A new “peer reviewed” article in the Journal of Environmental Quality is sure to set the anti-drillers afire with new “ammunition” that hydraulic fracturing may well mean the end of civilization. Invoking images of moonscapes, here is a press release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) announcing the publication of an article from one of their members:
Crystal Stroud of Granville Summit (Bradford County), PA has been the darling of the anti-fracking movement for the past few months. MDN reported on her appearance at an anti-fracking rally in Harrisburg in early June (see here). Crystal and her 4-year old son were found to have high levels of barium in their bodies, leading to a number of symptoms like heart palpitations, slurred speech, etc. Crystal blames Chief Oil & Gas and a nearby gas well they had drilled about 1,200 feet from her home. She said that her well water has been contaminated from Chief’s drilling operation. Was this finally the smoking gun that gas drilling pollutes ground water?
Another chapter in the ongoing saga of Morgantown, WV. For those who have not followed the story, Morgantown city council members took it upon themselves to ban hydraulic fracturing outside of the city limits—up to one mile—which they say is allowable under a West Virginia law that grants cities the right to exceed their boundaries in certain circumstances. The council members are concerned that two Marcellus gas wells that will be hydraulically fractured are too close to the city’s water supply and the risks are too great.
The drilling company, Northeast Energy, says the state DEP issued permits for those two wells and that Northeast has worked with the city every step of the way to ensure there will be no problems, and that the city at the last minute changed their tune. Northeast has sued to overturn Morgantown’s ban, and if that doesn’t work, they want compensation not only for their lost investment, but also for potential lost revenue.
The permitting process for some (many?) Marcellus Shale gas wells in Pennsylvania will take longer than it previously did because of a lawsuit brought by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation against the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP has just settled the lawsuit agreeing to more stringent guidelines for granting drilling permits near “pristine” mountain streams.