Aug. 4, 2014: Drilling outpaces research on effects. Scientific understanding of the effects of fracking lags behind rapid drilling expansion, according to a study in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Ecology. Other articles on the study is here and here.Aug. 3, 2014: Scientists concerned about fracking's effects on farm animals and crops. Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald published a groundbreaking paper in 2012 on fracking's threat to farm animals. Now they've written a book. They published a book this year on their work.
Jul 26, 2014 Fracking should be put on hold, Canadian panel chief says. A panel much like the one working in Maryland is about to recommend whether to lift a 2-year moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia. The panel has published discussion papers considered "rosy" toward industry, but the head of the panel, David Wheeler, a university president, says: "We need more research in a couple of particular areas before anyone could take a view on whether this is a good or a bad idea in any part of the province." Also, if the government lifts the moratorium while at the same time agreeing to conduct more research and public talks, "that would not be consistent" with what he has in mind.
Wheeler said no seismic testing or exploratory drilling should be allowed without the consent of surrounding communities. "And we're saying communities are not in a position to give permission to proceed because there's not enough knowledge," he said. "We're a long way away from that."
The scope of Maryland's fracking health studyThe draft of the scoping report for the Marcellus Shale Public Health Study was released Dec. 24. We have until Jan. 24, 2014, to make comments on this outline of what health effects the study team will assess. Here is the link: http://www.marcellushealth.org/detailed-scoping-report.html The draft includes a timeline for future reports, focus groups and comment periods. The form for commenting is included at this site. Missing from the scope of this study is an evaluation of the medical costs associated from fracking. The economic study also will not be covering medical costs, so please note that in your comments.
9/9/2013, from Wash. Post: US Forest Service weighs fracking in the George Washington National Forest: “If you had a pollutant anywhere in the watershed, it would be a concern,” said Ken Landgraf, planning staff officer for George Washington National Forest. “But in the headwaters, everyone would have to deal with that. Everybody’s going to see that further downstream in the watershed.”
Check our blog regularly - http://climatehoward.wordpress.com/
Myersville Citizens are raising money for an appeal of a FERC hearing about a proposed Myersville gas compressor station. The appeal must be filed by 7/15/13. If you want to contribute to the appeal see info on www.mcrcmd.org/ And like them on Facebook - Facebook.com/MyersvilleCitizensForARuralCommunity
June 25, 2013: The state has released draft of best management practices for fracking in Western Maryland. Citizens have 45 days to comment on this critical document. Guidelines coming soon for comments. We need to make clear that these best practices will not provide sufficient protection for our health, our air, our water and our climate. Only one public meeting is scheduled so far, July 9 at Garrett College. A number of health and environmental groups will be pressing for another public meeting i n the Baltimore area. Stay tuned.
Online petition - Tell Gov O'Malley: Get the facts on fracking The Maryland fracking study commission is working backwards. Before we know the full scope and severity of the impacts fracking will have in Maryland, your agencies are developing regulations that assume we will and should frack here.
Stop the Frack Attack Forum video - http://new.livestream.com/stopthefrackattack/peoplesforum
Shale Shock Media - Video on Fracking vs. Health - www.shaleshockmedia.org/2013/05/04/fracking-vs-health/ - Link from Physicians Against Fracking Facebook Page
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission - Public Comment on Columbia Gas Pipeline through Baltimore and Harford Counties Maryland - comment period ends 5/24/13 https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/04/29/2013-09982/columbia-gas-transmission-llc-notice-of-availability-of-the-environmental-assessment-for-the
EPA Study On Hydraulic Fracking - www2.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing
May 9 , 2013 - The Obama Administration's Natural Gas Policy Is Tragically Misguided - Waste that will haunt future generations - Chris Martensen on why Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports are a bad idea
Bill Moyers Segment on Fracking with activist Sandra Steingraber April 2013
'Triple Divide' shows travesty of fracking Read about this powerful documentary in ClimateHoward.
Environmental injustice of frackingRebecca Ruggles, the director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network, has a great letter to the editor in the Baltimore Sun today (3/12/13): She writes: "The time to insure that Marylanders are not victimized by sloppy industrial practices and poor state regulations is now, before fracking starts." She disagrees with an earlier op-ed by Harry Alford, head of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, who called fracking legislation in Maryland a waste of time. She writes: "Environmental injustice is when one group of people bears a disproportionate share of the negative consequences of industrial or commercial operations. This is exactly what is happening with fracking in other states. It is not the kind of economic empowerment that the National Black Chamber of Commerce should be promoting."
The divide over frackingTim Wheeler reports from northeast Pennsylvania's drilling communities. Sherry Vargson in Bradford County says allowing drilling on her land in 2006 was "the biggest mistake of my life." A one-time payment of $19,000 helped pay off her son's college loan, but she and her husband had to sell their dairy herd to make way for the drilling. She gets royalty checks of about $1,000 a year. Be sure to watch the accompanying video interview with Gerri Kane, who lives in Susquehanna County.
Anti-fracking rally in Annapolis March 13The General Assembly won't pass a fracking moratorium this year, so we need to show that we are not giving up. Chesapeake Climate Action Network is planning a huge rally Wednesday, March 13, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Annapolis. Speaking at the rally will be Lois Gibbs, who 35 years ago organized neighbors to investigate toxic chemicals buried under her Love Canal neighborhood. Gibbs is now executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), and fracking is one of the organization's campaigns . To carpool with CCIHC, email email@example.com
Maryland Senate committee narrowly votes down fracking moratoriumSo close, but still so far. The state Senate's Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee voted 6-5 against a law creating a fracking moratorium in Maryland. So the bill won't move forward this year. Read CCAN's press release here. We need to show our displeasure: Be at the rally March 13 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the State House..
NY Assembly passes two-year fracking moratoriumThe New York Assembly passed a two-year fracking moratorium and its Senate was expected to follow. Activists worked tirelessly on this, and we will need to do the same in Maryland.
Outburst in Annapolis
Residents of Garrett County, CCAN director Mike Tidwell and others testified Feb. 26, 2013, in favor of a fracking moratorium. They were yelled at for their efforts. ClimateHoward has a blog post about the long day.
Testing the watersCCAN organized a taste test of murky, brown water from near a fracking site in Butler County, Pa. CCIHC members were there to encourage state legislators to take a look at and perhaps taste damaged water from that community -- and to show our support for a fracking moratorium in Maryland. (Hint: no one took a taste.) Read the blog about the campaign here.
Resolute citizens of Myersville
Amazingly, the citizens of Myersville in Frederick County don't want a compressor station, one of the trappings of increased fracking. Read ClimateHoward's blog about their struggle here.
Baltimore Sun says 'No studies, no fracking'
The Baltimore Sun wrote in an editorial: Here's what experience has taught us when any corporation, industry or government works that hard and spends that much money to persuade: Better get a second opinion. Whatever the "facts" about fracking (and the ads always wave around that word like they had cornered the global market on facts), it would be wise to hear what scientists who don't draw a paycheck from energy companies had to say on the subject. Read the Baltimore Sun's editorial here.
Living with fracking
Imagine life with a frack pad is outside your living room window. Read ClimateHoward's blog about fracking in Pennsylvania.
The bridge to a hotter futureThe fossil fuels economy is a Ponzi scheme, author and blogger Joe Romm said Saturday at Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s statewide Conference on Fracking Risks and Action in Maryland. Read more about CCAN's statewide conference on fracking and legislation for a moratorium on drilling in Maryland at ClimateHoward's blog here.
CCIHC endorses anti-fracking efforts
CCIHC is working on two statewide anti-fracking campaigns this fall and through the next General Assembly session. The first is Chesapeake Climate Action Network's push for a legislative moratorium on fracking. CCAN, along with farmers and environmental, public health, labor and faith groups will be working with Del. Heather Mizeur, who will introduce legislation to place a moratorium on fracking in Maryland unless the practice can be shown to be safe for the environment, our climate and the health of humans and other creatures. Mizeur's op-ed on fracking appeared in the Baltimore Sun. Read CCIHC's blog about the press conference announcing the effort here. Individuals can also sign the petition for a fracking moratorium. "The reality is that there are few protections to prevent the state from issuing a fracking permit. It's time for elected officials to protect Maryland from this unacceptable risk," CCAN said on its website.
Here are a few of the many resources on fracking:
Aug. 15, 2012
The fate of Garrett County -- and Maryland
[NOTE: ClimateHoward includes a report about this meeting]
Paul Roberts, a member of the governor's Marcellus Shale advisory commission and the co-owner of Deep Creek Cellars Winery in Garrett County, has arranged for a Pennsylvania attorney and a West Virginia rancher to speak at Garrett College at 4:50 p.m. Monday, Aug., 20, about their experience with the downside of drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The regular meeting of the state's Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission will follow directly after, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m..
Paul wrote in an email, "Given logistical difficulties and the impending work on Best Management Practices, it has become evident that getting such voices in front of Commissioners during a regular meeting would be a continuing challenge. Yet, a year into this process, while industry representatives have made presentations at meetings and showed their technology in the field, Commissioners have not heard from people in adjoining states about their direct experiences. This short meeting, before the main meeting, seemed like the best solution."
One of the speakers is John M. Smith, a partner with Smith Butz LLC of Canonsburg, Pa., who represents several families in litigation against energy companies in Pennsylvania, including cases involving alleged water contamination resulting from shale gas drilling. Smith also was among the attorneys who successfully challenged Pennsylvania's Act 13 that dealt with gas development, leading to a court ruling that the state's attempts to preempt local zoning laws were unconstitutional. The other speaker is Tom Bond, a retired teacher with a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and rancher with a 500-acre farm near Jane Lew, W. Va. He will relate his experiences and those of his neighbors who, he says, were devastated by drilling operations. They complained of property devaluation, threatened water supplies and health concerns.
Questions will be accepted after this program, which begins at 4:50 p.m. in Room 205 at Garrett College (Continuing Education) and ends in time for commission meeting at 6 p.m. in the nearby college auditorium.
Video The Sky is Pink - http://vimeo.com/44367635
An emergency short film from Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of GASLAND addressing the urgent crisis of drilling and fracking in New York state. The Sky is Pink - annotated documents - www1.rollingstone.com/extras/theskyispink_annotdoc-gasl4final.pdf
Stop the Frack Attack Saturday...
Join us in Washington, DC, for the Stop the Frack Attack, where we will say clearly and loudly that fracking poses unacceptable hazards to water, air, soil, health and the climate. CCICH is carpooling to the event and will first attend a nearby rally specifically about fracking in Maryland. Only Garrett and parts of Allegany County are above the Marcellus Shale in this state, but we are all downstream. At the Maryland rally, speakers include Mike Tidwell of Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Delegate Heather Mizeur. Read about Tour de FRACK's stop in Williamsport, MD, on our blog. This intrepid group of bikers is traveling the 400 miles, from Butler County, PA, to the protest in DC. Along the way, they are telling stories about families harmed by fracking.
To carpool with CCIHC, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maryland rally starts at 1 p.m.; the main rally starts at 2 p.m. We will leave at 11:15 am from the Broken Land Parkway Park & ride WEST side.
Chesapeake Energy to pay $500,000 to monitor Susquehanna River water
Chesapeake Energy has agreed to pay $500,000 for monitoring water quality in the Susquehanna River, according to Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler. In May 2011, Gansler filed an intent to sue Chesapeake after an April 19 blowout at one of the company's natural gas drilling sites in Bradford County, PA. Thousands of gallons of fracking fluid escaped the "inadequate containment," Gansler said in a press release, and flowed over farmland and into the Towanda Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River, which flows into Maryland. The river provides drinking water for 6.2 million people and more than half of the fresh water that enters the Chesapeake Bay. In May 2011, American Rivers put the Susquehanna at the top of its annual list of 10 most endangered rivers in the country because of the threats from fracking. The group said the "rush to develop natural gas has come without consideration of the impacts to clean water, rivers, and the health of these communities." (This year's list doesn't include the Susquehanna, although two rivers, the Grand River in Ohio and Hoback River in Wyoming, are included because of threats from fracking, and the Coal River in West Virginia is included because of threats from mountaintop removal for coal mining.)
Baltimore Sun editorial says industry can blame itself for delays in fracking
In an editorial, the Baltimore Sun says the lack of funding for the Marcellus Shale study commission means delays in state decisions on the controversial procedure of fracking. "The alternative — to simply not do a thorough study of such issues as the potential economic effects of fracking, the disposal of toxic waste water, and the impact on local ground water — would be wholly unacceptable."
Poll shows 71 percent of Marylanders want more study of fracking
A poll by OpinionWorks shows that 71 percent of Marylanders want more studies on fracking before the state makes a decision about whether to allow the drilling practice. CCAN issued a press release and the results of the poll.
Fracking lease fee bill passed the MD House, 88-49
The Maryland House of Delegates has passed a landmark bill (HB 1204), the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Fee. The bill requires energy companies to fund studies related to drilling practices and environmental protection in western Maryland before gas extraction can start, according to a press release from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
"The Maryland House did the right thing today in passing this historic bill," said Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-Mont), the bill's lead sponsor.
"With everything from earthquakes to flammable drinking water connected to fracking for gas in other states, we want to get this right in Maryland. Second chances are very expensive." HB 1204 would create a one-year fee of $15 per acre on land already leased in western Maryland for potential fracking activity. The bill would generate at least $1.8 million.
3/18/12///New York Times
Mortgages for properties with fracking leases might face hurdle
The NYT reported Sunday that: "The Department of Agriculture is considering requiring an extensive environmental review before issuing mortgages to people who have leased their land for oil and gas drilling..... Home mortgages and rural business loans from the agency have been allowed to avoid such reviews, except under unusual circumstances. The proposal by the Agriculture Department, which has signaled its intention in e-mails to Congress and landowners, reflects a growing concern that lending to owners of properties with drilling leases might violate the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA, which requires environmental reviews before federal money is spent. Because that law covers all federal agencies, the department’s move raises questions about litigation risks for other agencies, legal experts said."
“We will no longer be financing homes with gas leases,” Jennifer Jackson, program director for rural loans in the Agriculture Department’s New York office, wrote in an internal e-mail this month, citing several factors, including the costs of conducting such reviews. .... But when asked about the notice, the Agriculture Department said its secretary, Tom Vilsack, is still reviewing it.
Debate over shale boom in Ohio
Wasington Post article shows ambivalence about fracking in the Utica shale in Ohio. Poll results show many want the jobs, even at expense of environment (and apparently even though they believe fracking would damage the environment). But a large majority also believes fracking should be halted until further studies.From the article: "A Quinnipiac University opinion poll in January showed that 85 percent of Ohio voters believed that natural gas drilling would create jobs, and that by a 64-to-29 percent margin they believed that the economic benefits of drilling for natural gas outweigh the environmental concerns. At the same time, voters said by a 72-to-23 percent margin that hydraulic fracturing should be suspended until there are further studies about its impact. They said by a 43-to-16 percent margin that fracking would damage the environment."
The article also says states are competing with tax incentives to attract a Shell Oil chemical plant to open shop:
"Many experts say that cheap natural gas in the southeast part of the state could also lure industries that rely heavily on gas. Shell Oil has said it would build a chemical plant in the area, but hasn’t decided which state. Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio are all in the running; each is vying with generous packages of tax incentives, pipeline routes and permit expediting. An announcement is due in the next two weeks."
Dilbert, by Scott Adams.... from 3/2/12
Rolling Stone magazine follows the (fracking) money
Here's part of the article, which can be read online:
According to Arthur Berman, a respected energy consultant in Texas who has spent years studying the industry, Chesapeake and its lesser competitors resemble a Ponzi scheme, overhyping the promise of shale gas in an effort to recoup their huge investments in leases and drilling. When the wells don't pay off, the firms wind up scrambling to mask their financial troubles with convoluted off-book accounting methods. "This is an industry that is caught in the grip of magical thinking," Berman says. "In fact, when you look at the level of debt some of these companies are carrying, and the questionable value of their gas reserves, there is a lot in common with the subprime mortgage market just before it melted down." Like generations of energy kingpins before him, it would seem, McClendon's primary goal is not to solve America's energy problems, but to build a pipeline directly from your wallet into his.
NY judge upholds town's ban on fracking
2/21/12 A NY judge has ruled that the town of Dryden in Tompkins County can ban fracking within its borders, according to an article in The New York Times. A Colorado drilling company had argued that the town near Ithaca lacked the power implement the ban, but the judge overruled it. The article says the ruling is the "first in NY to affirm local powers in the controversy over drilling in the Marcellus Shale." However, the company could appeal or "pursue a 'takings' claim," saying the private property shouldn't be taken without compensation. In this case the private property is the $5million the company has spent buying up land leases.
from New York Review of books, published online in advance for 3.8.2012....
Why Not Frack?
Bill McKibben has written a review in the New York Review of Books of two books (End of Country and Under the Surface) and a movie (Gasland) that is a scathing assessment of fracking:
"The two books under review tell the story of that land rush. ...That means that some people have come into unexpected riches, including McGraw’s mother, who leased her land for a large sum—for some farmers looking for an easier retirement it’s been a blessing. But the money has also divided communities in painful ways, since those who don’t reap a bonanza suffer the side effects: the noise and squalor of an industrialized countryside, the danger of quiet roads now overrun with trucks. And even the fortunate run the risk that something will go wrong with the wells on their land."
Virginia-based Dominion wants permission to export natural gas through its Cove Point liquified natural gas facility in Calvert County, according to this article in the Baltimore Sun by Tim Wheeler. Environmentalists have many concerns, including damage from an array of pipelines to get the natural gas to the facility and pressure to increase fracking. Other concerns include a rise in US prices if the natural gas is exported. Some excerpts:
"There's a long list of environmental and public safety concerns related to this practice," said Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. "I think it would be a mistake for the state of Maryland to begin granting the right to companies to bring shale gas through our state and export it to other countries."
Michael Helfrich, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, says he's also worried about construction of pipelines to get the gas to the terminal, which he fears will chop up forests and increase polluted runoff to the river and the bay. Already, two new pipelines are being laid on either side of the river, he said.
"I see all the shale gas north of me. I see the export facility south of me. I just see a crisscross of new pipelines coming from every direction," he said.
Manufacturers also are worried that a surge in U.S. gas exports could drive up prices for the fuel, wiping out the benefits they have seen lately from low energy prices.
A recent study by the Energy Information Administration projected that if all the gas export requests pending now were granted, prices of the fuel could soar by 36 percent to 54 percent by 2018, depending on economic conditions and how rapidly natural gas production could be increased to take advantage of higher prices. Electricity prices also would go up between 2 percent and 9 percent, the study forecasted, though it assumed utility bill increases would be more limited because power plants would switch from burning natural gas to coal.......
The "Gasland" director was attempting to film the hearing which is looking into the EPA's investigation of water contamination from fracking in Pavillion, Wyoming. Josh was filming the hearing for his upcoming film "Gasland 2."
Subcommittee chairman US Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) objected to the presence of Mr. Fox and his crew as well as another crew from ABC.
“This is a public hearing!” Josh shouted as he was led away. “I’m being denied my First Amendment rights.”
Also available are the opening statements before Andy Harris' subcommittee on Energy and Environment.
June 21, 2011 A Colossal Fracking Mess, The dirty truth behind the new natural gas. About Dryden New York a town that stood up to Fracking. Sollidarity Petition here.
INFORMATION ON FRACKING
How much control will local governments have over their land? A New York Times article outlines the tension over property rights, industry power and local governments' fears about weakened zoning laws: "As Gas Drilling Spreads, Towns Stand Ground Over Control" by Sabrina Tavernise, Dec. 14, 2011. You can read it here.
EPA Fracking Study info here.
Public Citizen on Hydraulic Fracturing - Information here.
Take Action - Urge the Federal Department of Energy to End Regulatory Loopholes for Fracking - Here.
Maryland and Marcellus Shale Fracking- Info here
Take Action - Thank the Governor for temporary moratorium and ask him to support legislation for a permanent ban - here
NEW: 1/1/12 Baltimore Sun article about western Maryland landowners' concerns about gas companies' leasing practices. Some say they were misled: here. The article mentions that landowners in western Maryland have formed a group called Citizen Shale. Among the concerns mentioned in the article: oil and gas companies can automatically renew an expiring lease regardless of a landowners' current misgivings; energy leasing is not covered under that state's consumer protection laws.
Balt Sun on PA Fracking Water Processed in Baltimore here.
Balt Sun on Bay Threat from Fracking Water here.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler filed a notice of intent to sue a PA drilling company after the spill in PA this April that impacted the Susquehanna River, which of course flows into MD. The Baltimore Sun wrote an editorial applauding Gansler for that but also criticizing him for another decision on a recent Maryland case on a different issue in Patuxent Riverkeeper v. Maryland Department of the Environment. See article here.
Links re: Govenor's O'Malley's Executive Order
Earthquake 4.0 on Richter Scale in Ohio Said to be Caused by Wastewater Fracking - 12/31/11 Yahoo News article here. Republican Governor orders temporary halt article here. And CCN on halt in opening 4 new wells here.
Pennsylvania Anti-Fracking Organization - Protecting Our Waters - http://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/
"Drillers using counterinsurgency experts, Marcellus industry taking a page from the military to deal with media, resident opposition" . Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article 11/13/11. here.