Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Marcellus Shale Coalition Responds To FracTracker Alliance Report On Land Impacts Of Unconventional Gas Drilling In Pine Creek Watershed, Northcentral PA

On May 9, 2019, nearly two dozen people descended on the Pine Creek Watershed in parts of Clinton, Lycoming, Potter and Tioga counties for the purpose of cataloging the impacts of the unconventional oil and gas industry and related infrastructure on the landscape. 
The result was a digital atlas showing the information they collected in the field and other research published by the FracTracker AllianceClick Here for more on the report.
In response to the report by the FracTracker Alliance, the Marcellus Shale Coalition developed this response to the claims made in their report--

A recent article by the FracTracker Alliance and their partner organizations claimed to catalog the impacts of unconventional natural gas development in the Pine Creek watershed, which is located in Northcentral Pennsylvania, over the last twelve years.
It is alarming how these entities misrepresent basic facts in an effort to advance a cause. 
For example, these organizations claim that there are 554 unconventional wells within the Pine Creek watershed-- an area that spans 30 municipalities across Potter, Tioga, Clinton and Lycoming counties. 
However, according to the most recent report that was published prior to the FracTracker Alliance ‘report,’ there were actually 966 unconventional wells within the watershed. 
The organization’s inability – or unwillingness – to analyze even basic information should call into question all of their assertions regarding the impacts of unconventional natural gas development within the watershed and beyond.
The groups also suggest that over 3,000 barrels of liquid wastewater have been used for dust suppression on roadways within the watershed from the same gas development they highlight. 
What they purposefully fail to note, however, is that none of the wastewater comes from unconventional operations, because unconventional wastewater has been prohibited by law for use in dust suppression, and to our knowledge, has never been used for this – or any similar – purpose.
Yet beyond these significant factual errors is the most egregious claim by the FracTracker Alliance: that nearly 950 violations were issued within the watershed which were ‘likely’ to impact surface or groundwater within the region.
A simple analysis of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PA DEP) own database shows that a significant number of so-called violations actually were issued in error. A common occurrence is for an inspector to assign one incident to each and every well at a well site, which is in violation of PA DEP’s own policies. 
By removing erroneous and duplicative violations, it is clear that these organizations nearly doubled the number of actual violations, of which nearly half of the remaining represent administrative violations, such as incomplete or late reports, and other paperwork errors. 
All told, operators within the Pine Creek watershed underwent over 13,300 inspections over the twelve years supposedly “examined” by FracTracker Alliance – and compiled a compliance rate of close to 97 percent, which includes the aforementioned paperwork violations. 
It must be understood that operators take seriously their obligation to comply with all environmental laws and standards – and always strive for zero incidents in the field.  
Indeed, operators work tirelessly to meet nearly 100 standards and requirements that were adopted in the Chapter 78a regulations nearly halfway through the twelve-year period that these anti-industry organizations focus.
When evaluating the environmental performance of any activity, data and subsequent analysis must be both accurate and provided in the proper context. 
Unfortunately, in their effort to advance a biased narrative, the FracTracker Alliance and its partner organizations both ignored facts and misrepresented data in an effort to mislead the public on the impacts of unconventional shale gas development.
For more information on unconventional natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, visit the Marcellus Shale Coalition website.
(Photo: A 2016 Google Earth Map showing gas well drilling sites near Little Pine State Park in Lycoming County.)
Related Article:
[Posted: October 8, 2019] www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

1 comment :

  1. Both US EPA and PA DEP have failed to regulate those raping our state resources and fouling our environment. I have personally witnessed the members of the "Marcellus Shale Coalition boast of how they own Pennsylvania while attending meetings with EPA in Arlington VA. We in Pennsylvania have been failed by every governor since Rendell on this issue and other environmental matters. Those who claim this benefits our economy apparently think all those vehicles from TX and OK around hydro-fracturing pads are somehow profiting the local economy. Fools!!!

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