Study Claims Listening to Fracking Will Make Ya Sick – a Joke?

Is it April Fool’s Day? Wait, no, it’s January 4th, not April 1st. But honestly, we thought it must be a joke to read that scientists doing “research” claim that living close to a fracking site will make you sick. Not from air pollution. Not from water pollution. But from noise pollution. Yep, loud noises nearby cause things like “stress” and “annoyance” and even diabetes (!) according to Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSEHE) and Michael McCawley, the interim chair of the Occupational and Environmental Health Department at West Virginia University. The study, titled “Public health implications of environmental noise associated with unconventional oil and gas development,” goes for the jugular–making a case for stricter regulations and larger setbacks (i.e. less drilling). Yet, the researchers don’t do any of their own in-the-field research! They rely on out-of-date research done by others. And they show no causal link between health impacts and shale drilling in the “study”…
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Who Ya Gonna Call? PA DEP (Noise) Ghostbusters!

ghostbustersThe Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection is wading into an area that’s likely best left to towns and municipalities: regulation of noise coming from Marcellus Shale drilling operations. The DEP wants drillers to craft a site-specific plan for noise mitigation for each and every well pad they drill. Problem is, the DEP won’t give drillers any standards against which to devise their plans. That is, the DEP isn’t willing to say “this loud is too loud at this distance from the drill site.” Drillers are understandably confused. How do you draw up a plan with no standards/no regulations? The DEP says noise is a funny thing–it can carry in one place but not another. They claim you can’t draw up hard and fast guidelines. One noise expert says trying to figure out the source of noise (and how to prevent it) is “sort of chasing ghosts”…
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Is MWCD Lease for Piedmont Lake, OH with Antero a Good Thing?

MDN previously reported that as early as this Friday the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) will vote to approve a proposed lease that would allow Antero Resources to drill around, and even under, Piedmont Lake (see MWCD Close to Signing Utica Lease for Piedmont Lake, OH Property). We told you yesterday that a lawsuit to prevent drilling at another MWCD property–Seneca Lake–is proceeding, which begs the question, will something similar happen with the Piedmont Lake deal (see Anti-Drillers Win Minor Victory Against Muskingum Watershed Dist)?

MDN was contacted by a reader who lives in the Piedmont Lake area–Eric Fenster. Eric seems like a reasonable guy–not adamantly opposed to all shale drilling. But he is concerned about what may happen if Antero leases and begins to drill in the Piedmont Lake area. Eric tells MDN he lives a few miles from an active drill site (not under MWCD oversight) and has personally experienced 24/7 truck traffic, noise and flaring from that site. He’s not excited about more of it near where he lives. Eric’s chief concern is that the lease as proposed is essentially unenforceable when it comes to industrialization concerns like truck traffic, noise and lights. He believes the MWCD has the right to enter into the lease legally, but he views such an agreement as an abuse of MWCD’s stewardship and authority. We bring you Eric’s viewpoint (below) not because we agree or endorse it, but because he’s one of the few who respectfully wants to argue the opposing viewpoint and make a case for his views based on logic and reason. We appreciate that. You decide if his arguments have merit…
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‘Noise Solutions’ for Drilling/Compressor Plants Locates in NWPA

Here’s a feel good supply chain story. A privately held Canadian company that in 1997 innovated a way to make industrial operations–like noisy compressor plants–quieter, wanted to build a manufacturing plant here in the U.S.–near the oil and gas industry that will use their innovative products. So where did Scott MacDonald, president and CEO of Noise Solutions, look? The northeast of course–Marcellus and Utica territory. He considered New York, but the taxes are way too high and the shale drilling non-existent. He also considered West Virginia and Ohio, which were good choices. But MacDonald settled on Sharon (Mercer County), PA as the new home for a plant that already employs 35 people and is on it’s way to employing 125 or more.

MacDonald and Noise Solutions will spend $5 million to renovate the former Winner International warehouse where the company chose to set up shop. That investment along with the ripple effect of full-time employees paying local and state taxes (and spending much of their paychecks in the local community) gives Sharon a big “economic stimulus” courtesy of this Canadian company. Here’s more about Noise Solutions and their new operation in Sharon, PA…
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Quieter Drilling, Compressor Plants on the Way in the Northeast

Noise Solutions Inc., headquartered in Alberta, Canada, makes buildings, walls and enclosures that keep the noise down. They like to say they make communities quieter, and they’ve been doing it since 1997. One of the primary markets for Noise Solutions is the oil and gas industry. They recently announced an expansion into the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, setting up a new facility in Sharon (Mercer County), PA. Noise Solutions has already hired 30 employees at the new facility with plans to have 125-200 employees hired in the next three years. This is great news for the Marcellus/Utica drilling industry and for Mercer County.

Noise Solutions’ recent announcement:
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Halcon Drilling 2 More Wells Near Lordstown, OH

Lights! Action! Noise! … No, it’s not the set of a Hollywood movie, but the resumption of drilling at a Utica Shale well site near Lordstown (Trumbull County), OH. Halcon Resources drilled one well at the “Kibler” site earlier this year, and during the drilling, neighbors complained about the nighttime noise and lights. That first Kibler well was so successful for Halcon, they’re back to drill two more on the same pad. This time, however, they double-dog promise to reduce the noise and lights by erecting a sound barrier and using directed lighting.

Still, some of the neighbors are not impressed and say they’d feel better if Halcon just walked over and talked to them about their plans…
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Trumbull County, OH Residents Upset with Nearby Utica Well Noise

A Utica Shale well being drilled by Halcon Resources in Trumbull County–the Kibler 1H well–is causing problems for nearby residents of the Westwood Lake mobile home park. The chief complaint is the loud noise from the well due to flaring (burning off initial waste coming from the newly drilled borehole). Residents are also concerned about possible air pollution, and they’ve asked the Trumbull County Commissioners board to investigate and enact new zoning ordinances…
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Trumbull County Mobile Home Park Doesn’t Like Utica Drilling

The down sides of drilling, if you happen to live close to a drill site, are noise, flood lights for working at night, and truck traffic. Residents of the Westwood Lake Mobile Home Park in Trumbull County, OH can attest to that. The good news is, drilling only lasts a short time—typically a month or less. Still, someone banging on your door at 3 a.m. in the morning is a bit much…

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New Product Reduces Noise from Pipeline Compressor Stations

Principle Energy Services, a Texas-based company with offices and operations in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions, has just launched a new product/service called Whisper Noise Enclosures™ that it says will drastically cut noise coming from compressor stations.

Calling it a “game changing solution,” here’s the Principle press release announcing their new service:

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New Service Reduces Noise at Drill Sites, Compressor Plants

Drilling may get a bit quieter for some in the Marcellus (and other shale plays) if Principle Energy Services has their way. Principle—with fabrication facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas—has just launched a new service to mitigate (reduce) noise in and around drilling sites and compressor plants—so it doesn’t bother the neighbors quite so much.

Here’s the press release from Principle announcing their new service:

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NY Drilling Delayed Again: Public Comment Period on New Regulations Delayed by DEC’s Joe Martens for Additional Month, Maybe Longer

detourOnce again New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens has delayed the start of Marcellus gas drilling—this time by at least an additional 30 days, maybe longer. The “nearly” final draft drilling regulations, called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), were released on July 8 (originally supposed to be released July 1 as ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo). At that time, Mr. Martens said there would be a 60-day public comment period that would begin in August. Then the DEC would review those comments, tweak the regulations, and issue the final regulations sometime late this year.

The 60-day public comment period will now not begin until “late summer,” which in DEC-speak means September. Why?

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Western PA Township Makes a Run at Banning Marcellus Shale Drilling Using Noise Ordinance

Administrators of North Huntingdon Township, PA (Westmoreland County), are attempting to control drilling in the Marcellus Shale within their borders. They acknowledge that Pennsylvania state courts have already ruled local municipalities cannot outright ban drilling, so the North Huntingdon planning commission is attempting to place restrictions that would greatly curtail drilling in the Township. The current draft regulations—yet to be voted on—focus on noise:

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