MAP – Tompkins

The Marcellus Accountability Project
for Tompkins County

Articles Added to "Links to Resources" Page in February, 2010

Environmental Working Group Report on the Use of Toxic Petroleum Distillates in Hydrofracturing (2009)
"Drilling Around the Law," Dusty Horwitt, EWG report, 2009.
A detailed report on water contamination and the widespread use of toxic petroleum distillates (diesel fuel and similar substances) in hydraulic fracturing solutions. Pages 10 and 11 discuss the non-binding agreement made by some major companies not to use diesel fuel in certain hydraulic fracturing situations. These companies continue to use products very similar to diesel fuel, however. Page 13 has comments by various state and EPA regulators that sadly show confusion over what is and is not allowed in fracking fluids and who should monitor what is used. Pages 14 and 15 discuss mechanisms by which groundwater is contaminated. Pages 15 to 17 summarize important cases of drinking water contamination from the last 5 years.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Changes Policy Due to DISH, TX Air Pollution Studies (12/18/09)
Earthworks Press Release, 12/18/09
New policies will require TCEQ to respond to odor complaints on the same day as the complaint, or within 12-hours from receiving a complaint. Same-day odor response should make it easier for citizens to show that some of their health problems are caused by emissions from the gas industry.

Chesapeake and Schlumberger Fined for Spilling Hydrochloric Acid in PA (12/7/09)
"DEP Fines Chesapeake, Schlumberger for Spill in Bradford County, PA," Sue Heavenrich, The Marcellus Effect Blog, 12/7/09
In February 2009, 295 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a storage tank at a well site in Bradford County, PA. To contain the spill, trenches were excavated, the soil was neutralized, and 126 tons of contaminated soil and 13,800 gallons of water mixed with hydrochloric acid were removed. Chesapeake and Schlumberger state that the spill is cleaned up and that groundwater was not contaminated.

ProPublica (1/27/10): Discussion of Some of the Major Chemical Spills in Pennsylvania in 2009
"Pennsylvania's Gas Wells Booming-But So Are Spills," Sabrina Shankman, ProPublica, 1/27/10
A review of the numerous chemical spills into surface water and soil in Pennsylvania and some of the environmental damage caused by them. The spills were by a wide array of companies: Atlas Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Schlumberger, Cabot Oil and Gas, and Range Resources.

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation
NOON recently produced a map of many of the gas leases in Onondaga County (click here to see the map). They are a Syracuse-based grassroots organization allied with the Onondaga Nation and support the sovereignty of the traditional government of the Onondaga Nation. NOON and the Onondaga Nation both oppose shale gas drilling by hydraulic fracturing.

Benchmark Analytics: Pennsylvania-based Water Testing Lab; Certified to Test in New York
Benchmark will take samples in NY ($40 fee), and does all tests in-house. The complete NY list comes to $715.00 list; there is also a discounted price of $581.00.
Benchmark Anlytics Suggested List of Chemicals to Test for in New York

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Spreadsheet on Federal Exemptions (2009)
A detailed spreadsheet that summarizes the oil and gas industry's exemption for each major federal environmental law and then lists specifically which sections of each law they are exempted from. Laws covered: Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, CERCLA (Superfund), Clean Air Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

EPA Pub. Explaining Gas and Oil Exemptions from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Unintentionally comical and disturbing EPA publication describing oil and gas exploration exemptions; focuses on Subtitle C of RCRA but also has information on other federal environmental laws. See pp. 10 and 11 for a list of RCRA exempt and non-exempt wastes and p. 12 for a humorous flowchart for deciding what is and is not exempt. P. 19 corrects the misunderstanding (held by the gas industry?) that all exempt wastes are harmless to human health and the environment. P. 22 contains the rule-of-thumb that anything that goes down the wellbore is exempt when it comes back up (whereas the unused portion that didn't go down the hole would not be exempt). Pp. 27-31 give a brief overview of other federal laws relating to hazardous waste and where to get more information on them, but does not mention from which parts oil and gas exploration wastes are exempt. Publication for use by the Oil and Gas Industry.

Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives: H. R. 4190
Introduced by Representative Jim Moran (VA); with nine co-sponsors including Representatives Hinchey (D-NY22), Lowey (D-NY18), and Slaughter (D-NY28) of New York. The bill funds a study by NIEHS (The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), suspected of contributing to a whole host of health issues including learning disabilities, testicular cancer, and breast cancer. EDCs are routinely used in fracking fluids and are virtually unregulated because agencies such as the EPA claim to lack the necessary scientific data to ban them or to set safety standards for their use. Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act of 2009 in the Senate: S. 2828
The same as H. R. 4190 (see above link). Introduced by Senator John Kerry (MA); no co-sponsors. Referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension.

ProPublica (1/27/10): Discussion of Some of the Major Chemical Spills in Pennsylvania in 2009
"Pennsylvania's Gas Wells Booming-But So Are Spills," Sabrina Shankman, ProPublica, 1/27/10
A review of the numerous chemical spills into surface water and soil in Pennsylvania and some of the environmental damage caused by them. The spills were by a wide array of companies: Atlas Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Schlumberger, Cabot Oil and Gas, and Range Resources.

Marcellus Shale Basic Information (2009)
"Get Ready for the Gas Rush," Sue Smith-Heavenrich, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Newsletter, Summer 2009
A well-written overview of the Marcellus shale, the size of the gas resource, and the potential problems caused by gas drilling. The first article in a 3-part series.

Water Supply, Contamination, and Disposal Issues Related to Gas Drilling (2009)
"Protecting Water Resources During Drilling," Sue Smith-Heavenrich, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Newsletter, Summer 2009
Focuses on water issues related to gas drilling: what regulations govern water withdrawals, the potential for groundwater and surface contamination from the chemicals used, and the lack of good waste-water disposal options. The second article in a 3-part series.

Impacts of Gas Drilling and Pipelines on Farm and Forest Land; Includes Mitigation Suggestions (2009)
"Fragmenting the Landscape, One Gas Well at a Time," Sue Smith-Heavenrich, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Newsletter, Summer 2009
Focuses on the potential impacts of gas drilling and pipeline construction on farming and forest land and describes steps to help mitigate them. The third article in a 3-part series.

 

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