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Friday, February 12, 2016

SoCalGasCo.'s giant methane leak halted. But vast amounts of the gas are still flowing elsewhere



Southern California Gas Co. announced Thursday that it has temporarily controlled the flow of natural gas at the leaking well at its Aliso Canyon storage site located on the outskirts of Los Angeles. A spokesman said it has begun the process of sealing the well and permanently plugging the leak. That will be done by pumping concrete down the relief well that SoCalGas Co., a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, began drilling Dec. 4 to intercept the leaking well 8,600 feet deep in the porous sandstone formation used for the storage facility.
From October 23—when the leak first occurred—until Feb. 11, the well emitted what the Environmental Defense Fund estimates was 96,000 metric tons of methane. Because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, that is the equivalent of 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Or, if you want to calculate it a couple of other ways, as done by Matt Ferner and Lydia O’Connor, it’s the equivalent of the annual emissions from 1,666,737 average passenger cars or the annual energy use of 722,354 average residences. Read more...http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/2/12/1483899/-SoCalGasCo-s-giant-methane-leak-halted-But-vast-amounts-of-the-gas-are-still-flowing-elsewhere

Groups to meet over abandoned wells in Alberta

Well, well, well.

Groups representing rural landowners will meet with some NDP government MLAs in Strathmore on Friday to discuss concerns over Alberta’s inactive oil and gas wells.
“We’ll be presenting what has gone wrong with the Surface Rights Act and the number of companies that are going into bankruptcy, the number of orphan wells that are coming on every day,” said Don Bester, president of the Alberta Surface Rights Group, which, along with Alberta Action Surface Rights, will meet with up to 11 rural MLAs.
“We will be giving them recommendations on how the government can handle it.”
Read more...http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/02/11/groups-to-meet-over-abandoned-wells-in-alberta

Living On Top Of Forgotten Oil And Gas Wells

By: Stephanie Joyce, Wyoming Public Radio | February 9, 2016

It came as news to Jeff Parsek that state records show there is an abandoned oil and gas well in his driveway. Parsek lives in a large, brown ranch house, right across the street from an elementary school, in a subdivision on the south side of Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s a nice neighborhood, with the new feeling of many Colorado suburbs.
When Parsek bought the house in 2004, he didn’t ask about oil and gas wells on the property.
“I wouldn’t have even thought to research that,” he said. Other homeowners I met in my search for abandoned wells responded with curses and slammed doors—one yelled, “thanks for ruining my afternoon!” When I told Parsek about the well, he just shrugged. Read more...
http://insideenergy.org/2016/02/09/living-on-top-of-forgotten-oil-and-gas-wells/

Cattle won't drink from water pooled around abandoned gas well

Each fall, water pools around an abandoned gas well on Tony Bruder’s ranch near Twin Butte in southwestern Alberta. The well site occupies about three hectares of land in a field where he keeps 130 head of cattle.
“They won’t drink out of that sink,” said Bruder. “They’ll walk three-quarters of a mile (1.2 kilometres) to the far end of the field — that’s where they’ll go take a drink.”
Scientists have warned the water and soil around old wells can be contaminated by salty water, hydrocarbons or chemicals and other materials used by industry if the abandoned well hasn’t been properly sealed. Read more...
http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/cattle-wont-drink-from-water-pooled-around-abandoned-gas-well

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Porter Ranch-area gas leak may end within days

An emergency relief well is expected to intersect Southern California Gas Co.'s damaged injection gas well near Porter Ranch as soon as Thursday, possibly ending the leak within days, regulatory and utility officials said Wednesday.
If all goes well with the intercept, workers could immediately pump slugs of mud and stabilizing fluids down the relief well into the damaged pipe. If those materials stop the leak, workers would pump in thick shots of a cement that would cure and permanently seal the well.
Read more...
http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-0211-porter-ranch-20160211-story.html

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Frackfree Mahoning Valley: Deny Permit:

Deny Permit: Ohio Fracking Waste Injection Well Close To Area of Seismic Activity; Free Showing of Oklahoma Shakedown at Februrary 12 Youngstown Townhall

Youngstown, Ohio, February 9, 2016 –  Frackfree Mahoning Valley has learned, as of February 9, 2016, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has not yet given permission for fracking waste injection to begin at a newly drilled injection well located in Vienna, Ohio, near family homes and the airport. This new information came to Frackfree Mahoning Valley from Teresa Mills of Buckeye Forest Council, who received it as a result of a public records request.
        Teresa Mills also uncovered, via a public records request dated January 29, 2016, that it seems that Oklahoma-based KTCA Holdings LLC is the new owner of the airport-area Vienna injection well, previously listed as owned by KDA. KDA’s Vienna, Ohio injection well operation is associated with an April, 2015 toxic waste release that resulted in destruction of two wetlands and other adverse impacts.
       Saying that the injection well is close to an “ area of known seismic activity,” Buckeye Forest Council and Frackfree Mahoning Valley are calling for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to deny the injection permit for the Vienna, Ohio injection well near Vienna residences. The groups are also calling for two Weathersfield/ Niles injection wells to remain closed. One of these wells has been linked in news reports and a scientific study with man-made earthquakes.
       “One huge problem is that it’s not known where some faults lie until they are activated and an earthquake occurs.  Then it’s too late.  Drilling and injecting into injection wells is essentially gambling with the public health and safety, drinking water integrity, and the well-being of the community. That is unacceptable. It’s egregious, actually. The “Findings, Conclusions and Order of the [Oil & Gas] Commission” that ruled on the AWMS injection well said with regard to seismicity, geophysics, and injection operations that ‘… to a certain extent both the industry and the Division are ‘working with their eyes closed.’ [p. 12, 8/12/15] ODNR must deny the permit to inject in order to protect the public health and safety and stay consistent with its other decisions.  It’s too high risk for man-made earthquakes and drinking water contamination, “said Teresa Mills of Buckeye Forest Council.
        The groups say that ODNR should never have permitted the Vienna, Ohio well to be drilled in the first place, considering ODNR’s previous Order by the Chief (9/24/14) that denied a toxic waste injection permit at the Khalil #3 injection well, in east Youngstown, Mahoning County finding it is “located in close proximity to an area of known seismic activity.”  
        The new Vienna well is only 6.7 miles from the AWMS injection well in Weathersfield/ Niles that ODNR ordered to be closed due to seismic activity.  The Vienna well is only 8.6 miles from the Northstar 1 injection well, site of the now-famous 4.0 magnitude induced quake that ODNR also shut down.  It is 16.9 miles from the man-made earthquake site in Poland Township, Ohio. Therefore, the groups believe that the Vienna, Ohio well is also close to “an area of known seismic activity,” and it must be stopped by ODNR.  (See map below).
       Furthermore, Mills found that the Vienna well in question is of similar depth to those mentioned in ODNR’s previous decisions. From what the groups can gather, the wells use very similar operations to those that have been shut down or denied a permit to inject in Youngstown and Weathersfield/ Niles.  If ODNR is to remain consistent with its previous decisions regarding Khalil and the American Water Management Services (AWMS) well, they must deny this permit to inject.  (Links to the Khalil and AWMS decisions are below).
        Frackfree Mahoning Valley will rally at two local injection well sites on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 to call for them to remain closed or denied a permit to inject. Frackfree Mahoning Valley will gather at the Weathersfield/ Niles injection well on public property starting at 1:15 PM at the Weathersfield/Niles injection well near 1745 N. Main Street, Niles, Ohio. The group will then move to public property adjacent to the Vienna, Ohio injection well on State Route 193 near the Youngstown – Warren Regional Airport for a rally that will begin at 2:15 PM....Read more:
http://www.frackfreemahoning.blogspot.com/2016/02/deny-permit-ohio-fracking-waste-injection-well-seismic-activity-also-oklahoma-shakedown-feb12-youngstown.html

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pennsylvania’s Plans For Controlling Methane Emissions From Shale Gas Operations


Friday, January 29, 2016


Pennsylvania’s Plans For Controlling Methane Emissions From Shale Gas Operations

- See more at: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/pennsylvania-s-plans-controlling-methane-emissions-shale-gas-operations#sthash.rHjsGiGe.dpuf


On January 20thPennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley hosted a webinar to announce the steps his department will take to control methane emissions associated with unconventional natural gas activities in the Commonwealth. He outlined an aggressive plan he and Governor Wolf believe is necessary to reduce Pennsylvania’s contribution of greenhouse gas emissions. He noted that Pennsylvania currently ranks second behind Texas in natural gas production so they feel the emissions must be addressed sooner rather than later. The Secretary offered some immediate steps that will help address what they believe are the unaccounted for emissions from shale gas wells and support facilities. - See more at: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/pennsylvania-s-plans-controlling-methane-emissions-shale-gas-operations#sthash.rHjsGiGe.dpuf

On January 20thPennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley
hosted a webinar to announce the steps his department will take to
control methane emissions associated with unconventional natural gas
activities in the Commonwealth. He outlined an aggressive plan he and Governor Wolf believe
is necessary to reduce Pennsylvania’s contribution of greenhouse gas
emissions. He noted that Pennsylvania currently ranks second behind
Texas in natural gas production so they feel the emissions must be
addressed sooner rather than later. The Secretary offered some immediate
steps that will help address what they believe are the unaccounted for
emissions from shale gas wells and support facilities.
He identified the scope of their concern by noting
that Pennsylvania has over 3,000 unconventional gas well pads, over 500
unconventional gas compressors stations and 12,000 miles of pipelines
to move the gas. They believe the combined annual methane leaks from
these facilities are equivalent to the annual emissions of five coal
fired power plants. Secretary Quigley noted that while efforts have been
undertaken by the industry and some companies to identify and reduce
methane emissions, not enough has been done on a statewide basis. DEP
therefore offered a four point plan that will surpass the EPA’s New
Source Performance Standards for controlling methane emissions.
The four point plan includes:
- See more at:
http://www.natlawreview.com/article/pennsylvania-s-plans-controlling-methane-emissions-shale-gas-operations#sthash.rHjsGiGe.dpuf


On
January 20thPennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Secretary John Quigley hosted a webinar to announce the steps his
department will take to control methane emissions associated with
unconventional natural gas activities in the Commonwealth. He outlined
an aggressive plan he and Governor Wolf believe is necessary to reduce
Pennsylvania’s contribution of greenhouse gas emissions. He noted that
Pennsylvania currently ranks second behind Texas in natural gas
production so they feel the emissions must be addressed sooner rather
than later. The Secretary offered some immediate steps that will help
address what they believe are the unaccounted for emissions from shale
gas wells and support facilities. - See more at:
http://www.natlawreview.com/article/pennsylvania-s-plans-controlling-methane-emissions-shale-gas-operations#sthash.rHjsGiGe.dpuf
On January 20thPennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley
hosted a webinar to announce the steps his department will take to
control methane emissions associated with unconventional natural gas
activities in the Commonwealth. He outlined an aggressive plan he and Governor Wolf believe
is necessary to reduce Pennsylvania’s contribution of greenhouse gas
emissions. He noted that Pennsylvania currently ranks second behind
Texas in natural gas production so they feel the emissions must be
addressed sooner rather than later. The Secretary offered some immediate
steps that will help address what they believe are the unaccounted for
emissions from shale gas wells and support facilities.
He identified the scope of their concern by noting
that Pennsylvania has over 3,000 unconventional gas well pads, over 500
unconventional gas compressors stations and 12,000 miles of pipelines
to move the gas. They believe the combined annual methane leaks from
these facilities are equivalent to the annual emissions of five coal
fired power plants. Secretary Quigley noted that while efforts have been
undertaken by the industry and some companies to identify and reduce
methane emissions, not enough has been done on a statewide basis. DEP
therefore offered a four point plan that will surpass the EPA’s New
Source Performance Standards for controlling methane emissions.
The four point plan includes:
- See more at:
http://www.natlawreview.com/article/pennsylvania-s-plans-controlling-methane-emissions-shale-gas-operations#sthash.rHjsGiGe.dpuf

Saturday, January 30, 2016

STANDOFF IMMINENT AS PA FAMILY OPPOSES GAS PIPELINE TREE CUTTING THROUGH MAPLE SYRUP OPERATION


Alex Lotorto
Jan 30, 2016  


NEW MILFORD, PA - Constitution Pipeline Company received federal permission to cut trees Friday afternoon on properties in Susquehanna County, including those obtained by eminent domain condemnation and through a commercial maple syrup operation.
A partial Notice to Proceed with non-mechanized tree cutting was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday afternoon for the Pennsylvania portion of the Constitution Pipeline. Tree cutting is imminent and can begin any time during daylight hours today through March 31, the deadline set by FERC.
The Constitution Pipeline is a project of Williams Pipeline Companies and Cabot Oil & Gas to be used to transport shale gas obtained through the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. The right of way would be at least 100-ft wide, with additional intermittent 50ft wide workspaces and access roads.
One New Milford family, led by Catherine Holleran and her daughter, Megan Holleran, have opposed eminent domain condemnation of an access road, an additional workspace, and more than 1,670 linear feet of their own property, which is used for maple syrup production by their family business, North Harford Maple.
    Megan Holleran said, “This is our land and family business. The pipeline has been years in permitting and we just staged our equipment to set up for this year’s syrup production. If they cut the trees now, they would destroy our equipment and that’s criminal. That’s property destruction. We asked them to speak with our attorney before cutting and that hasn’t happened yet. I’m ready to stop them by standing in the right of way if they try.”
In February 2015, federal judge Malachy Mannion in Scranton ordered that the Holleran property and several others in Susquehanna County be condemned using eminent domain for the private use of Constitution Pipeline Company. No construction activities proceeded after that, as state and federal agencies extended their reviews of archaeology, impacts on endangered species, and wetlands.
In a cease and desist letter served on the company by the Holleran family on Friday, Catherine Holleran wrote, “We assert our Fourth Amendment rights, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, that we must receive compensation before eminent domain condemnation. As compensation hearings have yet to be held, we find any action to develop our property to be unconstitutional. We hope that your client will proceed with good faith negotiations with our counsel prior to any tree cutting, especially given their affinity for the name ‘Constitution Pipeline’.”

LOCATION:  2131 Three Lakes Road, New Milford, PA USE COORDINATES: 41.8272387, -75.7585062

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pennsylvania Fracking Documentary Celebrates Two-year Anniversary With Free Downloadds


To celebrate the two-year anniversary of its investigative documentary Triple Divide, the nonprofit news organization Public Herald is offering the public 200 free downloads of the film.

On a first-come, first-served basis, anyone can use the promotional code “Triple Divide Fracking” at http://rent.tripledividefilm.org to rent or download a free copy.
Released in March 2013, Triple Divide “exposed the way state environmental agencies failed to regulate fracking in Pennsylvania,” according to the film’s co-director Joshua Pribanic. “One exclusive report in the film uncovered how an oil and gas company avoided liability for water contamination by dismissing its own baseline data” – a finding the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader called a “bombshell that could reverberate across the state.”

Thus far the film has streamed in 120 countries and been downloaded in 29, which the directors believe is a testament to how stories in Pennsylvania resonate with readers all over the world. Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale is one of the largest producing fracking zones on the planet.

“The hard truths in Triple Divide are as relevant now as ever,” said co-director Melissa Troutman. “The human rights impacts from fracking have only grown since the documentary’s release. The Auditor General’s investigation in 2014 echoed Triple Divide when it concluded that Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is not properly handling fracking’s impacts, especially water contamination. Still, new permits are issued for fracking while problems pile up in the absence of solutions amid silence from public officials.”

Troutman is a native of Potter County, home of the film’s namesake – the Eastern Triple Divide – one of four triple continental divides in North America. The mountain peak gives birth to the headwaters of three major river systems – the Allegheny, Genesee and Susquehanna Rivers.  

Triple Divide is Public Herald’s first feature-length production, praised as “the best documentary on fracking to date” and co-narrated by award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo. According to the filmmakers, it’s one of the only unbiased films on the subject. Triple Divide was an “Official Selection” for Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, Albuquerque Film & Media Experience, performed 249 public screenings, appeared in over 50 news publications and continues to screen internationally.

Since the film’s release, Public Herald has continued its investigations of water contamination first discovered during production of Triple Divide. Reports can be read at PublicHerald.org under “Fracking.”  In March 2014, one Public Herald report inspired correspondent Aasif Mandvi’s segment “The Benefits of Fracking” on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

In anticipation of follow-up reports to Triple Divide, Public Herald has launched an online petition at Change.org to garner public support for an interview with new Pa. Governor Tom Wolf, who has promised to “work hard to make fracking safe” for the people of Pennsylvania. The governor’s office hasn’t replied to Public Herald’s interview requests.  

For the filmmakers, “the lack of attention to the documented impacts from fracking by public officials was a bit of a surprise.” They spent three years obtaining files from state agencies and have started to make these records available online at PublicFiles.org.

“We hardly knew what to expect for Triple Divide,” said co-director Joshua Pribanic. “What we did know is that we wanted this film to be accessible to the public. That meant publishing reports before the film’s release, offering low licensing costs for public screenings, creating a promotions checklist for local communities, and making it available for anyone to view on the internet.”

Pribanic is a native of Sandusky, Ohio and got his start in journalism and film covering agriculture and brownfield pollution along the shores of Lake Erie.

In April 2014, Public Herald won a $35,000 INNovation Fund competition award by Investigative News Network and Knight Foundation to tour Triple Divide across the nation. After seeing the documentary, Tesla Motors donated its top Model S to support the tour, and Public Herald completed 20,000 miles across the U.S. and back without using gasoline.

Public Herald has produced over 35 multimedia reports and amassed 900 Lifetime Members in only three years, with only two people carried by public support. Triple Divide is a publicly-funded ‘in-house’ production, from distribution to web design and promotion.

For beginning filmmakers and budding journalists, Pribanic and Troutman offer the following advice: “To anyone who’s apprehensive about taking on a project like this, don’t be. Investigative documentary work is hard, but it’s a necessary and powerful force for accountability and change.”

PHOTOS: Additional photos available on Public Herald’s Flickr page.

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Caption: Triple Divide poster for upcoming screening in Ligonier, Pa. © Public Herald

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Caption: Judy Eckert holds a jug of her well water, which showed high levels of arsenic, manganese, iron, barium, strontium, methane and radon compared to predrill tests. © Public Herald

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Caption: Triple Divide co-director and Public Herald co-founder Melissa Troutman is on a mission to sit down with Governor Tom Wolf about Public Herald’s investigations. © Public Herald

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Caption: Public Herald has conducted over 2,000 hours of file reviews at Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection for its investigations. © Public Herald

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Audiences have watched Triple Divide at over 240 screenings across the globe. Pictured is an audience in Mansfield, Ohio. © Public Herald