What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 4, 2010

1,435 violations by Marcellus Shale drilling companies

Via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
A new report by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association said the state has identified 1,435 violations by 43 Marcellus Shale drilling companies since January 2008, prompting environmental groups to call for quick legislative action to protect water and land resources.

According to Monday's report, 952 of the violations were identified as having or likely to have an impact on the environment. Those included 100 violations of the state Clean Stream Law, 268 for improper construction of waste water impoundments; 277 for poor erosion and sedimentation plans during well pad, road and piping construction; 16 for improper blowout prevention; and 154 for discharging industrial waste, including drilling waste water containing toxic chemicals, onto the ground or into streams.


The report is based on state Department of Environmental Protection enforcement records obtained through a Right to Know Request filed by the association. The records do not include violations of drilling wastewater haulers: 669 traffic violations and 818 warnings during a three-day enforcement blitz in June.
669 violations in just three days?!!

In related news, US Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.


Gloria said...

PA's Constitution states that the Commonwealth's citizens have the right to "clean air and pure water". We need to get off the couch & assert this right.

No gas drilling within Pittsburgh's city limits is a good gtplace to start.

DaveP said...

I also would prefer drilling didn't happen in my city (I bet folks in the cities and townships where it IS happening feel the same). I'm not so sure how that can get done, though. Action on this will have to come at the state level.

Gloria said...

Dave,somewhere deep in the laws governing PA it states that municipalities have the right to self govern. Certainly the courts & legislators have blithely disregarded/ignored/trampled upon this right.

It's time for each hamlet, town and city to challenge it. It's time to make as big a stink about it, just like the stink frack ponds make.

Mike said...

The problem with the coal, gas and oil industries to me is that the fines don't seem to mean anything.

The industries talk about how much they are regulated, but the regulations seem to mean nothing and don't seem to have any teeth or serious consequences.

I am not sure they need more regulations. They just need the regulations to mean something.

The consequences of violating the rules should cause more pain than just writing a check they probably budgeted for anyway.

DaveP said...

I think the state indeed should be the entity that controls this. If Pittsburgh was under a moratorium but the rest of Allegheny County was not, that would be a bad situation indeed...we'd be surrounded by drilling. Myself, I think the most important thing to fight for is an extraction tax. The state needs to generate revenue that can be used to solidify the regulatory process and monitor compliance.

Maria said...

Fine for states to have regulations, BUT, local governments should be able to add whatever additional regulations/bans that they want.

DaveP said...

I think what we'd find - violations and GASLAND notwithstanding - is that a lot of municipalities would be more amenable to hosting the industry than Pittsburgh. Local control therefore is a two-edged sword...if you're in favor of increased regulations and oversight, or a moratorium, then you need the power the state provides. A city moratorium wouldn't help us much if drilling towers surround our limits like a fence. That why I think if we have political energy and capital to expend, it should be to influence things at the state level.

Also, the point should be made...when the MSC says that it has no plans to drill in the city, I for one believe them. Even if the geological conditions under the city were optimal, which they are not, why would industry choose to drill right in the face of public and municipal opposition when folks are begging them to drill almost everywhere else in the state? it doesn't make any sense. Lots of grief about the leases that have been negotiated...the cost of which is a drop in their budget buckets. It probably was nothing more than putting out feelers, when you look at the whole picture. I share your concerns about the potential impact of drilling...and I think the battle lines are not in the city, but in the state overall.

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