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Constitution Pipeline Hearing; West Chester Victory; Dehydrator Station Action

October 19, 2012

Constitution Pipeline Purveyors Evasive

photo by Wendy Lynne Lee

Please consider coming to Oneonta, New York next Wednesday, October 24th to resist the 121-mile Constitution Pipeline. To get a sense of just how evasive the pipeline purveyors are being, view this short, brilliantly edited video by Bill Huston of ShaleShock Media: “Yes or No? Constitution Pipeline, Williams Compressor Station, and October 24th.”

The builders of the Williams Central Compressor Station in Susquehanna County, PA, which is clearly the beginning of the 121-mile Constitution Pipeline, appear interested in denying that fact. Denial is crucial in order for them to avoid federal regulation of the compressor station. Yes, this is the compressor station which according to Williams’ calculations would emit “only” 98,810 tons of greenhouse gasses per year; 100,000 tons /year would trigger EPA regulation.

All compressor stations create toxic emissions to our air, increasing ground-level (harmful) ozone, asthma, and lung disease. People living near compressor stations have experienced nose bleeds, headaches, sore throats and other persistent symptoms; some have joined the ranks of those displaced by shale gas drilling operations, from Texas to Pennsylvania.

According to Lynda Farrell of the Pipeline Safety Coalition, fracked gas pipelines have a leakage rate of 7 – 9%, a huge but acceptable loss to the gas drillers and pipeline companies which are not required to seal leaks to prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is 72 – 105 times more potent a global warming gas than carbon dioxide.

Victory in West Chester

This past Wednesday, October 17th, the West Chester Borough Council unanimously passed a Resolution opposing Act 13’s pre-emption clause, becoming the 72nd municipality to do so in Pennsylvania. The West Chester Resolution passed on the same day the PA Supreme Court heard arguments against Act 13. The Act 13 pre-emption clause, which stripped PA municipalities of the right to zone, halt, or ban oil and gas operations, applies to pipelines as well as to all phases of gas drilling from well-head to waste handling.

West Chester, in Chester County, PA, appears unlikely to experience active drilling and fracking, although according to the Pipeline Safety Coalition, part of Chester County has a gas-bearing shale layer thought to be inaccessible and unworthy of exploration by drillers. However, Chester County is likely to be subjected to substantial pipeline construction, bringing with it a host of health and safety hazards as well as environmental impacts.

Sounding an Alarm: Dehydrator Station protest, part of National Day of Action

Rebecca Roter, resident of Susquehanna County, PA, reported this week:

Residents from the shale sacrifice zones of PA and NY — from Ithaca, NY and from Columbia, Luzerne, Wyoming and Susquehanna counties, Pennsylvania — participated in “Occupy the Pipeline” National Day of Action this past Monday, October 15th, 2012 at the PVR Natural Gas Dehydrator Station in Beaumont PA. Please see the two newspaper articles that covered our spontaneous grassroots protest….and a youtube link:

Times Leader, “Sounding an alarm: group questions natural gas industry’s practices,” October 16th, 2012

Citizens’ Voice, “Anti-fracking advocates hold protest” October 16th, 2012

(The youtube link is embedded in Comments, here.)

photo by Wendy Lynne Lee

While air pollution is a key concern in relation to dehydrator stations, hydrocarbons have also been found in groundwater and soil near dehydration stations. For example, an environmental remediation publication reports,

At a gas dehydrator station near Manteca, California, petroleum hydrocarbons were discovered in soil and groundwater at concentrations approaching 10,000 mg/kg and 100 mg/L respectively. The petroleum hydrocarbons included both gasoline and diesel range compounds and are believed to be from natural gas condensates that were removed from the gas during the dehydration process.

Wendy Lynne Lee appeared on-site at the PVR dehydrator station protest this past Monday and published a strong photo-essay about it. Please see “Occupy a Pipeline, PVR / Chief Dehydrator, Beaumont, PA.” Wendy points out that PVR is the same corporation which evicted over 32 families from their homes in Riverdale, PA. PVR destroyed an intact community in order to withdraw Susquehanna River water to sell to the fracking industry. Wendy also states with poignance,

It’s flabbergasting that beautiful pictures of beautiful people and beautiful places can come from moments in time that expose destruction and tragedy.

Please see Wendy’s short photo-essay here at ShaleShock Media.

photo by Wendy Lynne Lee

And don’t forget to come to Oneonta on Tuesday, October 24th if you are able:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beginning at 7:00-10:00 pm EDT

Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center Atrium

24 Market Street

Oneonta, New York 13820

More information here.

  1. October 22, 2012 10:24 am

    Just to prevent some confusion–since the photograph you’ll see is not Bill Huston’s but mine once you click on the above link to Shaleshock: ( While I am wholly flattered to be mistaken for “photo documentarian” Bill Huston, all of the photographs above are from the protest at the Chief/PVR dehydrator station, and they’re actually mine. The “strong photo essay’ is also entirely mine. I am tremendously flattered that POW thinks the words “It’s flabbergasting that beautiful pictures of beautiful people and beautiful places can come from moments in time that expose destruction and tragedy” are “poignant,” especially given how tired I was that night when I drafted them–and I still had to work (with Dierdre Lolley) on a press release for that event.

    Among the reasons I point this out here is that–as we all know–it’s very important that we are all very careful about our facts. We don’t want to give the frackers any excuse at all to accuse us of failing to get something right–even when it’s attribution. They’ll take any shot they can. So THANK YOU IRIS BLOOM for getting this important protest and photographs up on POW. I appreciate it greatly. And I’ll bet Bill does too! 🙂

    Wendy Lynne Lee

  2. Iris Marie Bloom permalink
    October 23, 2012 12:03 pm

    Hey Wendy, thanks so much for addressing the confusion I originally created by mis-attributing your blog post to Bill Huston! I am usually a stickler but was working too fast, saw the ShaleShockMedia link and thought it was his. (Our bylines appear right above every post so I somehow missed that byline of yours, off to the right! Sorry!) We fixed it — each photo has been attributed and we corrected it in the text also. Thanks for commenting; for your work and photos, and for your dedication to getting the word out.

    • October 23, 2012 12:58 pm

      ALl to the good Iris. Now if you had mistaken me for Tom Shepstone or Mike Knapp–well, THAT I might not have been thrilled about. But BIll Huston? Fine. 🙂


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