to understand what this hearing is about,
spend some time doing your own research. Pay attention to
what's been happening in Texas, Wyoming, Colorado. You'll
find the upside of drilling is like a mirage in the
desert. It shifts and it shimmers as you try to get it
into focus. And if you catch up to it, it disappears
altogether. I am not a zealot.
          MR. DETWILER: But I ask you to try to pick one
of the so-called benefits and try to pin it down. You've
heard about jobs, green fuel. Although natural gas does
contain less carbon than coal, the total impact of
Marcellus gas over an entire lifecycle is at least as bad
as coal. And when we push the external costs onto our
local government, the artificially low price of natural
gas is a disincentive to developing renewable resources,
which is our only real future.
          Energy independence. Marcellus gas is not a
replacement for imported oil. There is simply no
technical means to substitute natural gas for petroleum in
any more than infinitesimal quantities. On the contrary.
Multinational corporations are already gearing up to build
huge liquid fracturing plants along our coasts, planning
to export natural gas to Asia, where they can sell it more
          Finally, take a hard look at the economics of
this business. The wellhead price of gas is at a historic
low and will stay there for years, so what's the rush?
Analysts say that the shale exploration looks like the dot
com bubble just before it burst. They say the companies
are frothing up their balance sheets, burning through
cash, telling pretty 50-year production forecasts for a
geology that has less than five years' experience. And
they have leases held by production where the value of the
gas doesn't even pay to run the compressors. It's all
being sold on the dime.
          Companies are leaving mature fields in Texas to
buy acreage in Pennsylvania, when nobody can challenge
their forecasts. And now even before the Marcellus plague
has reached production, they're spinning up the Utica
shale as the next best thing. Tom Corbett says he wants
to turn Pennsylvania into Texas. Well, I don't want to
live in Texas. If he does or you do, wouldn't our
communities be better off if you just moved there?
          CHAIR BURN: Eve Goodman, followed by Joni
Rabinowitz, Dr. Sharon Brown, David Meieran, Ted Popovich.
          MS. GOODMAN: My name is Eve Goodman. I live at
324 Pitt Street in Wilkinsburg. I am frustrated that I
have to be here to raise the concerns that many of us
share as homeowners. I am here tonight to urge County
Council to ban fracking in Allegheny. I've heard a lot of
conflicting rhetoric regarding natural gas and Marcellus
Shale fracking. On the one hand, those representing big
business emphasize the money that they will make and the
jobs they insist they will create for the region. On the
other hand, scientists warn of increased air pollution,
destruction of the region's watersheds and decreased
property values. Even the gas industry now claims that
fracking is safe, a claim based on the industry's
exemptions from the EPA's Clean Air and Water Act.
          The more I read in the paper, hear on the radio
and see on the television, the more I can't help but feel
that we're in the midst of a huge environmental Ponzi
scheme. Politicians, tax-phobic citizens, business people
seem to think natural gas will be the saving grace of
Pennsylvania's energy needs in the economic crisis. And
yet the environmental degradation I hear about points to a
very near future of increased serious health issues due to
tainted water supplies and poor air quality.
          Apparently, a natural gas industry group has
created a $100,000 fund to support heightened water
testing. Forgive me if I am not impressed. In an
industry that can afford a $75,000,000 bonus to a CEO, I
think they could afford to give much more money to support
stringent and frequent water testing.
          MS. GOODMAN: Instead, what we have is the
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
reporting that radium levels were low and not dangerous in
their 2010 November and December water tests, which
apparently does happen when you sample water upstream from
the plants you're testing, and thus get a false reading,
as reported in The New York Times on March 7th.
          If you question the veracity of claims that
hydrofracking will result in decreased property values, I
suggest you investigate policies held by FHA and HUD.
Both organizations deny mortgages for properties that are
located near fracking facilities because of the
environmental degradation of the land. So as with the
popping of the Wall Street bubble of 2008, when the common
people like myself and my neighbors got stuck paying the
bill of the deregulated schemes of billionaire investment
bankers, if you do not ban fracking, you will be stuck
with a much bigger bill to pay: our personal health and
our children's health.
          Finally, I'd like to question why the word tax
has become an anathema in the United States political
arena. Let's not forget that taxes are meant to pay for
public services such as waste management, road repair,
public health and public safety, as in police and fire
personnel. If you do not have the courage to ban
fracking, then I hope you have it to levy taxes on these
oil and gas companies, taxes high enough to cover
Allegheny residents for the higher rate of health problems
caused by fracking, the needed environmental cleanup the
process will create, and compensate homeowners whose land
values will deplete because of it. If these levies seem
prohibitive to gas and oil companies who wish to drill, so
be it. After all, as I said before, they seem to have no
problem giving multimillion-dollar yearly bonuses to their
CEOs and funding lavish Super Bowl trips for politicians
whose concern seem to be more with gas companies' profits
than the health and well-being of their constituents.
Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Joni Rabinowitz, followed by Dr.
Sharon Brown, Dave Meieran, Ted Popovich, Dave Spigelmyer.
           AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm an Orthodox Jew, and I
know you're all Christians, and it's against the Bible to
kill people. And this is ---.
           MS. RABINOWITZ: Thank you. I'm a regular Jew,
and I agree.
           MS. RABINOWITZ: My name is Joni Rabinowitz, and
I live in Pittsburgh. My demand is work for a statewide
moratorium until we can know more about the long-term
effects of this process and how it will affect our future
generations. Here are two recent experiences I've had.
Last month I went to a farming conference, the
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture,
PASA, in State College. I've been going to this
conference for about eight years, and 2,000 people come to
it. Small farmers and people who care about farmers and
about how our food is produced come to this conference.
           In this group, there's a growing opposition to
Marcellus Shale drilling across the whole state, based
primarily on their experiences and as people who grow the
food we eat and keep our streams clean. Here's a
description of the early part of the process from a PASA
newsletter. The gas well itself creates at least a five-
acre footprint, but also the roads needed to move tons of
equipment to a site, the increase in truck traffic, the
width of the pipeline easements, the water needed for the
fracking process, the bulldozers and earthmovers driving
over your pastures and croplands, the noise of the
compressors, the dust, to name just a few. And this
doesn't even address the long-term effects, which we don't
know about because, despite whatever the companies say,
this process, high volume, horizontal, hydraulic
fracturing to this depth and this distance has only been
around about a decade. So people are organizing around
the state for a moratorium.
          My second experience recently was during a pre-
endorsement period preparing for the Democratic Party
endorsement. The candidates for countywide office were
peppered with questions and concerns about this drilling
at many board meetings across the county. I'm sure the
same type of concerns are expressed in the Republican
Party, also.
          In addition to voting in the endorsement on
Sunday, I was excited to get the chance to meet hundreds
of people and talk about drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
I had many thumbs up as people walked by. People were
eager to take our literature, and lots of people
approached me with their individual situations.
          Almost everybody I talked to expressed the
opinion that we don't know enough about the long-term
effects. Several people told me they had land out in the
state, and rapacious land men have been harassing them
about signing leases. I was shocked to learn that some of
the leases now demand that the landowner give the gas
company a Power of Attorney. I was shocked.
          And finally, there have been 800 earthquakes in
central Arkansas since drilling started there. The
Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission was concerned enough about
the possible links with gas drilling that they closed down
the wells in the immediate area. Again, I urge you to
prohibit drilling in the county and work for a statewide
          CHAIR BURN: Dr. Sharon Brown, followed by David
Meieran, Ted Popovich, Dave Spigelmyer, Katherine Luke.
          DR. BROWN: Thank you, Chairman Burn and
Council. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight.
I have some notes here I'm going to refer to. But most of
what I'm going to say is from personal experience and
personal experience as a researcher with a background in
environmental health policy.
          What I do for a living is working with numbers
and what they mean and working with what we refer to as
the real data, the real facts. For example, I know
Allegheny County wants to make the best assessment as to
the unknown mysteries of Marcellus Shale in order to make
the right decisions based on the facts, based on the right
data and following the mission statement of Allegheny
County Council to protect the public from harm. Let's do
a brief review of what we've learned so far.
          Some of the facts and myths presented at the
last public hearing in July were those industry people
that left the room before the public was able to speak and
let them know what we wanted to say to them. The number
of jobs created by Marcellus Shale has already been
mentioned in terms of the Pennsylvania State Study, which
was funded by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which was not
previously declared, but under pressure, they decided to
repent and do so.
          The taxes paid by Marcellus Shale industries.
One industry representative --- actually, several
threatened that they would leave Pennsylvania if they had
to pay a tax on top of the corporate taxes they were
already paying. Well, guess what? They don't pay the
corporate tax. Unless you're incorporated in the State of
Pennsylvania, you do not pay that. At most --- and I
checked my facts with several state representatives that
night and since then --- they might pay the personal
income tax, which is one of the lowest Tuesday taxes in
the United States. In terms of radioactivity of the water
testing, someone has already pointed out, to test the
water radioactivity, you need to test below the point
source, not above it.
          Just some other facts, some numbers, in
particular. We hope that we would be protected by our
local government. My local town council in McCandless
voted unanimously several months ago to allow Marcellus
Shale drilling in North Park and on the North Allegheny
School District properties. The budget. Let's look at
the budget that Governor Corbett came up with. Sadly, the
DEP has had significant deductions in terms of the numbers
of people as well as funding. This is a time when the
number of permits and well sites are escalating. One
wonders exactly what that contribution total of
$8,335,720 --- I'm sorry --- $835,720.18. It just
aggravated me so much to read that number. What does that
really mean in terms of how we can be protected by our
state powers that be? Please, Allegheny County, do what's
right for the citizens of Allegheny County. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: David Meieran --- I'm sorry if I
mispronounced your last name, sir. David Meieran, Ted
Popovich, Dave Spigelmyer, Katherine Luke, Barbara Grover.
Thank you, sir.
          MR. MEIERAN: Yeah. I'm David Meieran, and I'm
from Squirrel Hill. Before I go to my presentation, I
feel compelled to respond to one of the myths that was put
forward by Bob Howard earlier. I may be a zealot, but I
don't have a trust fund and I dare him to point out anyone
who's trying to work against Marcellus Shale that has even
one-tenth the amount of money that Aubrey McClendon or any
one of the other CEOs have.
          MR. MEIERAN: You know, I also ask him, who
would be crazy enough to worry about something like DDT?
Who would be crazy? Well, let's see. There's someone
named Rachel Carson they used to call a zealot. Now
there's a whole institute named after her. Who would be
crazy to worry about something like radiation? And when
you're worried about radiation, you can't even see it.
Who would be crazy to worry about dioxin? Well, the
Lucknow residents sure were. They were called zealots.
And now we have a superfund law --- well, had, I guess I
should say. It doesn't really apply in the case of what
we're talking about. Who would worry about hexavalent
          Bob Howard, have you ever seen the movie Erin
Brockovich? You know, she and her family and residents in
California, they were called zealots. Who would worry
about offshore drilling in the Gulf? You know, what's
wrong with that? Or Bob, why don't you take them to the
dead zone down there? It's about the size of New Jersey.
I could go on and on. There's asbestos, benzene.
          But now in the last minute and a half, I want to
turn to my presentation, as planned. A. Acetic acid
hydroxyl reaction products with triethanolamine. Acetic
anhydride, acetone, acrylamide. As you know, Michael
Pollan said, you shouldn't eat anything that you can't
pronounce. And I'm wondering if --- probably the same
applies to drinking, too. Acrylamide/sodium,
2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonate copolymer,
acrylamide/sodium copolymer or any other copolymer.
Acrylamide polymer with NNN trimethylene-oxyhexa --- I
don't know. We'll skip that one. Acrylamide/sodium
acrylate copolymer, alcohol C12-C16 ethoxylate, aliphatic
hydrocarbon, alkenes, alkalines, alkyl olefin sulfonate,
sodium --- okay. That one I recognize. Alpha propylene
ethyl sulphate surfactants, aluminum chloride, amine C12-
14-tert-alkyl ethoxylated --- ethoxylated. Okay.
alkylide. Skip that one. Never mind. Tallow alkyl
ethoxylate acetates, ammonia, ammonium acetate, ammonium
acryloyl dimethltaurate, ammonium bisulfate, ammonium
chloride, ammonium citrate, ammonium cumene sulfonate,
ammonium ---. Oh, I haven't even finished the O's yet.
Do you want to read some more of these chemicals and find
out what some of the toxic effects are? Visit
          CHAIR BURN: Our court reporter may want to see
you for some of those spellings. Ted Popovich, followed
by David Spigelmyer, Katherine Luke, Barbara Grover,
MaryAnne Rahn.
          MR. POPOVICH: I'm Ted Popovich. I live in Ben
Avon. I used to work for Westinghouse Electric, and I
trusted the AC Motors, by the way. But I have now become
a very concerned citizen about our environment. My topic
is global over local. In May 2010, Royal Dutch Shell
agreed to buy East Resources, located in Warrendale, for
$4.7 billion in cash, obtaining new holdings in the
Marcellus and Eagle Ford gas deposits. In October of
2010, CNOOC, the Chinese National Offshore Oil
Corporation, paid $1.1 billion for a third interest in
leases owned by Chesapeake Energy Corp in the Eagle Ford
play in South Texas. And I'll give you one more. I have
a whole list of these things. In April 2010, India's
Reliance Industries, one of the largest commercial
ventures in India, bought a 40-percent interest in the
Marcellus acreage of Atlas Energy in Moon Township. Okay.
Global over local.
          So an interagency committee of the U.S.
government, sometimes called CFIUS, is charged with the
responsibility of reviewing foreign investments that could
affect national security. This Committee on Foreign
Investment in the United States has authority over energy
assets and extractive energy --- industry issues. In
2005, in fact, CFIUS ruled against Chinese CNOOC's
$18.5 billion bid for Unocal. Today, CFIUS is strangely
silent on the issue of foreign investment in natural gas
shale plays. Why is this?
          Well, in November 2009, Presidents Barack Obama
and Hu Jintao jointly announced the launch of a U.S.-China
Shale Gas Resource Initiative. In April 2010, the U.S.
Department of State launched the Global Shale Gas
Initiative to help countries identify and develop their
unconventional gas resources. The first multilateral
meeting of that organization happened in Washington in
          Where are the Departments of Commerce and Energy
or the EPA, for that matter? It's a matter of state, a
high stakes energy chess game between national
governments. We are the pawns and appear to be
disposable. Now it's up to you, our local leadership, to
do the right thing by us. Protect us from being stripped
of our assets, the furnishings of our mortgaged houses.
Our federal and state leaders have been lacking. What do
we want from you? We want you to establish a moratorium
until we can gather our wits about us and understand the
pluses and minuses of this new technology. And if we do
do this, we want the cash to stay here for us citizens.
That's what we want. Thank you very much.
          CHAIR BURN: Dave Spigelmyer, followed by
Katherine Luke, Barbara Grover, MaryAnne Rahn, Kate St.
          MR. FORDE: Dave Spigelmyer, Vice-Chairman of
the Marcellus Shale Coalition, is out of town due to an
unexpected meeting. But he's asked me to provide
testimony in his absence. I'm Steve Forde, Policy and
Communications Director for the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
Our coalition is nearly 170 member organizations strong,
each with the same focus, promoting the safe production of
clean-burning natural gas. Our coalition understands that
this generation and generations to come in southwestern
Pennsylvania have been presented a historic opportunity to
contribute to America's energy independence, national
security and drive toward cleaner, more reliable and less
costly fuel.
          We recognize that with this opportunity comes
great responsibility, responsibility to ensure safe
workplaces, responsibility to promote civil and open
dialogue and transparency in our operations,
responsibility to encourage shared economic growth, and
most important, responsibility to protect our air, water
and land on behalf of our children and grandchildren.
This point is especially important to me.
           A native of this region, I returned nearly two
years ago with my wife and two young daughters to raise
our family in a part of the country that we're proud to
call home. The culture, education and healthcare
infrastructure and community spirit in this region are
second to none. The same holds true for our future, and
the responsible development of the Marcellus Shale is a
vital part of it. The cascading positive impact the shale
gas production has had on the Commonwealth and multistate
region is impressive and well documented, and this is just
the start.
           Knowing that our daughters are blessed to grow
up at this time in this place is exciting and the reason
I'm before you today. It's also the reason why I'm proud
to work with like-minded men and women who share a
commitment to promoting the values important to my family:
economic freedom and opportunity and respect for the
resources that we've inherited.
           Like everyone in this room, I believe above all
else, that we have a moral responsibility to protect the
interests of our children and grandchildren. And nowhere
is that responsibility greater than in the Marcellus
Shale. Our coalition and our members are employing state-
of-the-art technologies and forward-thinking strategies to
ensure that economic and environmental interests can move
forward together. We're doing all this with unprecedented
transparency and unprecedented regulation. The Marcellus
Shale Coalition is getting this opportunity right for your
children, my children and their children so they can look
back on this moment and be just as proud as I am to call
this region their home.
           CHAIR BURN: Katherine Luke, followed by Barbara
Grover, MaryAnne Rahn, Kate St. John, Fiorillo Benard.
Katherine, you're our 25th speaker. Are you here?
Katherine Luke?
           AUDIENCE MEMBER: She didn't make it.
           CHAIR BURN: Okay. All right. Then we'll go to
Barbara Grover. Barbara, you're 26th. When we get to
number 30, that will be around 6:30, we'll take a five-
minute recess for some folks if you want to get up and
stretch. Our court reporter will need to change her tape.
And then we'll start again at 6:35 or thereabouts. Once
we get through 30, a five-minute break. Barbara, you're
number 26. Thank you.
          MS. GROVER: Thank you. My name is Barbara
Grover, and I live in Squirrel Hill. I'm here this
evening representing the Global Warming Action Team of the
Sierra Club. We have grave concerns about Marcellus Shale
drilling. I'm going to concentrate my remarks on water
issues. Without an adequate, sustainable supply of clean,
drinkable water, the residents of Allegheny County cannot
          The first critical concern is the source of
fresh water needed for drilling. A well requires, on
average, 5,000,000 gallons of water. What would be the
source of this water? The Allegheny? The Monongahela?
Their tributaries? These rivers are the people's source
of safe drinkable water. On average, a U.S. citizen uses
about 110 gallons of water per day. For the 1.2 million
citizens living in Allegheny County, that's a daily need
of 132,000,000 gallons of clean, safe water.
          Will 10 wells needing 50,000,000 gallons of
water or more create a problem in meeting our citizens'
daily needs? What about 34 wells, which is the number of
wells drilled in Washington County in just January alone
of this year? That's 170,000,000 gallons. Would that be
a problem? What if a drought occurs? You may recall in
late 2008, drilling and coal mine waste released during a
drought so overwhelmed the Monongahela that officials
advised Pittsburgh area residents to drink bottled water.
I'm sure this Council does not want to have a recurrence
of that situation.
          Our second concern is the wastewater returned to
the surface. As you've already heard this evening, the
wastewater contains toxic chemicals, metals, some unknown
chemicals and perhaps radioactive particles. Water and
sewage treatment plants are designed to deal with normal
suspended solids and organic matter. Treatment of used
drilling water requires very different chemical
processing. What would be required to create or update
our water treatment facilities so these wastewaters can be
returned to the rivers without damaging the people's water
source? Who will pay for it?
          Our third concern is the wastewater not returned
to the surface recycling --- for recycling. This
situation is a much bigger mystery. Thirty (30) percent
or more of the water remains underground. At this point
in time, scientists do not know whether that will return
to the surface, get into our aquifers, or it might remain
deeply underground. We need scientifically-based studies
to understand the consequences of contaminated water that
remains underground. In conclusion, the Global Warming
Action Team of the Sierra Club urges you to not allow
hydraulic fracturing in the county until these risks to
our health and well-being can be eliminated. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: MaryAnne Rahn, followed by Kate St.
John, Fiorillo Benard and Jamin Bogi.
          MS. RAHN: MaryAnne Rahn, Pittsburgh, 15241. In
the fall of '08, we kept talking about --- our glasses are
cloudy as they come out of the dishwasher. Cloudy
glasses. In early December, I developed sepsis. Sepsis
is a bacteria in your blood. In mid-December, we finally
decided to call the dishwasher repairman, and he said,
call your water company. Early January, an announcement
was made at a luncheon that a member had been taken to the
hospital with rigors and died shortly. In February, a
couple was hospitalized. He recovered. She had many
hospitalizations. No treatable illness was diagnosed.
Labor Day weekend, she died. The autopsy said she had
sepsis and multiple organ failures. Three women with
sepsis within the three-month period living within a mile
radius of each other; a pure coincidence? I don't think
so. Plus there were two other friends who had blood
events at the same time, and I don't even know the health
issues of that many people.
          The recent article in The New York Times
reported on an internal memorandum of the EPA. It
described the late 2008 event incident as one of the
largest failures in U.S. history to supply clean drinking
water to the public. The incident was releasing drilling
waste during the drought. The Monongahela was so
overwhelmed that officials advised people in the
Pittsburgh area to drink bottled water.
          Sepsis, for me, was a very fast illness. Within
30 minutes, my entire digestive system was cleared out and
rigor started, uncontrollable shaking. There's no
mistaking something is going on. In short, I was
unconscious for about two hours in the hospital. And if
you ever find yourself in this situation, pray you're in a
hospital with an aggressive doctor and hospital policy for
treating you. My primary care says that my life is a
tribute to this care.
          When drilling chemicals come back up through the
water table and find their way downstream, it's not
realistic to believe that this is healthy. Using toxic
chemicals for drilling is a fifth grade level of skills.
Go back to the board. And until skills are developed
better compatible with the environment we live in, then
you can drill.
          CHAIR BURN: Kate St. John, followed by Fiorillo
Benard, Jamin Bogi. And then we'll take the recess.
          MS. ST. JOHN: Hello. My name is Kate St. John,
731 McCashin Street, Pittsburgh. You've heard from all
these speakers about the dangers of shale gas drilling,
but I'm going to point out one of its unintended
consequences, namely, that the negative impacts of this
industry cause a drop in the property values that spread
beyond the drilling zone and last for generations.
          Let me tell you a similar story from my
neighborhood. I live in Greenfield, one mile from the
site of the former Hazelwood Coke Plant. When that plant
was built in 1918, the workers lived in Hazelwood. But as
transportation improved, they moved far away, far from the
plant's noise, airborne grit and stench. Hazelwood hit
the skids. Most days you could smell the sulfur in
Greenfield, Squirrel Hill and Oakland. Pittsburgh was
unable to convince potential businesses and residents that
our area was green because their noses told them we were
          During those years, Greenfield's population aged
and property values sagged because few people were willing
to live with the stench. When the plant closed in 1998,
the noise and pollution ceased abruptly. Greenfield's
convenient location was rediscovered by first-time home
buyers. Our property values rose, and we now have young
residents who contribute their time to make Greenfield an
even better place to live.
          This did not happen when the Hazelwood Coke
Plant was operating, even though it was regulated by many
laws and run by an industry that claimed to use best
practices. Greenfield's property values were low because
of the coke plant's noise, air pollution and eternal
flare. Ask any municipality that's already been drilled,
and they'll tell you that slickwater hydraulic fracturing
is a high-impact industrial process that changed the
character of their community. Noise, air pollution,
compressor stations, condenser tanks, pipelines and truck
traffic permanently degraded their way of life.
          Once the drilling began, their property values
dropped. The residents want to move away, but they can't
sell their homes. Even when they find a willing buyer,
banks refuse to finance a loan because it's a bad risk.
Federal appraisal rules prohibit issuing FHA loans for
homes within 300 feet of an active or planned gas drilling
site boundary. Not the well head. The boundary. But
Pennsylvania law permits well heads much closer, within
200 feet of a home. In areas where leases have been
signed but not yet drilled, prospective home buyers are
          Property values are not an engineering problem
that can be solved by industry best practices or state
regulations. Property values are based on people's eyes
and ears and the public's confidence that a neighborhood
is safe and pleasant and will remain so. Allegheny County
depends on property values for its revenue. If you allow
drilling in or near residential neighborhoods, property
values will fall, and so will your tax revenue. If you
drill the airport, what will happen in Findlay? Look at
property trends in drilled communities and you'll have the
          CHAIR BURN: Fiorillo Benard? Fiorillo Benard?
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: Ben Fiorillo?
          CHAIR BURN: That's not how it's written. Is
there a Ben Fiorillo here tonight? It's the way it's
written on the sheet. All right. Jamin Bogi? Did I
pronounce your name right?
          MR. BOGI: Jamin (changes pronunciation).
          CHAIR BURN: Jamin (corrects pronunciation)?
What about the last name?
          MR. BOGI: Bogi, yes.
          CHAIR BURN: All right. Sir, after you, we're
going to take a five-minute recess. Thank you.
          MR. BOGI: Jamin Bogi, 2702 Burham Street,
15203. Good evening. Thanks for this opportunity. I
work for Group Against Smog and Pollution, or GASP, which
fights for cleaner air here in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Our region, in the center of the Marcellus play, is right
now the focus of global attention. We've learned a lot,
and we've had to learn it quickly. Yet each week brings
something new to the discussion. Recently, we've read
about radioactive wastewater here and earthquakes in
Arkansas, potentially being caused by deep injection of
wastewater. Our knowledge of what's safe and prudent is
evolving, and we'd be wise to incorporate some
precautionary protections for ourselves.
          GASP supports stronger regulations currently
being considered by Council, such as larger buffer areas.
I can't keep straight anymore the reports of explosions
and fires at local drilling sites. No one here wants a
fireball that burns for hours or days anywhere near a
school or a hospital or anywhere at all near people.
Former Governor Rendell and former DEP Secretary Hanger
have recently defended their actions in regulating
drilling during their administrations but admit we need to
test immediately for radioactivity. Translation? We
think we're doing well, but we're also learning as we go.
          And the county shouldn't wait for DEP or EPA for
protection. It should take whatever actions it can to
keep its citizens safe. The county can and should take
action on the air quality issues associated with this
industry. Our region is consistently given poor marks for
high levels of ground-level ozone. While progress has
been made in reducing this pollutant, much work remains.
          And the deep shale extraction industry, be it in
the Marcellus, Devonian or Utica shale, has the potential
to wipe these gains out. A recent study in Colorado
concluded that smog-forming emissions from the oil and gas
industries exceed emissions from motor vehicles for the
entire state. Similar problems are also found in Texas,
Wyoming, Colorado, where oil and gas extraction is
prevalent. And since our air pollution burden is already
so high, the county must be a leader in requiring stronger
air control technologies for this industry. Though only a
few wells are active now in the county, 35,000 acres are
          There are many simple cost-effective air
pollution control measures that the county could require
as a condition in their leases, should drilling continue.
These would include using vapor recovery units, low or no-
bleed pneumatic valves and leak detection programs. We
recommend the Council ask the County Air Quality Program
to identify and adopt these requirements now, before the
pollution from this industry becomes an additional burden
on our county. Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Before we take a five-minute
recess, I would like to say hello and acknowledge two of
our colleagues who recently left the body here, our former
president, Rich Fitzgerald --- it's great to see you,
Fitz --- and Chuck McCullough. Chuck, it's great to see
you, too. Both of you, thank you so much for coming and
being part of this very important discussion. We'll take
a five-minute recess. We'll resume at 6:40 on the clock.
Thank you.
           (Short break taken.)
           CHAIR BURN: Okay. We're going to resume.
Thank you all very much. One of the speakers who had been
signed up earlier, one of our --- I think our third
speaker, was it?
           MR. BARKER: Yes.
           CHAIR BURN: Has arrived. So Ed, we're going to
let her jump on, and then we'll come to you. Is that
           MR. VALENTAS: Perfect.
           CHAIR BURN: Thank you, sir. Jeanne McMullen?
           MS. MCMULLEN: Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: You're welcome.
           MS. MCMULLEN: My name is Jeanne McMullen, and I
live in Lincoln Place, a quiet residential community, home
to a neighborhood K to eight public school, but now
surrounded by natural gas surface leases. I cannot put a
Walmart or a strip club on my property without zoning
ordinances and public impact studies. But you're going to
allow Harrisburg to railroad the good people of Allegheny
County in exchange for funding your campaigns.
           I read you excerpts of an e-mail from a resident
in Hickory. I need a doctor. We're getting ready to
leave tonight. Called the DEP emergency line. Trucks
from both companies are rushing back to the compressor on
the plant. It smells like kerosene and chemicals. We'll
see how many days it takes for the DEP to respond. It
looks like tomorrow will be another ugly, legal day. I
hate this freaking frackers. They're all out of here now.
Did they evacuate us on their way out? Hell, no. It's
going to be another long night at ground zero.
           Since drilling began in their formerly quiet
rural community, the family, including their two young
children, all suffer from constant headaches, sore throats
and dizziness, frequent nosebleeds and more. They
complain to their lawmakers and the media, but no one will
listen. The closest wells are about 1,000 feet from their
home. Do you think another couple hundred feet is going
to make a difference in the health and quality of their
life? The bills before you, whether it's 200 feet,
whether it's 500 feet, whether it's 1,000 feet, you're
going to kill the residents of Allegheny County. And that
is the legacy you will leave to the people that follow.
          A resident of Bedford County wrote, during this
month, I had four trips to the ER. Each time, high levels
of gas were found in my bloodstream. The doctors told me
not to return home because the environment was killing me.
The DEP responded by saying the gas readings they took in
her home were so high, they couldn't have been accurate.
So they did nothing. And her property is not near a well.
Columbia Gas used eminent domain to take her property to
use for a natural gas storage facility. So for $250 a
year, she has to wear a gas mask to watch TV and to sleep.
          The media has labeled me an environmental
extremist. I am not fighting for clean air or clean
water, but for the health and safety of my family and the
property value of my home. That is everything I have
worked for and everything I cherish that stands before you
now. I have started a petition calling for a ban of
fracking in Allegheny County, after collecting 2,000
signatures for the City of Pittsburgh. My first day
collecting for the county, I single-handedly collected
over 500 signatures. Each of these individuals is
watching how you have voted or will vote on leasing our
county parks, our airport and on the local regulations.
And we will watch how we vote in the next election.
          CHAIR BURN: Let the record also reflect that
Council Members Rea and Gastgeb have joined us as well.
Good evening. Ed Valentas, followed by Ken Gulick, Herman
Edwards, Mary Beth Sweeney, Dan Bagley.
          MR. VALENTAS: I'm Ed Valentas. I grew up in
the city. Inner-city kid. I own multiple properties
throughout the county, and I'm involved in developing
numerous hundreds of other acres. That sounded like a
threat to me. I'm not going to threaten you. I believe
you can make a sound decision based on logic and science.
          I respect my neighbors and I respect their
choices to develop or not develop. I respect these people
for giving their opinions, and it's a great country that
we're able to do that. A lot of places you couldn't. I
may disagree with them vehemently, but I do respect them.
I ask that they respect my right, likewise, to develop.
I ask them to either respect it, or if you're going to
take something away from me, be prepared collectively to
compensate me for that taking. And I think you've got an
inkling what's coming.
          Now, I've been employed in the energy industry
since 1980. I've drilled and fracked, operated about
1,000 wells in six states. And some of these were twice
as deep as the Marcellus Shale, and some were horizontal.
Some were upper Devonian. But they were all done, all
fracked, and without incident. People are acting like
this fracking is new, and to a lot of these people, it is.
It's like a UFO coming into their neighborhood. But this
has been done for over 60 years. Worldwide, there's over
1,000,000 wells that have been fracked. In all of the
U.S. to date, and the DEP will bear this out, there's
never been one frack job connected with loss of water in a
water well. Don't believe me. Call the DEP.
          Now, to get back in to a little bit about
Allegheny County and growing up here, my bride of 29 years
worked for Dollar Bank for 17 years, got into
distribution. She was laid off and took a lot of temp
jobs for a year and a half, and about eight months ago,
interviewed and became an executive administrator for one
of the E&P Companies. Excellent paying job.
          My son's 20. Like a lot of kids, he quit
college, didn't finish. I put him through an eight-week
program for basics, just to get you in the door of one of
these companies. He was hired, started his first job
today. While I was at the school interviewing for it,
there were two calls for 26 additional positions that day.
They didn't have enough people to fill them. These are
good-paying jobs with benefits. I tell my friends that
are laid off to go pursue this. This is an opportunity, a
real opportunity. They're begging for help and they're
saying the 100,000 is real. It's real. I'm living it.
I'm telling it.
          Now the economic impact of oil lease, bonus
monies in Washington and Butler Counties, you go down
there, there's buildings coming up. There's restaurants.
There's contractors. There's sales. It's vibrant. We
need that in Allegheny County. It needs to be monitored.
It needs to be done well. But we've done this for so many
years. It's safe. It's growing quick. We need to
monitor it and we will monitor it. I trust the DEP. I
trust you. I trust the government. We're lucky to have
the Marcellus Shale here. God bless it and may we all
embrace it. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Ken Gulick, followed by Herman
Edwards, Mary Beth Sweeney, Dan Bagley, Elizabeth Morris.
          MR. GULICK: Hello. I'm a resident of Frazer
Township, which is primarily a rural township located in
the northeastern corner of Allegheny County. Recently,
Frazer Township was the site for the first horizontal
Marcellus Shale well to be located within Allegheny
County. This well was drilled by Range Resources, which
recently completed the well. Because I live very close to
the well site, I have seen firsthand the site development
phase, along with the drilling and completion operations.
I can tell you that Range Resources was very attuned to
resident concerns and has demonstrated that responsible
Marcellus Shale development is possible.
          From a personal standpoint, I've had exposure to
the drilling industry through the installation of four
shallow wells that have been constructed over the last
several years. Because my family is heavily involved in
the dairy industry, we were very concerned with the
environmental impact of the drilling process. Our gas
company addressed our concerns, and the result was a
series of access roads, well sites and associated
pipelines which had essentially zero impact to our crop
and pasture ground. In fact, our reclaimed pasture areas
have become more productive from a grazing standpoint
through the process of well site reclamation, which was
performed after the drilling process.
          Another added benefit is the added revenue
derived from the wells. This has greatly helped to lessen
the harsh reality and heavy burden of our ever-increasing
school taxes. In today's economy, everybody is looking
for added sources of revenue, whether you're the state,
county, township or the individual taxpayer. Responsible
shale gas development not only benefits drilling companies
and landowners. It represents the creation of tens of
thousands of well-paying, family-sustaining jobs that we
desperately need.
          In closing, I would like to thank County Council
for the opportunity to speak, and I would ask that you
consider the positive aspects of responsible Marcellus
Shale development. I have seen these aspects firsthand,
and I'm excited about a tremendous opportunity that can
benefit Pennsylvania and Allegheny County for a long time
into the future.
          CHAIR BURN: Herman Edwards, followed by Mary
Beth Sweeney, Dan Bagley, Elizabeth Morris, Lisa Graves-
          MR. EDWARDS: Hello. I'm a resident and a
homeowner of Allegheny County, and my comments are also
being made for the benefit and on behalf of my children
and grandchildren, who also live in Allegheny County. I
want to see them, along with other county families,
continue to enjoy the facilities and the services that the
county has to offer. As an example, the county has
thousands of acres of parks. I take it we've all taken a
drive through them recently and utilized them. I think
you will concur to see that the parks need significant
funding for improvements and ongoing maintenance.
          There's many other county facilities that are in
the same need. When it comes to county service, I think
we're all aware of the Port Authority revenue needs. We
can't continue to ignore these needs and pass them on to
the next generation. Leasing and drilling royalties can
provide funds to help improve and maintain county
facilities and services. Another organization within the
county is the Airport Authority. It has large acreage
ownership. Due to the debt payments and operating costs,
it is unable to compete with other facilities. The high
charges to the airlines have caused many of these --- many
of the airlines to either leave or cut back their
          The county's population is aging, and for
various reasons, is decreasing. We can't continue to keep
increasing taxes. This will only cause more residents to
flee to surrounding counties. I'm sure we all love our
neighboring counties. However, in particular, Washington
and Butler Counties are attracting the wealth and benefits
from businesses involved in the gas industry. Take a
drive down 79 to the Washington area and go north on 79 to
Cranberry, and you will see the benefits from it.
          I encourage Allegheny County to become more
aggressive in helping developing facilities and provide
reasons for industry in the business to locate in the
county, which will provide revenue to the county. Just
like each of us, we go to places and spend our money where
it is welcome and where we perceive receiving a good
exchange value. The individuals that make up the business
are no different.
          We need energy to provide the basic necessities
in life, and natural gas is a significant economical
source, which is a good alternative source until
alternative sources can be developed economically without
being subsidized. The industry's here, and it will stay.
Yes, the industry needs to be regulated. And those
against drilling will help cause this to happen. Bad
drillers and operators will not exist. They will be gone
for not complying with regulations or fail financially.
The resulting benefits will be enjoyed by all, and more
specifically, for the next generation. The increased use
of gas will be good for our economy, our environment and
our national security. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Mary Beth Sweeney, followed by Dan
Bagley, Elizabeth Morris, Lisa Graves-Marcucci, Robert M.
          MS. SWEENEY: Good evening. I'm Mary Beth
Sweeney from Wexford, and I am Chair of the Pennsylvania
League of Women Voters Marcellus Shale Study Committee. I
thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight on behalf
of the Greater Pittsburgh League of Women Voters.
          The league recognizes that the development of
the Marcellus Shale is a boon to Pennsylvania's economy,
particularly in this area. However, wide-scale
consequences come with the growth of drilling and fracking
operations. Are we at risk from frack wastes
contaminating our water supplies? Do we need more
monitoring of our air and water? Will blasting during
seismic testing and potential hydraulic hydrofracturing
damage buildings and vintage pipelines?
          Could the $130,000,000 that we lost by failure
to pass a severance tax in Harrisburg help monitor some of
the public health issues and prevent costs, such as road
repairs, from being passed on to you and me, the taxpayer
in Pennsylvania? How can you protect the well-being of
our citizens? Ask questions and seek objective answers.
For example, where should gas processing facilities be
located? Should some areas be exempt from operations?
Should buffer zones be established between gas-related
areas and homes, schools, hospitals, churches, water
supplies, flood plains, waterways and wetlands?
          Once you determine the need for limitations on
drilling facilities that will protect our health and
safety, compare it with what currently exists in the
Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act. Some attorneys believe that
the Act already mandates distance restrictions, such as
200 feet from a building. Others believe that the new ---
that new local zoning ordinances should be enacted. Given
the ever-increasing horizontal underground reach of high-
tech drilling, limiting gas production to industrial areas
may be a viable option. Consideration also needs to be
given not only in the day-to-day operations of the natural
gas industry, but also to unintended consequences that
arise when accidents happen. Cooperative dialogue between
local and state officials is needed to update and/or amend
the existing Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act to ensure the
highest standards of safety and best practices.
          The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania
supports the maximum protection of public health and the
environment by promoting comprehensive regulation and
adequate staffing across government agencies in all
aspects of Marcellus Shale drilling, site restoration and
delivery to the customer. Allegheny County Council has
the opportunity and responsibility to enact ordinances.
We applaud you for taking this first step through this
public hearing to do so.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Dan Bagley, Elizabeth Morris, Lisa
Graves-Marcucci, Robert Burger, Bridget Shields.
          MR. BAGLEY: Thank you. My name is Dan Bagley.
I live with my family here in Pittsburgh, 15238. I speak
today as chief operating officer of Center Rock,
Incorporated, a Berlin, Pennsylvania drilling technology
company you may recognize for our recent publicity
surrounding our involvement in the Chilean mine rescue.
My comments are made on behalf of the employees, four of
whom are sitting in the room with me this evening. We
speak in support of natural gas industry.
          I have lived in this area now for almost ten
years, raising my family, working within the metals and
industrial sector. I have personally worked in more than
70 countries and have seldom seen the economic engine that
natural gas can create if controlled well in this state,
this county, this city. Prosperous communities in Texas,
California, Arkansas and Colorado are growing. They have
found ways to commercialize their natural gas resources in
safe balance with the earth, and we are currently doing so
across Pennsylvania. About half our business is centered
around energy exploration. It has grown from a one-man
shop, where a man mortgaged his home to get us started, to
a little global business that supports 70 families, and
we're still increasing.
          I'm an outdoorsman. I cherish the waters and
the lands of this state. Our families are avid fishermen,
as you can tell from the camouflage CRI caps that we wear.
I was raised in Arkansas amid oil wells and gas wells in
the natural state, where energy revenues and land
management were a boon to wildlife and waterway
cleanliness. We demand clean water for our children, too.
Many of us are well-water-fed. We do not fear natural gas
development because we understand it, and we know the
people who perform the work, some of whom are with us at
this meeting. So safety is important to us, too.
          Sensationalism is not a good way to make
decisions. No doubt, how the work is done matters, and we
all need to follow the rules. But why wouldn't we all
welcome another industry, like steel, auto or aircraft
manufacturing or another economic engine? Well, that's
what natural gas represents for this area. In fact, frack
water treatment is an industry which is growing. We
intend to participate to pursue water cleanliness at local
          Now, like any industrial construction, the
beginnings of a well can be busy, clanking and dirty, soil
dirty, earth dirty. But waking up --- but walking up
grouse in Somerset and Mercer and other counties, I have
seen that after drilling, gas wells blend with the land,
and then they make money for years. Center Rock and I
support natural gas development for Allegheny County and
in our communities. We wanted to go on record and explain
why. Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Elizabeth Morris, Lisa Graves-
Marcucci, Robert Burger, Bridget Shields, Steven
           MS. MORRIS: Hi. My name is Elizabeth Morris.
And for all 21 years of my life, I've lived in
Pennsylvania. I grew up in Penn Hills and I graduated
from Penn Hills High School. I currently live in
Friendship, and I attend Chatham University. And I also
           I'm not going to talk about all these disasters
and all the risks, because I feel like those have been
made pretty clear, but what I do want to talk about is
regulation and how we've seen regulation fail in the coal
fields in Appalachia and we've seen it fail out west
because people are getting sick and people are hurt. So
why are you still trying to regulate, I guess, is what I
want to ask. Like, why does it matter if a well is 2,000
feet or 500 feet from somebody's residence? Because I
don't think that it matters, and I don't think that
regulation is going to help Pennsylvania.
           Furthermore, the fine proposed in this
ordinance, Number 6179-11, is $500 a day for a violation.
So in a week, that's $3,500 that company has to pay for a
well. But the profit, the net profit, grossed from one
well per week is well above $3,500. So if we're not
providing good regulation and if we're not providing
prohibitive fines, we're not going to do anything to save
           Like I said before, regulation is not going to
save Pennsylvania. It's not going keep our water clean.
And I don't want Pennsylvania, which is my home and where
I want to spend the rest of my life, to suffer
exploitation of an extraction industry. And I really want
to be heard, because I live here and I don't want to
leave. And I think I speak on behalf of a lot of college
students. Currently, if Pennsylvania becomes the coal
fields or becomes like the coal fields, we will leave,
and a lot of college-educated people will be leaving
Pennsylvania. And I don't want to leave, so I'd ask that
you hear me and hear other students and other people my
age and not let this happen to Pennsylvania. Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Lisa Graves-Marcucci, Robert
Burger, Bridget Shields, Steve Hvozdovich, Gregory Boulos.
Is Lisa not here? Robert Burger?
           MR. BURGER: Hi. I'm Robert Burger, and I live
in McCandless Township. And I've been involved in a
job --- I've been involved with the environmental industry
for many years and I've recently moved into the oil and
gas industry. I now work with a company that does seismic
data processing for the industry. And I want to thank you
very much.
           One of the things that's really got me going on
here is everybody talking about fracking and how fracking
is going to affect groundwater. One of the things I don't
think many folks really understand is the scale of what's
going on here. When you have a well --- and Marcellus is
about 6,000 feet below ground surface. And a well goes
from --- you know, down to the Marcellus. And about, oh,
maybe, anywhere from maybe 1,000,000 to 20,000,000 gallons
of water is pumped down into this --- into the ground down
there. Well, if you look at the scale --- let's figure.
I'm about six feet tall. So figure, the top of my head is
where the well is, and down at the bottom of my feel is
where the Marcellus is. So that's 6,000 feet. So for
every foot of mine is, like, 1,000 feet.
           Groundwater. The depth of groundwater in
Allegheny County comes to about 400 feet, usable
groundwater below ground surface. So that's about the
deepest reasonable potable groundwater we get. That's
about the level of my eyes and the top of my head. The
water that --- the Marcellus, where we're fracking, is
down at 6,000 feet. If we put 20,000,000 gallons down
there, and if you take that 1 to 1,000 scale, you come up
with about two and a half ounces, 2.56 ounces, of water,
which is about a third of a cup. So you take about this
third of a cup of water here and take it down to 6,000
feet, go out 5 feet this way, 5,000 feet this way, and put
that third of a cup of water into the ground, at 10,000
PSI or whatever, it's only going to come up to about the
top of my shoe. It's not going to get anywhere near the
           So I think any fears that people have about
fracking are just totally unfounded. It's senseless. So
I'm out here with my colleagues in the industry and ---
you know, trying to provide affordable energy for all of
us in the industry. And I just can't understand why
people are so against fracking.
           CHAIR BURN: Thank you, sir.
          CHAIR BURN: Bridget Shields? Bridget Shields,
followed by Steve Hvozdovich, Gregory Boulos, Robert
McHale, Eric Vaccarello.
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Council, for
letting me speak for Bridget Shields, who had to attend
with her husband, Councilman Doug Shields, to give
testimony in Canton, Ohio. So thank you.
          And before I actually read Bridget's talk, I
just want to mention something in response to the
gentleman who just spoke before me, that gas companies say
that frack fluid is 99 percent water, but that equates to
7,500 gallons of chemicals used for every well. So I'm
not a scientist, and I'm not sure about that cup that you
were talking about. 7,500 gallons seems substantial to
me. Okay. Bridget's talk.
          Infrastructure in the Commonwealth is aging and
in serious need of repair. Structures ranging from
bridges to sewers are compromised with insufficient
funding to repair them. Wear and tear are already a
challenge. But when other threats to infrastructure
exacerbate their fragility, public safety is threatened
beyond normal calculations done by agencies and municipal
          In a mere two and a half years, violations
accrued by the Marcellus Shale drillers number near 1,500.
Over 950 can harm the environment, but the most crucial
statistic to those of us concerned with underground
infrastructure is that 49 percent of these violations were
in areas concerning erosion and sediment as well as
improper wastewater impoundment. Those are startling
figures coming out of an unconventional technique to
acquisition black shale that is already, by its very
nature, taxing to the infrastructures.
          Industry disregarding violations put excessive
risks on our infrastructure and create unnecessary
environmental hazards. Water quality has been compromised
by the presence of bromides that have not been present in
regional water testing ever. This challenge places water
treatment facilities in the extraordinary position of
having to adopt treatment chemicals that many with certain
health conditions and diseases cannot be exposed to. The
talk that I'll give you copies of, since I'm going to be
out of time here soon, will elucidate that further. Let
me just jump to her conclusion.
          Migration and contamination are the nature of
the proverbial beast when drilling deep and then wide
through porous sedimentary soil and strata in a
topographically-challenged region with storm water runoff
and flooding issues already. The freeze and thaw cycle
can crack cement casings that are not reinforced nor
monitored. Adding a technology that clearly did not
include such obvious risk into their assessment and whose
violations and accident rates are excessive by any measure
and means tells us we can't afford this type of drilling
in our region, whose accident rate already exceeds the
rate of coal's accidents historically by nearly three
times. Water is the currency of the 21st century, with
enormous economic implications of its own. How sad to see
the Mon River, recently listed as one of America's ten
most endangered rivers, directly a result of Marcellus
Shale drilling water.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you, ma'am.
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: Far better would it be to
rapidly move towards an economy based on renewable fuels.
Recent studies indicate that ---
          CHAIR BURN: Ma'am, you're past six.
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: --- your world could rely 100
percent on such green energy ---.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you very much. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Steve Hvozdovich, Greg Boulos,
Robert McHale, Eric Vaccarello, Sasha Shyduroff.
          MR. HVOZDOVICH: Good evening. I would like to
thank Council for holding this follow-up meeting to obtain
input from the most important stakeholders in this issue,
the residents of Allegheny County. My name is Steve
Hvozdovich. I work for Clean Water Action. We are a
national, non-profit environmental organization with over
15,000 members just here in Allegheny County.
          The negative impacts of natural gas drilling in
the Marcellus Shale have been articulated well by others
here tonight and during previous meetings. Just as
alarming is the lack of action taken by our state
government to better protect us. Our state government's
ineffectiveness has shifted the burden of protecting our
health, safety and environment to local governments.
Proposals to increase setbacks from structures introduced
by Councilman Finnerty and former Councilman Fitzgerald
has started the discussion at the county level.
          The blowout last year in Clearfield County and
the recent Marcellus-related fire and explosion in
Washington County are disasters that could have been even
more tragic had they occurred in more populated areas.
These incidents are a window into why the state's
designation of 200 feet and the 500-foot county proposal
are insufficient.
          This sentiment is already being echoed at the
state level, where a proposal to increase setbacks to
2,500 feet is being supported by local leaders like
Representatives Kortz, Costa and Wagner. However, we
can't wait for someone else to act when we have the
ability to control our own fate.
          When considering appropriate distances from a
home, from heavily traveled areas and from schools, far is
never too far. I would encourage you, at minimum, to
support Councilman Finnerty's proposal and to consider
pursuing setbacks beyond this distance. Clean Water
Action joins GASP, PennEnvironment and Three Rivers
Waterkeeper in calling for not just the implementation of
setbacks from structures, but also the enactment of better
air quality regulations, the banning of drilling in county
parks and the implementation of setbacks from waterways.
It is essential that we have a moratorium in Allegheny
County until these provisions and the considerations
expressed by others are addressed. Municipalities all
across Allegheny County, like South Fayette and the City
of Pittsburgh, have answered the call to protect our
health, safety and the environment. This is now the time
for county government to display the same kind of
leadership and serve as the next example. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Gregory Boulos?
          MR. BOULOS: Thank you, Council, for listening
to the group today. I live in Fawn Township here in
Allegheny County. My wife and I have a mortgage on 85
acres, which we bought as a farm three years ago. It took
us 18 months to get the mortgage for the farm because the
banks didn't understand our method of farming. I'm 33 ---
I was 33 years old at the time, which was about 40 years
younger than most of the farmers that we knew, and about
30 years younger than the average farmer in the U.S.,
which is around 60 years old.
          So the methods that we use for farming are an
organic farm. We are a community-based farm. We grow 12
acres of vegetable crops. We produce $10,000 worth of
crops per acre on our farm, and this is not our
granddaddy's farm. It's a totally different operation.
          So working in the industry, meeting a lot of
other young farmers, younger farmers that are looking for
clean land to grow organically, because they believe, as I
do, that that's the future, and that's the future of
agriculture. A lot of my friends, dairy farmers in 2008
saw record lows in milk prices and had to, for the first
time in 100 years, take mortgages out on their farms in
order to stay afloat in the dairy industry. We don't have
any young farmers that are trying to become dairy farmers
in an industrial way. They're all looking to become
organic farmers or sell directly to consumers.
          When we were buying our farm, our consumers, our
customers were incredible. Most of them had come to us
and thanked us for purchasing the farmland. Some of them
had offered to help us pay the down payment on the farm to
keep going. And we found, over the years of growing,
incredible support from the community.
          And I'm here today to say that when we found out
that within a mile of our farm was a permit for a well, we
don't know if there's going to be pollution on our farm.
All we know is that our business is based on growing clean
and healthy food. And if there's a risk of that
happening, then we would urge the Council to investigate
and to put a moratorium on fracking and on drilling
exploration until more information can be gained about it.
We know that for hundreds of thousands of years, there's
been gas under the surface in the Marcellus play. It's
going to be there for a while longer. We can take the
time to thoroughly investigate this matter.
          CHAIR BURN: Robert McHale?
          MR. MCHALE: My name is Robert McHale, and I
live in McCandless Township. I, like many speakers here
tonight, feel an obligation and a right to ensure that the
world I leave to my children is one with clean air and
clean water. I also feel obliged to pass them a world in
which their children are not beholden to foreign
governments for vital energy. I believe that all
Americans have a right to these things.
          As our population increases, our demand for
energy must increase. Renewable energy sources, such as
wind, solar and geothermal, will undoubtedly make an
increasing contribution in satiating that demand.
However, those energy sources are not without their
limitations and objectives.
          Few townships in Allegheny County permit every
landowner to erect a 50-foot-tall windmill on their
property, even if it meant emissions --- fewer emissions
of pollutants in the air, such as nitrogen oxide, carbon
monoxide, all organic compounds. Given the climate in
western Pennsylvania --- I think we know that from
today --- solar panels aren't really a viable solution for
that, either. When we take a historical perspective of
what made this region what it is today, it's incongruous
to me to not recognize that our abundant energy resources
were critical to our development. Without the coal to
burn for power and heat or to make coke for steel,
Pittsburgh and the surrounding region would not be where
we are today.
          However, coal is not the only abundant energy
source we have under our feet. For more than 100 years,
oil and natural gas have been produced in Allegheny
County. Currently, the Department of Environmental
Protection lists more than 1,200 oil and gas wells in
Allegheny County. When I think of the increasing price of
gas at the pump and the impact it has on my family's
budget, I wonder just how many --- or how few barrels of
crude come from local wells. When I adjust the thermostat
up in the winter to keep my children warm, I wonder just
how many of those BTUs come from local wells. I would be
ashamed of myself if I thought I could expect no demand,
fuel for my car and furnace and turn around and say I
wouldn't want it to come from a local well.
          Natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is no
different than natural gas produced in Allegheny County
from shallow wells for the past 100 years. Yes, the
drilling technology has changed to allow economic recovery
of gas within the shale. Yes, the rigs are bigger. The
volumes of water used are greater. But let's not forget
that environmental controls have improved as well. There
are many regulations that govern the industry, and they
control air, water and waste, erosion prevention. Many
people think that the regulations are antiquated, but I'm
here to say that they are --- keep evolving constantly.
And in conclusion, I will say that I am in favor of
drilling and Marcellus.
          CHAIR BURN: Eric Vaccarello. I'm sorry if I
mispronounced your name, sir.
          MR. VACCARELLO: No. That's good. Close
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you.
          MR. VACCARELLO: I'm Eric Vaccarello. I was
born and raised in Allegheny County. I'm raising a family
here. I have two businesses, two small businesses in
Allegheny County. We do commercial land clearing and have
a recycling company also.
          And in 2009, because of the economy, we were on
the verge of going bankrupt. And because of the gas play
here, we have grown our company from 20 employees to 70
employees, and they are Pennsylvania employees. We have
two out-of-state employees from West Virginia, but like I
said, 68 of our employees are from Pennsylvania. So the
economic benefits are enormous, obvious. You know, people
have talked --- spoke about it.
          The environmental issues are apparent also.
Being a recycler, being somebody in the industry, I'm
telling you from my experience that gas people that we
work for --- gas companies that we work for in developing
this shale play go above and beyond, above and beyond the
environmental protection that they do on these sites. I
see it every day. You know, we've worked to develop
schools, churches, office complex, golf courses, housing
development, malls, highways in Pennsylvania. And I can
tell you that these operators in this area and the areas
that I've worked in are --- talking about it from my
personal experience, all do it safely, safely, and
environmentally conscious.
          So in closing, I'd just like to say that I think
both sides can live together. I think, if it's properly
regulated and it's safe for the environment, I think that
you can know that both sides can live together. So I say
we regulate it, make it safe and let it happen. Thank
          CHAIR BURN: Please mark the record to reflect
that Council Member Amanda Green Hawkins is in attendance
by phone. Good evening, Councilwoman. Thanks for joining
          MS. GREEN HAWKINS: Good evening.
          CHAIR BURN: Sasha Shyduroff, followed by Mark
Sommer, Janice Margowitz, Patrick Imbrogno.
          MS. SHYDUROFF: Hello. My name is Sasha
Shyduroff, and I'm a resident of Pittsburgh and live in
Squirrel Hill. I'm here representing the Sierra Student
Coalition and the Pittsburgh Student Coalition. First
off, I'd like to thank the Council for holding this
hearing. Young people all across the region are concerned
about what deep shale hydraulic fracturing is doing to our
          Studies done by the University of Pittsburgh's
Center for Healthy Environments and Communities show that
extremely high levels of bromide, chloride, strontium and
barium, known carcinogens, are being discharged into our
surface waters. We also know that frack fluid waste is
being sent to municipal treatment plants, where they do
not have the capacity or the technology to properly treat
the polluted water. These dangerous chemicals are
entering our watershed where the city obtains its drinking
          Young people, especially those like me in their
mid-20s, who are thinking of settling down, buying homes
and starting families, are wary of the threat fracking
poses to our health. Not only do we have concerns for our
public health, but also for volatile property values and
the real estate market. In the past week, I have heard
several young people voice concerns of staying in
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County due to fracking.
          My generation has the privilege of making this
choice to leave. It's not necessarily a choice that we
want to make, but we know that many families in the county
do not have the ability to leave if their water is
polluted or if their land value is lost.
          The Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition,
a network of over 150 students and young people in the
area, urge the committee to pass an ordinance that would
require all gas wells to be kept at a minimum 2,000 feet
from any residence or school. To reduce this distance
would threaten public health and safety. PSEC also urges
Council to increase the fines for violation of these
terms. The current fine is only $500 per day and is a
negligible cost to a large gas company.
          Furthermore, we urge the City --- the County
Council to go further and place a countywide moratorium on
hydraulic fracturing and deep shale drilling until
necessary research is completed and the strictest
regulations are in place to protect both our public health
and safety. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Mark Sommer, followed by Janice
Margowitz, Patrick Imbrogno and Eric Cesaratto.
          MR. SOMMER: My name is Mark Sommer, and I'm a
lifelong resident of southwestern Pennsylvania. I thank
you for the opportunity to address the Allegheny County
Council regarding Marcellus Shale development. I support
the responsible development of Marcellus Shale. And I am
employed in the field of water resource management
specific to natural gas production.
          In addition, I am a father and an outdoorsman
who enjoys and utilizes Pennsylvania's forests and waters
recreationally. I deeply value and appreciate
Pennsylvania's vast natural resources and natural beauty.
The legacy that I leave for my children and future
generations will be that of environmental stewardship and
energy independence.
          Water and energy are essential to our everyday
lives. Natural gas is a clean energy source produced in
Pennsylvania since 1878, beginning with the Haymaker well
in Murrysville. We all rely on natural gas in our homes
for heating, cooking and other household uses.
Responsible development of the Marcellus Shale presents
Pennsylvania and Allegheny County with an opportunity to
advance towards energy independence with both the state
and nation.
          Properly managed water resources are a key to
development of the Marcellus or any other gas-producing
shale. The quantities of water required for shale gas
production may seem large when not put into context. In
reality, fresh water used by Marcellus Shale producers is
less than one percent of Pennsylvania's total water usage.
For comparison, the state's golf courses use twice as
          Flowback water from the hydraulic fracturing
process, which has been proven to be safe in over 60 years
of practice, is now almost 100 recycled for use in future
wells. Water recycling is reducing the consumption of
fresh water and greatly reducing the amount of disposed
water. Produced water from active wells is being managed
with the ultimate goal of zero liquid discharge. In my 11
years of field experience in Pennsylvania's natural gas
industry, I have witnessed nothing but conscientious,
responsible management of water.
          We, as a region, have the proud heritage as the
home of great innovators in science, engineering and
technology. Let's not stifle innovation because of
misconception and fear. Rather, let's draw on the
hardworking heritage that laid the foundation for our
region and meet the challenges of today head-on. U.S. and
leaders of Allegheny County have the opportunity to be
part of the solution in our country's quest for clean
energy and energy independence.
          In addition, the prosperity resulting from the
responsible development will help balance the county
budget fund and repair the county's infrastructure and
parks and improve county services. Lastly, one day I
would like to see the Port Authority powered by clean-
burning Marcellus gas produced in Allegheny County, not
imported diesel fuel. Thank you for the opportunity to be
part of the public debate on this matter, and I would like
to be part of the discussion moving forward.
          CHAIR BURN: Janice Margowitz. Janice? Patrick
Imbrogno. I'm sorry, sir, if I mispronounced your last
          MR. IMBROGNO: No. Actually it was very good.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you, sir. Followed by Eric
Cesaratto. Thank you, sir.
          MR. IMBROGNO: Thank you for the opportunity.
I've lived in Allegheny County over 30 years. There was
about a three-year hiatus when I lived in central
Pennsylvania, but most of my professional career I lived
here. Three kids were born in Magee Hospital. I live in
Moon Township, very rural living. It's a lot different
from where a lot of you people are talking about living.
But there are a lot of rural areas here, and there's a lot
of areas --- I think if people just relax, calm down, work
with your local governments, with your state and federal
governments, you can make this happen safely and
ecologically safe also.
          I don't have a prepared speech. I'm not a
talker. I don’t have T-shirts. I'm a citizen of the
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you want one?
          MR. IMBROGNO: No.
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'll sell you one cheap.
          CHAIR BURN: Let him talk. Let him talk.
          MR. IMBROGNO: But the discussion I'm having
here is, people just seem to want to back away on this.
You can try to get along and try to work with the
industries. You don't try to tax them out of existence.
You work --- you make proper fees. There are fines. You
talk about $500 a day. Well, I've seen $50,000 fines in
places. There are other things. I've been involved with
over 1,000 wells. How many have you drilled? None.
          CHAIR BURN: Sir, the direction is here.
Direction is up here, please.
          MR. IMBROGNO: I was involved with drilling over
1,000 wells, and there's been a very minor amount of what
you would call violations. One of them I can remember,
the sign fell off. Another one, a silt fence fell down.
That's considered a pollution event in some of these. I'm
not saying that all your statistics are wrong. I’m not
saying any of that. But all I'm saying is be reasonable
on how you use these statistics. There are whole courses
on how you bias statistics one way or the other. I'm not
saying either side is doing it here. But it can be done.
Just be reasonable and objective when you look at this.
          Most of the guys that I've been involved with,
and women in this business are very environmentally
conscious. I'm a hunter. I grew up in the middle of a
national forest, probably one of the most environmentally-
sensitive areas there are in the state. Native brook
trout. I've seen them co-exist with a lot of these ---.
Just be reasonable. Work with the people. Come up with a
solution, you know, some kind of joint effort with the
industry to make this happen, because I think it will help
everyone. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Eric Cesaratto, followed by Giles
          MR. CESARATTO: Hi. I'm Eric Cesaratto, and I
live in Washington Township and I have property in
Allegheny County. I work with the state. I'm a quality
assurance inspector, so I deal with the DEP and OSHA
almost daily. So my job is to make sure the contractor
does their job correctly. And we're into the streams and
we get permits from the DEP, and they regulate us. And
they make sure that whenever a contractor goes into those
streams, that they're there to protect the fish and all
the wildlife out there. So if you go --- you can't do
anything without them really being on top of you, make
sure you're doing everything correctly.
          So a lot of people think that the gas companies
can come in and do whatever they want to do as far as
drilling without any regulations, and that's not true. A
lot of people think that there's too many regulations on
jobsites that we have. And sometimes it is. There are
too many. But we have to live with what we have. So if
they're going to regulate us, we do it the way they tell
us. And it's the same way with the natural gas and
drilling company. They're going to listen to what DEP
says. They're not going to do anything other than what
they say.
          I have four gas wells, and I have a gas well at
my house in Washington Township, and I have well water
there. So my well is down about maybe 30 feet. My
shallow well is down about 3,000, 3,300 feet. I've been
living off of my well water for a little over 13 years.
Everybody around my area --- we have several shallow wells
around our area. Everybody's water is fine. It was
tested before. It's tested afterwards. And the water's
perfectly fine. The companies that come in and they
prepare the area to drill --- they even made my property
more valuable. And I know a lot of you people might think
that that's not true. But after they cleared the area,
they prepared it perfectly. It was better than
whenever --- before they came in there. So they do a lot
of good, and they're under a lot of scrutiny as far as the
DEP goes and OSHA goes.
          So I would really like to try to be a little bit
more self-sufficient with America instead of always having
to worry about --- with oil from Saudi Arabia and other
countries. Let's try to develop this gas here in America
and try to keep the jobs here and not worry about how much
money we're giving to Saudi Arabia for their oil. Let's
try to develop the natural gas here and heat our homes.
My home is heated by natural gas. I don't have a gas
bill, okay, because I have a well at my house, which is
safely run. And my children drink that water, and we heat
our house from natural gas wells. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Giles Howard. Mr. Howard? Bob
          MR. HEIM: Yes. I'm a petroleum geologist with
a very small natural gas exploration company. And I went
into the field of geology because of my fondness for the
natural world. So I can appreciate those of you who have
expressed environmental concerns today. Also in my
career, I've worked in the environmental field for a
number of years on soil and groundwater projects. And as
a result, I feel I have an appreciation for the economic
benefits of the Marcellus play and a realistic prospective
on the commonly expressed environmental concerns.
          I want to share that earlier this week, I was in
New York discussing geology with the leaders of a
coalition that represents at least 80 percent of the
landowners in an entire township. Because they understand
the issues and the long-term economic benefit to their
community and to their families, they understand what's
going on in Pennsylvania. They eagerly await their
state's permission to begin Marcellus drilling. They live
on this land. They get their water from private wells.
They're smart people who work very hard to educate
themselves about the Marcellus play. I wish you could
have been there for the perspective from that meeting.
          Two years ago, a family of a boy from my son's
youth organization was challenged to come up with just
$500 for summer camp. Now that family receives
approximately $20,000 a month from Marcellus production
royalties. The ripple effects of this new income are
profound that many local municipalities have had meetings
to ban or limit Marcellus drilling, either due to fear or
in order to send a message.
          I'm afraid a lot of misconceptions have
contributed to the decisions being made. And the
consequence will be the long-term financial shortchanging
of the citizens of the communities. The biggest
misconception is the idea that it would be possible for
hydraulic fracturing fluids injected in over a mile deep
in Marcellus Shale to be transmitted up into the shallow
fresh water zones. For perspective, fresh water zones are
in the uppermost few hundred feet. Well, this concept
scores a great big emotional response from the
environmental activists. There's very tangible reasons
why this is not plausible. First, you couldn't assemble
an array of pump trucks with enough horsepower to --- up
to the task of generating that horsepower and inducing
fractures filled with fluid under pressure over this
vertical distance, across many barriers in the geological
strata. Even if this could be done, operators wouldn't
want to spend millions of extra dollars for the extra
water and additives they would need to spend and the extra
days it would take to do this for no financial benefit.
           And then there's the fact that an induced
fracture, even if it could be propagated upward over such
a vertical distance, would turn horizontal below 2,000
feet for reasons that relate to the reduced weight of the
overburden at shallowing depths. And this would occur far
below the depth of the water wells. In my opinion, this
misconception is very important to get over so we can
focus on more tangible and pressing issues. Thank you for
the opportunity to speak.
           CHAIR BURN: Rebecca Loughney. Rebecca, are you
still with us?
           MS. LOUGHNEY: Hello. Rebecca Loughney. I am
from Forest Hills, PA, and I just want to point out my
shirt. It does say --- my fancy shirt --- it says, my
house shall not be compromised by your well.
           I'm first going to speak to you as a parent.
That's my first and foremost here. I live in Forest
Hills. My home was built in 1950. I have a young
daughter, so my first concern when she was born was ---.
Obviously, we have lead paint in our house. So I'd make
sure that our cracks in our plaster over the wintertime
were taken care of. My second concern was, apparently, we
had asbestos in our ductwork down in our basement, another
concern. We had a big company come in, tape off the area,
remove the asbestos. She was out of the house for about a
week because, as you know, babies have developing immune
systems, nervous systems. Brains don't develop until
they're about three years old, fully. And then we also
had a radon test, again, because we were out of that two-
year mark.
           Anyhow, my point is that with the natural gas
drilling here in Pennsylvania, now I have two other
concerns: obviously, clean water and clean air, like
everyone else in here. What I have done at times to
protect her is I started our own water filtration system.
I just had somebody come in and install probably about
$3,000 worth of water filtration in my home. All my
cleaning products are eco-friendly, biodegradable. But I
just don't understand this way of thinking. I guess, for
me, anything that creates waste is wrong. And it doesn't
matter if a waste is below surface a couple miles, right
here on my doorstep. I just don't understand it. And I
understand, even going to the Range Resources website ---
I got the pie chart and I saw that most of it is water and
some of it's sand. And then there's a tiny little sliver
of extra additives or whatever, .02, blah, blah, blah.
           But I just want to get the point across that any
type of waste is wrong, and I wish that there were more
options here. I wish that geothermal technology was a
little bit cheaper, that we could afford that, because I
really --- I have natural gas. It's cheap. I've got to
heat my home. That makes sense. But I wish that, you
know, I could afford solar. I wish that I could afford
maybe wind power. But I feel as though we don't have
those options and I feel like this is the only option and
I think it's sad.
           And I can tell you that in Germany, the
government actually pays for their citizens in that
country for solar technology. So if they put solar panels
on their roof, the government will pay for that. There's
also a man in Seven Springs, and he completely uses solar
power to heat his home, and he has a grid. And there's a
new buzz about this grid, and I don't know too much about
it, but I know a little bit. And apparently, this grid or
this solar panel sends electricity to his home. It
recycles itself. And he has so much extra power from the
sun, it actually helps give electricity to the neighbor
next door.
           So I guess --- I know this is the easy way.
Natural gas is --- you know, that it's a big thing and
it's below the surface. You know, it's there. We've got
to use it. But I just --- you know, being a mother, I
don't understand why there aren't other options for people
like me that actually want them, And in closing, I will
just say that being a good ancestor is preserving what we
have today for the future. And my daughter will not be
living here or going to school here if this is what's
going to happen.
           CHAIR BURN: Christopher Fromme? Has he shown
           MR. FROMME: That's me.
           CHAIR BURN: Hello, sir.
           MR. FROMME: Hello, there. It's been a long
time since I've been in this room. Good evening. My
name's Chris, and I'm coming at it first from a consumer
standpoint. I'm one of the millions of people that heats
their homes with natural gas. I pay a gas bill for three
row houses and my own home, about $7,000 a year. If it
had not been for the market influence of the increased
production of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, my gas
bill would have been well over $10,000 last year. And it
would have probably put me out of business, or my gas
would have been shut off. A typical decreased cost of gas
because of local availability is about $1,500 per year for
every household in Pennsylvania because of Marcellus Shale
being used in your homes.
           I personally do not own land at this time that
could be used for drilling. But if the county enacts
ordinances that prohibit drilling or make it effectively
off limits to drill, that would take a great --- that
takes a great value away from land and any property that
is currently owned by others. Sorry. I'm going to start
that over. I personally do not own any land at this time,
but I am looking for land that could have a well drilled
on it because I'm always looking for good investments.
But if the county enacts ordinances that prohibit the
drilling or makes it effectively off limits to drill, that
takes a great value away from the land. And any property
that is currently owned by a current county taxpayer, I
would consider joining a class action suit against the
county to preserve the taxpayers' private property rights.
Exclusion of drilling would be an illegal taking without
condemnation under the constitutional taking clause.
           There are many direct benefits for drilling in
Allegheny property rights, Allegheny County property.
Marcellus would yield approximately $4,000,000 per well
drilled to the general market. The Port Authority buses,
police cars and other county vehicles, if you convert to
natural gas, compared for --- $1 a gallon, is typical.
And also a boom to the area, hundreds of thousands of jobs
in Pennsylvania. Allegheny County needs to be part of
that job boom. And I'll stop there because my time's up.
Thank you.
           AUDIENCE MEMBER: You can buy my house
because ---.
           MR. FROMME: Well, your house can't have a well
drilled ---.
           CHAIR BURN: I would invite you --- if you two
want to have a conversation, go out in the hall.
           MR. FROMME: I'm done.
          CHAIR BURN: All right. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Dana Dolney, yes, come up, thank
you, followed by Kevin Loughrey.
          MS. DOLNEY: Hi. My name's Dana Dolney. I live
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I'm very proud that we've
banned fracking here. I had all this stuff written down,
and I was going to read it, but my friends have done such
an amazing job of hitting facts --- not opinion, but
facts, real facts backed by research. Yes, you can shake
your head as much as you want, but I didn't hear you
present a single fact to me.
          MS. DOLNEY: So I need to repeat this, though,
because you keep saying the same thing over and over
again. And what I feel compelled to share is that you
keep saying what a wonderful job this industry is doing,
how safe they are, how fantastic. This is the standard
that we should accept here in Pennsylvania. This is
safety at its best. So again, let's repeat, in August of
2010, a report from the Pennsylvania Land Trust
Association found that natural gas companies in
Pennsylvania violated the law 1,435 times. That's the
best you can do? Over two and a half years, including 952
violations that had or were likely to have an impact on
the environment. Kudos. This is well managed? This is
          The most common violation was improper
construction of pits that contained waste, toxic waste.
This is with 2,000 wells drilled in the Marcellus. 2,000.
And we're hoping --- we're really hoping on the industry
side to take that to 40,000. So let's do some math. This
does not include almost 1,500 citations and warnings for
trucks hauling wastewater. Again, possible
contaminations. Other violations included improper
discharge of waste, which is cheaper to just dump most of
the times, improper well casing. So those people talking
about how it can't get into your aquifer, if that well
casing isn't constructed properly and you're already
having violations, that's how it gets into your aquifer.
We're not saying that it's going to jump 7,000 feet from
down below. We're not stupid idiots here. We know what
we're talking about.
          MS. DOLNEY: Numbers from the state, from your
DEP, not from me, not made up, so ---. Improper blowout
prevention. What's that? That doesn't really matter, I
suppose. Faulty pollution prevention practices. These
are very serious violations that can endanger life,
safety, drinking water and clean air. So if industry has
its way, we're likely to see 20 times these amount of
violations, because this is industry doing it right;
right? That's what we keep hearing all day today. We are
doing this responsibly. We have the environment and your
health and safety at the heart of this matter. This is
the best that they are doing, and no one in the state is
challenging them, no one.
          I beg you, I beg you, because this is me. I
have a reason to be standing here today, because I don't
have a choice. I can't fight cancer. I can't have it in
my water. I can't have it in my air. And I'll be damned
if I'm going to sit back and watch. Jobs are not worth it
if your life isn't there. You can't work if you can't
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you very much. Kevin
Loughrey. Kevin Loughrey, followed by Carl Carlson.
          MR. LOUGHREY: I guess we not only have the
facts on our side, but we have the passion as well. Thank
you very much for presenting that this evening. First
off, I'm not receiving any more OTs, nor am I on the
clock. I don't have my clean coveralls on or anything
like that. I am a ten-year homeowner in Morningside, and
I've lived in Allegheny County for most of my life. I'd
just like to say that Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are
no stranger to being on the vanguard of invention,
resources, industry. And it's nothing new in Pittsburgh
in particular. It is a source of pride and a place for
many of the residents. I understand that.
          That being said, I truly believe we must set the
same precedents when it comes to safety and to the
extraction of our, our Marcellus gas. It's not yours.
It's not anybody else's. It belongs to the people in this
state. Okay? So far, we haven't properly discussed or
went into the safety of this drilling. Do we really want
to export this technology and the experience that is not
first done here in Allegheny County and not done right?
We have an excess of questions and not nearly enough
answers on the safety and the legacy that this drilling
will have. Haste seldom meets success for health and
happiness, for that matter.
          I'm rational. I am not a zealot. I realize our
energy needs as a country. I heat my home and I cook my
food with natural gas. But my heart, my body and my mind
are fed from the land, whether it be water or soil or air.
These are all precious resources, not to be squandered,
just as the gas is. But water can't wait. Drilling can.
          More regulation is needed in Allegheny County
and beyond to absolutely scientifically prove that our
most basic safety is assured. We have in this beautiful
state and county second and third generation forests, just
now recovering from clear cuts of the '20s, streams and
rivers that run orange from acid mine drainage. What
next, I ask?
          I and my girlfriend work every day, securing
money aside to the day we can buy a few acres, maybe, with
a cabin on it somewhere in Pennsylvania. I call it our
light at the end of the tunnel. It gets me through every
day. I feel like, because of drilling, that light is
dimming. The many camping trips I take to state parks and
forests all over the state had us bear witness to the
broad and negative effects of drilling.
          My brother works in the drilling industry. I
seriously worry about his health and safety every day. He
took me to jobsites and I saw the proximity of these
wells, the containment tanks, the homes and streams and
the carving of the land, the destruction of fertile farm
soil. The sheer magnitude of the operation was stunning.
And I really encourage you, if you get a chance to go out
and see one of these drills happening in the process ---
the sound, the traffic, it is overwhelming. The frack
that I saw was aided by tanker after tanker of liquid
nitrogen. They said it was a small well and that it was
cleaner than using more fracking fluid. Liquid nitrogen
into our ground, directly into our ground. I was awed,
sickened and sad to see these things going on in highly
populated areas, state lands and our forests. Please hold
these companies to task, for me and the average
Pittsburgher and county resident depend on it. Don't take
their money ---
          CHAIR BURN: Okay.
          MR. LOUGHREY: --- without first being sure this
is what you want in our backyards.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you, sir.
         MR. LOUGHREY: It's your chance ---.
         CHAIR BURN: Carl Carlson? Is Mr. Carlson here?
         AUDIENCE MEMBER: He just left. My name is Bill
          CHAIR BURN: Are you speaking ---?
          MR. HICKS: I'd like to speak in his place, sir.
          CHAIR BURN: He would not be the first person on
either side of the issue tonight that's made that request
and has been granted. So in fairness, please proceed.
          MR. HICKS: Thank you, sir. Mr. Chairman,
members of the Council, ladies and gentlemen, my name is
Bill Hicks. I am General Counsel for a company by the
name of Frac Tech Services. We provide hydraulic
fracturing services, including some of which are provided
in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. On behalf of the men
and women of Frac Tech, over 150 of whom live and work in
and around Allegheny County, thank you for this
opportunity to address you concerning hydraulic
          Over 200 years ago, a declaration of freedom and
independence issued forth from this great Commonwealth
that continues to reign strongly throughout the world
today and remains the goal to which so many have and
continue to sacrifice so much to achieve. Americans are
again faced with a genuine threat to our freedom and
independence. We need only look at the price at the fuel
pump to know the danger to our way of life from relying so
heavily on foreign sources for the essential resources we
need to fuel our economy and heat our homes. Like our
forefathers before us, we must act now to not only declare
but, like them, also achieve our independence.
          Recent technological advances have allowed us to
utilize a 60-year-old process to reach deep underground
and bring forth those very natural resources necessary for
our country to achieve its energy independence for
ourselves and those generations to come. This process,
hydraulic fracturing, has been repeatedly proven to be
environmentally safe through rigorous scientific testing
and analysis. The executive director of the Texas
Railroad Commission, where much of the hydraulic
fracturing has occurred, recently stated that more than
400 wells where there were complaints have been tested to
determine if there was contamination from hydraulic
fracturing, and none could be tied to any contamination
from the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling
           Frac Tech is a company that is not international
in scope and is not multinational. It was founded by two
men from a small town who left high school, began working
hard, pursued the American dream, and has built the
company known as Frac Tech today. We are proud to not
only play a part in achieving America's energy
independence, but also to partner with the people of
Pennsylvania in developing your natural resources in an
environmentally safe and responsible manner. We are
firmly committed to environmental stewardship, and we hope
to be able to work with you in achieving energy
independence. Thank you, sir.
           CHAIR BURN: A.J. Danny. A.J. Danny? Matthew
           MR. DANNY: I'm here.
           CHAIR BURN: Mr. Danny, come on up, sir. Thank
you. Go ahead.
           MR. DANNY: Thank you. I'm A.J. Danny, Plum
Borough, 1671 Old Leechburg Road. I've been a resident of
Allegheny County for 30 years. I'm a little nervous and I
will say I prepared two speeches tonight. I thought I
would go with the side I believed in. After hearing Mr.
Hicks, my decision has been made on which speech I was
going to give.
           Our county and our country has been built on
individuals that have taken risks. When you take risks,
there are consequences that accompany each. I'm a sixth
grade teacher in a nearby district. I was amazed on a
recent classroom discussion about industry and legacy in
my social studies class. My students talked about how
their grandparents worked in various industries around
this county.
           One talked about his grandfather who had worked
in a coal mine in Renton, Pennsylvania. The other student
talked about his grandfather who worked at Allegheny
Ludlum. Another student chimed in and asked where all his
grandparents went to college. Our society, and especially
our youngsters, associate success with the level of
education they receive. When the four students stood up,
they said, my grandfather quit school to work in the mill
to help support his family. The students started to
understand and have an appreciation for the sacrifices
that their family members took to take care of their own.
Please do not misunderstand what I'm telling you here.
I'm not saying education is not important. I teach our
children. What I'm saying is, with the proper regulation,
with the proper council in front of us, we can achieve a
lot of different things.
          We live in uncertain times. In my opinion, we
need to seize the opportunities that are in front of us.
There's inherent risk associated with everything, with
every opportunity. In my hometown of Renton, Pennsylvania
in Allegheny County, PA, I'm proud that my family members
had enough courage to not run from those risks, much like
I'm proud of my city that is built on a work ethic of
individuals who took chances and overcame the risks to
build its legacy. For the first time in my life, I feel
fortunate and proud to know that my generation has an
opportunity to build its own legacy. We allowed Carnegie,
we allowed Sir Walter Renton in the 19th and 20th
centuries, to create their legacies. I can only hope you
allow the exploration and drilling of Marcellus Shale in
our county so we can be part of a new legacy of the 21st
century. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Matthew Mehalik. Ginette Walker
          MS. VINSKI: Good evening, and thank you for
this opportunity. And thank you very much for your
attention tonight. My name is Ginette Walker Vinski. I
work for Sustainable Pittsburgh. While the recent
national press --- national negative press the
Commonwealth and our region have been receiving may well
communicate that we are open for business for drillers, it
is eroding years of hard-earned, positive perception of
our green progress and commitment to sustainable
development. The rush to develop Marcellus Shale natural
gas is straining existing systems and requires new
regional capacities.
          Allegheny County and our region must use its
government's leverage to ensure application of best
practices, best technologies and extraordinary regulatory
oversight, monitoring and testing to safeguard the public
interest. In particular, Sustainable Pittsburgh, a non-
profit working to accelerate sustainable development
policies and practices in southwestern Pennsylvania,
recommends against Marcellus Shale development in
Allegheny County parks at this time. The best practices
and regulatory framework are evolving but are presently
insufficient to safeguard the public interest in our
public park spaces. Further, the impact of drilling
surely would not be combined --- confined to just the
parks, and rather, would likely bring multi-municipal
ramifications. County governmental leadership at a
broader scale is imperative. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Connie Jump. Connie? Connie Jump?
Aaron Booz. Aaron? Claudia Kirkpatrick.
          MS. KIRKPATRICK: Coming.
          CHAIR BURN: Claudia Kirkpatrick. Yes, ma'am.
          MS. KIRKPATRICK: Thank you very much. My name
is Claudia Kirkpatrick. I'm a resident of Pittsburgh.
I'm a volunteer with the Sierra Club's Allegheny Group and
currently its Chair. And I'm here to request that
Allegheny County institute a moratorium on shale drilling
in Allegheny County until all the necessary research has
been completed and monitoring procedures have been
instituted to absolutely prevent damage.
          Among the many concerns about allowing shale gas
drilling in Allegheny County are the serious kinds of
damages to individual homeowners and to municipalities
that could occur, both of which could pay heavy penalties.
Municipalities could sustain serious damage to their
roads, and as it now stands, state level, the
municipalities will have to shoulder the burden of the
repair at taxpayers' cost. Homeowners will see severe
loss in the value of their homes, among other reasons,
because buyers may not be able to obtain mortgages. In
addition, in any area of the county in which there is
nearby drilling, our citizens could suffer significant
loss of quality of life. They may no longer be able to
enjoy the stars, obliterated as those will be by the
blatant lighting of the drilling's industrial sites. They
could lose the joy of watching the birds or walking in
rural areas.
          Although, as folks have mentioned, the census
data showed that Allegheny County and Pittsburgh have lost
population over the last ten years, in recent years, there
has been population growth. According to The Post-Gazette
on Tuesday, Allegheny County has seen a small but
significant increase in population from mid 2009 to mid
2010, of 1,204. According to The Post-Gazette, county
officials cite a lot of accolades from the national and
international media for quality of life, jobs, trails and
green space. There are important attractions, bringing
new kinds of companies and jobs to Allegheny County. All
the reports we've received over recent months, especially
thanks to The Post-Gazette's David Templeton and Don
Hopey, show that we need to continue to improve,
especially in air quality, if we want future growth.
Shale drilling will take us backward, not forward. Thank
you very much.
          CHAIR BURN: Michael Alexander.
          MR. ALEXANDER: Good evening. My name's Michael
Alexander. I live in Squirrel Hill, and I'm speaking as
an individual citizen. Thank you for the opportunity to
express my point of view. I believe that Allegheny County
should do everything that it legally can to delay all
drilling in municipalities for Marcellus Shale gas for as
long as it takes to do a thorough study of its benefits
and costs. There's nothing to be lost from delay since
the gas we could tap this year will still be here in two
or three or four years. Natural gas does not rot or
disintegrate, and the demand for it will not disappear.
The economic benefits, such as jobs, that we forego by
delay this year will still be there next year.
          The cost of hasty and uninformed drilling,
however, could last for generations. The short-term risks
are obvious, as we've seen the explosion that occurred on
February 23rd in nearby Washington County, injuring three
employees. The long-term risks are only now being
assessed. The hazards of hydrofracking, the effectiveness
of recycling of fluid, the effects on air quality and the
recently-revealed hazard of bringing naturally-occurring
radiation up from the earth and releasing it into the
water we drink are all good reasons for careful study.
          The federal EPA has asked for further tests.
The PWSA and the Pennsylvania-American Water Company have
just announced they will begin testing for radioactivity.
And the gas industry's Marcellus Shale Coalition itself is
contributing $100,000 to support more testing. The
testing itself does not remove the problem. It just tells
us whether we have a problem, and if so, how bad it is.
And we need to wait for the results of these tests before
we decide whether we want Marcellus drilling in Allegheny
County and what regulations need to be placed upon it.
           The unbalanced pro-drilling stance of the
administration in Harrisburg is another reason for delay.
The state government is clearly not going to be an
effective watchdog, as we can see in the proposed budget
released on Tuesday that cut 69 employees and $7,000,000
from the Department of Environmental Protection. The
state is also not going to raise any revenue from
Marcellus activity and not even enough to mitigate the
damage that we can now predict in normal operations, such
as wear and tear of roads, much less cleanup after
           There's no reason to let ourselves be pressured
into hasty and irrevocable decisions. If a salesperson
pitches a product at us, telling us we must act now on an
offer available for a limited time only, we know we are
being hustled and we respond, no, thank you. Let's say no
to high-pressure salesmanship, and let's take our time
making decisions on Marcellus drilling. Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Ron Slabe?
           MR. SLABE: Ron Slabe, Citizens Against
Marcellus Pollution. Marcellus deep well drilling is a
destructive industrial process which threatens the well-
being of Pennsylvania residents. Its use of hydraulic
fracturing pumps toxic carcinogens into the ground that,
when later retrieved, are stored in unguarded, unfenced
and leaking holding ponds that become a major source of
soil and water contamination. This retrieved or flowback
water contains additional toxins, such as radium,
strontium, barium, uranium and additional heavy metals.
The latest reports tell us of such toxins now reaching the
very waters we rely on for drinking.
           This is why it is incumbent upon local
government leaders, such as yourselves, to implement
ordinances to protect the public and lobby the state to
fulfill its constitutional obligations to properly look
after the welfare of its citizens, something it currently
is not doing. Every other week or so, we hear of another
Marcellus-related explosion, be it a well, a compressor
unit or other Marcellus apparatus. TV reports now tell us
of families living near condensate tanks, flaring wells or
compressor stations, breathing contaminated air, air
containing tons of formaldehyde, volatile organic
compounds, hazardous air pollutants, carbon dioxide and
God only knows what else.
          How on earth can we continue to allow condensate
and compressor units to operate, drilling to occur and
fracking ponds to exist a mere 200 feet or closer to our
homes? How long will we allow ourselves to flirt with
disaster? How long will we allow this industry to poison
          In our Judeo-Christian background, we are taught
that we are all obliged to be good stewards of the earth.
In the book of Genesis, we are tasked by God to extend
proper stewardship over creation and to use stewardship to
benefit creation as a whole. Further, Christian teaching
tells us, quote, to avoid any disordered use of things
which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring
disastrous consequences for human beings and their
environment, end quote.
          The inherent consequences of Marcellus drilling
are, in my opinion, a disordered use of God's creation and
are, indeed, bringing about disastrous consequences. I
ask the members of this Council to look deep within their
souls and answer their call to be good stewards of the
earth. Protect the people from the abuses of Marcellus
drilling, and God willing, be the people's advocate in
protecting the environment, not destroying it. For to do
otherwise could, indeed, place this body in contempt of
the Creator.
          CHAIR BURN: Patrick Grenter.
          MR. GRENTER: My name is Patrick Grenter. I am
a resident of Mt. Lebanon, and I'm also legal director of
Three Rivers Waterkeeper. Three Rivers Waterkeeper is a
non-profit organization that serves as a voice for the
waterways throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Our
mission is to protect the water quality of the
Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, along with their
respective watersheds, by water sampling, discharge and
use permit review, community engagement and active
investigation of all potential threats to water quality in
the Three Rivers region.
          The focus here today should not be on the health
of an industry, but rather, on the health of the public
and our water. No region can ever thrive or prosper
without clean and abundant water. We all have reason to
be proud of the progress that we've made in this region
when we've seen our region's rivers --- excuse me ---
we've seen our region's rivers restore themselves to the
point we're at now, with fishing tournaments, and we have
seen fish species that have long since disappeared return
to the local ecosystems. Additionally, the residents of
Allegheny County should be concerned because most of us
get our drinking water from these surface water sources,
the same surface water sources that are regressing daily
due to Marcellus Shale drilling wastewater dumping.
          Environmental laws and regulations are, by their
very nature, about protecting human health and should be
precautionary. The little we know about the chemicals and
byproducts of shale wastewater provide ample reason for
concern. Water sampling that we have participated in have
revealed elevated levels of total dissolved solids,
chlorides, bromides, barium and strontium. In recent
summers, people have noticed foul odors and tastes in
their drinking water, due, in part, to the contaminants.
          And nearly everyone predicts that the future
holds higher rates of drilling than what we've seen in the
past. Results that may occur from this are very
frightening. If highly toxic flowback or reused water
make it directly into a river or stream as a result of a
spill or an accident, without any dilution or any
treatment at all, the result would be disastrous. We're
concerned about what impacts will result without
appropriate controls.
          So far, the federal government's signatories
have proven themselves unwilling or unable to be effective
regulators of this industry. We all know that the county
has some legal restraints on how to protect our waterways.
But one important step that it can take is to create
mandatory setbacks for all drilling activities on the
Marcellus contracts. The standard of at least 2,500 feet
will be an important step in protecting the health, safety
and welfare of county residents and our drinking water
supply and should be enacted immediately. Three Rivers
Waterkeeper joins with other organizations and individuals
who call for an immediate moratorium until these
regulations and protections are put into place. Allegheny
County has a chance to set the tone in favor of public
health across the region by handling this issue seriously
and appropriately, and should not pass in that
opportunity. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: We're coming up on speaker number
65. When we get to speaker number 70, we'll be right at
about 8:30, which would be --- two hours was our last
break. Our court reporter will be due to change the tape
then. We'll take a ten-minute recess at that point.
Judith Kaufmann.
          DR. KAUFMANN: Hello. My name is Dr. Judith
Kaufmann. I live in Jefferson Borough and have been a
resident of Allegheny County my entire life. I'm a nurse
practitioner and I also hold a Doctorate in Public Health.
In both roles, I need to ask questions that will protect
the health of my individual patients and the health of the
          My first question is why there is such an
inconsistency between patient rights and the rights to the
public to health. I can't prescribe a medication in my
practice, I can't recommend a procedure or a test without
giving full disclosure to my patients as to the risks that
may be associated with each procedure and provide
certainty that the patients really have full understanding
of the procedures and the risks before they sign any
consents. Yet drilling companies can lure landowners with
money and no disclosures as to the potential for exposure
to neurotoxins, carcinogens and potential poisons of
contaminated air, drinking water and soil, not to mention
potential explosions and fracking fires near their homes.
          Pharmaceutical companies can't give me a pen
with their name on it for the fear that may influence my
prescribing patterns. Yet the industry is able to provide
excessive campaign funds to our governor and state
legislators and hundreds of local officials ---
          DR. KAUFMANN: --- and seduce them with trips to
the Super Bowl in their private jets. And then suddenly
they come back and embrace the rapid expansion of
unregulated industry. Where's the protection of public
health in this, and how can we expect unbiased legislation
in this area? As far as I can see, the legislators are
being wined and dined, but our environment and the
residents of Pennsylvania are the ones being date raped.
          DR. KAUFMANN: Pharmaceutical advertisements on
TV are required to specify every single side effect and
adverse effect of a drug at the end of every commercial.
I know you've all heard them. Yet the ads by the industry
present this idyllic picture of the farmers and landowners
who have nothing but love for their Range Resources but
never show the actual fracking ponds, condensation tanks,
ravaged access roads, 120-feet drilling rigs, flares and
man camps that become the next-door neighbors. Where is
the black box on these advertisements? Where is the truth
in advertising? And when does public relations become
public deception? Will we be able to file a class action
suit, as we did with the tobacco industry, when they
failed to alert the public as to the link between cancer
and smoking, and then hid case studies until they became
cancer statistics that couldn't be ignored? And will
these settlements be enough to compensate us for the loss
of our loved ones or their loss of us? And I'm sorry I
can't finish. Thank you so much.
          CHAIR BURN: Lisa Bolton. Lisa Bolton?
          MS. BOLTON: Hi. My name is Lisa Bolton. I
work for T.P. Electric. We're a local electrical
contractor and we are members of the IBEW, which is the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local
Number 5, here in Pittsburgh. I do respect everyone for
their passionate opinions, but I can only speak for what I
have experienced. We've been working since 2004 with
Range Resources. They have provided us an opportunity to
keep many local electricians working at a time when not
much work is available in our area. We have 3,000
members. Range has always been pleased with the level of
trained, skilled craftsmen that we can provide them to get
the work done.
          The IBEW is very safety-conscious. Through
their apprenticeship, safety is their number one priority.
It is preached daily. We can say that the safety
practices on the well sites, compressor stations, et
cetera are phenomenal. They're unlike anything we've ever
seen in this industry. We've had to revamp our whole
safety program to meet the demands of these companies.
T.P. Electric's number one priority has always been
safety, and Range Resources shares that commitment to
safety. We are confident that the safety of all involved
in the drilling process is everyone's top priority.
          This is a really great opportunity for much-
needed jobs in our local area. And I can tell you with
all our working experiences, we feel, without a doubt, we
can get the work done in a safe manner. We've always seen
them run a first-class operation. None of us live in man
camps. We live in this area. We shop, we work in this
area. We can all agree that we are concerned about the
environment, but we have to listen to the facts and have
an open mind. I can only speak on what I've experienced,
and that was it. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Michael Hillebrand?
          MR. HILLEBRAND: Hi. My name is Mike
Hillebrand. I'm a life-long resident of Pennsylvania and
I've worked in Allegheny County for about 20 years. I'm
also a petroleum and natural gas engineer. I've gained 25
years of experience in this industry right here in
Pennsylvania, and I've personally fracked over 1,000 wells
myself. I'm probably the only speaker in the room that
can say that firsthand. I was the person in charge of 350
wells with three years' exposure of working with these
dangerous carcinogenic chemicals. Twenty (20) years
later, I'm a healthy, handsome guy and I have nine
beautiful children. They're all very healthy as well.
          But the bigger issue, I'm here to talk about our
energy independence. Currently, we're sending about
$1.5 billion of our money every day to nations that hate
us, for their oil. To protect these interests, thus far,
over 6,000 young American men and women have died in
Operations Iraqi Freedom and Freedom Enduring. Nearly 300
of these men and women are Pennsylvanians. Yes,
Pennsylvanians are dying and many more of them injured
over our country's energy needs, and it's not because of
our developing natural gas resources. This can all
          Marcellus is the second largest gas drill in the
world, second only to Oman. And Marcellus is the game
changer. It has the potential to lead America in energy
independence. As such, if you don't believe that powerful
manipulative forces are at work to stop this development,
you're kidding yourself. Pennsylvanians are being
manipulated by these forces. Through insightful media,
Internet blogs and Oscar-nominated documentaries, there's
very little factual basis in any of that. The benefits of
natural gas are countless, and every person who is
concerned about the environment should be pro-natural gas.
One MCF of natural gas does the work of eight gallons of
diesel. One MCF of natural gas does the work of 8.8
gallons of gasoline. One MCF of natural gas costs $4.
That's $32 diesel. One MCF of natural gas is $4. One
gallon at the pump right now is $4. If you would go to
the pumps right now and use natural gas, it would be 41
cents an MCF. I assure you everybody in the room would
have used 41 cents an MCF to come here if it was
           MR. LOTORTO: Gregory Bish died, 26 years old,
when one truck exploded, and that's a fact.
           CHAIR BURN: All right. I'll tell you what.
That was strike one and strike two combined. I'm not
bluffing. Number three, you're out the door. Show some
respect. That doesn't count against your time. I
appreciate your passion, sir, and so does everyone else.
Please let the man speak. I understand. Please.
           MR. HILLEBRAND: One horizontal Marcellus well
has the smallest environmental footprint for amount of
energy obtained than any other energy source out there,
including wind, including solar. There's over 5 billion
decatherms of energy recovered from one horizontal gas
well. It's phenomenal.
           Hydrofracturing is not a new technology. It's
been used for 50, 60 years. There's been over a million
wells fracked around the world. In Pennsylvania, there's
been 350,000 oil and gas wells drilled to date. Over
100,000 of those have been hydraulically fractured, and
there's not one recorded incident with all this fracking
going on where the frack waters have contaminated the
groundwater table, be it the fracture procedure. With all
these cases, Pennsylvania has regulations on the book to
protect the ground --- sorry.
           CHAIR BURN: Go ahead. You've got 20 extra
           MR. HILLEBRAND: Thank you. Pennsylvanians have
regulations on the book to protect our groundwater for
years. Under Secretary Hanger, who was an old friend of
the industry and the former president of PennFuture --- he
oversaw this industry. He's represented your side prior
to coming to the DEP industry, and Secretary Hanger has
updated all these regulations to accommodate the
Marcellus. The Marcellus is safe.
           CHAIR BURN: Thank you, sir. Thank you very
much. Michael Mackin?
           MR. MARKOCIC: My name is Adrian Markocic, and
I'll be speaking instead of Michael Mackin.
           CHAIR BURN: And for the record, both sides have
requested surrogate speakers. And in the interest of
fairness and being consistent, your request to speak on
behalf of someone else is granted.
          MR. MARKOCIC: Thank you. My address is 2902
Highridge Drive, Baldwin Township. As a child of
immigrants from a Communist Bloc country, I believe I have
a keen appreciation of opportunities to act, as citizen
participation is democracy in action. It's a wonderful
opportunity, and it allows drilling to be done in a
responsible manner. In no other country in the world do
citizens have the right to actually tell companies what
regulations they're going to follow. Everywhere else ---
excuse me. Everywhere else in the world, citizens are
obliged by the countries to do what they wish, and here
it's the opposite. We tell our government what we want to
          I also want to make clear that I support and
demand a clean environment, which is why I’m appalled at
what I hear tonight. Selfishness, prevailing not-in-my-
backyard attitude and ardent disregard for our fellow man.
As a service member who has done year-long tours in both
Iraq and Kuwait, I witnessed firsthand the destructive
effects of unregulated oil and gas development and
drilling on both the environment and people. It was a
          With much of our energy coming from overseas and
our refusal to allow drilling here, we're all complicit in
the destruction of the environment. Every time you use
your iPhone, you drive your Prius to Wholefoods or your
farmer's market, you're contributing to the destruction of
the Niger River Basin, the Amazon Delta and Middle East
deserts. I don't want this to be a part of my legacy.
          We have a DEP and EPA, both of which regulate
this industry and holds that standard unknown from the
rest of the world. Responsible drillers demand,
understand and support regulation which will guarantee
safety to the environment. And concerned citizens like
all of us here will hold the industry to that standard.
If you want to protect the environment and your fellow
man, you should support reasonable and regulated drilling
in Pennsylvania. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Nick Lubecki, followed by Anita
Barkin. Then we'll take a ten-minute recess. Nick, are
you with us, sir?
          MR. LUBECKI: Hi. My name is Nick Lubecki. I
live in the North Side of Pittsburgh. We need to put the
interests of Allegheny County residents first when it
comes to questions on gas drilling. If it's really just a
question of our energy needs, then we face no problems.
Pennsylvania has ample supplies of energy resources to
meet the needs of Pennsylvanians. But it's not a question
of our energy needs. The drilling question is really
about the global economy. International companies need
this gas more than we do. They don't care what they have
to do in order to get at it. They've already bribed the
politicians, undermined the media and covered up their
missteps in mazes of lingo. And they have outright lied
to landowners and to all of us at meetings like this.
          The government is supposed to protect us from
foreign threats. The federal government has failed us.
The state government was just bought off. And so we turn
to you, county government, to protect us from these global
interests that will treat our fine land like a third-world
colony and our people like garbage. The real question is
this. After they drill everywhere, where will we get our
water? In light of Governor Corbett's corrupt favors to
the gas industry, where will we get our air? Is it not my
right and the right of every county resident to live a
life without fear of our air and water giving us cancer?
          We need to realize that gas drilling is just the
next level. Did you know that companies are losing money
for every well they drill? Only a fool doesn't see
disaster coming when that's the case. Unless you've been
living under a rock, you know that every boom has a bust.
Where will the drilling companies be when the wells are
tapped out? Who's going to be stuck with the bill for
cleaning up their mess? That's right. You and me. So
please, stand up for our rights. Stand up for our
dignity. Protect our democracy and our property values,
and put Allegheny County residents first. Please, a
moratorium or ban fracking. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Anita Barkin.
          DR. BARKIN: Good evening. My name is Anita
Barkin. I have a Doctoral Degree in Public Health, and
I'm a nurse practitioner. I want to thank you for running
this meeting so efficiently, and I want to thank you for
your attention.
          I do want to say a few words to rebut some of
the comments that have been made by some of the other
speakers. Number one, gasoline and natural gas are not
interchangeable fuels. So don't tell people that because
we're drilling for natural gas, that they're going to be
able to fuel up their vehicles, because we don't have gas-
powered vehicles. Point of clarification.
          Second, the industry will not last forever.
Economists have indicated this is a boom or bust industry
and does not serve well for the long-term economic welfare
of a region.
          Three, the current technology has not been in
play for over 50 years. The current technology has been
used since 1988. And there are improved technologies;
however, the industry has failed to make the investment in
the technologies that provide some of the protections.
          That said, I resent the implication that I am an
uneducated zealot. I have the good fortune of working and
studying in an academic environment where the people who I
take advice from, the engineers, the geologists, the
economists, are not owned by the industry and have not
gained any profit from the industry. They are unbiased
          DR. BARKIN: That, sir, is where I base my
judgment as a public health official. Here's my birds-eye
view of the public health situation here. We do have a
legacy and a history of lax regulation in our region.
Numerous studies have shown that southwestern Pennsylvania
has poor air quality and poor water quality. We are close
to closing our reputation as a smoky city, only to take on
another reputation for gas drilling. Our region ranks
close to the top for having the worst air quality in the
country. We have 25 times the rate of respiratory
disease, including asthma, as other countries --- as other
cities. I'm sorry. We have a higher rate of cancer.
Seventy-five (75) percent of the states in this country
have a lower cancer rate than us. These are the impacts
of an unregulated industry that we have sustained as a
result of coal and steel. Let's not make the same mistake
          You say to not drill would kill our local
economy. According to a recent article in Business Times,
the threat of declaring the Mon impaired was enough to
make the business community so nervous that they begged
that it not occur because it would affect our ability to
attract new industry to the region. The Mon is impaired,
and now we understand the Allegheny has problems. For the
vast majority of us, health and safety is hanging in the
balance so that a few large landowners, drill companies
and our politicians can make a killing. No pun intended.
Promoting this industry as it currently stands is a
mistake. As leaders in our county, you have a
responsibility to the residents to fight for our health
and safety. Stand up and be counted.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you. We will recess for
approximately ten minutes. The court reporter will change
the tape. We'll reconvene at approximately 8:45. Thank
          (Short break taken.)
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you all so much for working
with us on this tonight. Bernie Eckley. Bernie, three
minutes. Thank you, sir.
          MR. ECKLEY: My name's Bernie Eckley. I live in
Jefferson Hills on a couple acres of land which butts up
against a huge parcel of land owned by a lady who lives in
Florida, who has already leased the property out to the
gas drilling companies. They wanted to come to my house
and offer me money. They wanted my land, but there's no
amount that I'll take. I'm just telling that right now.
Nothing's worth the health of my children and future
          Our homes represent a major investment for most
of us. Property values decline in neighborhoods that are
drilled. The money offered and the royalties promised
will not compensate for the depreciation of our property.
My property will be devalued even if I don't have drilling
on it, but my neighbor's property does.
          Even if someone wanted to buy my home, they may
not be able to secure a loan or homeowner's insurance once
drilling in my neighborhood ---. FHA, HUD, GMAC and most
major banks and credit unions, like Wells Fargo, First
Place, Fidelity, First Liberty and Bank of America, all
consider financing mortgages in neighborhoods where
fracking has occurred as excessively risky.
          No FHA financing is approved for gas lease or
adjoining property. According to FHA guidelines, these
properties are considered unacceptable locations. FHA
guidelines require that a location be rejected if a
property being appraised is subject to hazards,
environmental contaminants, noxious odors, offensive
sights or excessive noises to the point of endangering the
physical improvements are affecting the livability of the
property, its marketability or the health and safety of
its occupants.
          Rejection may also be appropriate if the future
economic life of the property is shortened by obvious and
compelling pressure to a higher use make a long-term
mortgage impractical. Guess what the FHA guidelines
state? Operating and abandoned oil and gas wells pose
potential hazards to housing, including potential fire,
explosion, spray and other pollution.
          Recently, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have
become known for affordable living, in part due to the
availability of affordable housing and attractive
neighborhoods. Drilling will undermine the reputation of
the region, and all homeowners will lose.
          On another note, it amazes me how the United
States government is up in arms about the animals that
were killed and injured, you know, about the beach and
fishing ruined by the BP oil spill, but when it comes to
human beings and our children and our grandchildren being
harmed by Marcellus Shale drilling, the companies are
trying to keep the dangers of explosions and poisoned
water under wraps. We don't need the natural gas. We do
not need to endanger generations for money. That is what
it's all about. People, animals, more jobs. None of that
matters. Eventually, we are killing our children and
causing disease and sickness.
          And I'd like to make a couple rebuts real quick
with my time remaining. To Robert Burger, the geologist,
what he failed to ---.
          CHAIR BURN: Angelique Polakovic.
          MS. POLAKOVIC: My name is Angelique Polakovic.
I reside in Jefferson Hills, Allegheny County. I request
a moratorium on the drilling in Allegheny County until
we've ensured that safe and responsible drilling is a
possibility by the oil industry. If we cannot be
absolutely guaranteed safe air and water, then they should
not be allowed in Allegheny County.
          Current regulations are inadequate. And unless
this industry is taxed for what they get from the ground
and get a severance tax for what damages they have caused
a community, the majority of Allegheny County property
owners get no benefit from their being here. In that
case, why should we subject ourselves to the risk of
drilling explosions, loss of drinking water, noise and air
pollution, radiation exposure, hazardous waste dumping,
destruction of our roads, increased sewage treatment costs
and loss of property values? We in Allegheny County are
facing the risk of re-assessment, which will result in
increases in property taxes and school tax increases with
the recent education cuts by Governor Corbett. We cannot
afford to also deal with the costs associated with
Marcellus Shale drilling. We have to protect our own
interests in Allegheny County rather than sacrifice
ourselves to supplying a global market.
          Furthermore, a large part of Allegheny County
has already been heavily surface mined. We don't know if
drilling can cause mine subsidence if drilled within 200
feet of homes, schools, nursing homes and businesses. We
have to protect our families and the current businesses
that do contribute to the tax base.
          Let's see. On Fox News on March 1st, 2011, they
cite large increases in earthquake activity in Arkansas,
Cleburne, Texas and West Virginia, where there was little
or no earthquake activity before. I'll quote the article
from Fox News. It heads, earthquakes in Arkansas may be
manmade, experts warn. Some experts warn that pumping
saltwater into the ground as part of the natural gas
extraction could have caused these local seismic events.
We just don't know for sure.
          Please consider a moratorium until all risks
associated with this hazardous waste activity are
investigated. We don't have a disaster plan in place in
Allegheny County, and we don't have the resources to enact
one in a densely populated area. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Nora Alden.
          MS. ALDEN: Thank you, Council, for allowing me
to speak today. My name is Nora Alden. I'm from the
North Side of Pittsburgh, and I am here speaking on behalf
of myself. I graduated from Indiana University of
Pennsylvania in 2008. And I, along with a number of my
friends, have struggled to find a good-paying job since
          I recognize the concerns people have about their
safety and their drinking water. I am concerned, too, but
I believe that a balance can be struck between protecting
our environment and allowing the natural gas industry to
drill and create jobs. Over-regulation of industry could
endanger the good-paying jobs that will be created. Our
county, our region and our state will benefit from the
growth of the natural gas industry here. Development of
the Marcellus Shale will create more than 200,000 jobs
here in Pennsylvania. These are jobs that we need so that
people like me do not have to leave the region and our
families behind to find work.
          We've already begun to see the positive impacts
of the growth of the industry right here. U.S. Steel
signed a major contract to produce steel for the piping
that the industry uses to drill, and many local
construction companies have been hired to work on the
sites. But there are many other industries that will
benefit from the booming industry: for instance, legal,
automotive, real estate, hospitality, among others.
          It is important to note that each mile of
Marcellus pipeline represents nearly $1,000,000 investment
into Pennsylvania's economy. And every $1 invested in the
state by Marcellus producers is $1.90 in total economic
          By working with local community members,
businesses and energy industry executives, I'm confident
that the County Council will find a way to allow the
industry to create much-needed jobs while protecting the
environment. Whatever action you decide to take, it is
important for the County Council to rely on studies and
facts, not on fear or anything like that. This is a great
opportunity we have been given, and please do not allow
this opportunity to pass us up. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Dee Brown. Dee Brown? Tom
          MR. KAWCZYNSKI: Thank you. I had a prepared
speech for this evening, which became redundant about two
and a half hours ago, so in the interest of entertaining
the Council and the audience here, I'm just going to see
what happens.
          Like I said, my name is Tom Kawczynski. I am a
resident of Bellevue Borough. And basically, that means
my only dealing with the gas company is probably when they
give me a bill. I don't have a big plot of land. I don't
think I'm going to have one any time soon. But I was
thinking about the question, and this is what I wanted to
           Everyone in this room seems to agree on one
basic premise. We want to have economic growth and have a
safe environment. There's a lot of disagreement over how
to get there. But starting from what we all want and what
I think we all want for the county, is how you can ask the
question. So when I look at the question, I ask ---. I
think --- well, first, these are our resources. They are
our minimal resources as a state. It's worth mentioning
that when you lease these items or when the property
owners lease their land, they're leasing to get to what's
underneath. So we need to consider the wealth of everyone
in the state, not just the property owners, but people who
live in the cities and who are impacted by the pollution,
the infrastructure, and also the economic benefits that
are there.
           I have three questions that I ask myself when I
try to understand this issue. The first question is the
most important. Is it safe? Before I looked at this
question, I had thought and I had heard a lot of publicity
saying about the benefits of natural gas development. At
this point, based on what you've heard here tonight and
based upon a lot of research that's out there that is
credible, compelling and growing, there are questions.
There are serious risks. And if you have any doubts about
them, you owe it to yourself to check and not act until
you know those risks are solved. I have every confidence
that we can overcome them with technology an ingenuity,
but we are not doing that now. We are not doing that
because we do have the regulatory regime in place that is
serious, because it has been compromised by various
           The second question I ask is, who benefits? We
all understand that the natural gas in Pennsylvania is
worth trillions of dollars. We also understand that we
have state, county and municipal governments that are in
serious trouble. Here in Allegheny County, the Port
Authority is a perfect example. Why are we allowing
development of this to happen, provided it is safe, not
getting the resources out from these companies that are
required to take care of our basic needs? The buses, the
transportation, the road, the sewers, the pipes. I'm all
for pipelines, the ones that carry water. That's what we
need to work on.
           The third thing I have is, who decides? And
this is important. At the end of the day, it should be
the residents who decide for themselves, that we make sure
that all the residents of Allegheny County can say in
their municipalities that they had the opportunity to make
those decisions.
           I've asked myself these questions. And
considering we live in a county that's primarily urban and
suburban, densely populated and susceptible to risk, I ask
that you consider imposing a moratorium until you have the
answers you want to these questions, because it's too
important to get it wrong.
           CHAIR BURN: Bernie Ulincy, followed by Mary
Ruth Aull.
           MR. ULINCY: Good evening. I'm here this
evening as a resident and taxpayer of Allegheny County. I
live in South Fayette Township. I'm also an employee in
the oil and gas industry. As a 31-year employee in this
industry and as the current president of the Northern
Appalachian Landman's Association, I take my
responsibility to my neighbors seriously, and my employer
and the environment. And I'm a Pennsylvania native.
Thirty-one (31) years in the oil and gas industry, and
I've only been out of work five months in the 31 years
that I've been involved in this industry. My son is a
landman. I have my daughter studying in a Master's Degree
program in petroleum geology, because I believe in it
passionately. And we have done things the right way. We
have done it safely.
           We have a chance now to have a constructive
dialogue. We obviously have our differences. We've heard
a lot of that tonight. But we're also at a crossroads
where it's very important that the county balances and
weighs all of the positives and negatives. There are a
lot of rural areas in Allegheny County that can be
developed and be developed safely and efficiently with
technology that is not new. It's been around for a long
           So my message today is simple. This industry
has worked within the Commonwealth for over 150 years.
This technology has been proven safe, effective. It's
clean. It's been used throughout the world. We have very
strong safeguards and guidelines under which we operate in
the development of this resource. If regulation is
policed rigidly, and as corporate stewards of our
resources and environment, we must follow those
regulations strictly. As a result, you can rest assured
that your energy resource is developed safely, efficiently
and effectively and is in safe hands.
          And contrary to popular belief, there are
natural gas vehicles that are running safely to this day.
There are natural gas filling stations. There are fleets
of cars that are run on natural gas. The whole fleet in
State College, buses, is run on natural gas.
          The Commonwealth has in place strong statewide
regulations.    And some other counties, most notably
Lycoming and Washington, have taken additional steps to
minimize the inconveniences at a local level while
allowing for the safe and reasonable development of the
oil and gas resource. And one of the jobs I have as an
oil and gas landman is to know and understand what lands
are under lease in the counties in which I operate. The
number 35,000 acres has been thrown around in Allegheny
County, but the reality is that there's closer to over
90,000 acres of oil and gas leases in this county. And
think for a moment how that will impact those people if
they're told that they cannot get their resource developed
in this county. There is some recourse that could
possibly happen because of that.
          So please support responsible natural gas
development in Allegheny County and southwestern
Pennsylvania for yourself, your children and for
generations to come. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Mary Ruth Aull, followed by
Jonathan Brady.
          MS. AULL: Good evening. My name is Mary Ruth
Aull. I live in Penn Hills, and I'm a retired registered
nurse, and it's past my bedtime.
          There was a time when man took no more than he
needed. That time is gone. There was a time when he gave
something back. That time is gone. There was a time when
he worshipped the Creator and honored creation. That time
is gone. And now the waters are polluted, our natural
resources are all but gone, and creation is dying. It is
time to find our way back to earth. That's a quote by
Kevin Thunderhorse Wright.
          I am Mother Earth, a living being, your home,
your only planet you have to live on. I have nurtured and
nourished you for thousands of years. I am pleading with
you to break out of your industrial trance and stop your
assault on me. You are turning a wonderland into a
wasteland by blowing off my mountaintops, polluting my
streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, destroying my ecosystems
and injecting me with carcinogenic fracking fluid, all for
a dead-end fossil fuel. There are sustainable methods to
provide energy, and one solution comes up every day, not
drill, baby drill. Shine, baby, shine.
          Listen, I am speaking. I am speaking through
these caring people here tonight, through the earthquakes
in Arkansas, through the fires and explosions which have
occurred at the Marcellus drilling sites, the sickness in
humans and animals, the extinction of other species.
Please stop this madness. Someone must take a stand. You
are the ones I have been waiting for. Only when the last
tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the
last fish has been caught will you realize that you cannot
eat money. Please ban Marcellus Shale drilling in
Allegheny County. Thank you very much.
          CHAIR BURN: Jonathan Brady, followed by Mark
          MR. BRADY: Good evening. My name is Jonathan
Brady. I'm a resident of Ross Township. I'm a petroleum
geologist, and I'm here as a representative and an officer
of the Pittsburgh Association of Petroleum Geologists.
We're a professional, non-profit organization that
supports the advancement of the petroleum industry in a
safe and environmentally-friendly way. We have no
political affiliation and we do not give money to
political candidates. We are made up of geologists, both
petroleum geologists and environmental geologists,
engineers, consultants, landmen, lawyers, among many
          Not every member of our society will completely,
100 percent, agree on how to extract the Marcellus Shale.
However, there are several other groups in the Pittsburgh
area, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Society of Petroleum
Engineers, the Geoscientists Society of Pittsburgh and the
Pittsburgh Geologic Society. We're all professional
geologists, and we're here to serve the Council and any
other member who may have questions and concerns. We're
willing to start an open dialogue. However, it must stay
civil. And different minds can agree.
          Now, what we would like is to work together and
we are ---. In the end, reasonable minds can disagree.
We're all here because we want what is best for the city,
the county, the state and the country. And I think we can
all agree on that, regardless of how we get there. Thank
          CHAIR BURN: Mark Windle, followed by Richard
Dillion. Mark, are you here? Mr. Windle? Richard
          MR. DILLON: Yes.
          CHAIR BURN: After Richard Dillion is Gabe
Morgan. Gabe? No? All right. Then Kevin May after Gabe
Morgan. Thank you.
          MR. DILLON: Good evening, my fellow citizens.
Just for the record, it's Dillon, D-I-L-L-O-N. French is
          CHAIR BURN: I'm sorry, sir. There was an I in
here. My apologies.
          MR. DILLON: That's okay. It happens all the
time. Anyway, Honda markets the Civic gas-powered
vehicle. The professor, Anita Barkin, misspoke with utter
disregard to the truth. I hear such utter disregard for
the truth continuously in the radical liberal
presentations up here. Sorry. That's what I hear.
          Now I'd like to bring your attention to the coat
of arms of our esteemed county. You see a sailing vessel.
I hope it's a clipper ship. If we were to listen to the
Luddites in this room, that ship would never have sailed
because the earth, according to them, was flat.
          Let's go down and let's take a look at the
implement that they used to carve the land and destroy it.
That particular implement did, in fact, harm the topsoil.
Technology, my friends, advances. In 50 years, the
technology that we have today will be gone. In 100 years,
it will be gone. But the Luddites will not be gone. They
remain with us, demanding that we go back to a Garden of
Eden that never existed. They quote the Lord. The Lord
said, if you can't find the fish on one side of the bowl,
go to the other. He said, be resourceful. And he said,
don't drone and don't be arrogant. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Gabe Morgan. Kevin May.
          MR. MAY: Hello there, and thank you for being
here. My name is Kevin May. I have been a citizen of
Allegheny County for my entire life. And once again, I
thank you all for being here.
          So it seems that we have somewhat of a Venn
diagram happening today, so we've got these two circles
which are overlapping. And I believe that there is a lot
of common ground between these overlapping circles. And I
think that all of us probably, as far as I know, survive
off drinking water and also eating foods. So that would
be in the center of the circle in between the two
overlapping circles. We also all breathe the air, and we
want our children and future generations to be able to do
that. I think that everyone in this entire room agrees
that those are valuable things.
          I think we also want our future generations to
not have to suffer from the risk of cancer in our water,
in our food and in the air. And I think that there are
many things today that are putting these air, water and
food at risk, and all of us in these overlapping circles
are concerned with these risks. I think some of us may
think other things are riskier than others, but we all fit
in this center circle.
          And I believe that fracking fits in the center
of that circle because it puts all those things at risk.
So if you want your future generations to have clean air
and clean food and clean water, then I think we should ban
fracking in Allegheny County, because otherwise --- just
got beeped at --- Happy Thursday --- because otherwise,
we're going to be leaving a planet for our future
generations that does not have healthy air, healthy water
and healthy food.
          I know that we're beating ourselves, but these
are critical things. And after all, we can't eat money
and we can't drink money and we can't breathe money, as
much as we may want to do those things. This is the
middleman. We need to protect the actual natural
resources. So please ban fracking in Allegheny County.
If you want them to check the air, the water and the food,
thank you and Happy Thursday.
          CHAIR BURN: Bill Hicks. Is Bill Hicks here?
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: He spoke earlier.
          CHAIR BURN: Okay. Keith Valentine. Brian
Sayre. Josh Wander. Hallie Pritts.
          MS. PRITTS: Hi. My name is Hallie Pritts. I
live in 15212. A lot of people here tonight have spoken
about water contamination and people talked about air
pollution. And I'd just like to point out that Harrisburg
is not protecting us. Governor Corbett has axed
protections for Pennsylvania air. Former Governor Rendell
created a guideline that evaluated air quality around
wells and compressor stations by area rather than
individual well. That means that if you have ten gas
wells next to each other, the air quality around those
wells has to meet state guidelines for clean air.
          Governor Corbett axed this guideline. Now those
are evaluated individually. That means that if you have
ten wells right next to each other, and each well is
producing air pollution just a hair under the standard, it
passes, even though that means that the air in the area
around those wells may be almost ten times beyond the
legal limits for air pollution. There's no violation.
And unfortunately, they are examples of what our future
will be if it keeps at the current rate.
          Dish, Texas is a small town that is surrounded
by shale wells and compressor stations. The air in Dish
now has extremely high levels of benzene, which causes
cancer. The residents of Dish have experienced serious
health problems and breathing problems and nosebleeds.
The mayor of Dish has decided to move away. His children
were getting nosebleeds over and over again. The mayor of
Dish decided that he could no longer keep his family in a
town he is mayor of, because of health problems associated
with gas wells.
          This is not just a Texas problem. Just last
week, there were two days in the area of rural Wyoming
with heavy gas drilling activity, where the levels of smog
were higher than the worst day recorded in Los Angeles
last year. Smog in rural Wyoming worse than Los Angeles.
          There are other dangers from natural gas rigs,
not only from compressor stations and well sites, but also
from natural gas pipelines, which will be multiplying
exponentially in our state if this continues.
          To close out, I'd like to read a list of fires
and explosions at gas sites in our area between February
9th and March 1st of this year. That's about three weeks.
February 9th, Allentown, Pennsylvania, natural gas
pipeline explosion. Six people dead, two homes leveled.
Six homes damaged beyond repair. Forty-seven (47)
properties impacted. February 10th, Hanoverton, Ohio,
natural gas pipeline explosion. One home damaged.
February 23rd, Avella, Pennsylvania, explosion and fire at
Marcellus well site. Three people injured. March 1st,
Hickory, Pennsylvania, fire at Marcellus Shale compressor
station. 911 dispatcher's office received a call about an
explosion that shook nearby houses. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Elissa Weiss. Elissa Weiss,
followed by Heather Kropf. After Ms. Weiss, Heather
          MS. WEISS: Hello. My name's Elissa Weiss, and
I reside in Glenshaw. I appreciate the sincerity and
passion of people who have spoken both for and against
deep well natural gas drilling.
          I feel that I have to echo Dr. Judith Kaufmann's
position that consideration of economics is very important
but is not radically liberal or arrogant. Judith says
that the primary focus and the highest priority must be
public health and a clean environment.
          When considering the facts, let's include the
following; that groundwater contamination may be rust be
related to, in this instance, above or just below ground
vents, from leaking pits to inadequate well casings, to
illegal dumping, to wildlife dispersal. Air contamination
from multiple, multiple point sources all along the way.
Transfer points and non-secured pipelines and valves.
Processing in compression plants and stations, storage
tanks, if unmeasured, is unknown.
          We also have to consider that the individuals
here addressing the issue may be functioning in a very
careful, responsible fashion. Does that include every
company, every worker, every trucker? Do all devised
systems for containment and safety work perfectly? Not in
this real world.
          We're exposed indirectly and directly to toxins,
which accumulate in the water, which disperse in the air,
which accumulate in our food. They bio-accumulate. As
we're at the top of the food chain, we get the most. We
get the worst. These can cause cancer and spread disease,
but they can contribute to many other severe diseases
based in neurological dysfunction and endocrine disruption
and also causing genetic disruption.
          Having said this, there are major gaps in our
knowledge. For example, of the reported 350 to 550-plus
chemicals used in the fracking process, most are
propriety, meaning the names are secretive. Some --- I
don't know how many --- 36 released in June, many are
carcinogens. Consider this in light of what has been
frequently insisted on by individuals who work in and head
the industry, that some million wells have been drilled
over decades with no evidence of water contamination.
           Now, as Ms. Hall, Assistant Executive Director
for TestAmerica, and an associated chemist, indicated at
the EPA meeting in, I believe it was August, there are no
commercially available means for testing for many of these
compounds. How, therefore, can it be insisted that there
are no cases of proven contamination if you cannot test
those substances?
           MS. WEISS: Testing as comprehensively as
possible costs thousands of dollars, far beyond the reach
of the vast majority of citizens. No evidence of ill
effect is not the same as evidence of no ill effect. This
and other significant questions should give us cause to
begin a moratorium on drilling until they are clarified.
Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Heather Kropf, followed by Ronald
           MS. KROPF: Good evening. Thanks for being here
and listening to us. My name is Heather Kropf. I live
in Pittsburgh at Highland Park. And I would be repeating
--- I wrote this whole thing down on sort of brief notice.
I would be repeating a lot of what people said.
           So the main thing I wanted to ask you is to
preserve public health. I'm curious to know. How many
people in this room have suffered an environmental
illness? Okay. A few of you. I have, too. It's
devastating. I lost work. I've lost my social life. I
can keep my home because my parents give me money every
month. This is what a lot of people will face if even one
bad scenario happens.
           Western-trained doctors and hospitals aren't
designed --- they're not well equipped to help you
diagnose this problem because they don't think in terms of
systems. I spent three years of my life trying to figure
out what the hell is wrong with me. And it wasn't until
last summer that I found a medical doctor who's also
trained as a nutritionist and a naturopath who was able to
say, you need a certain test. And it showed I had
elevated levels of heavy metals. The previous doctor gave
me a blood test for heavy metals that showed nothing.
Blood tests don't tell you what you have. You need the
right test. You need to know what you're looking for. If
we don't know what the chemicals are and the toxins are,
doctors aren't going to be able to help us.
           I got lucky. I have modestly elevated levels.
I've done radical changes to my lifestyle. I'm still in
the middle of it. I don't want to live here if I'm going
to be assaulted daily with continued and increased toxins.
I won't survive. I don't have a body that can survive
that. I'm probably going to sell my house and move away.
I don't want to do that for this reason. I ask that you
know what we're dealing with before you bring it to my
backyard. Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Ronald Orr. Is Ronald Orr here?
Emil LeDonne.
           MR. LEDONNE: Hi. Emil LeDonne, Allison Park,
Pennsylvania. I'll try not to be redundant. It's going
to be awful hard to do. I'll at least try to hit on some
of the things I find important. I've been involved in the
outdoors all my life.
           I'm a rock climber, a mountaineer, avid kayaker,
fly fisherman, mountain biker. I'm in the woods
constantly. I've been involved in the environment for
quite some time. I'm an active member of the American
Whitewater Association, West Virginia Rivers Coalition,
American Rivers. I've worked on cleaning up crap on the
roads. I've worked in the salvage yards, heavily
           What I've also witnessed over the 20 years I've
been involved in this stuff is that we aren't allowed to
do anything in society anymore, and a lot of it because of
these groups. We can't burn coal. We can't build dams
for on the rivers. We're running out of energy, and we're
not allowed to do anything because it's all going to kill
us. Well, it hasn't all killed us. We are running out of
energy and we need to do something.
           I don't think there's anybody in this room that
isn't all for solar energy or any of the renewable
resources. The fact of the matter is they're not here.
They're not ready to take over yet. We need something to
get in between now and then. Natural gas is a great
alternative for that. And those of you that think you're
heating your house with windmills in the plains, you're
nuts. It gets lost in the transmission before it gets
here, and you can't transmit electricity that far. To
heat Allegheny County with windmills, it would take up
half the state. So we need all these things. We need
windmills. We need solar. We need natural gas. We need
to get what we can out of the ground and take advantage of
it. This is a great opportunity for Pennsylvania to do
this right. Are there dangers involved in this? Sure,
there's dangers involved in all energy. And we have
learned to deal with them in the past. We have advanced
          Some of the other points that I'd like to make.
I could go on and on, but I wanted to point out, Council,
that Allegheny County is large. Most of these people here
are from the city, as they speak. There's a lot of rural
areas in Allegheny County where this is fine. There's a
lot of city areas where this is not fine. You don't want
to be drilling in Highland Park or downtown Pittsburgh,
but West Deer Township or Robinson, some of these other
areas are vast rural areas. This isn't really a one size
fits all. This isn't really a county decision. This is
more of a municipal decision that needs to be made here.
The county is --- one size just doesn't fit all here. So
let the local municipalities deal with this, is the way
that I believe it should be handled. Again, everybody's
for clean water. I certainly don't want to be drinking
poisoned water. I guess that's about it.
          CHAIR BURN: Krista Staley. Krista Staley.
Leagha Courtney.
          MS. COURTNEY: Hi. My name is Leagha Courtney,
and I've been a resident of Allegheny County for almost
four years. I have worked in the natural gas industry for
19 years, and I have lived near industry operations for
the better part of 41 years. I work for a company that,
in 2010 alone, employed 250 Pennsylvanians. My husband is
employed by a Marcellus Shale service company that employs
340 Pennsylvanians and intends to double that number in
the near future. For every drilling rig, 150 additional
jobs are created, with an average income of $75,000 per
          The environment, clean air and clean water are
all very important to me. And I have three children, and
my family lives here, too. And I know that the Marcellus
Shale can be developed in a responsible manner, not
compromising health, safety or environmental integrity. I
am confident that the Pennsylvania DEP regulations will
ensure the proper development of the Marcellus Shale. And
with the Marcellus Shale development, Pennsylvania,
Allegheny County and Pittsburgh will benefit from jobs,
revenues while providing energy for our country in a
clean, healthy environment. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Cory Wilbanks. Cory Wilbanks?
Peter Wray. Abhijeet Joshi.
          MR. WRAY: Peter Wray.
          CHAIR BURN: Peter Wray?
          MR. WRAY: Yep.
          CHAIR BURN: Yes, sir.
          MR. WRAY: Thank you. Good evening. My name is
Peter Wray, and I'm Chair of the Conservation Committee of
the local Sierra Club, and I've lived in Allegheny County
since 1956. First, let me thank the Council members for
their patient attention during this long hearing. Many
citizens have been able to express their concerns about
shale gas drilling. And we hope that you will now agree
that the long-term risks outweigh the short-term benefits
and you will not approve drilling on any county property.
          Clearly, the shale gas industry has moved far
too quickly for government agencies to fully recognize,
understand and account for the environmental risks. Will
we always know the composition of fracking fluids, the
relative amounts and the interactive effects? How serious
is the possibility of wastewater being radioactive? How
will wastewater be treated? Recycling only concentrates
the pollutants and radionuclides. How will air pollution
be controlled around the well sites, storage tanks and
compressor stations? What impact will new pipelines have
on neighborhoods and the environment?
          There has been talk of the county leasing a
tract of undeveloped land near the airport. What is the
risk of that valuable area becoming a contaminated
brownfield? Don't we want high-tech, high-paying
companies building on that site instead of an industrial
field of gas wells, pumps, ponds, compressors and
pipelines? Just how safe is shale gas drilling? In a 20-
month period, the DEP recorded 950 serious violations.
Can we really expect DEP's inspectors to inspect and
enforce regulations at the rate of 300 wells per
inspector, per week? As for accidents and spills, they
are almost a weekly occurrence.
          How can the risks of shale gas drilling be
reduced? Self-regulation by the gas industry is not
reliable --- think BP in the Gulf or Cabot in Dimock,
PA --- nor can we realistically expect the new industry-
friendly administration in Harrisburg to develop and
enforce meaningful regulations. But the county can look
to the federal EPA for help. EPA is currently studying
the potential impact of shale gas drilling on water
quality, including the problem of radioactivity.
          We sincerely urge Council to ban shale drilling
on all land owned by the county, including all undeveloped
lands and county parks. We further urge Council to follow
the lead of New York State and place a county-wide
moratorium on all new drilling until the risks of shale
gas drilling have been fully understood and appropriate
safeguards are firmly in place. This is an important
opportunity for Council to exert leadership. The choice
is yours. Make sure this is a most livable county --- not
city, but county. Move now before we realize and
understand the public health impact of deep shale gas
drilling. Thank you very much.
          CHAIR BURN: Abhijeet Joshi?
          MR. JOSHI: Abhijeet Joshi, 3047 Willowbrook
Drive, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, 15017. I actually have
a prepared speech, which is like many prepared speeches
before now. But thank you for your public service. We
appreciate it. Thank you, law enforcement. Thank you for
staying around. Thank you, everybody, for coming here and
listening to everybody else. My speech had all the usual
what you would call liberal crap with a military
industrial congressional complex. Poisoning people is a
bigger crime than having sex and twice as risky, but I
will not go there.
          One of my favorite movies in India --- I'm a
legal immigrant. One of my favorite movies, there's a
character who is the meter reader of Commissioner of
Mumbai. And he goes to the U.S. Everybody goes to the
U.S. just to have fun, but they go on official visits.
I'm more used to correction than you people are, of
course. So he comes back from the U.S. and says, the U.S.
has much more advanced technology than India has, because
in the U.S., the sewage worker is totally different and
separated from drinking water. Unlike India. He comes
back. I saw that movie one night.
           When I read about antibiotics in my drinking
water, I started researching it and I realized, oh, is
this how antibiotics are getting into my drinking water?
So maybe I was wrong about some of the expectations from
this country. I love this country. It's a great country.
I'm here, obviously. I think this is not the America I
came to. This is not the U.S. I came to. I came here
because I thought corruption was not as prevalent as it
was where I came from.
           Out there, my mom, who suffers from tinnitus,
could do nothing about the noise that kept bothering her
because of badly zoned development. I could do nothing
about the noise created by neighbors, students who were
rowdy. And my sick father could do nothing about it.
           I thought I came to a place where I can sleep
peacefully and my kids can live a healthy life. But
that's not what I'm seeing right now. This is very
disappointing. On my Yahoo page I have three cities whose
weather I track: Pittsburgh, Mumbai and Pundai City.
Pittsburgh is always covered. Pundai City is always
sunny. Mumbai is smoky. It's always smoky. And I'm
thinking of moving to Mumbai. That's how bad it is.
Thank you.
           CHAIR BURN: Deborah Caruso. Deborah Caruso?
Abby Samuels. After Abby Samuels, Alexander Lotorto.
           MS. SAMUELS: Hello.
           CHAIR BURN: Hello.
           MS. SAMUELS: 15208. I've been here a long
time, lived in PA all my life. I'm here on behalf of
myself, and I'd like to speak for myself and possibly many
more. Part of the problem is that we might assume about
talking to the person next to us or our children, and we
go ahead and we let our ego-driven selves think it's
right. When we look into our selfish future, we see what
we can do to make it happen. We, as biological beings
made out of matter and energy, need energy to transform
the natural resources into energy for ourselves and others
as a service to each other. And we're here to serve each
other, not, you know, hurt each other. That's not the
goal. At least, I don't think so.
           What happens when --- the energy we are making
poisons the air? I mean, while we are transforming it and
transporting it, it is possible while we're transporting
it, based on whatever, that it can get into, you know, the
air and the water. It is possible. You know, this
hydraulic fracking, I mean, it does happen. There's tons
of data on it and many people have spoken about it here.
          Anyway, it's, you know, a chance for the city to
get money, but, I mean, like, what is money? Is it clean
air? Can it help us get clean water? Can it help us
cultivate the earth for food and shelter? I mean, is
there enough money and education for the antidote? I
mean, don't take a potion unless you have an antidote.
Don't start a project unless you can clean it up.
          Money is just a means for our selfish egos,
satisfaction to serve each other and our past. I mean, we
can't drink money. We can't eat money. I mean, when the
water gets polluted and the land gets polluted, we get
sick. They don't want to tell us about the 592 chemicals
that are placed in fluid. I mean, how are the doctors
supposed to know how to fix it? We die. They die. I
mean, do you have a super water filter for every house and
schools and all the public water fountains? We all bathe
and shower in it. I mean, maybe our research in
nanotechnology and environmental and electrical engineers
have a backup plan. I mean, we need to listen to them. I
mean, why is industry not highly motivated to do the
research, that doesn't have money backing it up, you know?
I mean, I take my free time to research and communicate.
I'm not getting paid to be here.
          I mean, you and me, we're the same. You know,
we're made of the same stuff, most of the time. I mean,
we all came out of our momma's womb. I mean, our lives
are different, but fundamentally, we are the same. The
idea that there is even a risk in evidence showing up as
such a potential harm is a reason to say no. We don't
need your money. Your protection plan a lie. Your plan
to build our economy is not true. And we don't want your
false resources. Open your eyes and open your hearts,
please. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Alexander Lotorto?
          MR. LOTORTO: First, I want to apologize for my
outburst. I grew up running my mouth, and it is a large
part of my sports culture thing. And I'm also a big
football fan, and sometimes we shout out at the TV, sports
games sometimes. Looking at these hearings, so ---.
          I submitted to you two things. One is a brief
cover letter, I guess, on my opinion on this. Second is a
report by Ph.D. Economist Jannette Barth. It's titled,
Response to Industry Claims. Jannette Barth is a resident
of rural New York. She has been an economist for New York
MTA, a consultant and account manager for Chase
Econometrics/Interactive Data Corporation. And as a
teaser, it's a report very well cited about the impacts of
the industry on local economies and is relevant to this
discussion for all --- my hometown, county by county. And
I'll just give you --- the one thing that came up today is
in the second paragraph.
          Marcellus Shale Coalition lobbying firm asserts
that 88,000 jobs were created by the natural gas industry
in Pennsylvania in 2010. The Department of Labor and
Industry in Pennsylvania says the number of non-farm jobs
created in Pennsylvania in 2010 was only 65,600, and
almost half of those jobs were in education and health and
leisure and hospitality industries. So there's your
teaser. I think you should read it. It will dispute a
lot of the claims made by the industry today.
          And in addition, in Dr. Barth's report, I'd like
to emphasize the impact that major land-intensive
industrial development of any kind has on all of Allegheny
County residents' property and home values. My father and
I have worked on our house since I was, you know, like,
old enough. But my family built our house. And we bought
our land. We built it. My grandfather was a bricklayer.
My cousin was a roofer. And my dad had machines. And I
take a lot of prestige in the value of my house and the
amount of work I put into it.
          If the gas company comes in anywhere near a
home, that housing value decreases, and the most hard-
working families --- my dad's a landscaper and my mom ---.
I'm not a trust fund baby. My dad's a landscaper, and my
mom's a shop owner, a flower shop. And that is taking
away their lifetime earnings.
          And it's just as bad as when, you know, Henry
Clay Frick wouldn't give them a raise, you know what I
mean, or somebody like that. You take money from working
people who've already been courageous enough to stay in
Allegheny County after the mill closures. You know,
you're taxing the people indirectly by allowing an
industry that --- 10 to 15-acre well pads and 40-acre
spacings of --- you know, whether it's a giant windmill or
whatever it is, that's going to decrease the value of
homes. And like I said, we're making a choice to spend a
trillion dollars on this industry as a society. And it's
our choice to spend that trillion dollars elsewhere as
          And Allegheny County should ban drilling. We
know it's not going to be good for the county, regardless
of the environmental implications, economically --- read
the report --- and the last is the ban of Pittsburgh.
Read that, too.
          CHAIR BURN: Paul Heckbert, followed by Daniel
          MR. HECKBERT: Hello. I'm Paul Heckbert from
Edgewood. Thanks for giving me a few minutes to review
the talking points. Okay. First, about the word
fracking. Don't call it fracking. Call it hydraulic
fracturing. Sounds better. Remind people that the
Marcellus Shale is one mile down. It's under the
aquifers. And the waste, you know, don't call it frack
water. We call it produced water. We call it brine.
You've got to use the right phrases. And tell people that
we recycle most of our frack water. You don't have to
mention that the rest is pumped into wells or sprayed on
roads or whatever. Just don't go there. And stay away
from the word benzene. Bad news. Okay. Here's the line.
The chemicals in hydraulic fracturing can be found under
the kitchen sink. Memorize that. We call it clean
natural gas; remember? It's cleaner than coal.
          Okay. Go on the offensive. Talk about jobs.
Pennsylvanians need jobs. Don't mention these are Walmart
jobs. Don't mention they might be fixing crumbling roads
or that we might move on to another state in a few years.
          Second, stress energy independence. Talk about
the rising price of oil. Talk about unrest in Libya. Do
not mention that the gas that we're pumping out of the
ground is often sold to Norway.
          Third, talk about getting rich. Pennsylvanians
love this. Tell them, this is your resource. This is
your pot of gold. Remember that study we paid for that
concluded that the Marcellus is the Saudi Arabia of
natural gas? People love that phrase. Use it. It works.
Talk about the millions that each landowner can make.
Remember, the Marcellus is a gold rush.
          When talking to the media about
environmentalists, here are the phrases to use. They're
fear mongering, they're spreading hype, and all their
stories are anecdotal. Use those. There was that
unfortunate story in The New York Times a week or two ago,
scaring people about radioactivity. Remind people that
radioactivity is naturally occurring, and that 40 percent
of wells were contaminated by methane before drilling
began. Things were a lot easier when we had the vice-
president from Halliburton. Of course, getting that
critical exemption from the Clean Water Act was real
          Okay. When negotiating a lease, make sure the
contract limits your liability. If their water goes bad,
the kid gets neuropathy, their pony dies or whatever, you
don't want to lose everything. Stall. Pay them off if
you have to. Make sure you've got that silence clause in
there. It's critical. We don't need any more bad press.
Hopefully we can all be out of state by the time any
problems show up.
          So let's review the talking points. It's clean
natural gas. The Marcellus is your natural resource. It
means jobs and it means energy independence. So we can
all get rich. I know I will. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Daniel Beeton. Daniel Beeton?
Thomas Bartos. Thomas Bartos? Gerald Schiller. Gerald
Schiller? Anne Lynch.
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: Anne Lynch asked me to hand in
her statement. She had to go home due to child care
          CHAIR BURN: So just submit the statement then?
          AUDIENCE MEMBER: Just submit it. I don't need
to read it.
          CHAIR BURN: Okay. Thank you. We will review
it. Craig Eckert.
          MR. ECKERT: Thank you very much, members of the
Board. I really appreciate having the opportunity to come
out tonight and talk with you about our industry. I'd
like to start off by just telling you a little bit about
myself. I'm a professional geologist. I work in the
Pittsburgh area. And I'm here representing myself as a
resident of Allegheny County. I live up north in Bradford
Woods. And I'd just like to talk to everybody tonight
about a couple of really simple issues. What I'd really
like to do is just appeal to your sense of reason and
common sense. I'd like to put a couple of things into
their proper prospective. And I know some of us attempted
to do this already this evening, and I hope not to be too
redundant. And lastly, I'd like to urge all of you to
take time to learn for yourselves and to do the research
that's really required to understand the issues, because
there is good information out there, besides a lot of the
hype that you hear. And you know --- and that is the
          So like most of you, I've got a family in this
area. I spent most of my adult life here, most of the
last 25 years or so. And I love to fish, bike, hike, all
those great things in county parks. I go to North Park
all the time. I love the rest of the state. It's a
beautiful state, and of course, we all want to keep it
that way.
          As a young person, it was this lovely outdoors
that really got me involved and interested in becoming a
geologist. I mean, I had a really intense desire to
understand how the earth works and what processes are
involved in that that geologists love to learn about. I
love all of our lakes and streams and forests, just like
everyone else here does.
          So it shouldn't surprise you to know that, you
know, when I start hearing about things that are happening
with drilling in the Marcellus, it doesn't get me upset
and it doesn't come to surprise me. It's really nothing
new. I mean, this is something that's been going on in
this part of the state, this part of the country for, you
know, well over 100 years. And as time progresses,
technology increases. Regulations become more stringent.
And the whole industry, as a whole, becomes much safer.
And that really is the truth.
          So professional voices in these types of
boardrooms are rarely heard because, you know, most of us
are busy, you know, doing our jobs and other things. And
for most of us, our forte, you know, is not doing things
like making films and artistic production, et cetera. And
we don't get paid to drive around the country, you know,
looking for people that have beefs with our industry.
          But anyway, I just want to say that natural gas
really is a great industry. And there are all kinds of
other alternatives out there that, you know, we have to
also work towards. But in the meantime --- I mean, this
is what we have under our feet. It's a tremendous
economic opportunity. It's being done responsibly and
environmentally safely. And I would just like you to
understand that there is a lot of us here that depend ---.
          CHAIR BURN: All right. Thank you very much.
          CHAIR BURN: Charles Clark.
          MR. CLARK: Good evening. My name's Charles
Clark. I live in Pittsburgh. I'm a retired firefighter.
And I don’t have any statistics. I don't have any fears.
I just have a little bit of common sense. I grew up in
Pittsburgh. When I was young, the community street lights
were on. Every morning when you'd wake up, there'd be a
half an inch of chemical dust on your car. We got over
that. I had asthma as a child. I don't have asthma
anymore. The air in Pittsburgh is good. The water is
good. I can bass fish at the Point. I couldn't do that
40 years ago. The laws that we have in this state protect
the environment, and they're being enforced. They will
take care of this industry, but we need the energy now.
So as far as I'm concerned, it's drill, baby, drill.
          CHAIR BURN: Let the record reflect that our
colleague from across the street, City Councilman and
former City Council President, the Honorable Doug Shields
has joined us. Councilman.
          CHAIR BURN: Francine Michaels. Francine
Michaels? Michael Yilit.
          MR. YILIT: Thank you. My name is Mike Yilit.
I'm from Charleroi, Pennsylvania. I work for Frac Tech,
but I am not speaking for them, nor as a representative of
them. My days start at 5:00 in the morning. I also own a
farm that is our family farm, along with some of my
cousins and uncles. We also have our farm ground leased
for Marcellus Shale. The well pad is about 400 feet from
our family home. It belongs to my sister now. It will be
handed down to my kids. There will always be a farm.
There's about 20 farms in this area that we live that all
have been drilled and fracked. The fracking process on
one well takes about two days. I handle the chemicals.
Everybody talks about --- there's no regulations. The
chemicals that I handle, if there's an incident on the
road, I can be in prison. If you're on the Turnpike and a
semi upsets, that water goes --- that fuel goes into the
storm drain, that's a hazard. Every time you folks use
salt on these roads, you create brine water. We have 20
farms in this area. Our water comes from two wells and a
          If you have somewhat of a sharp solicitor, you
could regulate a lot of these things yourself. If you
have concerns that these people have, put them in writing.
The big print giveth, the small print taketh away. If you
want to test lands, if you want to test this fracking ---
I've been working for a year. I love my job. My job
makes six figures. I work with 18-year-olds that make
$50,000 a year. It's a blessing. These college students,
they come right out of --- these guys come right out of
high school, work in the oil and gas field.
          I've worked all through Pennsylvania. I do
high-pressure fracking. I've sat on the iron when they
fire the gun to frack pits. You don't know these things.
I work with three chemicals. I work with things
equivalent to what's under your sink, which is true,
castor oil and things that you folks purify your water
with in the city pools. I love my job. It is a blessing.
          You guys, with the right solicitor, could
probably help your PAT transit with a conversion. Take
this opportunity. Use these concerns that they have. Put
it down in writing and then go with it. If you have a
problem, address it. You have infrastructure problems.
You need roads. On my father's farm, Range Resources came
in and they built three-quarters of a mile of roads. The
company that did that had $5,000,000 worth of contracts
with Range. I don't have a problem. I'm regulated.
Everything that we use is contained. There's containments
down on the ground. It's all lined. Everything is taken
care of. If you have trouble doing the Range job, they
fire you. That's it. Zero tolerance. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Jim Barr.
          MR. BARR: First of all, I want to thank the
Council members that made themselves available, the ones
that are still here listening to people, including Council
Member Green if she's still on the conference call.
          MS. GREEN HAWKINS: I am.
          MR. BARR: Thanks. This meeting --- it's great
that we have so much talk about the Constitution. The
other thing is --- the important thing is this drilling
issue is not about taxes. It's not about the environment
or it's not about corporate profits. But this drilling
issue is about, we, the people's God-given rights,
property ownership rights. Remember, your property is
your responsibility. You have to watch your contracts.
William Penn, he sounded before the British House of
Commons a statement that was so powerful that we, the
Americans, have adopted that, about property ownership,
home ownership. I'll share that with you.
          The poorest man may, in his cottage, bid
defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail,
his cottage. Its roof may shake. The wind may blow
through it. The storm may enter. The rain may enter.
But the King of England may not. All his force dare not
cross the threshold of this ruined tenement.
          The Allegheny County sheriff can protect your
God-given rights if he so desires. He is our elected
peace officer. He's the people's peace officer. Abraham
Lincoln once said, study the Constitution. Let it be
preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in the legislatures
and enforced in the courts of justice.
          We have not been doing that. What we have to do
is to solve this problem, and we've all had our problems
here. We need to demand that Sheriff Mullen and his fine
deputies protect our God-given common law rights. And if
politicians or even the judges disagree with the power of
the county sheriff, the sheriff can have his deputies
escort them down to visit with the warden.
          CHAIR BURN: That's it, Mr. Barr.
          MR. BARR: Okay. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you, sir. Donna Fisher.
Donna Fisher? Dale McCoy. Dale McCoy? Mr. Piper. Mr.
Piper? Chris Zurawsky, our final speaker.
          MR. ZURAWSKY: Thanks very much, President Burn,
for allowing me to speak. I missed the deadline, like a
couple others. You know, I grew up in Brentwood. I'm a
resident of Pittsburgh and I'm a candidate now for City
Council, to carry on Doug Shields' great work on this
issue. I hope Doug gets to speak after me. But he's
truly inspiring, and I hope you all take the example that
Doug ---.
          CHAIR BURN: Chris, are you going to talk about
the issue or are you going to campaign?
          MR. ZURAWSKY: My parents own some property, 25
acres up in West Deer Township, and they've been
offered --- it's my mom's mom's property. They've been
offered money by some drillers and they rejected it. And
it was rejected because they're afraid of the --- that it
will impact the value of the property, a negative impact
when they try to sell it. Coincidentally, the Business
Times last week had a great article about how realtors are
having trouble selling properties where leases have been
made to the drillers. So I think maybe you better hurry
up with those reassessments before all the property values
change. People are worried about that.
           My dad is a petroleum engineer. He's a lawyer.
He happened to sit through a four-hour continuing legal
education class today on Marcellus drilling, and a couple
of things that caught his attention ---. He's primarily
an environmentalist who's paying attention to the issue
because of those offers on the property, because of my
involvement. One thing that caught his attention was that
nobody at the seminar, not Range --- not the Range
Resources representative, not the DEP representative, not
the Corps of Engineers representative, none of them could
determine or report all of the dangerous components that
are recovered with produced fluids, how they should be
treated or exposed, or any other practical information
regarding them. So a lawyer is aware that this
information is being withheld.
           The other thing that he brought out at the
meeting is, while it would be very tough for the City of
Pittsburgh, perhaps, to defend their ban --- it may be
unconstitutional --- there are plenty of things the city
can do to regulate the industry. And I hope you consider
these things as well. The city can determine where
geographically the wells are placed and what districts,
control the noise levels, use of the roads and the
obligation of the drillers to secure bonds to maintain the
roads, the obligation for them to repair damages to the
roads and other uses.
           Finally, I'd ask Council to kind of work along
with the city and help protect all of our very densely
populated areas; right? You can certainly do that by
passing the widest possible or widest proposed buffer zone
around residences to prevent drilling in those areas. So
I hope the city and county work together.
           Sorry about the campaigning. It means a lot to
me, though. And I really appreciate your time. Thank you
very much.
           CHAIR BURN: As a point of privilege, can we
move the city councilman here ---? Sir, you're not on the
list, but I know how passionate this issue is to you. And
unless there's an objection by any of my colleagues, if my
colleague from across the street wants to say a few words,
you're certainly welcome in this chamber.
           MR. SHIELDS: Council President Burn, I really
appreciate that. I just came back from Canton, Ohio for a
support gathering and I offered testimony to the council
there. I'll be very brief. It's now two minutes.
           First of all, Allegheny County Council has no
zoning authority whatsoever, as you all know. What the
county can do, though, is this. You are the social
service provider. You protect our health. You do have a
responsibility for the health, welfare and well-being and
the public safety of the people of this county. So any
regulatory authority is well reserved to the
municipalities, all 130. They can do whatever they want,
and they're struggling. And you know that if you talk to
Buffalo Township, if you've been out to Harrison, if
you've been to Upper Burrell, as I have been, and
Jefferson, and so on and so on. And right now, local
elected officials have been thrown to the wolves because
we have no idea how to contend with the impact of
           To suggest that this is without a problem,
without --- you know, everything's resolved, that's simply
not true. The Oil and Gas Act was written March 1985, you
know, and that was not anticipating hydrofracking, not at
all. I was an environmental paralegal. I worked with a
law firm that --- we did work for a large oil company and
gas operations up in Allegheny National Forest. I know
about the regulatory authority. I’m not going to give you
the slip up. There's some scholarship required and
there's attention that needs to be paid to the things that
the county can pay attention to, namely, health.
           And you're talking about volatile organic
compounds coming back in flowback water and ending up in
our rivers and streams. And as I have talked to
scientists from Carnegie Mellon and elsewhere, we're now
getting bromides in the river, in the Allegheny River
where the City of Pittsburgh intakes are. Go talk to
Penn-American water chemists. Go talk to water treatment
experts. Don't talk to me. I just iterate what I know.
But I prefer that you, as the policymakers for the
Allegheny County, take your time and educate yourself to
the facts. There's a lot of emotion on both sides that
needs to be dealt with. But this is a fact-based decision
you have to make. And it's about our health and it's
about our air quality, our water quality, land impacts and
so forth.
          And if we're not going to do that, then we will
have issues to contend with, as we are dealing with the
issues left over from the Industrial Age, the coal mining
age. You know, those rivers run red, and there's a reason
for it. And we're the great-grandchildren cleaning up
from the messes that were made then. And what are we
going to do looking down the road for others? Very
serious issue on that. And as a public health steward,
which is what your primary function is, I would hope that
you begin to look to the science of these matters and not
suggest a ban or whatever you want to do. But I need you
to understand the dimensions of what we're contending with
here. Thank you.
          CHAIR BURN: Thank you, Councilman. Ladies and
gentlemen, thank you for your time, and thank you for your
attention. I'd like to thank my colleagues who attended
the meeting with us here tonight as well on this very
important issue. Thank you so much for a very well-
discussed and well-informed debate. Thank you very much.
Have a good evening. Meeting adjourned.

             HEARING ADJOURNED AT 10:50 P.M.

        I hereby certify, as the stenographic

reporter, that the foregoing proceedings were taken

stenographically by me, and thereafter reduced to

typewriting by me or under my direction; and that

this transcript is a true and accurate record to

the best of my ability.

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