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37 thoughts on “

  1. We Canton environmental employees feel Cobalt Gas Company should not be given a permit to drill in this location. Although DCNR supports gaswell drilling on state forest we feel that the number of permits given out on or around state forests is becoming too high. The point of state forest is to save the wildlife and forest and drilling is now endangering it. During the 2012 trout season the small village of Leroy, Pa had the worst thing possible happen. An active well less than 250 yards from the Towanda Creek blew out. One of the local farmers after hearing about the blowout said this, “They’re taking the county and taking our livelihoods.” Thousands of gallons of drilling fluids went into the stream for hours. Not long after the event, the stream was not to be fished. This proposed well is upstream of Cedar Run and next to the Pine Creek. The Pine Creek is a very popular trout stream that brings fisherman from all over. Taking a risk to hurt this by allowing a gas well to be put in is not worth the risk. If the same thing that happened in Leroy were to happen here many towns would be affected.

    Along with the risk of hurting the stream, gas migration is a big worry. There have been many problems with gas migration in the town Dimock, Pa. We are worried about this happening in this area. Many meetings have been held in this area and thousands of dollars have been spent. If this were to happen again the process would have to be started again. We are also concerned about the distance of the nearest water treatment plant. As we all know nobody is perfect and drilling water will be spilled. But with the treatment plant being 25 miles away the risk of a truck crash or major spill is greatly increased. In the end we feel that the benefits of permitting this pad does not outweigh the risks. So we decline this permit.

    • The DMIS strongly agree that hydraulic fracking is very unhealthy to the ecosystem and that hydraulic fracking as the risks of hurting the stream and gas migration. We also agree that we shouldn’t let them frack on Pine Creek, because there is life flourishing in the streams, if we start to frack then the creatures living in stream will all die.

      • As the Cobalt gas industry, we do not agree that life will immediately die due to fracking at the stream. This is viable if only stated as your opinion, but no research states that purely the existence of fracking will immediately kill the creatures living in the stream. Under the post of the Cobalt gas industry under Natural gas companies, you can see that the existence of a waterless drilling is beginning. This waterless drilling will completely counter the points made on water use and eliminate the disposal of any water. Therefore, it is not necessary or feasible to conclude that fracking will kill any creatures living in the stream.

    • Canton Environmental Employees
      Please share your research and thoughts about the dangers of gas migration. What exactly does this mean?

      • It is important to remember that every area will have different reactions to drilling. In this particular instance I would have to agree that drilling may not be beneficial. This is due to the surrounding wildlife and the stream that you have described. However just because drilling is not beneficial in this instance, it does mean that drilling is negative everywhere. I agree with your position.

        Cupcake

  2. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection employee

    As an employee of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), I think Cobalt Gas Company should be given a permit for drilling. The river basin commission in the drilling area is the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which ensures gas companies withdraw water responsibly and are of no harm to the environment. The strict regulations and tests, required by PA DEP and other agencies,that gas companies must surpass in order to drill, prevents the drilling from becoming harmful to the environment.

    The regulatory program that SRBC enacted helps control the amount withdrawn by gas companies for drilling. Drilling requires about 300,000 gallons of water per day. This kind of large withdrawal can be detrimental to the local freshwater supply, lower water levels, lose aquifer storage capacity, and have negative impacts on wildlife. To prevent a tragedies of the commons affect because of the demands of water from local homes, businesses, and the drilling, the SRBC requires drilling companies to seek approval before withdrawal of municipal waters. Since no prior approval is necessary for the reuse of municipal waters, it encourages companies to recycle lesser quality municipal waters for drilling. If a company proposes to withdraw more than 100,000gpd from ground or surface water, or more than 20,000gpd total consumption, the project must be reviewed and approved. They are also required to mitigate during low-flow and drought seasons to prevent low water tables and harm to local wildlife and ecosystems. Also, to ensure that not too much water is withdrawn, every 72 hours, the aquifer is tested.

    The U.S. government has also passed the Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act which protects water quality and quantity. The act makes oil and gas companies responsible for degradation of water quality in water supplies for 6 months following well drilling. This act ensures that the companies strive to maintain good water quality in the water supplies, and if they pollute it, they will be responsible for their wrongdoings. The act does not hold the companies responsible for affected private water supplies. This does not mean that if the companies were to pollute an innocent landowner’s water supply, they do not have to pay. The water can be investigated by the PA DEP and/or proved by landowner, and if it is found that the water is indeed affected because of the drilling, the owner can be compensated. Because of the act, a gas company will be held responsible for their negative impact on the community and ecosystem, which proves more reasons as to “why not let them drill?”

    The PA DEP are in charge of reviewing and issuing drilling permits and monitoring drilling operations. We do routine inspections of drilling operations to ensure it is being done in a safe matter as to not harm the community and environment. To be safe, the PA DEP limits the amount of total dissolved solids in fracking fluid to be less than 500mg TDS per liter. The fluid is also sent to wastewater treatment plants that filter out the harmful chemicals so the fluid is no longer dangerous to human and wildlife health.

    Therefore, in conclusion, the Colbalt Gas Company should be given a permit to drill. The drilling will not create problems with water quantity, nor water quality. With the sufficient regulations by commissions, government, and agencies, the drilling is safe for human communities and wildlife and their ecosystems.

    • DEP employee, the Canton environmental employees would like to ask if you live in an area that has gas drilling going on? We happen to live in an area that has been drilling for many years. Your point of view is all based off of what commissions, government, and agencies say they do. But when I can walk down one of the best trout streams in the area and not even get my feet wet, along with not seeing one fish, does that seem like they are controlling the amount of water being withdrawn? Also we know from experience that if anything happens to the water the gas wells will try harder to not fix the problem then they will to fix it. Also most of the commissions and government agencies get money from gas companies. So they let a lot slip by.

      • No I do not live in an area that the gas drilling has been going on. My point of view is based on facts posted on by the commissions, government, and agencies. Although I may not have the first-hand experience of the affects of the drilling, I’m aware of the hardships people in town’s such as yours are facing. However, I feel that you will find that the economic benefits will soon overpower your complaints. Also, what do you propose to be done to fix the problems you mentioned?

        • DEP Employee the “moderator” has told us we are not allowed to put emotion in this. So I will be using facts. The money that comes from the tax dollars on gas drilling mostly goes to other parts of the state that does not have drilling going. Like the areas you live in, a small amount of money stays in the small towns that have drilling going on. The only way the problems can be fixed is to find a new way of getting the gas. Canton Environmental Employees.

          • Canton Environmental Employees
            It is always suggested to cite or identify your source for the facts so everyone can read and research also.

      • Dear Canton Environmental Employees
        When you live in the area, it is sometimes hard to not deal with the situation or problem from a non emotional point of view. If you disagree with someone else’s conclusions, refute the conclusion with facts or statistics or research to support your position. Be sure to cite your sources.

      • Canton environmental employees, you stated that “the gas wells will try harder to not fix the problem then they will to fix it” by what sense do you mean? Are you talking about lawsuits? And if so, can you give an example where the gas companies have shown an unwillingness to cooperate? Also, what money do the commissions and government agencies receive from the gas companies? Are you accusing the gas companies of bribery?
        -DEP employee

    • Dear DEP employee
      I am concerned about this fact from your research: “The act makes oil and gas companies responsible for degradation of water quality in water supplies for 6 months following well drilling.” Do you think six months is a reasonable amount of time? Check out this source: http://www.ngwa.org/Documents/ClipCopy/Hydraulic_Fracturing_Info_Sheet.pdf

      It suggests landowners continually have their water tested if near natural gas drilling: “Post-drilling water quality testing should be done within six months of completion of drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Continued sampling should be done at least annually as long as practicable. Subsequent screening using the pH and specific conductance, or total dissolved solids measurements, can be less expensive ways to see if changes have occurred. An increase in the concentration or occurrence of these constituents could indicate that further, more sophisticated water quality
      testing should be done.”

      I googled to find out how much water tests can cost. I was surprised to find how expensive the tests are for landowners.
      How much does a water test cost?
      Testing costs vary depending on the number of samples taken and the type of contaminants tested for. A basic test for pH, bacteria and mineral components can cost between $300 and $800.

      • The six months ensures that the process of drilling the well which utilizes fracking fluid will not contaminate any water supplies. As you pointed out, that does not cover for after that six months, once the well is completed and natural gas is being withdrawn. This does not mean that once those six months have passed that if a spill were to occur, nothing would be done. “In case of an emergency, such as a spill or a release of hazardous material, including oil, to the environment, citizens should call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.” Water Withdrawals for the Marcellus Shale Development in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, 2010.

        From: http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/report_an_incident/6010
        “HSCA [Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act] legislation requires DEP to “provide for emergency response capability for spills, accidents and other releases of hazardous substances and contaminants.” The law gives DEP the authority to take any action that it deems necessary or appropriate to protect the public health, safety or welfare or the environment from releases or threats of releases of hazardous materials.” But not only that “Team members can enforce DEP regulations on scene, and the Regional ERPM is authorized to enter into emergency contracts for whatever action is needed to protect the public health, safety, or the environment.”

        In a state of emergency, it does not matter whether or not it has been past six months since the drilling of the well. There are agencies out there whose job is to protect your health and safety.

      • On your reference to the costliness of having water tests done on private lands you are correct that it is quite expensive and not something everyone can afford to do. The price the laboratories charge for those tests cannot be changed because they need to earn a living. Do you propose maybe a government subsidy to ease the financial burden of landowners within the proximity of a natural gas well? Or some other method to ensure those landowners don’t feel hopeless, because they cannot afford such expensive tests?

        If those tests can be afforded and a change in water quality is found to be caused by the natural gas, “…the well owner should discuss it with local or state health or environmental protection authorities.” (http://www.ngwa.org/Documents/ClipCopy/Hydraulic_Fracturing_Info_Sheet.pdf). The authorities are notified and it is part of their job to protect you, the landowner, and the environment.

        DEP employee

    • This is a really good point! We, cobalt gas company, are restricted with what we do. The amounts of water that we intake and also what we do with our waste is monitored by environmental agents such as yourself. With the routine inspections, the natural gas drilling will be a bonus without harming the local environment.

  3. The Reason why Hydraulic Fracturing should be banned

    We at the enviromental agency think that fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting natural gas from Shale rock layers deep within the earth. People wonder, if fracking is a safe way to extract natural gas, as an enviroment agency employee I feel the answer is no. Some terrible things about fracking are it causes runoff and erosion at drilling sites it increases sediment and nutrient loads in streams and rivers. This, in turn, can affect habitat quality for plants and animals that live downstream. Since plants and animals cannot tolerate changing water conditions, when a large volume of water is pumped from a stream or from a river, water chemistry can change rapidly. Also temperature may rise and the oxygen levels may drop. During the drilling process the drinking water may become polluted with carity of particles.

    In some ways fracking is good for us, it gives people jobs and we get to use safe natural gas, but it is harming the enviroment surrounding it. Its destroys animals, plants, and pollutes our water. Think about it, would you save money on gas or would you want to breathe fresh air and consume fresh animals, and live a life where you don’t have to worry about there being a tomorrow? Fracking to me is a great way to obtain gas, but being an enviroment agency employee, and an enviromentalist I don’t like the fact that it harms the enviroment.

    From an environmentalist stand point, I feel we should deny the permit to frack on the farm. We feel that fracking causes too many negative effects on the the environment and will do more damage then it will help the environment.

      • We DMIS strongly agree to your statement. There are too many down sides to hydraulic fracking. Although there are some good points to hydraulic fracking like the ones you mentioned we still feel that hydraulic fraking is not safe. Yes it provides jobs but it is still unsafe. There are many more jobs out there that you can look for instead of hydraulic fracking. Also it kills the environment. It destroys animals homes and because of this the animals will die off. If we keep hydraulic fracking then animals will not have any food.

    • As fellow environmental agency employees, we agree with your views on fracking and how it is harmful to the environment. We feel that sediment runoff and water contamination will be increasingly detrimental as well. As you stated, during the fracking process, the water can become contaminated with various chemicals. So, maybe something can be done to alter the fracking process regarding the chemicals being used and their quantity. In conclusion, we agree with your statements on the environmental opposing side of fracking.

      • YOLO, it is undeniable that water contamination “will be increasingly detrimental” but the rules and regulations put forth by environmental agencies and the United States government are there to encourage prevention of such incidences and to ensure if contamination were to occur, it will be fixed. When you say “…the water can become contaminated with various chemicals.” are you referring to the fracking fluid or water supplies (public or private)? Either reference (fracking fluid or water supplies) would be correct in your statement because fracking fluid does contain various chemicals, and water supplies can get contaminated, but agencies and the gas companies have safety measures to try to prevent such thing from occurring and once happened, they have ways to clean it up. It would be most beneficial for everyone, to find an alternative, cleaner way to frack. But with the method they currently use for the fracking process, I doubt they can change any part of their chemical formula in the fluid, or how much of the fluid they use. -DEP employee

    • Think about the existing impacts from the energy industry (acid precip, mercury deposition, coal mine drainage, climate change, etc, etc.) to the site under consideration for drilling. Are the risks & benefits from coal fired powered plants, nuclear power plants, hydropower dams better or worse than from the natural gas industry? Do you oppose any instance of fracing or just at this location? Why?

      • I am also a part of the EPA. I agree on how you feel that water is being contaminated by erosion of water from these sights into our area creeks and streams. It is also causing harsh chemicals that may cause serious side effects being put into our cities water supplies in some areas, causing it to catch fire. Therefore, good job in showing how fracing can be a major issue in our areas environment.

  4. “YOLO”

    Natural gas can be found all over the world in different underground formations, such as sandstone, carbonates and shale. Accessing the gas involves drilling vertical and horizontal wells to the desired target location. Various completion techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing, which we are currently most concerned about, are then used to create an effective connection between the well to the formation, which then provides a pathway for the gas to be produced. Before any hydraulic fracturing process begins, a plan is put in place for drilling and completing the well that must be approved by the regulators of that specific state. The company behind that fracking process then engages key stakeholders, including communities, officials, government agencies and regulators, as plans are being developed.

    Once a target formation has been identified and appropriate land leases have been given to the company drilling, environmental and regulatory data is collected to assess other environmental impacts that are related to the fracking occurring. The permitting process then begins as prescribed by federal, state and local regulatory requirements. Some environmental issues that are associated with fracking include contamination of ground water, air quality issues, management of wastewater and stress on existing water supply. As an employee of the environmental agency, I feel that there is a strong negative side to fracking and I take issue with the fact that chemical disclosure regarding the chemicals used in fracking is not always shared with the general public, especially those who live close to the fracking sites.

    • Dear YOLO, while you bring up a good point on the issues of fracking, the regulations that you mentioned would prevent serious damage to the existing wildlife areas and prevent extreme contamination to the air and water.

    • Dear Yolo
      We have read your statement, and we would like to tell you that we agree with your research. Fracking is bad and not safe, and is devastating to our environment. Thank You

      From Your Good Friends at the Head Offices Of Chief Sosa Inc.

    • I agree with the negative impact on the environment. Fracking can be very dangerous if the companies do it wrong. However the gas companies do not use hydraulic fracking anymore. Also I am not so sure that the companies should publicize the chemicals they use in fracking because many people would make it out as a big deal when really if the fracking is done correctly there is no reason to worry. The companies should let government and town officials know about the chemicals and their impact in case something does go wrong. Where is your group from in the USA? My group is from Canton Pa.

      • Dear Shaletalk2
        I was not aware that companies do not use hydraulic fracking anymore. Where did you obtain this information from? Why do you think it is okay for the local government and town officials to know the types of chemicals used but not ordinary citizens? This issue is a hot topic for many people and many people believe they have a “right to know.”

        • I was wrong on the Hydraulic fracking. To my acknowledgement they weren’t using it anymore but my group member just told me they still use it. I agree with the “right to know” but the fact is people blow things widely out of proportions. As long as someone is aware of the chemicals in case of something happens so they are prepared is what I am okay with, but like you said many people feel the need to know.

          • Dear ShaleTalk2
            It is true that people frequently blow things out of proportion. I think this is because they don’t know all the facts. I believe this is our purpose in this E forum – to share as much information as we can from a variety of viewpoints. Chemicals and their usage and side effects are an area where we all can afford more accurate education. Have you located any resources to help understand the chemicals being used? I found this one:
            http://www.straterra.co.nz/Fracking%20chemicals

  5. Cupcake
    I am currently employed at DCNR; I have been an employee for about ten years. I am working out of Tioga State Forest. As the Marcellus Shale industry is growing bigger and bigger, many people are concerned about the environment and its safety. Some people believe that our environment is at risk due to this new growing industry. The official statement that DCNR has on oil and gas on state lands is as follows, “DCNR supports the sound utilization of oil and gas resources on State Forest lands in a way that is responsive to society’s energy demands and ensures the sustainability of our State Forest system.”

    This statement shows that DCNR will only support the drilling if the forests will still be sustainable. DCNR does have some guidelines that must be followed when drilling. Some of these guidelines include limiting the surface disturbance, pipelines, seismic surveys and ecological features. DCNR also has addressed drilling restrictions and operations. The gas companies do have certain rules that must be followed in order to drill.

    There are two very distinct sides to this issue. Some people believe that Marcellus Shale is a very negative type of drilling. However, others believe that it has many benefits to our society. In reality, there are some pros and cons to this type of drilling. But, it is important to remember that all types of drilling have their negative affects.

    Some pros of Marcellus Shale drilling are that the natural gas produced is a clean energy source. Natural gas also produces less carbon dioxide than coal when it is burned. This would then help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. It would also decrease the amount of respiratory illness such as asthma. This is because there would be less pollution in our air to cause health problems. Marcellus Shale also brings much economic opportunity to the area that is being drilled. Landowners may receive payments from the gas company. The gas company also brings in its employees who spend their money at local stores. Hotels and restaurants especially benefit from this increase.

    One con of Marcellus Shale drilling is the erosion that is caused from the drilling process. The erosion may cause an increase in sediment in the nearby streams and rivers. The aquatic organisms generally suffer the most. Some of them cannot adapt to the new water conditions with the increased sediment. Also, water may be pumped out of the nearby streams and rivers for the drilling process. Nearby wells may also be affected from drilling. The wells can be polluted with contaminants. The construction of new roads can also have a negative impact on the environment. This new construction may have a direct impact on the wildlife nearby. The drilling also causes a decrease in some recreational activities. Some of these activities that are affected are hunting, fishing and hiking.

    The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has reported that in April of last year, the Pennsylvania forests have been considered “well managed”. The Pennsylvania forests have been certified for the fourteenth straight year. This proves that Marcellus Shale has not had a huge negative impact on the forests.

    • I do not agree with some of the pros that you put, because the burning of natural gas does not reduce the amount of greenhouse gases a lot. Could you clarify more on how there is less pollution with drilling? I do agree with all of the cons that you have came up with and wrote out about the Natural gas drilling. Canton Environmental Employees

  6. Chubber-Badger
    As a government agency, the EPA is a major component in how our country operates. We regulate major pollution issues in our nation. If someone is seriously harming our environment, it is our job to stop this from taking place. As a result, we have researched the Marcellus Shale industry on how it is effecting our nations land and water supplies in the Northeastern states through the Allegheny mountain region.

    As an EPA official, I feel that Marcellus Shale is a good source of natural gas for our houses and companies to run on, but it is causing environmental damage. Marcellus Shale drilling, known as fracing, gives many people jobs to help live a sustainable life in maintaining a good lives for their families in supplying the essential sources of food and housing; however, it is causing pollution in our wells that are used for water sources in northeastern American homes. Shale is the type of rock that is deep in the ground that is drilled used thousands of gallons of water from ground water. It is causing water pollution in our water supply in some areas by putting chemicals that may cause the water to catch fire. If people drink this it can cause serious issue in bodily functions. One disfunction that could come of this chemical is certain types of cancers that can seriously effect a human body. The Marcellus Shale system could be a serious issue that can cause life long issue in our homes and environment.

    The extracting of the natural gas from these small pores located inside the earth about a mile down. This is a newer process that is made up by many different technologies that make it possible for this fracing to take place. Therefore, our area of study to protect our environment has been ongoing to see how fracing effects our environmental resources. Also, for fracing to take place many procedures have to be done. Many times these companies have to clear the land to set up for their drilling, which can seriously effect the animal life and plant life in that certain area. It also costs thousands of dollars to start the fracing process.

    Being a part of the EPA, I am a part of the government area that was part of enacting the law making petroleum and chemical companies pay taxes on the chemicals that they use and put into our environment because they may be endangering the health of our population and environments. Being a part of this, the rest of the EPA and I made sure that these taxes these companies paid went to a good cause. Many times we made them into donations for special environmental organizations and charities.

    My job is also to make sure that hazardous waste areas are shut down so I can help protect our environment from these dangers. As a result, if our environment in the area of the Marcellus Shale companies is becoming a major threat to our environment it is my job to help stop it from taking place, or to find a solution to the problem. Therefore, from what I see from what has been taking place from the fracing procedure, it is causing water supply issues and quality that is becoming a hazard to our environment in the northern Allegheny region of the United States.

  7. Marcellus Shale Gas Development is murdering our environment. By drilling into the land it is clearing forest as well as the habitats for animals. Also with runoff erosion , this can affect the streams and rivers. The streams and river can then affect the animals and plants that live in and around the rivers. Theses sites have no good outcome for our environment and we should find ways to stop more sites from being created. If we keep clearing trees and letting them clear trees then we will soon be in a world where trees will be rare too see.

    Streams and rivers are the main source for plants and animals to get water. If these streams are contaminated with just one drop of chemicals there could be bad consequences for our environment. This can cause rising temperatures and even can kill off the aquatic animals.

    In order for the sites to be able to get the natural gas to the market they have to drill to make pipelines and also to make miles of roads. With all of this construction they eliminate more trees and more habitats for animals. These sites are not just affecting the habitats they drilled on but also the thousands miles of pipelines and roads they have to make affect their habitats too.

    People need to go back to the good old days when instead of needing our computers or cell phones we just would read and write. This would eliminate the demands for these drilling sites because people would not need energy. By lessening our intake of energy use each day we can help save an animals habitat. We should live off the land not destroy it.
    I fight for the trees not the people. Trees are way more important than natural gases. Trees help build habitats for animals and give them food. They also give us wood which helps us make fires and helps us builds houses. The list can go on but in the end we need trees more then we need these drilling sites.

    • Tree Hugger -Schindler, just wanted to confirm if you are representing the view of a conservation organization, or an environmental employee? Please advise and I’ll relocate the paper if needed.

      • Tree hugger,
        You show many good points on why these sites should be put to an end. They are causing serious issues in polluting our streams and taking away our trees, which are animals homes. However, i feel that there are some good outcomes to these sites, but many of them have more to do with bettering our money and job systems in the area. Therefore, even though you posted this in the wrong area, you had good points on how these shale sites cause damage to our environment.

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