Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dear Williams Partners, I am NOT Your Next Sacrifice Zone: Columbia County, PA, June 5th, 2014, Bloomsburg, PA Firehall.

Pipeline Expansion, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne lee



If you live in Columbia County, and you value its tremendous community assets, don’t miss this meeting: June 5th, 7PM, Bloomsburg Firehall, 911 Market Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Williams is hosting an "Open House" for the planned expansion of the TRANSCO, the 42 inch Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline (ASP). If you’re one of the mahy Columbia County landowners who’ve received a letter from Williams, this meeting is vital. Don’t sign anything until you’ve gotten answers to at least these questions:

1.     What is Williams’ view of eminent domain to access private property given that ASP is a for-profit venture—not a public utility? What justifies this seizure of land for the purpose of private profits?  Why isn’t this theft?

2.     Why is Williams marketing ASP for Americans when the gas is destined for LNG export to global markets?

3.    What’s Williams’ plan to control VOC emissions, light/noise pollution, and potential explosions at its planned compressors—especially since one (Bloomsburg) would be near populated areas?

4.   How does Williams plan to respond to letters received by home/property owners from their insurance carriers who decline to cover accidents that are the result of gas company leases?

5. How does Williams respond to its “lengthy record of pipeline safety violations,” for example the massive natural gas explosion in Alabama, 2011, or its failure to follow company policy for “controlling external corrosion in natural gas pipelines running through the New York City borough of Staten Island”? 

Pipeline Cut, Farm, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee


Our position at Shale Justice is to stop the pipeline from being constructed. ASP is not only a disaster for the affected counties, it will be a continuing disaster for every Pennsylvanian. There is no such thing as regulating a pipeline whose compressors could emit 8.58 tons of Nitrogen oxides per year, 3.29 tons of Carbon monoxide per year, and 5.39 tons of Volatile organic compounds per year. The only regulation that will be effective is no pipeline.


For documents, news items, and maps that will help you understand the objectives--and hazards--of this pipeline, please go to: 



Still not convinced you don't want to lease your land:

The Compliance and Safety Records of Williams (WMB), and Williams partners (WPZ), and Williams Midstream

2002 – Williams is reported to be in Financial distress and on verge of
bankruptcy (38) (19)

2002 – Williams has class action lawsuit filed against it alleging that it failed to
disclose failing financial conditions (33)

2003 – Williams pays $20 million (along with Encana Company) to settle claims
of reporting false data to manipulate the U.S. natural gas market (25)

2004 – FINED $30,000 for a fire at a well in Parachute, Colorado (47)

2007 – Williams agrees to pay $290 million to settle class action lawsuit filed in 2002
(19) (32)

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

2008 – Natural gas explosion in Virginia [Transco] the blast ripped a 32-foot section
of pipe from the ground and caused a 1,100 feet burn zone. Property
damage reported to exceed $3 million (35)

2009 – FINED $952,000 for failure to monitor corrosion adequately with the
Virginia pipeline explosion in 2008 (36) (43)

2010 – Transco Pipeline leak in Texas. Leak was not reported for 4 days. The 1/4
inch diameter leak caused a reported $57,000 in property damage. Aerial patrol did
not see the leak. Found by an operator who saw some bubbles. (22)

2010 / 2011– FINED $275 Thousand over failing to implement and/or maintain
storm water measures to prevent potential pollutants during planned
construction in Parachute, Colorado. State inspectors notified Williams (Bargath) in
Nov. 2010 of violations and told them to take immediate action. According to
report, Williams did not fix violation for 7 months. (8) (28)

2011 – FINED $23,000 by PHMSA for failure to conduct own annual
inspections of Natural Gas compressors stations in Texas and Louisiana (18)

2011 – [Transco] Natural Gas Pipeline rupture & explosion in Alabama. 8 acres
burn. Coating failure blamed as cause. Reports state that the corrosion was not
recognized by Williams even though they claimed to have systems in place. (2) (36)


Pipeline Expansion, Picture Rocks
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee



2012 – Gas leak caused explosion at Natural Gas Compressor Station in
Pennsylvania. Williams restarts the station within 24 hours and started pumping
fracked gas despite request from PA Dept. of Environmental Protection not to do
so. DEP states they make it very clear on the above matter but because it was not an
official order no fines were issued. 1 ton of Methane released. (2) (16)

2012 – Transco/Williams FINED $50,000 by PHMSA for failure to follow own
internal policies with controlling corrosion in Natural Gas pipeline in NY (18)
2012 – Transco natural gas leak in New Jersey (18) (44) 2012 (Dec. 20) – The beginning of the Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) pipeline leak in Parachute, Colorado (population 1,000). Parachute Creek runs through the small town, which is nestled next to the Colorado River. (8)

2013 (Jan) – Williams discovers leak of NGLs in Parachute plant while working on construction to expand the plant. Reports say the leak was found by ACCIDENT. Leak stopped, but Benzene, a cancer causing agent, has contaminated soil. Williams says leak not affecting creek. (8) (34)



Pipeline Cut, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee



2013 (March 8) – Williams begins cleanup (2 months later) of Benzene leak (NGL) in Parachute, CO. Authorities and landowners notified that the soil has been contaminated. No mention that groundwater is poisoned. Reports say that Williams didn't report the spill/leak earlier because they thought less than 25 gallons had leaked. (8) (12)

2013 (March 15) – Groundwater in Parachute is contaminated with Benzene from NGL leak. Spill finally announced to public. Benzene is cancer-causing agent that breaks down bone marrow. (8) (20) (34) (41)

2013 (March) – Reports say Williams/Transco rejects U.S. Army Corp of Engineers safety recommendations in connection with the proposed Rockaway Lateral natural gas pipeline, claiming the requirements would “needlessly delay” the project and force cost overruns. (7)

2013 (March) – Williams Natural gas pipeline in West Virginia ruptures (30)

2013 (April) – Parachute, CO residents question credibility of Williams who is in charge of testing their water and want the government to take over. Contamination continues to spread into their creek. (8) (42)

2013 (April) – Williams say faulty pressure gauge cause of leak in Parachute. Diesel found at gates of Parachute water supply. Benzene detected in creek. State Health Dept takes over oversight of leak. (8) (9)

2013 (May) – Benzene levels rise in Parachute, CO creek. State agency tells Williams violated it the law. (8)

2013 (May) – Williams announces it will not expand the Parachute, Co plant expansion NOT because of the NGL leak but due to low gas prices. (8)

2013 (May 21) – Williams holds Analyst Day in New York City. CEO Alan Armstrong states they have been working on the Bluegrass pipeline project for about 9 - 10 months. Williams states Bluegrass Pipeline is BIG and it's RISKY in terms of permitting. (45)

2013 (June 13) – Williams’ Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) cracker plant that process NGLs in Louisiana Explodes and Burns. That chemical plant was in middle of $350 million expansion. 700 contract workers were present; 2 people killed (ages 29 & 47); 70 injuries; 62,000 pounds of toxic chemical released (1) (4) (5) (6) (39)

2013 (June 14) – Investigations into Williams Louisiana explosion reveals three years of noncompliance with Federal Clean Air Act, Williams had NOT conducted an OSHA inspection in 10 years. (4) (14)

2013 (July 10) – Williams (Bargath) FINED $7,854 by OSHA for failing to protect
workers they sent excavate toxic soil near the Williams’ Parachute, Co plant that
leaked Benzene. Report states that Williams did not have a decontamination
procedure or ensure its employees received safety training related to the spill.
Williams states it has not agreed to or accepted OSHA's allegations. (49)

2013 (July 13) – Benzene levels increase at a point in the Parachute, CO Williams NGL
leak. 130 tons per day of contaminated soil has been stockpiled. (3)

2013 (July 20) – Report shows that Williams expects to remove and treat as many
as 26 million gallons of groundwater over a half-year to a year at the site of its
natural gas liquids leak alongside Parachute Creek. About 155,000 gallons of
tainted groundwater removed in March has been disposed of in an
injection well in Grand County, Utah. (52)

Sources
1. http://www.marcellusoutreachbutler.org/2/post/2013/06/spill-baby-spill.html
2. http://saneenergyproject.org/2013/07/10/williams-safety-record/
3. http://www.postindependent.com/news/7293598-113/spill-creek-parachute-benzene
4. http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/06/geismar_plant_explosion_leaks.html
5. http://www.dailyworld.com/viewart/20130628/NEWS01/306280004/Report-Geismar-chemical-
plant-explosion-released-toxic-chemicals
6. http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Williams_Cos_feds_seek_answers_in_deadly_plant_explo
sion/20130618_49_E1_Willia284464
7. http://carpny.org/the-pipeline/ http://www.naturalgaswatch.org/?p=1818
8. http://conservationco.org/2013/05/whats-going-on-in-parachute-creek/
9. leak photos: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-
Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-
Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Natural+Gas+Liquids+Release+Photogra
phs.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwh
ere=1251855888603&ssbinary=true
10. http://www.b2i.us/profiles/investor/NewsPrint.asp?b=630&ID=62970&m=rl&pop=1&cat=1799&
G=343
11. http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/wnyc-news-blog/2012/dec/02/rockaway-pipeline-project-set-move-
forward/
12. http://answersforparachute.com/situation-update/
13. http://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/thirteen-injured-in-williams-compressor-
station-explosion-in-new-jersey/
14. http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/Files/Pipeline/SP/Williams%20Tr
ansco%20LOD%20Final%20Signed%202006-26531.pdf
15. http://co.williams.com/williams/our-company/executive-officers/alan-s-armstrong/
16. http://independentweekender.com/index.php/2013/04/10/dep-no-fines-in-lathrop-
incident/#.UeIQYL_nm2w
17. http://www.naturalgaswatch.org/?p=2056
18. http://www.naturalgaswatch.org/?p=1305
http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/enforce/CaseDetail_cpf_420111001.html?nocache=98
59#_TP_1_tab_2
http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/enforce/CaseDetail_cpf_120111015.html?nocache=98
82#_TP_1_tab_2
19. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_Companies
20. http://wccongress.org/wcc/2013/05/30/parachute-creek-spill-overview/
21. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_19529997
22. http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/Files/Pipeline/Failure%20Report
s/Transco%20GT%20TX%202010-04-26%20508.pdf
23. http://www.wyomingbusinessreport.com/article.asp?id=52738
24. http://aspenjournalism.org/2011/04/12/stormwater-mis-management-in-the-gas-fields/
25. http://www.ogj.com/articles/print/volume-101/issue-31/general-interest/cftc-announces-
settlements-with-encana-williams.html
26. http://co.williams.com/williams/operations/gas-pipeline/transco/
27. http://co.williams.com/williams/customers/natural-gas-liquids/overland-pass-pipeline/
28. http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/williams-subsidiary-fined-over-stormwater-violatio
29. http://www.ogj.com/articles/2003/07/cftc-settles-natural-gas-fixing-charges-against-williams-
encana.html
30. http://www.naturalgaswatch.org/?s=williams+company
31. http://wpxenergy.com
32. http://securities.stanford.edu/1023/WMB02/
33. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Class+Action+Lawsuit+Filed+Against+Williams+Companies,+Inc.
%2FWilliams...-a082349156
34. http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-HM/CBON/1251642662859
35. http://pstrust.org/about-pipelines1/map-of-major-incidents/transco-virgina-accident
36. http://www.paintsquare.com/news/?fuseaction=view&id=7242
37. http://www.gjsentinel.com/breaking/articles/williams-subsidiary-fined-for-other-parachute-creek-
watershed-problems
38. http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/CEO_of_Williams_Cos_to_retire/20101013_49_e1_cutlin4
13143
39. http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/us/louisiana-chemical-plant-explosion/index.html
40. http://www.epa-echo.gov/cgi-bin/get1cReport.cgi?tool=echo&IDNumber=110000746337
41. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/benzene
42. http://www.postindependent.com/article/20130405/VALLEYNEWS/130409957
43. https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/enforce/documents/120091007/120091007_FinalOrd
er_11172009.pdf
44. http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/FYI_Business/20120404_498_e2_hwilli696984
45. http://www.b2i.us/profiles/investor/fullpage.asp?BzID=630&to=cp&Nav=0&LangID=1&s=385&I
D=13611;
http://www.b2i.us/Profiles/Investor/Investor.asp?BzID=630&from=du&ID=62994&myID=13611
&L=I&Validate=3&I=
46. http://www.b2i.us/profiles/investor/NewsPrint.asp?b=630&ID=60830&m=rl&pop=1&cat=1799&
G=343
47. http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20041210/NEWS/41210003
48. http://www.stopthepipeline.org
49. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23637022/osha-fines-3-firms-finds-workers-at-
parachute
50. http://co.williams.com/williams/our-company/our-history/
51. http://marcellusdrilling.com/2013/05/fire-at-williams-compressor-station-in-susquehanna-county-pa/
52. http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/williams-to-treat-millions-of-gallons-of-groundwater.

Pipeline vs Rail & Truck

"While accidents associated with the transportation of hazardous materials via rail and road are more frequent than pipeline incidents, rail and truck spills are limited to the amount of product that can be held in transit.
Pipeline Expansioon, Picture Rocks, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

According to a review of data from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) completed by the Association of American Railroads, total railroad crude oil spills between 2002-2012 equaled less than one percent of the total pipelines spills (railroads spilled 2,268 barrels total vs. pipelines spilled 474,441 barrels total). Additionally, during the same time period, average pipeline spills were four times larger than the average rail spill (average 65 barrels by rail vs. average 266 barrels by pipeline)."




Is this what you want in you yard? On your property? For your kids?

If not--come to the Williams "Open House," Bloomsburg Fire Hall, June 5th, 2014, 6-8.

Ask them to justify imposing this hazard on your family.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More Reasons Yet to Vote Green: Comments on Committee of 37 Peace Initiative Change.Org Petition for Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Wolf



Chief Dacheux Frack Pad, Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

This Change.Org petition (
Petition | Defend Public Interest | Change.org), written by Scott Davis, Chairman, Committee of 37 Peace Initiative illustrates why it is VERY important to read petitions before you sign them. I am not going link to the petition--no point in inviting more folks to the ludicrous, but if I were Tom Wolf, I'd be cringing and embarrassed at the absurdity of the claims that my supporters were making on my behalf. Then again, if THIS is the level to which our political dialogue has sunk, it's no wonder we keep electing men and women who fail to represent our interests, sell us out to the Koch Brothers, routinely trample our basic human rights, and then laugh all the way to the off-shorted bank accounts. 

This petition runs as follows runs [I have made NO changes in the wording or typing]:

Defend Public Interest... . First, let me say that ALL PENNSYLVANIANS, regardless of
party or not; and regardless of previous voting record or
declaration or affiliation, must
for the greater good, immediately and unequivocally
UNITE BEHIND TOM WOLF
as the standard-bearer of the restoration of freedom,
decency in Government, and Constitutional rule
to the Cradle of Liberty - PENNSYLVANIA.

Really? Why?

Tom Wolf will do as little to protect us from the ongoing disaster that is fracking as his predecessor, Tom Corbett.

Tom Wolf understands as little as his predecessor that clean water and air are necessary conditions for the exercise of all the other of our rights,

Sand Can, Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
Tom Wolf (as a good friend points out to me) will codify the fact of FRACKING even more deeply than his predecessor by leveling a tax upon which programs and social services will become quickly dependent--thereby legitimating even MORE fracking.

Tom Wolf buys the bridge fuel "Saudi Arabia of natural gas" argument as lock, stock, and barrel as his predecessor--even though it has been shown beyond repair to be bogus. Tom Wolf will do as little as his predecessor to protect activists and other citizens from police harassment, intimidation, and spying--and in fact seems to know next to nothing about what's really happening in rural Pennsylvania.

Tom Wolf won the primary not on principle or positions--but because he could out-spend all of his opponents on TV commercial time.

The Change.org petition continues:

Any "my way or the highway" illusions to the effect
that bringing about the restoration of good government
in Pennsylvania will be easy, or can be micromanaged
by this or that special advocacy or special interest group,
must be dispelled right here, and right now - as
Pennsylvania wakes up from the most tragic episode
in its history - a creeping Fascist dictatorship imposed
in this State, under the counterfeit guise of liberty and justice

Yet Tom Wolf is perfectly comfortable allowing the continuation of the corporate fascism of the fracking industry, allowing municipalities to be micro-managed by the gas companies.

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, and for a few days
thereafter, we expect that you will be charging your batteries
and resting up from the long and successful task behind you;
that you will be doing something which hasn't been done for
many years by any Governor-Elect of Pennsylvania - you will be
devoting yourself full-time for two months to designing the next
Governorship in Pennsylvania; in direct contrast to what happened
Pipeline, Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

in 2010- 2011, when Pennsylvania had an absentee Governor Elect
who devoted himself full-time,
right up until January 18, 2011; to furtively and secretively
nailing every possible closet door shut - but alas, the bones
all began to clatter and spill out despite all this furtive effort.
And it will take a team of legal archaeologists several years
to fully sort out the damage from this
ossification of liberty.
What on EARTH does this gobblety-gook even MEAN?

How about this? Governor Tom Corbett SUCKS. But at least Corbett was direct in his selling the state out to the gas companies. Wolf, on the other hand, buys every word of the absurd gas hype about jobs, environmental protections--all the while he will do NOT A DAMN THING to protect your land from being seized by eminent domain for a private profit interests being paraded as a public utility. 

The conflicts of interest from the past several years must be
sorted out, no matter which party or interest group these conflicts
were instigated by. And here is one conflict of interest which is
very important to the people of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware
Ohio, New Jersey, West Virginia, New York State and even
Virginia, as well as other States further downstream from the
Ohio Valley of Pennsylvania; and to all people who might eat
or drink anything produced in these dozen States: the conflict
between private and public interest in terms of the composition
of mineral extraction fluids; known in some cases as
"fracking fluids.
HUH? Fracking fluids are not a private interest. Frack waste is a PUBLIC HAZARD. And the cause of that hazard must be BANNED if we're to have any protection at all under the Pennsylvania Constitution's provision for clean air and water. The supporters of Mr. Wolf--a candidate who won't even go near the weakest possible position on fracking, his own Party's moratorium--don't have a conflict of interest. No--they have simply sold out the rest of the movement to end extreme extraction.

Bentonite spill,
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
The immediate focus of this petition is the
judicious weighing of the tug-of-war between
private proprietary rights, on the one hand; and
on the other hand - and in a way which can be
both complimentary and agreeably worked out
in an enlightened and cordial manner,
the public interest.
This is incoherent gobblety-gook. There IS a war going on in Pennsylvania over rights--but it is NOT between "private proprietary rights" and the "public interest." 

The "private proprietary rights" the writer refers to apparently (but not coherently) refer to the rights of the gas industry (and the CAFOs) to poison us--but this is NO RIGHT AT ALL. And the "public interest" is not really an interest--clean air and water are necessary conditions of living organisms. Hence, there is no "agreeably worked out cordial" compromise unless we agree that either some folks can be sacrificed--say the folks in the Susquehanna River Basin that's poorer than the Delaware, or that a little, say, benzene is OK. 

But that is ABSURD.

Mr. Wolf, at the end of the week during which the Pennsylvania
primary election process cast the election in your favor, a sneak
ploy by the outgoing Administration was implemented as soon as
was possible, and in a desperate and shameful manner.
That was the way in which the big campaign contributors
got their money's worth out of Pennsylvania government, when vast areas of forestlands which had been previously
under the declared protection of Government, were suddenly
thrown open to a new potential for
Teapot-Dome style
mineral extraction leases.
I gather Davis is referring to Governor Corbett's opening of state parks to more fracking on the pretense that there won't be "surface disturbance." But what difference does this make? Even IF Wolf rescinds this executive order, all he will have accomplished is a concession to the "special places" rhetoric that makes YOUR yard open season for the industry while saving the hiking trails of United Shale Awareness and their friends in the Keystone Trails Association. Why would you vote for a candidate who regards your land as a fair trade for the vacation spots of the wealthy?
Compressor post Hurricane Sandy
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

Davis then goes on to gesture--sort of--in the direction of a "be it resolved" that the executive order to open state forests to frackers are immoral and that Native Americans and "Progressive types" know how to keep frack fluids in the ground.

This is nonsense. And it matters because when we in the anti-fracking movement--who support a BAN--sign on to incoherent gibberish like this absurd petition, we are acting as flame throwers for the gas industry. 

We could not do ourselves more damage than by getting behind this piece of nonsense--well, except for by supporting a candidate who is a WOLF in sheep's clothing--THAT is Tom Wolf.

And you KNOW you have a viable, meaningful, courageous alternative: GREEN PARTY candidate, Paul Glover (
Green Party of Pennsylvania)

JUMP. SHIP.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Frack-Wolf in a Sheep's Clothing: How Pennsylvania Democrats are Selling out the Future

Chief's Dacheux Well Pad, 5.21.14, Photo Wendy Lynne Lee


While I applaud Pennsylvania Voters Against Fracking  (Pennsylvania Voters Against Fracking | Food & Water Watch Fund) for hounding now Democrat Party candidate for governor Tom Wolf to endorse his party's moratorium resolution, it's truly hard to imagine that anyone considering a vote for Mr. Wolf believes that he'll endorse the moratorium--much less put a halt to fracking in Pennsylvania.

He absolutely will not, and in fact articulates a tax on the industry as the panacea-recipe for restoring funding to an ailing public school and university system. In other words, he's not only not going to put a halt to the fracktastrophe--it's going to be full steam ahead via a 5% tax that Wolf and his supporters must surely hope will appease a large enough majority of the state's growing anti-fracking movement. 

Put differently: promising a 5% tax on the industry is nothing more than a bribe--or an extortion--to get us to put down our protest signs and signal, for example, to the pipeline contractors (like Williams Partners) that it doesn't really matter who's in the governor's mansion, extraction can move ahead business as usual--all the way to 100,000 wells.



EXCO, Warner Pad, 5.21.14. Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

Wolf's 60% of the primary vote must have included lots of folks who claim to be anti-fracking, but would apparently settle for a tax, or regulation, that is, poorly regulated regulation of the rate, though not the volume, of harm. These are, in other words, folks who are not actually anti-fracking, but apparently want to be able to tell themselves and each other that they tried to get a moratorium, tried to get the best candidate who could win the governor's mansion, tried to do the right thing--but are, what? "Realistic"? "


Here's another name for this position: resignation; standing behind a "Ban Fracking Now" sign that we all know does not mean Jack Shit to an industry that enjoys the cover of "regulation" under both the Halliburton Loophole and state laws written by and for the industry by revolving door representatives and governor appointments who interests are indistinguishable from that of their donor fossil fuel corporations.


And the folks who endorsed Wolf have no excuse for not getting the essential point that their candidate has precisely no motivation to change his pro-frack tune--and every reason to keep and expand it. 


From Wolf's website:


"With Pennsylvania sitting on one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world, Tom Wolf believes that the Marcellus Shale must be a key component of any plan for Pennsylvania's future. We must ensure that we take advantage of this resource and opportunity in a way that benefits all Pennsylvanians and protects our water and environment.


Chief's Dacheux Pad, 5.21.14, Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee
Four years ago Tom Wolf called for a severance tax on natural gas extraction and responsible development, saying:
 Pennsylvania is sitting on one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world, the Marcellus Shale formation, which stretches from our northeast to southwest corner. With new drilling techniques we can now efficiently unlock these massive natural gas deposits that lie beneath huge portions of our state.
Experts estimate there might be as much as 50 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas beneath Pennsylvania's soil. That would make our commonwealth the Saudi Arabia of natural gas and, if managed correctly, transform our economy. Tom Wolf believes Marcellus Shale must be a key component of any plan for Pennsylvania's economic future.
EXCO, Marquardt Pad, 5.21.14, Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

The urgent challenge facing our state leaders, now and into the future, is how to manage this remarkable natural resource so that its benefits are broadly shared by the citizens of Pennsylvania for many years to come. 

Unfortunately, Governor Corbett's failed leadership has given away our state's valuable resources without generating revenue for critical investments like schools, roads, and economic development and harmed our environment. If states like Texas, West Virginia, and Oklahoma are able to charge a severance tax on gas extraction to fund key priorities, it's time Pennsylvania does too.  And just as Pennsylvania helped to fuel the industrial revolution with the first commercially developed oil wells in Titusville and the anthracite coal fields, we can once again have a bright economic future based on these abundant natural gas reserves. The negative environmental impact of the oil and coal booms, however, should serve as a warning of what can happen if our natural resources are not properly managed.


Chief's Dacheau Pad, 5.21.14, Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
Enact a severance tax to build for Pennsylvania's future. 
Make smart investments to fund Pennsylvania's priorities.
 Ensure responsible drilling to protect Pennsylvania's environment." (Developing the Marcellus Shale while protecting Pennsylvania's environment - Tom Wolf for Governor).


It's hard to know exactly what to call this--painfully naive or willfully ignorant. But as these photographs illustrate, business as usual on any given day on any given of 7800 or so well pads in Pennsylvania does not inspire confidence.

So far as I can see, Democratic nominee Tom Wolf has done nothing to prevent one iota of this.

Anyone who thinks a severance tax is going to fix the environmental damage already done or prevent what's coming is willfully ignorant. It's like holding out for the hope that "responsible drilling" isn't an wholesale oxymoron.

It takes 100 years to grow 100 year old trees.
Dead from cancer is dead.
Childhood asthma becomes adult asthma
Neurological damage is the loss of your brain.
Species that are driven to extinction don't come back.
Wells that are poisoned stay poisoned.
Communities destroyed by division over who makes out 
and who gets screwed are no longer "communities."
Ways of life destroyed by the incursion of industrial pollution, 
noise, and property takings are called "history."

How do Wolf and his fans not get this?

Here's what they aren'tt getting--and it is well past high time we did:

The catastrophe that is slickwater hydraulic horizontal fracking is not to be found in the spectacular blowouts, explosions, "accidental returns to surface," secret dumpings, etc. by themselves. And even if we could go some ways to prevent these, that's naught but slapping on a little make-up and a wig on a patient whose disease is still terminal so long as we keep acting in ways we know compromise her health.

Chief's Dacheau Pad, 5.21.14. Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

The catastrophe that is fracking is what happens every single minute of every single day at pads like Chief's Dacheau. The systematic poisoning of our water; the forest fragmentation, the idling truck emissions, the sand clouds, the noise, the quiet creeping exposure to carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, particulates, and so on and so on.

And until we all get that fact, we are going to be willing to settle for the manifest Bull-Poo that is Tom Wolf's statement on fracking.

Think about it this way: why should we trust what Mr. Wolf has to say about anything when we know he has bought hook, line, and sinker the industry's own raft of "Saudi Arabia of NatGas" talking points?

Why should we take seriously a candidate who has so gone out of his way to ignore the facts about this form of extreme extraction--for years?

What should we think about a candidate who promises to restore funding for the short-term by selling out our children's health on the long-term?

Tom Wolf is a wolf in sheep's clothing. At least Corbett is the wolf in the Wolf outfit.


Chief's Dacheux Pad, 5.21.14,
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee


You have an alternative to both Wolf....and the wolf.

Paul Glover, Pennsylvania Green Party supports nothing other than a ban on fracking: governor issues glover. In other words, you have a choice of a candidate that understands that without clean air and water, without viable communities, without the security against the incursions of a state too beholden to multinationals, our hope of a democracy where our voices make a difference is lost. You can choose the guy who won the nod of the Democrats in virtue of his capacity to outspend his opponents and bamboozle anti-fracking activists into thinking he's somehow on their team--or you can vote for the guy who refuses to take corporate donations.

In other words, you can vote for a business as usual that's transforming Pennsylvania into a natural gas extraction colony where the cost are all externalized to, well, us, and the benefits will accrue to the off-shore bank accounts of multinational corporations--that's a vote for Mr. Wolf whose tax plan will do not a thing to prevent the fracktastrophe.

Or you can screw up a little courage and vote for your neighbors and your kids--that's a vote for Glover.

Pipeline cut, Chief Dacheux Pad, 5.21.14,
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

If your not sure, look again at the photographs I took one day after the PA primaries. If you still not sure, here's the whole ugly--this is happening everyday all over the state--set:
The Everyday Fracking Destruction of Pennsylvania - an album on Flickr

At the end of the day it's pretty easy to carry around protest signs--god knows I've paid my dues here--and yell out that you'd really like that moratorium.

But the writing's on the wall: protests and petitions ain't gonna cut it against what amounts to a corporate army who can essentially deploy the forces of the state to keep you from finding out what they're willing to do to you in the interest of pursuing the almighty greenback.

Standing on a public road with my camera yesterday, I was chased off both the EXCO Warner Pad on Rt, 118, just outside of Lairdsville, (where I have photographed many times), threatened with a call to the state police, and then a white trucked-security guard appeared out of the blue while I was photographing the Marquardt--Rine Rd, Rt, 220, near Sonestown.

Pipeline cut, Chief Dacheux Pad, 5.21.14,
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

These photographs are getting harder and harder to get--and just to reiterate, I am on public roads. Will Mr. Wolf do anything about that? I doubt it. But then again, so long as the folks who may well put him in office are satisfied that the best we can do is hold protests and sign petitions, he--and his natural gas friends--can continue to paint the only real resistance in Pennsylvania--those who have stood up for a ban on fracking--as the "radicals," all the while painting themselves as the "rational."

But where "rational" means the continuation of what's in these photographs, I vote for the "radical."

Why? Because in this case, "radical" just means courageous enough to try to make you see what "realistic" is going to get you--a reality that isn't pretty, but will only accelerate with a vote for Wolf.

Don't settle for the wolf in the sheep outfit.

Come November, vote Green party. Vote Glover.

************************************

Update: Environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer's "plan to raise $100 million to make global warming a major campaign issue and attack Republicans, including Corbett" may indeed make climate change a major issue in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign.  But while Wolf is not likely to deny the human contribution to warming weather patterns, his position is nothing but hypocrisy if he refuses to acknowledge the contribution of methane to global warming. "The Wolf campaign did not immediately explain Wolf's position on climate change Thursday." Is that because they already know that the moment they sign onto the anthropogenic contribution they'll have a problem holding onto the absurd "bridge fuel" argument Wolf's explicitly embraced? How does Wolf endorse fracking without denying climate change? How can he acknowledge climate change--and not at a minimum sign the moratorium as his first act in office?

But perhaps even more important--and curious--why would a billionaire environmentalist seek to help anti-environment Tom Wolf?

Corbett targeted by billionaire environmentalist