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Falcon Public EIA Project feature image

Wingspan of the Falcon Pipeline

A Public EIA of Shell’s Ethane Cracker Pipeline

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Jan. 29 – FracTracker Alliance has released a detailed environmental impact assessment (EIA), including digital maps, of the Falcon Ethane Pipeline being built to feed Shell Appalachia’s ethylene cracker plant in Beaver County, PA.

FracTracker’s Falcon Public EIA Project offers a rich series of interactive maps and articles detailing the Falcon’s proposed route through PA, WV, and OH, likely impacts to waterways, potential blast zones, ecological footprint, proximity to hazardous industrial areas, and more.

Given the issues associated with Mariner East 2 – a PA-based natural gas liquids pipeline whose history has been fraught with citations, public scrutiny is a crucial facet of pipeline construction. The Falcon Public EIA Project represents the first time that public stakeholders have been given such a significant amount of time and detail to investigate a proposed pipeline, including access to specific location information. Public comments are being accepted by the PA Department of Environmental Protection on the Falcon’s permit until February 20th.

“Companies are generally not required to publicly disclose GIS data when applying for permits,” remarked Kirk Jalbert, project lead and Manager of Community Based Research and Engagement at FracTracker. “While concerned citizens can stitch together paper maps provided by companies in their applications, that process can be complex and very labor intensive.”

With FracTracker’s project, however, digital maps and figures are front and center.

Early access to what is being proposed for the Falcon pipeline will enable nearby communities to better understand how its construction and the associated ethane cracker facility, which will produce 1 million tons of ethylene annually for making plastics, will affect their lives. Upon analyzing the data, FracTracker uncovered a number of particularly noteworthy statistics, for example:

  • There are 97.5 miles of pipeline proposed to be built through 22 townships in 3 states.
  • 2,000 properties have been surveyed; 765 easements executed.
  • Falcon will intersect 319 streams and 174 wetlands, with hundreds more proximate to work areas.
  • 550 family residences, 20 businesses, 240 groundwater wells, 12 public parks, 5 schools, 6 daycare centers, and 16 emergency response centers are within potential risk areas.
  • Learn more

“Extreme levels of risk and injustice are commonplace in petrochemical pipeline siting, as well as in where their contents come from and how they get used. This project provides context for the importance of reducing these impacts, both for curtailing environmentally unfriendly plastics as well as for moving away from fossil fuel dependencies,” said Brook Lenker, Executive Director of FracTracker.

The Falcon Public EIA Project is meant to expand public dialogue about what should be included in EIAs and how they should apply to petrochemical pipelines. The project also serves as a model for how regulatory agencies can be more transparent with data when engaging the public. This is especially important in the case of the Falcon pipeline, which will be exempt from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) scrutiny and, therefore, not be subject to a full environmental impact assessment.

A Tale of Two “Gas Rush Stories”

Kirsi Jansa in her element

Many people may have seen or are familiar with Gas Rush Stories, a series of short documentaries about natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. According to the website, these stories are important to tell because “whether we live near a drilling site or downstream, whether we receive royalties or paychecks from a gas company, we are all impacted by this gas drilling in ways good and bad.” But how many of you know how Gas Rush Stories came to be? How many actually know the woman behind the curtain, Kirsi Jansa? If you have ever coordinated an event or been a speaker at one like I have, you have most certainly run into a wonderfully impassioned Finn standing behind her video equipment. Here is her Gas Rush Story…

A few weeks ago I sat down with Kirsi to get a better understanding of her work. Originally, I thought she was an extreme advocate against natural gas drilling, but like many other people with that perception, I was way off. Looking back, I don’t even know where I developed that idea about this energetic and passionate journalist.  Kirsi has been covering environmental and public health issues for some time. A couple of years ago, she saw the need to develop a forum for people to share their experiences of this new industrial development in the northeastern United States. She sold the pilot idea as a project to the Finnish Broadcasting Company. The project eventually evolved into a series of documentaries on shale gas that presented various facets of the issue. She continues the project to this day and is looking for additional funding to develop an extension of the series called Rethinking Energy Stories.

It’s all who you know – and who you can access

Unfortunately, as those of us who work in this field know, the climate that surrounds unconventional natural gas drilling is tense at best. Kirsi has found it very difficult to access people with the true know-how. She says that the culture in the U.S. does not support bridging the gaps between industry, regulators, academia, and the public. (If you follow U.S. politics you will see this behavior mirrored in the inability or unwillingness of many politicians to work across party lines.) As a result of this barrier, many of her initial short videos showcase the negative aspects of drilling – partly because that is who agreed to speak publicly about it at the time and partly because that is where she saw the gaps in information being presented. Trouble accessing industry and regulatory experts only intensified when her stories were slammed as “advocacy-ridden.” Kirsi believes that her personal opinion on whether drilling should continue is irrelevant to the experiences being presented. “Even though I have concerns and critical questions, I want to you tell your story,” she relayed to me during our frank conversation. Through sheer persistence and fortitude, Kirsi later was able to cover other perspectives and issues such as frac fluid recycling with Reserved Environmental Services (RES), water management with engineering professor, Dr. Radisav Vidic, and even a short documentary in Germany.

In Need of a Transparent Dialogue

Kirsi feels that the lack of transparency inhibits true participation in the public dialogue regarding the nature of unconventional natural gas drilling. People need unbiased sources of information that allow them to develop their own opinions organically. The problem is that there seems to be no neutral party in this game, since all of us involved live and work in this economy. Unconventional natural gas extraction may offer many benefits (economic boosts, domestic energy production) but also many drawbacks (environmental spills and pollution, health risks). Through her stories, Kirsi hopes to highlight the need for us to listen to each other in order to develop a broader, more comprehensive picture of such a complicated issue.

Check out the Gas Rush Stories series here: www.gasrushstories.com, with additional videos on Kirsi’s vimeo page.

The Changes that Autumn Brings

by Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

FracTracker Alliance Logo

New Logo

FracTracker continues to evolve to meet the growing demands of a nation – and world – confronted with unconventional gas and oil drilling and the accompanying challenges. The summer of 2012 has been a busy one, and while it’s officially ended, it heralded several new beginnings for FracTracker.org.

FracTracker has incorporated and filed for nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service.  The organization’s name is the FracTracker Alliance. The word alliance was chosen because it illustrates that we are ‘allied’ in a ceaseless quest with others to obtain, analyze, map, and share insightful and objective information relating to every facet of shale gas activity.  While we appreciate the strong foundation that the University of Pittsburgh provided us, we’re now an independent entity and hope to thrive in service of a public that can benefit from the resources we provide. This change wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation and affirmation of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies who is our administrative host or, for the legal junkies, our supported organization. Nor would it have been achievable without the faith and financial support of the Heinz Endowments, an ongoing champion of FracTracker.

A strong organization needs a strong Board of Directors, and we have a winning lineup. John Dawes, Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, serves as our President. Mike Kane, President of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is our first Treasurer. From the gas fields of Colorado, we’ve recruited Judy Jordan to be Secretary, a private consultant with a wealth of experience on shale gas issues and non-profit management. (Update: May 1, 2013 – Judy Jordan no longer serves on our Board of Directors.) Two accomplished researchers, Dr. Ben Stout of Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia and Dr. Sara Wylie of Northeastern University in Boston add additional expertise to the inaugural board. Last, but not least, Caren Glotfelty, Director of the Environment Program for the Heinz Endowments, shares her pervasive wisdom as an ex-officio board member.

Accompanying the new board is a new staff – well, sort of. Matt Kelso and Samantha Malone, two stalwarts of FracTracker operations at the University of Pittsburgh have officially moved to the FracTracker Alliance. We’re lucky to have them. Matt is the Manager of Data and Technology, while Sam serves as the Manager of Science and Communications. Karen Edelstein, our multi-skilled liaison representing FracTracker on a contractual basis in New York is now our part-time Program Coordinator in the empire state.  To the west, talented Ted Auch, a soil scientist from Cleveland, joins the team on October 1 as our Program Coordinator in Ohio. I have the pleasure of working with all of them in my capacity as Executive Director. Of course, we all need a place to work, so we have four offices – in Camp Hill, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Ithaca, NY; and, Warren, OH – from which to serve you.

Our expanding presence outside of Pennsylvania is largely attributable to two new funding partners. The George Gund Foundation and Park Foundation are supporting our activities in Ohio and New York, respectively, and we are very appreciative.

We’re also very excited about the new mapping platform built on Esri technology and described more completely in this separate story. Amongst other benefits, the mapping tool will simplify visualization of the most commonly requested data, initially for Pennsylvania and adjacent states, and eventually other shale gas basins. I think you’re really going to like it!

So autumn has ushered in many changes at FracTracker, but rather than cooling down, things are warming up. Perhaps it is the pace of the work or just the good feeling one gets from collaborating with great people and brave, committed organizations day-to-day. Whatever the cause, know that FracTracker – now FracTracker Alliance – is ramping up capacity to be a more timely and powerful resource… for you.

2012 Health Effects of Shale Gas Extraction Conference

Archived

This article has been archived and is provided for reference purposes only.

Registration Open

Registration is now open for the 2012 Health Effects of Shale Gas Extraction Conference being hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health on November 9, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA. The process is entirely online this year. Click here to register through the PA Public Health Training Center’s (PAPHTC) website. Registrants must sign up for a user name and password through PAPHTC before registration can be completed.

Speakers

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dan Bain, PhD — Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Geology and Planetary Science
  • Michelle Bamberger, MS, DVM — Veterinarian, Vet Behavior Consults
  • David Brown, ScD — Environmental Health Consultant, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project
  • Donald S. Burke, MD — Dean, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
  • Leonard Casson, PhD, PE, BCEE — Associate Professor/Academic Coordinator, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering; Secondary Appointment – Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Graduate School of Public Health
  • Jeffrey Dick, PhD — Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Youngstown State University
  • Alexandra Hakala, PhD — Geochemist, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Geosciences Division, Office of Research and Development
  • Elaine Hill — Doctorate student, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
  • Jill Kriesky, PhD — Senior Project Coordinator, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health Department, Center for Healthy Environments and Communities
  • Brook Lenker, MA — Director, FracTracker Alliance
  • Robert Oswald, PhD — Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University
  • Radisav Vidic, PhD — Professor of Environmental Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh

Academic Posters

To support the educational and professional development of students and young professionals in this field, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is offering 15-20 complimentary posterboard spaces for this year’s shale gas conference. The recipients will be selected by the conference coordinating committee, and each accepted applicant will present during both of the scheduled conference poster sessions on November 9th. Those selected to present their posters are also eligible for one of two monetary awards of $50, which will be presented at the conclusion of the day-long conference. More information

Learn more on the conference website: shalegas.pitt.edu

Oil and Gas Explosions Are Fairly Common

On Monday morning, a man was killed by an explosion at an oil well in Bolivar, Ohio. The man is believed to have been an employee working on the site, but his identity won’t be released until it is confirmed with dental records.

This wasn’t big news in Pittsburgh, even though Bolivar is just a two hour drive from here. But why not? Is it because the incident was across state lines, or because tragedies of this sort are actually fairly routine? The answer, I think, is “both”.

In yesterday’s Pipeline, the Post-Gazette reported on a story of President Obama talking energy policy in Cincinnati. This is hardly comparable, because the words of the President are routinely discussed in national and international media. The same is not true of accidents, even those leading to fatalities, unless the number of victims or the amount of property damage is exceptionally high.

I’m not suggesting that every incident that leads to a fatality is necessarily deserving of nationwide coverage, but in some cases, the model of regional coverage can keep people from realizing that dangerous patterns exist.

As I was trying to research the incident, I kept finding more and more of them, some of which I was already aware of, some of which I was not. Here are a few examples from the past two years:

A gas explosion occurred in Northeast Philly in Jan. 2011. A firefighter moves a hose line at the scene. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer) (Joshua Mellman)

  • San Bruno, CA-September 9, 2010 A 30 inch pipeline exploded, killing eight, destroying 38 properties, and damaging many more. After checking several sources, I could not find a total number of injuries. The blast left a crater 167 feet long by 27 feet wide by 40 feet deep. PG&E blamed the 2010 blast on a strength test conducted on the pipe in 1956.  Reporters covering the story initially thought the fireball might have been due to a plane crash.
  • McKean County, PA-December 12, 2010 and February 28, 2011 In separate incidents, two houses with a few miles of each other exploded without warning. The Pennsylvania DEP suspected the methane migration was due to, abandoned wells in the area, the closest of which was drilled in 1881.
  • Philadelphia, PA-January 18, 2011 A Philadelphia Gas Works employee was killed and five others were injured in this blast. The workers were trying to repair a broken gas main when a furnace glow plug ignited vapors inside a building. (Photo right)
  • Allentown, PA-February 10, 2011 Five were killed and about a dozen more were injured in a giant blast and fire that destroyed eight properties and damaged 47 others. As of this February, investigators were not close to explaining the cause of the explosion.
  • Hanoverton, OH-February 10, 2011 On the same night as the deadly Allentown blast, there was a pipeline explosion in this Ohio town. One building was damaged, but nobody was hurt in the explosion and subsequent fire that could be seen for miles.
  • Avella, PA-March 25, 2011 Three workers were hospitalized when storage tanks exploded and caught fire when a volatile vapor was somehow ignited at this natural gas well site.
  • Glouster, OH-November 16, 2011 This pipeline explosion was so strong it was felt 12 miles away. Three houses and a barn were destroyed in the blast, and one woman was hospitalized, but there was no word of fatalities.
  • Springville, PA No injuries were reported at this compressor station blast in northeastern Pennsylvania, but it blew a hole in the roof of the facility and was felt a half mile away.
  • Norphlet, AR-May 21, 2012 Three workers were killed in this blast near El Dorado, Arkansas, which according to the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), was set off while doing “hot” work such as welding or cutting in an area with hazardous vapors.

    CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “This unfortunate tragedy in Arkansas involving the deaths of three workers is the kind of hot work accident that occurs much too frequently. The CSB has investigated too many of these accidents which can be prevented by carefully monitoring for flammable vapor before and during hot work.”

This list is by no means comprehensive. In fact, after the incident in Allentown, Carl Weimer of the organization Pipeline Safety Trust was quoted in the USA Today:

Transporting natural gas by pipeline is the safest way to move that energy. Still, every nine or 10 days on average someone ends up dead or in the hospital from these pipelines. More needs to be done for safety.

And of course, pipelines are only one part of the problem.

FracTracker Seeking OH Program Coordinator

The FracTracker Alliance was recently awarded funding from the George Gund Foundation to support an Ohio office and staff person for our organization. We are very excited about this opportunity to intensify our outreach and analytical work in Ohio and collaborate with other organizations who are grappling with the growing impacts of the shale gas industry in the state.

Below is the job description for this new full-time position with a starting salary range of 40-45k plus health, vision, dental coverage and a matching 401k plan. The position will be based in the Warren/Youngstown area. Applicants should electronically submit a cover letter and resume by August 1, 2012 to Lenker@FracTracker.org.

Ohio Program Coordinator Job Description

PURPOSE:

To coordinate, manage, and support outreach and analytical activities in Ohio for the FracTracker Alliance. The FracTracker Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the public’s understanding of the impacts of the global shale gas industry by collecting, interpreting, and sharing data and visualizations through our website, FracTracker.org. We partner with citizens, organizations and institutions – allied in a quest for objective, helpful information – to perpetuate awareness and support actions that protect public health, the environment, and socioeconomic well-being.

DUTIES:

  • Providing outreach, trainings, and technical assistance to concerned citizens, landowners, activists, elected officials, local governments, and students on the issues associated with shale gas development and the resources available on FracTracker, including the opportunity for data input, visualization, and mapping.
  • Collecting fracking-related datasets and posting them to FracTracker.org for use in mapping, research, and analysis by staff and the public, and maintaining an Ohio-relevant geospatial data library addressing various shale gas issues
  • Collaborating with PA-based FracTracker staff to continuously improve the FracTracker.org online resources for mapping and data-sharing
  • Providing a point of contact between Ohio-based scientists and FracTracker.org by developing relationships with key faculty at colleges and universities in central and eastern Ohio.
  • Promoting FracTracker as a go-to hub for gas-related mapping and information resources for online, print, and other news communication media
  • Networking with conservation, public health, air quality, forestry, fish and wildlife, recreation, water monitoring, faith-based and other groups to lay groundwork for data collection and sharing on the FracTracker site, and assisting in the development of customized gas-drilling-related maps and analyses for these partners.
  • Assisting with grant writing, grants management, and communications with funding partners
  • Maintaining an organized, efficient, and properly-equipped office environment

PREFERRED SKILLS:

Public speaking, writing, data management, citizen science and/or data collection, networking (e.g. Familiarity with Ohio organizations and agencies), GIS/map making, office management, interpersonal, teamwork, grant writing, grants management, knowledge of environmental, public health, economic, agricultural, or other issues of relevance to shale gas development

MINIMUM EDUCATION/QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bachelor’s degree in natural or physical sciences, environmental studies, public health, economics, agriculture, or other relevant field. Advanced degree preferred.
  • Five years of work experience exercising the skills listed above
Word bubble using news headlines from Jackson study release

Duke Study Prompts Confusing Headlines

If you are like me and start your morning work routine by scrolling through the daily Marcellus Shale news with a good cup of coffee, then you are probably just as confused as the rest of us about the recent Duke University study results regarding shale gas drilling. Just take a look at the list below and try to interpret strictly from the news headlines what it is Nathaniel Warner, Dr. Robert Jackson, and colleagues actually found:

  • New research shows no Marcellus Shale pollution (CNBC.com)
  • Marcellus Shale Study Shows Fluids Likely Seeping Into Pennsylvania Drinking Water (Huffington Post)
  • Rising Shale Water Complicates Fracking Debate (NPR)
  • Marcellus Brine Migration Likely Natural, Not Man-Made (Oil and Gas Online)
  • Duke study finds possible pathways from Marcellus shale to drinking water … (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Fracking Did Not Sully Aquifers, Limited Study Finds (New York Times -blog)
  • Water contamination from shale fracking may follow natural routes (Examiner.com)
  • Duke study: Fluids likely seeping into PA’s drinking water from Marcellus Shale (News & Observer)
  • Findings are mixed in fracking-water study (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • New study: Fluids from Marcellus Shale likely seeping into PA drinking water (Syracuse.com)
  • New research shows no Marcellus Shale pollution (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Marcellus Brine Migration Likely Natural, Not Man-Made (Duke University)
Word bubble created using Tagxedo showing news headlines from Jackson study release

No wonder this entire issue is so contentious. Not only is the science still evolving, but then you have to waft through the countless takes on what the research means. Perhaps we should take a cue from our childhood years and get the story “straight from the horse’s mouth.” E.g. try reading the official results (PDF) published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Even the abstract below will tell you a lot more about the implications of the results than any truncated news headline could:

The debate surrounding the safety of shale gas development in the Appalachian Basin has generated increased awareness of drinking water quality in rural communities. Concerns include the potential for migration of stray gas, metal-rich formation brines, and hydraulic fracturing and/or flowback fluids to drinking water aquifers. A critical question common to these environmental risks is the hydraulic connectivity between the shale gas formations and the overlying shallow drinking water aquifers. We present geochemical evidence from northeastern Pennsylvania showing that pathways, unrelated to recent drilling activities, exist in some locations between deep underlying formations and shallow drinking water aquifers. Integration of chemical data (Br, Cl, Na, Ba, Sr, and Li) and isotopic ratios (87Sr∕86Sr, 2H∕H, 18O∕16O, and 228Ra∕226Ra) from this and previous studies in 426 shallow groundwater samples and 83 northern Appalachian brine samples suggest that mixing relationships between shallow ground water and a deep formation brine causes groundwater salinization in some locations. The strong geochemical fingerprint in the salinized (Cl > 20 mg∕L) groundwater sampled from the Alluvium, Catskill, and Lock Haven aquifers suggests possible migration of Marcellus brine through naturally occurring pathways. The occurrences of saline water do not correlate with the location of shale-gas wells and are consistent with reported data before rapid shale-gas development in the region; however, the presence of these fluids suggests conductive pathways and specific geostructural and/or hydrodynamic regimes in northeastern Pennsylvania that are at increased risk for contamination of shallow drinking water resources, particularly by fugitive gases, because of natural hydraulic connections to deeper formations.

In all fairness, this study is very technical, so writing a catching but accurate news headline is extremely difficult. It is important to keep in mind, however, that summaries written for the lay public will often contain a piece of the translator’s perspective – like snippets of foreign code embedded in the story.


By Samantha Malone, MPH, CPH – Communications Specialist, FracTracker; DrPH Student, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health department

A Mosaic of Recent Activity

Summer is a time to vacation, barbecue, and enjoy the great outdoors. In case you have been partaking in summer fun and missed recent drilling news, information, and events, check out the summaries below compiled by the folks at FracTracker with input from many sources including Edward Kokkelenberg:

PA DEP Data Changes
Until June 2012, data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) Office of Oil and Gas Management had a Marcellus Shale indicator associated with various reports, including the permits issued report. These have all been replaced with an Unconventional indicator. Read more about the distinction from the PA DEP here (PDF). The following two visualizations show you trends with the unconventional wells drilled and permitted in PA using the new category:

Drilled Unconventional Wells in PA by Type

Drilled Unconventional Wells in PA by Type

Chart of Unconventional Permits in PA by Year

Unconventional Permits in PA by Year

In the News
The Math Behind the 100-Year, Natural Gas Supply Debate
When President Barack Obama said that the U.S. has a supply of natural gas that can last nearly 100 years, he was using a quick-and-dirty computation that is nonetheless rooted in recent geological research. How should natural gas supply data be interpreted for public consumption? Read more»

Natural Gas Production in 2010 by State

Shell Methane Migration Incident Under Investigation
Shell, a company who plans to build an ethylene cracker facility in western PA, is being investigated by the PA DEP for methane migration concerns in northeastern PA (Tioga County). The original incident was reported on June 21, 2012. Several families within a one mile radius of the site have already been evacuated temporarily. Read more»

Unconventional Wells in Union Township, Tioga County, PA

Health Research
Health Network to Analyze Health Effects from Natural Gas Activities
Geisinger Health System, a nonprofit chain of hospitals in eastern PA, plans to use its database of patient records to determine whether natural gas drilling in the state’s Marcellus shale is harming residents. Read more»

Geisinger Health System

Worker Hazard Alert Issued
Based on NIOSH field studies, OSHA and NIOSH released a Hazard Alert on June 21, 2012 for gas drillers who are working on sites utilizing hydraulic fracturing due to the potential for them to be exposed to airborne silica during fracturing sand transport and mixing. Read more»

Mixing of sand on site

Resources
Marcellus Papers
This unique and easy-to-read assortment of papers has been put together by the Paleontological Research Institute. Browse through introductory topics such as Why the Geology Matters or more intricate discussions of the water input required to hydraulically fracture a Marcellus Shale well – the quantity, additives, and risks. Read more»

PRI’s Marcellus Papers

Alert service available through Sunlight Foundation
With this online resource, you can: set up alerts and subscribe to receive updates from Congress, state legislatures; search through every bill and regulation in the federal government; follow and search bills in all 50 states, powered by the Open States project — And more»

Scout.SunlightFoundation.com

Popular Media
Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us – By ProPublica

ProPublica article about deep well injection

The Sky is Pink video – By Josh Fox
By the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Marcellus Impact Graphic by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A captivating view of gas drilling’s impact from an economic standpoint. Click on the image for more information by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about how 7 counties in Southwest PA may use the funds they receive from PA’s impact fee.

Trail Logbook Project

Collaborative Trail Logbook – Reporting Gas Industry Impacts on PA Trail Experiences

(Harrisburg) – FracTracker.org and the Keystone Trails Association are proud to launch Trail Logbook: Reporting Gas Industry Impacts on Pennsylvania Trail Experiences – an effort to collect information from hikers and other trail users who have had negative or hazardous encounters while recreating in PA.

“Throughout the Marcellus Shale region, more and more we’re hearing of problems from our constituents,” said Curt Ashenfelter, Executive Director of the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) – a volunteer-directed, public service organization dedicated to providing, preserving, protecting and promoting recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunities in PA. “Pennsylvania hikers are concerned about the effect of drilling and want to play a role in monitoring the impact of this industry on PA’s forests and hiking trails.

With a simple-to-use form – available online and as a mail-in postcard – data on a variety of trail impacts related to shale gas drilling activities will be uploaded to FracTracker.org, a website providing a common portal to share data, photos, maps, and information related to the issues corollary to the shale gas industry. Photos of reported impacts can also be submitted.

“We’re pleased to be a partner in this grassroots endeavor to aggregate what have to date been mostly anecdotal but often alarming reports from our state’s extraordinary network of trails,” said Brook Lenker, Director of FracTracker. “We hope the information gathered helps to clarify the nature of the impacts and leads to sustainable solutions.”

“With over 3,000 miles of hiking trails in Pennsylvania and tourism being the Commonwealth’s 2nd largest industry, it’s critical to expose and address recurring problems caused by gas drilling activities, “ Ashenfelter added. “With a quick feedback loop like FracTracker, we can report problems to the appropriate agencies and gas drilling companies and seek remediation quickly.”

For more information on the Trail Logbook project, contact:

To  see the Trail Logbook submission page or to submit data, visit: https://www.fractracker.org/logbook. If you would prefer to print out the logbook and mail it in, click here.

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