Friday, February 12, 2010

EPA unveils toll free hotline to report suspicious oil & gas well activity

"Concerned about the environmental effects of well drilling and pipeline construction in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and West Virginia, EPA has announced the start of its "Eyes on Drilling" line at 1-877-919-4372 (toll free), and an e-mail address where citizens can report non-emergency well development actions that appear to be illegal. These may include the drawing of water from water courses, the illegal disposal of well wastewater or other questionable activity."  According to EPA spokesperson David Sternberg, the EPA has "definitely received reports of improper disposal of drilling wastes." 

For emergencies related to a well drilling operation, the EPA advises individuals to call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. Individuals may leave anonymously tips.

If possible, reports should include the location, time and date of the suspicious activity, as well as the materials, equipment and vehicles involved and any observable environmental impacts.

The information gathered from the tipline may be shared with the state agencies that regulate drilling - in Pennsylvania, it is the Department of Environmental Protection - and may be used by the EPA in investigating the practices of the industry, he said.  

For full article, click HERE.

PA farmland coated in 1,629 lbs of oil


Spectra Energy's Steckman Ridge Natural Gas Compressor Station sprayed up to 1,629 pounds of used lubricating oil onto fertile farmland and residential property in rural Pennsylvania; crops had to be burned to prevent toxic contamination of consumers. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has misinformed residents for the past six months that the oil residents found coating their blueberries, tomatoes, hay fields is non-toxic....

Citizens Pick Up the Pieces 
The emergency shut-down in August was one of four equipment malfunctions that have occurred since the natural gas compressor station became operational last summer. Residents near other compressor stations which process raw gas frequently complain about the chronic and extremely loud "jet like noises" which industry officials admit are a normal part of plant operations. Chronic loud noise can cause birth defects, psychological problems and marked behavioral changes in young children as well as cardiovascular disease and vertigo in adults.

The DEP cited Spectra Energy as violating the federal Air Pollution Control Act and the Clean Streams Law, yet according to facility information provided by the DEP's e-facts website the agency still has not taken enforcement action or given penalties for these violations. Spectra Energy also received a Notice of Violation for not reporting the incident by telephone to the DEP within two hours and not submitting a written report within three days, as required by law. The equipment malfunction was reported to the DEP by terrified residents.

Read the full article by clicking here:  Natural gas compressor station coats PA farmland in used gear oil

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Concerned about the drilling?

Mayor of Dish, TX to be in Elmira, NY next weekend

Calvin Tillman, Mayor of a small town in Texas (Dish, TX), will be in Elmira on Saturday, February 20 to talk about his fight to protect his community from toxic emissions in the natural gas fields surrounding them.

Heights Theater
210 East 14th Street
Elmira Heights, NY

Saturday, Feb 20
Breakfast : 8:30-9:15
Presentation: 9:30 - 11:00 AM

Dish is located in the epicenter of the Barnett Shale gas play and is home to a megacomplex of compressor stations, pipelines, metering stations, and gas wells. The town of Dish's air study sampled air at seven locations from August 17 and 18, 2009. The results of this analysis revealed high concentrations of carcinogenic and neurotoxin compounds near and on residential properties. The report also indicated that many of the compounds in the air exceeded the short-term and long-term effects screening levels according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulations.

This event is co-sponsored by the Shaleshock Citizens Alliance and People for a Healthy Environment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Five dead in US power plant blast (BBC News)

Please note that updated news reports now count 50 people among the dead and more than 250 people injured.  There are also still people unaccounted for.  
Please keep all in your thoughts and prayers.

Direct link to BBC article: 
A huge explosion has rocked a power plant in...Connecticut killing at least five people and injuring 12, the local mayor has said.

Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said it was caused by a gas explosion.  People living up to 50km (30 miles) away reported that their homes were shaken by the blast at the Kleen Energy plant, being built outside Middletown.  There are reports of people trapped under the remains of a plant building, and a rescue operation is under way.  Search experts and specialist dog teams were at the site combing through the wreckage, the mayor said.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday evening, Mr Giuliano said that the identities of the dead had not yet been released as some of the victim's families had not yet been informed.  Mr Giuliano said the plant, which was only 95% complete and due to open fully in the summer, was undergoing a series of gas tests when the explosion occurred.

He said between 100 and 200 people worked on the massive site, and were employed by multiple contracting companies.  "How many people were here today - that's the number they can't really nail down. They were purging gas lines all night long, most people were evacuated from the building when they ran the tests," Mr Giuliano said.

The plant is located to the south of the town, on the Connecticut River.

Earlier, deputy fire marshall Al Santostefano said there were some 50 construction workers on the site at the time of the explosion.

 It really shook the house and everybody was scared and the kids started to cry --Lynn Townsend

At least 100 firefighters were sent to the scene and it had taken them an hour to contain the fire caused by the blast, he said.  Officials say there is no further danger to the public, and have not evacuated the area. The plant, however, remains cordoned off.  The nearby Middlesex Hospital told the Associated Press it had received 11 victims, while the hospital in the state capital, Hartford, has treated three others.

'Gas line test'

Mr Santostefano said a natural gas pipeline running near the plant had exploded at 1117 (1617 GMT) sending a shockwave that one local resident compared to an earthquake.  "We heard such a loud explosion and the dog was outside and I heard her bark. And then when we went outside we saw a very big explosion of bright orange flame between the two smoke stacks," Lynn Townsend told the Associated Press.  "It really shook the house and everybody was scared and the kids started to cry because they did not know if the house was going to catch fire."

Fighting through tears, plant worker Paul Venti said: "It's just horrible. All I know is I lost some union brothers. They are some close close personal friends. It's horrible. They were working. They were testing."  "I just heard there was a gas explosion and I'm getting all kinds of phone calls from union brothers. We got some people up there they got little kids that are at home and we lost them."