Marcellus Shale Drill Cuttings Pay for New Equipment, Training for First Responders in Bradford County, PA

One more economic benefit from Marcellus shale drilling in Pennsylvania: Shale cuttings, the bits of rock that are left over after drilling gas wells in the Marcellus Shale, are paying for new equipment and training for first responders in Bradford County, PA.

A new Bradford County program, which will distribute approximately $25,000 in county funds each year to local volunteer fire departments and volunteer ambulance services, is now being launched, county officials announced on Thursday.

The program, called the Bradford County Volunteer Emergency Responders Grant Program, is a competitive grant program that will provide grants of up to $10,000 to volunteer fire departments or ambulance services in Bradford County, according to a press release from the Bradford County commissioners.

The grants are funded by the Northern Tier Solid Waste Authority’s revenue from the disposal of Marcellus Shale drill cuttings, the press release said. The county receives a $3 a ton share of the proceeds and 25 percent of those proceeds are dedicated to the Bradford County Volunteer Emergency Responders Grant Program, the release said.*

*The Daily Review (Feb 18) – Bradford County launches grant program to assist fire companies, ambulance services

  • Beth

    Well- this is also just in from Bradford county! It’s not all unicorns and rainbows out there, Jim.

    This just in from the Towanda Daily Review….

    In Bradford County, one of the Pennsylvania counties experiencing the highest volume of Marcellus well drilling (although no where near approaching full build out), Republican candidates for County Commissioner held a forum last night.

    “Republican Doug McLinko, who is running for re-election as a Bradford County commissioner, said that the ‘traffic is incredible’ in Bradford County, and is much heavier than it was anticipated to be.”

    “John Morningstar, coordinator of the Bradford County TEA Party Patriots, said at the meeting that he wanted to see a reduction in the pace at which permits for drilling gas wells are issued in Bradford County, which he said would reduce the traffic congestion in the county and would provide time to assess what damage is being done to the ground water by drilling.”

    “North Towanda Fire Chief Terry Sheets has said the traffic congestion on Route 6 in Wysox Township is preventing firefighters from getting to the scene of emergencies in a timely manner, because they can’t get to their fire stations quickly enough.”

    Someone questioned whether perhaps the state could address the traffic congestion by building a new road for the industry truck traffic. “In response to Miller’s question, Smith had said there is “just no money” in Harrisburg for a large-scale solution to the traffic congestion on Route 6 in Wysox Township, such as the construction of a bypass.” **

    **Even if there was taxpayer money, why should the taxpayers have to subsidize the industry’s use of the PUBLIC roads?

  • Jim Willis

    Thanks Beth. Now what do you have against unicorns and rainbows? 😉

    On a serious note, you get no argument from me that drillers must be held to account when it comes to road damage and traffic. If their trucks, the heaviness of them and the frequency with which they travel, are causing road damage, they should pay to repair the damage.

    But don’t forget with the “bad” comes a lot of good: Many jobs created, and tax revenues flowing into local and state coffers, from both the drilling companies and from the people who work for them. Balance is the key. Figure out a way to have the drillers help pay for the damage, but for the right to have good paying jobs and extra revenue, be prepared from some inconveniences along the way.

  • mcbetsy

    You say that like I want the “good paying jobs and extra revenue.” I don’t. I shouldn’t have to be prepared for those inconveniences. I don’t use natural gas, don’t need natural gas, don’t want natural gas. Thanks anyway. I like my neighborhood just the way it is without all the traffic.

    We had a vertical well drilled about 2 miles from us. I heard it all night and all day for months. The trucks drove up and down the road constantly and this wasn’t even a fracked well. They destroyed the sides of the roads to the point that they collapsed into the ditch. It was not pleasant to travel on or be around. I can imagine that a fracked well will be considerably more taxing on our neighborhood. It isn’t even so much a matter of needing them to pay for the damage. It’s living with the traffic while it’s happening. Gas companies don’t OWN this world you know. We own our land…we have a right to live on it peacefully without having this sort of inconvenience.

  • Jim Willis

    Let me be frank with you Beth, like I would with a good friend–the world does not revolve around you. You live in a community, and there are other people who do benefit from the drilling–many of them in fact. All of the things you describe were for a relatively short period of time. Yes, it was inconvenient–get over it! The trucks are now gone and life goes on.

    Where I live (in NY) my immediate neighborhood has just gone through two years of the installation of a local sewage plant. Roads dug up, traffic delays, noise right outside our window before it’s light out, flat tires from sharp rocks, etc. Two years!! And it’s still not 100% done. But the entire area will benefit when this is finished–so I and my family live with the inconvenience until that day.

    No, gas companies don’t own the land, but there’s a larger picture–energy. Our country needs it to not only advance, but just to survive, and oil and gas from abroad is becoming less available, not more available. If you don’t want to one day pay half of your income for electricity and oil or gas (however you heat your home), something has to change. This gas drilling is necessary. For some a necessary evil. For others, a good.

  • dave

    If all the pains you have with the traffic and noise gives you a break in taxes down the line maybe that will help , But what I see is a selfish person who most probably doesn’t have any horse in the race

  • Beth

    Actually, we don’t heat our home with oil, electricity, OR gas. Thanks for bringing that up. You know, I don’t have anything against drilling for natural gas. What I am not willing to do is to let companies that have only an interest in cutting corners to make money for their shareholders (their ONLY purpose as according to the very definition of a corporation) insisting that FRACKING is a safe way to do it. It’s a cheap way to do it for them, especially if they defy ordinances and cut corners. Energy companies make more money than ANY other type of corporation on this planet…ANY. They have the money to create advanced technologies that yes, may cost them a bit more in the long run, but quite frankly, I’m not getting out any violins for them. I don’t care if it costs them more to do it safely and without destroying natural resources (water supplies, poisoning our land with truck pollutants and chemicals from process) and wasting them at the same time.

    It is within their budgets to make environmentally sound processes available to get to the gas. They choose the cheap, the quick, and the destructive because they and their shareholders don’t have to live with the aftermath. And yes, Jim, on my 100 acres, the world does revolve around me. Thanks for bringing that up too.

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