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Tuesday October 30th in Philadelphia: SHALE –The StateImpact Story

October 25, 2012

WHYY is hosting a public forum, “Shale: The StateImpact Story” this coming Tuesday, October 30th in Philadelphia at 7 pm, at 150 North 6th Street, Philadelphia PA 19106. Please come, please RSVP now, and please be prepared to raise substantive issues regarding the impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale.

Do you favor a moratorium or ban statewide in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states? You can use literally thousands of facts on this blog and our links, including the fact-sheet on Toxic Release Inventory issues posted below this invitation. Don’t let this discussion be blase: this is our only water, our only air, our only climate, and our only future we are talking about here. Our Pennsylvania neighbors, in Susquehanna, Bradford, Butler, Washington, Fayette, Tioga and other counties are sometimes getting sick; watching too many animals sicken and die; having their water and air ruined and their wild places despoiled.

Please RSVP now. The Marcellus Shale Coalition has been doing aggressive outreach in the Philadelphia area; hired Sentator Anthony Williams’ wife, in fact, to lead their outreach efforts; and even tried to shut our Shale Gas Outrage website down in an effort to silence the science, the voices of impacted people, and avoid the responsible coalition of caution. We wonder whether MSC has their sights set on Philly as an LNG export port? Why all this aggressive attention on Philly? In any case, we can be sure the audience will include those whose intention is not to inform, but to misinform. Be there.

WHYY’s Susan Phillips
WITF’s Scott Detrow, WHYY’s online home for news and information, invites you to visit our Philadelphia studios on Tuesday, October 30th for Shale: The StateImpact Story.

RSVP Online>>> or call (215) 351-0511 to register by phone.

StateImpact Pennsylvania reporters Susan Phillips and Scott Detrow will be on hand for a riveting discussion of energy issues; covering the fiscal and environmental impact of Pennsylvania’s booming energy economy, with a focus on Marcellus Shale drilling. The discussion will be moderated by Chris Satullo, WHYY’s Vice President for News & Civic Dialogue and will be opened for audience participation.

Shale: The StateImpact Story
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Doors Open 7:00 p.m.

Panel Discussion 7:15 p.m.
WHYY Hamilton Public Media Commons
150 N. 6th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

This event is FREE for WHYY members and one guest, but registration is required. Non-Members can reserve one seat with a $5 donation to WHYY, or can reserve two seats by becoming a WHYY Member (and supporting great public media programming) for as little as $5/month.

Join/Renew | Tell a Friend | Follow NewsWorks on Facebook and TwitterWHYY | 150 N. Sixth St. | Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | (215) 351-0511

Toxic Releases During Extraction and Processing

Need a few reminders about what exactly is spewing into our environment, including into our lungs, during drilling, fracking, and processing? The excerpts below are from the Environmental Integrity Project’s fact sheet on the oil and gas industry, in case you missed it:

A congressional report based on voluntary disclosures by the industry found that the industry regularly uses products containing at least forty-five TRI-listed chemicals, the most common of which are: methanol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol.

Other TRI pollutants released when gas is flared or vented to the environment include benzene (a known carcinogen), hydrogen sulfide, and n-hexane.

EPA estimates that the industry emits at least 127,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants every year, including benzene, xylenes, and hydrogen sulfide.  This is more than any TRIreporting industry except electric utilities, and equivalent to thirty percent of the total release of hazardous air pollutants reported to the TRI for 2010.

EPA has also estimated that the average natural gas wellhead leaks hazardous air pollutants at a rate of 0.671 tons per year. Considering that the general TRI reporting threshold is 10,000 pounds per year, a small group of wellheads, along with the emissions of their associated components such as tanks and waste pits, could easily surpass this threshold in air releases alone. This is particularly true when considered with respect to emissions of naphthalene, an EPA-designated “persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemical” that has a threshold of only 100 pounds per year.

EPA investigations in Pavillion, Wyoming, and Dimock, Pennsylvania found TRI-listed chemicals and methane present in groundwater and drinking water wells near natural gas development. In Pavillion, these pollutants included benzene forty-nine times higher than EPA’s drinking water standards, and the Dimock investigation detected multiple TRI-listed chemicals in fifty-seven of fifty-seven wells sampled.

Please read this fact sheet, and use this and other fact-packed and news-packed websites to prepare your comments and questions at this important event. Fracking is ghoulish, and allowing so many toxic secrets to abound — from gag orders and non-disclosure clauses to the entire Halliburton Loophole — is not the kind of scare we want to enjoy this close to Halloween.

Exporting Fracked Gas: LNG

Make sure to place the issue of exporting fracked gas front and center, as well. Here is a link to 19 pending and approved LNG export facilities in the U.S. right now. The multinational corporations which have been pumping millions into their “public relations” schemes for years, selling us the notion that all this gas is so patriotic, for “beneficial use,” have actually signed huge contracts to ship it overseas — with even greater environmental impact, especially on climate — to take advantage of vastly higher prices in Europe and Asia, which will raise prices here too.  Do we want to become an export colony? We’ve seen what U.S. multinationals have done to Nigeria, to Ecuador, and elsewhere. Neither our state nor federal government is, in fact, protecting us. Fracked gas is what’s happening instead of the desperately needed transition away from fossil fuels. We are about out of time.

Regulations, best practices? Haven’t seen ’em…

Pennsylvania, industry insiders say, is the laughingstock of the fracking industry itself for our extraordinary lack of regulation. Practices allowed by PA DEP which save the industry money and hurt us all, include: repetitive flaring to the atmosphere; open frack pits lined with plastic, containing toxic radioactive waste; and toxic brine dumping on our roads.

Even if these particularly criminal practices were stopped tomorrow, however, the climate impacts from the full life-cycle of high-volume fracking, and the immediate and long-term threat to our groundwater and surface water from all phases of drilling and fracking, which is inherently contaminating, are argument enough for a moratorium now.

Economic Benefits?

Word is out that Penn State has quietly stopped churning out its long series of industry-funded “research papers” which used bogus numbers with fabricated multipliers to exaggerate the economic benefits — particularly the number of jobs — provided by the “boom” phase of this boom and bust industry. Financial analyst Deborah Rogers, Economist Janette Barth and others have convincingly shown that the economic harms outweigh the short-term economic benefits of shale gas drilling. Most of those seem to be going to politicians, lobbying firms and ad agencies, anyway: see “New Report: Natural Gas Industry has Spent More than 23 Million to Influence PA Elected Officials” (Common Cause).

One Comment
  1. Mark Schmerling permalink
    October 25, 2012 10:25 am


    If I’m not working (on election issues) that evening, I’ll be there.


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