Supervisors in Cecil Township, Washington County PA, were left out of the fracking loop by Range Resources with regards to a frack pond.
To make it sound less ominous, the natural gas industry refers to frack ponds as impoundment ponds. No matter what it is called, these ponds pose a real hazard to ground water and land.
What began as a “fresh water” impoundment pond to use in the fracking process has now become a dumping ground for frack water from several other communities.
Cecil Supervisors and Representative Jesse White want answers, but they may not get them anytime soon.
OPEN RECORDS REQUEST IGNORED
Representative Jesse White (D-Allegheny, Beaver and Washington Counties) filed a Right-To-Know request with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday, April 5, 2013. He requested information about the Worstell natural gas drilling impoundment’s reclassification from a freshwater impoundment to a hazardous waste site.
It also was reported last week that in September, DEP officials and representatives from Range Resources discussed the impoundment, and a possible leak there, in a private meeting. According to the same report, Cecil Township supervisors and residents were never made aware of the meeting or the reclassification of the impoundment, located off Swihart Road.
As with other Right-To-Know requests filed by White to the DEP, this recent one has been ignored. The Right-to-Know law stipulates that a public agency has five business days to respond to requests. If an agency does not respond in that time period, the request is deemed denied.
The five-day period was over as of the end of the business day on Monday, April 15, 2013.
White said it doesn’t bode well for an agency that claims to respond to concerns in an expedient manner.
“By refusing to meet with me to discuss the situation, and by ignoring the Right to Know request, the DEP is once again playing political games and ignoring the law when they should be supplying facts. Residents living near this 12 million gallon wastewater impoundment and others similar to it don’t have time for industry talking points and lame excuses,” he said. “They need these important questions answered, period. If the DEP refuses to acknowledge their concerns, how can DEP claim to have any credibility whatsoever?”
White said he intends to appeal the request.
SOLOBAY STICKS WITH THE GAS INDUSTRY
Sen. Tim Solobay, (D-Canonsburg) jumped into the issue and defended the gas industry.
Solobay gained some notoriety in 2011 when it was revealed Consol Energy provided him with a hotel room and travel in a company plane to the 2011 Super Bowl in Arlington Texas.
Following the news of the Super Bowl gifts from Consol, Solobay dodged phone calls and visits from Capitol reporters for two days. He refused to meet reporters and issued a brief statement through his secretary.
The secretary also relayed a message from Mr. Solobay, saying that “after the costs are calculated by Consol, he will be addressing it.”
Solobay would not explain whether that means he would repay Consol.
Did he repay Consol? Or was the Super Bowl amenities a thank-you from Consol?
In September 2010, prior to the 2011 Superbowl, the then state Rep. Tim Solobay announced a state grant totaling $529,156 for a CONSOL Energy Inc. project in Washington County.
Between 2000 and 2011, as reported by MarcellusMoney.org, Solobay has received $60,325 in campaign contributions from the natural gas industry. Top Donors include Range Resources and Consol Energy.
Specifically with regards to the Worstell frack pond, Solobay railed at the media attention and accused real grassroots people with real concerns of being “paid activists”.
Solobay added: “A majority of the negative voices out there are paid activists (that) do nothing but spread false rumors and scare people.”
Sorry, but the majority of concerned voices out there are not “paid activists”. These voices are from real people, unpaid volunteers who are working to save their communities from being devastated by the natural gas industry activities.
Giving Solobay the benefit of a doubt, he may be confusing Grassroots with GASroots. The most vocal of the GASroot organizations is Energy-in-Depth (EID), a public relations campaign created by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) has many employees paid by FTI Consulting and IPAA. EID has done a number of hit pieces on Rep. White, concerned professionals and real grassroots people.
Solobay is on a list of prospective Democratic 2014 candidates for Governor. I tend to doubt the grassroots will be voting for him.
BAN ON FRACK PONDS
Rep. Jesse White on KDKA Radio (April 20, 2013) discussed his proposal to ban the use of wastewater impoundments to store hazardous wastewater used in the Marcellus Shale drilling process. The use of wastewater impoundments is NOT an industry best practice, and these impoundments can be placed 300 feet from a residence under PA law. White’s legislation would not ban the use of freshwater impoundments.
“Wastewater impoundments are NOT an industry best practice, as per the industry itself. The new Center for Sustainable Shale Development, which includes industry partners Shell, Chevron, CONSOL and EQT, recently identified eliminating wastewater impoundments as one of their performance standards,” state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, wrote in a memo to colleagues on Friday. “Unfortunately, less reputable operators will not be bound by these standards and will continue to dump this hazardous material in this highly dangerous manner. Wastewater impoundments are banned in North Dakota and are not used in Texas and other drililng-friendly states.”
Back in February 2013, a letter to the editor was sent by John Krohn. Krohn is employed by FTI Consulting, the firm hired by IPAA to run EID.
In one paragraph, Krohn stated:
“The author also cites wastewater management as a concern noting the use of “frack ponds” poses a risk to the health of nearby residents. The good news for those residents is that whatever a “frack pond” might be, they aren’t being used in Pennsylvania. Here, the natural gas industry uses closed-loop management systems which ensure fluids and other wastes never come into contact with the environment.”
If frack ponds, correction “impoundment ponds”, do not exist, then obviously the huge body of frack water at Worstell must be a mirage. And the sightings of hundreds of trucks bringing in frack water to dump into the non-existent frack ponds must be mass hallucination.
Maybe from breathing in gas fumes and drinking the frack water is causing the mirage and hallucinations? Whatever the reason, we are all downstream and downwind and need to act now before we start seeing a purple Frackosaurus sprinkling sparklies and rainbows. Oh wait, Talisman has done that already.
Tags: Pennsylvania Fracking