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Marcellus drilling is Fracking Up Our Communities

May 24, 2010

Last night as I laid in my bed, I could hear a sound that I had not heard before around this area. So I turned down the TV, (Nick is have a, “That 70s Show marathon) I knew the sound from my work in construction, it was the sound of a diesel generator. The sound is coming from a Marcellus drill site not more than 2 miles from my house, (as the crow fly’s). I say is running because, the damn thing is still running as I type this!

This has been happening off and on, about two weeks now. I have not had a good nights sleep in the past three nights. Before the generator, it was the constant vibrations they sent through the ground. I believe they are seismic testing. I cannot wait for the burn offs of the Co2. This close to the site, it will light the night sky as if it were day. (That’s sarcasm if you couldn’t tell.)

When I talk to people in town, they are under the impression that it is a little inconvenience for the benefits it will provide for the area. So, I ask them what they felt would be the benefit would be. Some said, that it would be a step in reducing the cost of natural gas, and dependence on foreign sources for our energy needs. However, the most popular answer was, the money.

Now it is true, people are making lots of money buy allowing the companies to drill on their land, or run pipelines through their property. However, the cost is, or could be their health, the health of the families, and neighbors in the future. Like many of chemicals used in industry, the side effects don’t show up for years.

Now if you read the stories on line, farmers that have leased to the gas companies, they are sorry they did. Spills have killed the vegetation, and sickened or killed livestock.


AVELLA, Pennsylvania (Reuters) –

A Pennsylvania landowner is suing an energy company for polluting his soil and water in an attempt to link a natural gas drilling technique with environmental contamination.

George Zimmermann, the owner of 480 acres in Washington County, southwest Pennsylvania, says Atlas Energy Inc. ruined his land with toxic chemicals used in or released there by hydraulic fracturing.

Water tests at three locations by gas wells on Zimmermann’s property — one is 1,500 feet from his home — found seven potentially carcinogenic chemicals above “screening levels” set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as warranting further investigation.

Jay Hammond, general counsel for Atlas, said Zimmermann’s claims are “completely erroneous” and that the company is in compliance with Pennsylvania’s gas-drilling regulations. Hammond said Atlas will “vigorously” defend itself in court and declined further comment.
But Zimmermann says he has evidence that chemicals used by Atlas contaminated his land.

“There are substances that can’t be made by nature and that’s what’s in the ground,” he told Reuters during an interview in his 12,000-square-foot house on a remote hilltop.

Atlas is exploiting the Marcellus Shale, a vast gas reserve that underlies about two-thirds of Pennsylvania and parts of West Virginia, Ohio and New York State. Experts estimate it contains enough natural gas to meet total U.S. demand for at least a decade.

The gas is being extracted by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is forced a mile or more underground at high pressure, fracturing the shale and causing the release of natural gas.

Development of the Marcellus, together with other major shale fields in Texas, Louisiana and other states, is being aided by advances in fracking combined with horizontal drilling, which provides more exposure to a formation than a vertical well and leads to less surface disturbance.

If Zimmermann wins his case, it would be the first in America to prove that hydraulic fracturing causes water contamination. Such a finding could slow the development and use of cleaner-burning natural gas that would reduce American dependence on overseas energy.

It should be noted that the chemicals that are used in Fracking were removed off the DEPs’ list and allowed for use by Halliburton. This was done while Dick Cheney was Vice President in 2005.(Dick Cheney sits on the board of Halliburton.) The tankers that deliver the chemicals around the Avella sites are Halliburton tankers.

Baseline tests on Zimmermann’s water a year before drilling began were “perfect,” he said. In June, water tests found arsenic at 2,600 times acceptable levels, benzene at 44 times above limits and naphthalene five times the federal standard.

Soil samples detected mercury and selenium above official limits, as well as Ethylbenzene, a chemical used in drilling, and Trichloroethene, a naturally occurring but toxic chemical that can be brought to the surface by gas drilling.

The chemicals can cause many serious illnesses including damage to the immune, nervous and respiratory systems, according to the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, a researcher of the health effects of chemicals used in drilling.

This is only one of hundreds of stories, on what Fracking has done to the farm land that it has used. However, it is not only the farmland that is effected by the processes. Because of the enormous amount of water that is required for the process, creeks and streams are being sucked dry, and the aquatic live is being effected.

A very informative site with photo documentation isBob‘s Blog

Below is a notice that was sent out to costumers of American Water. (I am guessing, because I nor anyone I have talked to around here received this.)

Pennsylvania American Water

Alert Notifications

PWSID: Total Dissolved Solids in the Monongahela River

Issue Date: 11-10-2009

Attention Pennsylvania American Water Customers Living in Southern Allegheny and Washington Counties

The Monongahela River is Pennsylvania American Water’s primary source of supply for drinking water. The river has been periodically experiencing increased levels of total dissolved solids (TDS), which have been affecting the quality of your drinking water. Our water plants, as well as other water treatment facilities in the Monongahela River basin, do not have treatment to remove TDS from the Monongahela River source.

Although noticeable TDS levels are usually temporary, Pennsylvania American Water is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality water service, and we are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to monitor this condition and the community’s water quality.</p?

I will be writing more on this because, it is about to consume the Town of Avella. One thing that everyone who owns land should learn, especially if you bought it bought it with in the last fifty years, (Who owns the mineral rights?) There are many stories of land owners, who have had their land ruined because they could not fight the gas companies, don‘t become one of them.



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