Friday, December 16, 2022

Citizen Complaints Result In DEP Issuing PA General Energy More Violations At Loyalsock Creek Gas Pipeline/Water Withdrawal Construction Site In Lycoming County

November 28 inspection report by the Department of Environmental Protection resulted in the agency issuing more Clean Streams Law violations to PA General Energy at the Shawnee water withdrawal and natural gas pipeline construction site on the Loyalsock Creek in Gamble Township, Lycoming County.

A natural gas gathering pipeline system and freshwater supply pipelines is being built on both banks of the Loyalsock Creek to connect the development of three shale gas tracts leased from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Loyalsock State Forest that are expected to serve an additional 80 shale gas wells.

On November 27, Barb Jarmoska of Keep It Wild PA, took photos and a video of a mud plume that traveled more than a mile down the Loyalsock Creek from the PA General Energy construction site.

She was prompted to look at the creek by her six-year-old granddaughter who was the first to notice the pollution.

Click Here to watch a video of what they saw. Barb Jarmoska’s 13-year-old granddaughter held the umbrella while she took the video recording the pollution in the Loyalsock Creek.

The followup DEP inspection report said the violations included--

-- Erosion and sediment controls were not designed to prevent sediment from going into the creek;

-- Erosion and sediment controls were not implemented and maintained to prevent sediment from going into the creek; and

-- Mud and sediment were visible “overwhelming” the controls and being discharged into the creek from the construction site.

Click Here for a copy of the inspection report with photos.

DEP also did inspections at the site before and after the November 27/28 incidents on  November 15, 23, December 1, 5 and 8 and said they found no violations on those dates.

12+ Violations So Far

DEP has now documented over a dozen environmental violations at the site, some lasting several days, since construction began in July.

On September 27, DEP issued two formal notices of violations to PA General Energy  containing six individual violations for water pollution discharges into the creek at the Loyalsock/Shawnee site.  Read more here.

On October 13, DEP again found four more violations of the Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act at the Shawnee site. DEP said the violations included blocking the entire width of the creek with a coffer dam, flume pipes, and timber mats not approved by the agency.   Read more here.

On October 24, Barb Jarmoska of Keep It Wild PA, took photos and filed a complaint with DEP about PA General Energy contractors dismantling the coffer dam they constructed in the creek by ripping open the sandbags and dumping the contents in the creek.

When DEP investigated the complain, a spokesperson for the agency said, “There is the expectation of some disturbance and mobilization of existing sediment in the creek bottom during the removal of BMPs and as water is once again allowed to flow over newly disturbed stream bed, no matter how carefully the BMPs are removed.  

“It is possible that some of the sandbags could have also been torn leading to some discoloration.  The activity observed did not contribute additional sediment to the creek, nor did any BMPs fail causing a discharge of sediment.  The result of the Department’s inspection was no violations.”

Project Background

The PA General Energy Loyalsock/Shawnee natural gas pipeline and surface water withdrawal construction site is on both sides of Route 87 and the Loyalsock Creek, approximately 8 miles north of Montoursville in Gamble Township, Lycoming County.

The natural gas gathering pipeline system and freshwater supply pipelines are being built to connect the development of three shale gas tracts leased from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Loyalsock State Forest that are expected to add up to 80 additional shale gas wells.

The pipelines will connect two leased tracts of state forest land on a plateau on the north side of the Loyalsock Creek, run about a mile down steep hillsides, under the Loyalsock Creek and State Route 87, and 1.5 miles up steep slopes up to a third leased tract on state forest land on the south side of the Creek.

The freshwater pipeline will be constructed above ground.  PGE will attempt to use new underground “micro-tunneling” technology for the natural gas pipeline, down steep slopes on both sides of the Creek.

Loyalsock EV Stream

The Loyalsock is classified by DEP as an Exceptional Value stream whose water quality must be protected by law, with no degradation.  The Creek was also named by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as the 2018 Pennsylvania River of the Year and called a “timeless treasure.”  Read more here.

The Loyalsock Creek is home to the Eastern Hellbender, named the state’s official amphibian after a campaign by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation PA Student Leadership Council.  It only thrives in clean water.  Read more here

Surveys of Loyalsock Creek in Lycoming County over the last two summers by Dr. Peter Petokas, from Lycoming College Clean Water Institute, found habitats of the rare Eastern Hellbender salamander are being significantly impacted by sediment plumes from natural gas pipeline crossing and shale gas drilling-related water withdrawal construction projects. Read more here

Public Urged To Report Problems

“Any member of the public concerned about this or other potential environmental issues they may observe at any time should contact their regional DEP office to file a complaint,” said Mary Lehman, DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office.  “Complaints may be filed over the phone or through a web form.”

(Photos: Top- Muddy plume (Barb Jarmoska); Muddy construction site (DEP); Middle- Looking across the creek to pipeline right of way (DEP); Pipeline right of way (DEP); Bottom- Workers ripping open sandbags (Barb Jarmoska); Muddy construction along stream bank (DEP).)

Related Articles - Loyalsock Creek:

-- Bay Journal: Hellbender Habitat Slammed By Pollution From Shale Gas Development In PA's Loyalsock Creek  [PaEN]

-- DEP: PA General Energy Cited For More Water Pollution Violations, Blocking The Whole Width Of Loyalsock Creek At Gas Pipeline/Water Withdrawal Construction Site In Lycoming County  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues 2 NOVs Against PA General Energy For Water Pollution Discharges Into The Loyalsock Creek From Gas Pipeline/Water Withdraw Construction In Lycoming County  [PaEN]

-- NO SPECIAL PROTECTION: The Exceptional Value Loyalsock Creek In Lycoming County Is Dammed And Damned  [PaEN]

-- DEP, Fish & Boat Commission Investigate Multiple, Continuing Water Pollution Discharges From PGE Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Site On Loyalsock Creek, Lycoming County  [PaEN]

-- Rare Eastern Hellbender Habitat In Loyalsock Creek, Lycoming County Harmed By Sediment Plumes From Pipeline Crossings, Shale Gas Drilling Water Withdrawal Construction Projects  [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Has No Exclusion Zones For Water Withdrawals From Any Streams, Including EV Or HQ Streams Subject To Water Quality Antidegradation Rules  [PaEN]

-- Exceptional Value Water Quality Designation, State Forest Land, River Honors Were Not Enough To Protect Loyalsock Creek From Natural Gas Drilling & Pipelines In Lycoming County  [PaEN]

DEP Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard -  Dec. 10 to 16  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment [PaEN]  

-- DEP Posted 69 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In The Dec. 17 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]  

Related Articles This Week:

-- Better Path Coalition: 65 Organizations, Businesses, 2,700+ Individuals Petition Gov.-Elect Shapiro To Ban Road Dumping Of Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater  [PaEN]

-- Citizen Complaints Result In DEP Issuing PA General Energy More Violations At Loyalsock Creek Gas Pipeline/Water Withdrawal Construction Site In Lycoming County  [PaEN] 

-- DEP Consent Agreement Allowing Shale Gas Drilling To Resume Under Dimock, Susquehanna County Sets New Drilling, Water Supply Protection Standards, Imposes $444,000 Penalty  [PaEN]

-- Republican Herald/Scranton Times Editorial: DEP Professes Unwarranted Faith In Shale Gas Drillers  [PaEN]

-- DEP Assesses $600,000 Penalty For Illegal Disposal Of Over 1,800 Truck Loads Of Oil & Gas Waste Drill Cuttings In Fayette County  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues Notice Of Violation To Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County For Air Quality Violations In Sept. - Oct.  [PaEN]

-- AG Shapiro: Free Water Evaluations Begin For Homeowners Affected By Construction Of Mariner East 2 Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline  [PaEN]

-- Bloomberg: A Massive Natural Gas Leak In Pennsylvania Is Adding To Climate Scrutiny

-- Presentations Now Available From Shale Gas & Public Health Conference In Nov. Hosted By PA League Of Women Voters & University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health  [PaEN]

-- EPA Accepts Final DEP Oil/Gas Facility VOC/Methane Emission Limits Regulation For Review, Stops Imposition Of Federal Highway Funding, Other Sanctions  [PaEN]

-- Ohio River Valley Institute Decarbonization Pathway Relies On Zero Emissions Resources, Energy Efficiency, Increased Electrification Is Less Costly Than Natural Gas, Carbon Capture Options  [PaEN]

-- CNX Unveils Appalachia-Focused Vision For The Future, Promoting New Natural Gas Development, Use - ‘Produce It Here. Use  It Here - First’  [PaEN]

NewsClips This Week:

-- WJAC: Cambria County Couple Files Lawsuit Against Sunoco Over Mariner East Pipeline Construction They Said Made Their Property Nearly Uninhabitable By Eliminating Their Water Supply, Bulldozing Their Barn, Causing Sinkholes 

-- Altoona Mirror: Cambria County Couple Sue Sunoco Over Mariner Pipeline Damage; Raw Sewage Coming Into Kitchen Sink

-- StateImpactPA - Susan Phillips: ‘Gasland’ Driller Will Pay Millions For New Water System In Dimock

-- Capital & Main - Audrey Carleton: PA Lets Polluter Resume Shale Gas Drilling In Dimock Protected Zone, Outraging Residents At Fracking’s ‘Ground Zero’  

-- AP: Pennsylvania Lifts Ban On Shale Gas Drilling In Polluted Dimock, Susquehanna County

-- The Allegheny Front - Reid Frazier: Western PA Contractor Fined $600,000 For Illegal Dumping Over 1,800 Truck Loads Of Oil & Gas Waste  

-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: Natural Gas Stoves Can Hurt Indoor Air Quality, Consumer Advocates Say

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Shell’s Flaring At Beaver County Ethane Plant Pushed Company Over Air Permit Limits, Data Shows

-- Beaver Times: Regulators Say Shell Exceeded Emissions Cap During Cracker Plant Startup

-- New Castle News: DEP: Opening Of Shell’s Western PA ‘Cracker’ Plant Caused Pollutants To Spike

-- The Allegheny Front - Reid Frazier: Shell Air Pollution Soars During Startup Of Beaver County Ethane Plant

-- TribLive: Shell Issued Violation Notice For Exceeding Air Pollution Limits During Startup Of Beaver County Ethane Plant  

-- Post-Gazette Guest Essay: Petrochemical Plants Are An Environmental And Economic Dead End For Southwestern PA - By Breathe Collaborative

-- Post-Gazette Guest Essay: Shell Petrochemical Plant Represents Western PA’s Economic Future - By Pittsburgh Works Together 

-- Scranton Times Editorial: Tie State Taxpayer Subsidies Of Petrochemical Plants To Environmental Compliance 

-- Inside Climate News - Jon Hurdle: Decarbonization Program Would Eliminate Most Emissions In SW PA By 2050, New Study Finds

-- Environmental Health News: Western PA Can Meet Its Climate Goals, If The Region Stops Subsidizing Natural Gas

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: CNX Resources Lays Out Appalachia First Vision For Economic Growth

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: CNX’s Nick DeIuliis Speaks About Why Appalachia First Is Best Approach For Pittsburgh, Appalachia

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Industrial Energy Consumers Of America Write Gov. Wolf, Others Urging Building More Natural Gas Pipelines

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Industrial Energy Consumers Of America Write Gov. Wolf, Others Urging Building More Natural Gas Pipelines

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Rice Acquisition Of NET Power A Bet On Carbon Capture And Storage And Natural Gas Transition

-- PennLive: Residents Evacuated Just Before Natural Gas Explosion Flattened Their Home In Dauphin County

-- PennLive: 92-Year-Old Man Survived Massive Natural Gas Explosion That Pulverized Neighbor’s Home 30 Feet Away In Dauphin County

-- MCall - Ford Turner: Special Report: More Than 125 Natural Gas Odor Reports In Pottstown, Montgomery County In The 29 Months Before Deadly Home Explosion

-- Observer-Reporter Guest Essay: Natural Gas Powering Our County And Beyond - By Chair Of Washington County Commissioners  [IFO: Natural Gas Price Increased 95% Over Last Year ]

-- Marcellus Shale Coalition: 12 Days Of Marcellus - ‘On The First Day Of Marcellus, Natural Gas Gave To Me’ 

-- Bob Donnan Blog: The 12 Days Of Christmas And Other  Christmas Carols About The Real Impact Of Natural Gas Industry In Pennsylvania 

-- Bob Donnan Blog: Real Shale Gas History: Spying & Psychological Operations On PA Citizens 2010-14

-- Bob Donnan Blog: Real Shale Gas History: 12 Articles On Shale Gas Development In PA As Told By The Families and Communities That Experienced It

-- Inside Climate News: Q/A With Eliza Griswold Pulitzer Winning Author Of Deep Dive Into Fracking In PA, How Extractive Industries ‘Gut’ Communities 

-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: PA Natural Gas Prices Rise [94.7%] As Production Falls, Report Says

[Posted: December 16, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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