Cabot lays out $1 billion

External Relations director George Stark spoke to a business luncheon of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce in Tunkhannock Wednesday.

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Cabot Oil and Gas has spent more than $1 billion in Susquehanna County since 2006 and expects to add 54 wells in 2011, with 149 wells drilled to date.

External relations director George Stark told a packed Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday that his company would be around “for a long while” and the 400 jobs it has had a hand in creating to date will only grow as new wells come on line.

He said that the fact that eight of the top 10 producing Marcellus shale gas wells in Pennsylvania are Cabot’s far exceeded his company’s hopes.

“The production has been off the charts and we’re happy about that,” Stark said.

But he acknowledged that some have criticized Cabot for modest lease payouts four or five years ago in the $25 per acre range and questions about water contamination.

“Look, it’s easy to do Monday morning quarterbacking,” Stark said. “The reality is we didn’t know four years ago what we know today. The industry is evolving.”

He criticized a New York Times article of two weeks ago “which had its facts wrong” in addressing waste treatment in the Marcellus shale and noted three days ago that Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released information through an Associated Press story that he feels vindicates the industry.

“We strive to do all we can with our regulators, and know the importance of a healthy environment,” Stark said, while noting Cabot’s relations with DEP has not always been smooth.

However, he did not talk about water contamination implied in a consent order his company signed in recent years with DEP and the people who live along Carter Road in Dimock Twp.

“Please don’t change the rules mid way,” he said. “We now have a much better understaning of them (DEP), and they understand what it is we’re doing.”

As for jobs, he acknowledged that the first ones were filled by people out of the area who had a knowledge base to draw on.

“That’s changing now, but you just couldn’t find people locally to run a compressor station or tend wells,” he said.

Stark is hopeful though that will change with partnerships with places like Lackawanna College and the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center in Dimock.

He acknowledged that water used in fracking Cabot’s wells is now almost completely a closed loop system with 20 percent of water initially used coming back up and recycled with 80 percent fresh water.

Tunkhannock businessman George Gay Jr. asked if Cabot had interest in the Utica Shale, a reserve that is estimated to be 3,000-7,000 feet below the Marcellus.

“The short answer is yes,” Stark said, “but that’s not why we are here right now. We’ve got more pressing matters.”

Asked about the lack of severance tax in Pennsylvania, Stark said Cabot pays taxes and fees in other ways and he questioned if a severance tax were created would the money raised ever find its way back to the region gas was extracted from?

“We paid out $10 million last year in road repairs in Springville, Dimock, Auburn and Jessup townships in Susquehanna County,” he noted. “If we paid a severance tax, would the state send that money up here to repair the roads? Not likely.”

Stark said that Susquehanna County residents have received $43 million in royalties from Cabot  since 2006, and one well – the Chudleigh in Springville Twp. – has produced a billion cubic feet of gas by itself.

“Everybody wants one of those,” he chuckled.

Stark acknowledged he was in Wyoming County because even though his company is committed to drilling only in Susquehaanna County, its employees live in an around Tunkhannock.

“We want to be a good neighbor wherever we are,” he said.

To that end Stark noted that Cabot is already planning a giant company picnic on July 23 on the Harford fairgrounds that he’s guessing will surpass the one that attracted 3,000 people to Montrose last summer.

“It will be a great time once again to say thank you,” he said.

  • Victoria Switzer

    Cabot is here to stay and yes, Susquehanna County will primarily focus on gas extraction as its main industry..some will benefit directly through large royalty check and some will work for them or in a business that supports the gas industry.A footnote on job creation? Some of the new jobs created are for the delivery of water to families who cannot drink their well water anymore. If Cabot really wants to be the “good neighbor” then they need to 1. acknowledge that they made mistakes in Dimock 2. apologize to the “affected area” residents and 3. ask them what they can do for those folks to give then their lives back..Then and only then will we ALL be good neighbors.

  • John Trallo

    Well said, Victoria. ‘Good neighbors’ don’t ruin the neighborhood. They enhance it. Cabot has only enhanced it’s bottom line, abd that of a few local businesses that will ultimately suffer when the inevitable ‘bust’ follows. Kudos to you for standing up for your rights, speaking your mind as you should, and not caving in to greed.

  • Julie Sautner

    I agree with Victoria! This is what Cabot should do 1. acknowledge that they made mistakes in Dimock 2. apologize to the “affected area” residents and 3. ask them what they can do for those folks to give then their lives back..Then and only then will we ALL be good neighbors….as for the folks who say the gas was always here, have you seen our water results? are you a expert? You think we like living like this? We are’nt greedy, the ones that are greedy are the ones whom stood before you saying Cabot is so great and the water is fine( while taking the consent order money) shame on you! Those of you that hide behind you computers and call us names ( using made up names) use you own name for Gods sake! and those of you who hide behind tarps yelling nasty cuss words. Industrial l wasteland, The New Dimock!

  • patch

    You can’t continually treat someone like a criminal and create a Circus like environment using the media, and then expect them to be a good neighbor. I agree that there were probably mistakes made in the industry early on but when it became a media circus fueled by the “citizens of Carter Road”, Cabot went into defense mode. I am pleased by the jobs created it has directly benefited our family, in poor economic times. And yes the royalty checks are probably benefiting some, especially the farmers who are being squeezed out by big business by the pricing of their product. And also regulated by a government that causes many of them to pack it in because the costs are higher than the gain. I am sorry about the water situation that happened on Carter road, but trying the case before the media was the wrong direction to take. Maybe your group should hire a PR firm to bolster your reputation and try to repair the damage done.

  • Craig A Sautner

    Why would we want to hire a PR firm to correct the damage done,when it was CABOT that caused all the water contamination here? If CABOT was held accountable for their actions,then maybe we would have clean water now. CABOT does a pretty good job with their own PR about praising themselves and painting a pretty picture of what they think it is like here,when it really is nothing like they say it is. Part of the 1 billion dollars they spent here could have gone to the replacement water from Montrose to Dimock. Is 12 and a half million dollars too much to spend for clean water? Some of our neighbors think so.They also don’t think CABOT should be responsible for that expense. Try living with a contaminated well for over 2 and a half years. It is not that nice to be treated like cattle. Wait till your water gets contaminated, then you’ll see things in a different light. And what about the PA DEP? They should be held accountable for their actions too, or lack of it. The contamination here has gotten way out of hand. The PA DEP should have done what they are supposed to do, PROTECT the ENVIRONMENT ! Maybe it’s time to bring in th EPA. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !!!!! It’s time to clean things up.

  • Water on Fire

    Hey Patch – how about they shouldn’t just BE a criminals, LIE about it, and then PRETEND to be good neighbors.

    Perhaps one day your water will go bad — like it has in Dimock, in Lenox, In Bradford, in Potter, etc, etc, etc, …. and then who will you turn to? The good neighbor gas company? ‘Cmon, give me a break. We all know, they just lawyer up, lie and wait it out — just like they always have. They’re here for the money, end of story. Sure they have to grease some palms along the way, but that’s nothin…

    The DEP? Are they gonna help you? Well… maybe… months, years later… after you call, and call, and call… And, then what. Can they perform miracles and clean your water? Sorry… no luck there. Will they shut down operations? Think not. Maybe you get a buffalo and have to sue. With Dimock they cut a deal on the side, didn’t even ask them if they wanted the deal and tried to force it on them. It’s been YEARS. Nice neighbors.

    Or, if you’re more than 1000 feet from the well head, then you have to prove it yourself. Yup — PROVE the gas company contaminated the water yourself. You have to pay to get the water tested, geoligists, lawyers, everything, and sue. Think you’ll call your local legislator… well… you see…hands are ‘tied’…so sorry…

    With neighbors like you, George Stark and Cabot, who needs to worry about hell? You bring it home – water on fire right out of the tap.

  • Patrick Walker

    I don’t like the idea of referring to corporations as good or bad neighbors; it plays in the dangerous lie–mistakenly edorsed by our Supreme Court–that they’re persons.

    People need to understand that corporations are formed for the tunnel-vision purpose of making profit; everything else–including people’s lives and well-being–is incidental. Big Finance, underregulated, caused a worldwide economic meltdown, not far short of a new Great Depression. All easy-access fossil fuels are gone, so dangerous, extreme technologies–like the ones that caused the Gulf oil spill or unconventional gas drilling–are now needed to extract them. It’s absolute foolishness to doubt the need for tight regulation of such technologies, or even to allow them at all without consulting all citizen stakeholders–many of whom stand to lose considerable property value just by being in their “neighborhood.”

    The gas industry’s DEP incident rate jumped between 2009 and 2010 from 0.82 to 0.89 per well–not just more environmental incidents, but a rising RATE of environmental incidents. Yet the Corbett administration is actually irresponsively CUTTING DEP funding by 20%. Let’s see what our good neighbors’ incident rate is like by year end.

    If this industry is so good, why has its public approval rating DROPPED despite massive PR spending? I’d say the best explanation is that the “dirty secrets” this “good neighbor” was hiding from us are becoming known. And science tells us that once you count extraction, they’re not even the “clean” fuel they lyingly claim to be.

    Cabot should make room at its picnic for at least 500 protesters.

  • Victoria Switzer

    I worked behind the scenes, quietly trying to get help but after folks on Carter Road had gone without water for 8 months we contacted the media- guess what? We got water for the retired widow living on social security and the elderly couple who had spent $6000.00 of their own money on a water treatment system that did not do the job..Cabot did not do the right thing and they still are not. When and if they do we will step back and hopefully have our ives back. If they do not do the right thing? THis will go to court and it will be very public and it will not be in Cabot’s interest to have their misdeeds and negligence in the news everyday. I do not discount that folks are benefiting and I am glad for you and your family but a wrong has been done here and only Cabot can make it right. I too would like to be benefiting from the industry’s presence in my community..

  • eyeswideopen

    How is it that a company that is part of the global Oil & Gas industry and is a member of the influential Marcellus Shale Coalition can manage to convince members of our county that they are put upon, harassed, and picked on by a handful of citizens?
    And the residents who suffer because of Cabot’s mistakes and negligence are seen to be so powerful with the full backing of the media?
    This in itself is a testament to the effectiveness of the PR firms the O&G industry hires and the media campaign blitz “Clean Natural Gas” that no one who switches on a TV or a radio or a computer can escape.
    I am disgusted with my fellow Suckuoptogas County neighbors.
    Let them have their gas “boon”. Maybe they will not be so happy with what they beg for when all is said and done.

  • http://frontier Rottweiler Gloria

    My family resides in Dimock, Pa, a quiet town in Susquehanna County. When we moved in the area we had seen a lack of work available and had to go hours away or into another state for work. Than it all changed, the Gas Industry came in within a year of our arrival and Saved the area. The State Officials had not contributed to any economical development, and families were loosing their homes and jobs daily. The experience lately is allot of negative perspectives on this Industry, one being the Fracking Process and the possible contamination to our water sources. The Industry is safely monitoring all of their work forces and has been working with the area and the residents to take every step necessary to ensure and protect our resources. They are making every effort to correct any problem that may occur and fix it right away as well as any other business’s with excellent control would operate. The fracking has been proven not to be harmful, the people need to be more open to their wide vast of educational offerings from the Industry and experts within this field as well as listening to the neighbors who have experienced the wonderful responses from the Gas Industry and not just welcome the negative. We are so prone to listen to the negative and not open our minds up to a world of positive change that is needed and is finally here. There has to be facts with decisions and the facts are this Industry is a positive change for : Volitale Energy within the United States , Local jobs and Business’s Developing, New Educational Developments , Financial Resources in means of lease payments or royalties to Landowner’s and State owned land, Established Business’s growth, Closing the door on them is closing the door on your Future.
    These Companies are not here to destroy our land or make our lives unbairable, in fact the state’s issues and Political Policies seem to make it turn around and make them the “Bad Guys”. These business’s do make allot of money, but they also pay allot of bills and taxes and also contribute to the community in more ways than the Government has in years. The jobs they have created do consist of “Local Resident’s”, the falicy of these companies only employing their own “Out of State Rough Necks” is not true at all. You do need experienced people to do the job , if we want to relocate to Oklahoma to work, than by all means do so, but we choose to live here and they came to us, they are educating us and creating workshops to do this and establish training for those not experienced so they can have a future. My husband is one of them and we have been very thankful that they came to our area and created such a vast needed resource in all areas, we thank them and welcome them! Please anyone fighting to keep them out of the area, think again and find out more facts, the knowledge you allow will change your perspective, these companies are not our enemies, you need to look closer at the whole picture

  • http://frontier Rottweiler Gloria

    NATURAL GAS SEVERANCE TAX
    A BAD IDEA

    * If a Severance Tax is enacted, PROPERTY OWNERS ROYALTIES WILL BE TAXED, In addition to personal taxes.

    *They propose that the taxes will be placed for Potential Contamination. IF Pollution occurs Fines and Penalties are already levied by the DEP, that alone is covering the clean up cost.

    * Wear & Tear on Roads– Drilling Companies Are already accountable for any damaged road or infrastructure and in many cases improved since drilling began.

    * Clearly the Money from any Tax on this will go to Pork Projects that Harrisburg Politicians want to fund.

    * This is not the Coal Industry — Mistakes this Industry makes Today – they are held Accountable for Today.

    * Everyone has their hands out for the piece of the Severance Tax Money.

    * Rendell’s “Fair Share” is being argued – The Fact that Drilling Companies Already Pay either the Highest Corporate Net Income Tax in Penn State University Study Found that more than ***95%*** of Complaints received from Homeowners suspecting contamination from gas drilling were actually due to Pre Existing problems or other activities such as Agriculture. SO, IMPOSING the Moretorium on Drilling in State lands was not because of the Fear of Enviornmental effects, on the Contrary, Fracking process used in Horizontal Drilling has been used for decades with a Excellent track record.

    * It is time for us to speak these words to our representatives to have them know that the Citizens know more intuitively than we did before and more likely than the folks representing us.

    * The government will drive away these businesses. They may look to focus investment elsewhere. Devon energy did not invest into this region because of Pa’s Political Problems.

    ** This information is researched through the Commonwealth Foundation and has been publically announced through many aritcles and throughout the year. Some other information has been gathered thru other articles from Oil & Gas Associations and various states that have been left Baron due to these issues. the world or the Personal Tax plus Capital Stock Tax, Leasing Fees, royalties & they finance bonds to maintain local infrastructure.

    * They are also giving lease payments to the State & Royalties & signing Bonuses to Citizens. Gas Companies have created thousands of jobs, Governor Rendell’s economic development programs HAVE NOT

    *

  • Greed got you all

    None of you had to sign those gas leases.

  • Jeremy Dabulewicz

    I don’t see a real problem here. You all fell for a “get rich quick” scheme and now its biting you in the butt. You didnt do any proper research on gas drilling and went running to the bank with your sign up checks. You all sound like the people that got ripped off by Bernard Madoff. Nobody forced you to give your mineral rights away. What would make believe there was no gas in your water before the drilling? THAT IS HOW IS WAS DISCOVERED THAT GAS WAS HERE!
    I’m not sticking up for any big oil company as it takes me an hour to drive from Montrose to Tunkhannock now because of all the southern drivers that are scared of snow. I just think you all didn’t take any personal responsibility and understand what you were getting into and now you are trying to blame someone else because it’s not going your way. I’m also under the impression that the oil company has paid you several times the value of your home and you all excepted it. Did you cash the checks? Did you give the money back and say ” I want my water fixed, not your money.”?
    No. You took the gas companys’ money, like you have all along, and now your crying foul. I agree our area in now ruined because of the gas industry, but it sure isn’t because of the water, roads or money. It has made everybody in this little town greedy and inevitably hate each other. Google a town called Cairo, Illinios or better yet go visit. The gas companies hit it rich there 10 years ago and now it’s a ghost town. There are hundreds of towns across the country just like it. You all sold out your town for a coulple of bucks. Now go to jamaica or bermuda and enjoy yourself. Just quit blaming someone else because your yard looks like a mudbog and your water burns like…oh i dont know…NATURAL GAS!

  • keepwaterclean123

    I think Cabot handled the few people who’s wells were effected on carter road very fairly and that you have some other hidden agenda with your accusations and attempt at public sympathy. could it be litigation ? Enough Already ok.

  • keepwaterclean123

    HEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYY CCCCAAAAABBBBBBBOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTT

    come drill on my land I am for natural gas and I believe your a good neighbor

  • zzzzzzzz1

    CABOT THANKYOU FOR BEING HERE AND FOR EXTRACTING AMERICAN NATURAL GAS FOR AMERICA.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

  • MIB82

    WE NEED TO DRILL THOUSANDS OF WELLS TO SUBSTAIN AMERICA’S FUTURE OIL INDEPENDENCE. FOR EVERY WELL DRILLED I TRULY BELIEVE WE BRING HOME 10 SOLDIERS.

  • bobopparebop

    Mr. Trallo’s? You know, the “unbiased” mediator at LaPorte????

  • bobopparebop

    I know of several pro drillers who have commented on this article WHERE ARE THEIR COMMENTS MR. CENSOR

  • NEPAgal

    To Switzer and Sautners:

    My question is the same as it always is:

    Considering your water wells are both substandard at best, meeting the minimum construction standards, are yourselves not complying with the Consent Orders handed down by DEP? You and a handful of other holdouts still refuse to allow new wells to be constructed on your properties or methane filtration systems to be installed in your homes, even though your neighbors have done so with more than adequate satisfaction. Considering you have all been reimbursed for your over-hyped troubles, I would say you are simply drawing out the drama to benefit your own stories.

    After the offending wells were plugged, the methane and TDS factors cleared up within a few months (leading me to shudder at the thought of what is REALLY in that jug you haul around Mr. Sautner).

    And Ms. Switzer, do you not live next to a towing/junk yard? There has been no fracing done near your place in 1.5 years, yet glycol (found in anti-freeze and which degrades in water within two weeks), is apparent in samples taken from your water as recently as the end of last year?

    It is unfortunate you were victims of methane migration, but I find it even more abhorrent that you are lying about frac contamination. You claim Cabot and your satisfied neighbors are greedy, but with your blunt refusal to accept remedies and your weak claim of contamination above and beyond methane migration issues, I have no doubt who is greedier.

  • bobopparebop

    well said nepagal If this country could heat and light up with the methane from the bull dung being thrown around by these litigating anti gassers we would’nt need the natural gas.

  • Alice Strauss

    Contaminants in the water supply do not stop at property lines. Whether you signed a lease or you didn’t will make no difference when those nasty little buggers get into the underground aquifer. Just as radiation from Japan’s nuclear catastrophe has the potential to affect the oceans and thereby the food supply, the results of fracking have the potential to contaminate the water table. No matter how people want to downplay the consequences, we are riding the ragged edge, folks, and there won’t be any safe place to go- with or without your royalties! NEPA will soon be a wasteland just as it was after all the coal mining. Jobs or no jobs, it’s not going to be a very nice place to live. Just like the “mine reclamation” projects, they’ll plant rye grass and call it “gas well reclamation”! What a great gift to our grandchildren!

  • pippi

    Jobs, jobs, jobs. What about the jobs lost because of this industry? Mortgages won’t be given on properties with mineral leases which means no new construction. Which affects realtors, banks, home inspectors, builders, lumber yards and the list goes on and on. What about farms that produce the food you eat? You destroy acres of that property without even thinking of the consequences of the jobs lost in farming, produce and meat sales, butchers and the trucking of these products. Gas wells move into the not so rural area’s and people fear about contamination of water and air and move which in turn means local business’s lose those revenues and makes it unattractive for new buyers to invest. Gas lobbyist constantly pressure state representatives not to go forward with real clean energy options which stops any new businesses from spending their money and hiring of local workers. The majority of workers that come with the gas industry are only temporary like independant contractors when the wells are done being drilled in one state they will just move on to the next and the amount of residential employees will not be enough to compensate for the damage and cost you leave with the people who will have to clean up your mess if thats even possible.

  • NEPAgal

    Alice and Pippi:

    I have seen both the best and the worst of drilling. Did you ever think to take your concerns to your state legislatures or would you prefer to criticize and complain about what MIGHT be and look back so you can say “told ya so”? I saw drilling in Colorado and those pads were left in better shape than they were before they were drilled. Yes, coal mining did it’s damage to the NEPA area decades ago. That’s why better regulations were enacted and enforced. And you know why – concerned citizens with VALID concerns lobbying their legislatures.

    Pippi, you made mention of the real problem in your post: “people fear” – period. But are those fears based on verifiable data? You want to talk about agendas? Then let’s add those same people who tout “real clean energy options” right in with those who say there is absolutely no risk from NG drilling. Unwittingly you hit upon the problem those with agendas spreading it so thick and purposefully confusing the issues, there can be no middle ground or focus on the issues and the real concerns.

    There was a 2004 study done on the coalbed methane drilling and fracing done, of which the results showed no evidence of fracing contamination. Coalbed methane occurs at much shallower depths than the Marcellus and has even less resistance than shale. Science itself dictates if frac contamination is unlikely at shallower depths, contamination in the Marcellus region is virtually impossible. DEP’s ex-secretary John Hangar has even went in public record there is NO evidence of frac contamination in the residents’ water supplies in Carter Road.

    As far as mortgages not being given by banks, I can only speak for one. Our institution has no qualms.

    So I urge both you gals – get the information, know the true risks and go from there. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions, not just buy into either side of the coin. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

  • Notsoprerfect

    Thank you so much for being such a good neighbor and attending to the needs of those on Carter Road. I’m sure the widow living on social security appreciated the gesture. But, isn’t it strange that this same resident, for years before the death of her husband went to Bank Street in Montrose to get water to drink? There is another family who used to light Burdock Creek on fire when they had friends and relatives over. Also, another of the families who are very vocal state there were no water issues prior to drilling, but isn’t it true that when they bought their home there was a water treatment system in place? This was before the alleged contamination. If these people had stated that they had had issues in the past but when the drilling occurred there was a spike in methane, then the community would have reacted differently.

    The people of this area know about facts that have not been told in your story. We have been portrayed as being ignorant, dumb and greedy individuals. Why? Because we don’t fully agree with you? Instead of telling the truth, you have exaggerated the results and have experienced your 15 minutes of fame (all those public meetings, oh my), where you portray our community of Dimock as; ruined, a gas field, a wasteland and of course, my favorite, quoting from 60 Minutes a “GHOST TOWN”. Is this the best you can do to be a good neighbor or part of the community?

    There are many issues that are legitimate with the Oil and Gas Industry. Many that you could be involved in and maybe really make a difference with. Instead you choose to put your energy into an issue that relates to a handful of people. Deal with it and move on, or stop blaming your neighbors and the community for not supporting your agenda.

    Here is a quote of an anti-driller that was posted on an open forum:
    “I hasten to remind everyone that the typical member of our movement is above average in intelligence and education; while we’re passionate, we’re also smart enough to control ourselves so as no to blacken our public image or create trouble for locals.” All this while encouraging massive protest support at the Cabot picnic being held in July 2011. Even strongly encouraging people from NY to join the protest.

    Well, again you are wrong. People in this area are very smart. Smart enough to know not to believe all that is written. Smart enough to know when people are not telling all of the facts. Smart enough to make decisions on their own and not listen to those that will only look at things in a negative way. We will not be swayed from others from another county or state. We make our decisions through our votes and then rely on and strongly encourage those voted into office to speak for us. If they don’t we make sure they are no longer in the position to speak for us. Or possibly, we will stand together as a group to fight the wrong.

    Enough, Already! has been bashed by the anti-drillers, actually accused of being in Cabot’s pocket and being supported financially by Cabot. Well, again you are wrong. Upset with the John Hanger meeting that affected all of Susquehanna County but only residents of Carter Road and their supporters (including those from outside the area) were invited to, a group got together and actually said “Enough, Already!” God forbid that we should have something to say about what is going to affect the county.

    Here is quote from a current member of a local Borough Council (shouldn’t he be unbiased?):
    “Look at Enough is Enough when they stoped the water line. Who paied for all the signs, the venue at Elk lake schools, the security there, and the adds in the paper. Lets see event insurance, cost of the event, cost of running a full page add in a few papers, security, signes. That is a few thousand that was spent in two or three weeks. I am not sure they collected that much money form individuals”
    .
    Well, I have this to say, you, anti-driller, with the above average intelligence and education: SPELL CHECK!
    In fact, this was entirely funded by about 15 people who pulled out their wallets at that first gathering and said, “everyone should be able to comment on this, let’s do a presentation at the school and invite the residents of the county”. Because, we believe we all should have a voice. I will not provide the persons name that made this comment, but I am sure those of you that live in this Borough will know him. Also, since he is representing you as an elected official, you have the right to change that through your vote. By the way, that’s ENOUGH, ALREADY!, not Enough is Enough.

    To my fellow Dimock Township residents, for the inappropriate manner in which we are being portrayed, I encourage all of you to speak up against this. We must act together to rebuild our damaged community, with or without the support of those affected with “alleged” water contamination. Let’s show that we are a strong community that will fight against the “bad publicity” that we have received and will be even stronger for doing so.

  • NEPAgal

    Well said NSP! I am glad to see more of you getting fired up about the way Dimock is serving as the anti-drill factor’s poster child and played off as a toxic wasteland. I KNOW there are more of you out there and I realize some people are just waking up to how the community is being portrayed. Enough Already started the ball rolling, but after the pipeline got taken off the table, some momentum was lost.

    I urge you to find that fire again. Complacency and apathy are your enemies. Arm yourself with truth and knowledge. As a few of us have said, the industry is not perfect. Mistakes were made and lessons were learned, but remedies have been offered and compensation been made for the “victims” of Carter Road and its vicinity’s methane migration problems.

  • Alice Strauss

    If all is so rosy, why was it necessary to exempt the drilling industry from both the clean air *and* the clean water acts? And, yes, I have taken my concerns to state and local legislators. Since they all seem to be solidly in the NG camp, my voice is still “crying in the wilderness”. The concern on my part is not specifically for Dimock; it is for all of us living in NEPA and wherever the shale deposits lie.

  • Loren Salsman

    Alice:

    If you read the PADEP Consent Order, you will see that PADEP has cited Cabot with violations of the PA Clean Streams Act for the methane contamination. The gas industry is not allowed to randomly contaminate as they please. PADEP is doing a good job with regulating the industry and also with their oversight of the Dimock aquifer cleanup. Our aquifer is in much better shape than it was one year ago. But don’t take my word for it. Submit a Freedom of Information Act request to PADEP and get the Dimock Gas Migration investigation data for yourself. That’s what I did. I believe the contact is Jennifer Means in Williamsport, but I’m working from memory, so I may have the name wrong. The Williamsport PADEP office number is on their website.

  • Vera Scroggins

    it will only be “enough already” when the people who lost their water to gas drilling, have clean , piped in water again;

    why deny your neighbors their right to clean water —

    there are many families now in Bradford county without water because of gas drilling– this time it is Chesapeake
    drilling there–

    this is happening in over ten counties in our state and in other states.

    why should we lose clean water and clean air because of gas drilling–

  • Vera Scroggins

    I hope they do drill on your land and near your house like with others– even some are only 300 feet from a home

    and then see how you like the noise, lights, traffic, diesel fumes, and whatever contamination may happen

    for months since now they want to put several wells on one sight

    and then come back to us and tell us how it went for you–

    and how much money you made and whether it was worth it–

    the gas companies want to turn our county into an industrial zone with thousands of well sites
    and a crisscrossing grid of pipelines and transmission lines with compressor stations along the lines
    throughout the whole county like a spider web–

    why would you believe and trust multi-national corporations who are only interested in profit for the owners
    and shareholders, over your neighbors–

    if you don’t trust your neighbors who have been hurt by all this, then visit Bradford County and talk to the people who have contaminated water there?

  • Vera Scroggins

    Please get your facts right; the DEP and Cabot decided on twice the assessed value of the homes to pay the

    people in Dimock; that is twice the assessed value on the books in the court house–

    and the people have not cashed the checks;

    they are appealing this–

    they were not consulted about this deal–

    they are offered this money and still the water is not fixed–they have until the end of the year to cash the checks–

    there is more than high amounts of methane in the water — there are other elements like metals , etc.,
    there and the DEP has test results showing this–
    you can see the records– its public–

  • NEPAgal

    I’m not saying it is all rosy, please don’t ever get the idea I think that. I am for safe-drilling, but recognize there are issues. I think it is for each person to understand what the real issues are and decide for themselves what level of risk they are comfortable with, but that can only be done with the facts.

    So, onto your question regarding, yes, let’s call it what it is, the much touted and probably ill-named, “Halliburton” loophole. Please see Energy in Depth’s site for further information. (I would include it here, but I am unsure what this media’s policy is on links). Here is what I understand, but again, PLEASE research it for yourself

    It appears to be not the entire truth the entire industry OR any stage of the process is exempt from any regulation whatsoever. It is NOT completely exempt from the Clean Air or Clean Water Acts and where it is exempt it does not mean it is free from any regulation whatsoever. Again, let me explain as I understand it. The well construction stage is ruled over by the Clean Water Act (CWA) in the areas of water resource protection, especially the authority to inspect and enforce. The procurement of water (withdrawal facilities) is again given the authority to inspect and enforce by CWA. The flowback and produced water are both covered by the CWA, addressing spill prevention, control and countermeasures, water management requirements, discharge requirements and inspection/enforcement, as well as the Safe Drinking Water Act, which covers water injection requirements and more inspection and enforcement. These are the areas needed most as it is going to be spills that will be the most cause for alarm. PA has very strict pad construction measures in place to avoid ground contamination, but this is a real concern.

    Now let’s address what is the largest area of contention: the hydraulic fracturing. For years, O&G companies have had to disclose their chemicals to OSHA. Why just OSHA and not disclose them publicly prior to request? Because many companies have went to great expense to create proprietary formulas, and not just wanting them out for the next company to steal at no cost.

    As far as the Halliburton exemption, while it might just be a matter of semantics, the government decided they couldn’t exempt something that was never regulated in the first place. The Safe Water Drinking Act (SDWA) had been in place for 35 years before a lawsuit brought by a David Ludder in the 1990′s forced Congress to make a decision as to what the SDWA was or wasn’t written to do. Their verdict was based on the fact that fracing was at the time, and continues to be, regulated by states through individual groundwater protection. Of course Cheney voted for it, but so did the majority of Congress or it would never had been left out.

    Of course now, the chemicals can easily be found by referencing PA DEP, O&G Company sites, and I even found the list ironically on a group’s site that was against drilling.

    As far as the Clean Air Act, all machinery trucks and every piece of equipment must meet EPA standards before they are approved for use. So far, the testing done by the State of PA hasn’t shown dangerous levels of toxins being emitted from flaring.

    Hope that answers your question, Ms. Strauss, but as I said, please feel free to give the matter more looking into. I got most of my information from Energy in Depth, but it is also a site ran and funded by O&G companies. I know there are other references to the “exemption” and whether it is or not, this is just the explanation I (think) I understand best.

  • Vera Scroggins

    please get the correct facts and info–

    the methane levels have not disappeared–

    ask the DEP yourself and get it in writing–

    if the levels are gone ,
    then why are the methane stacks still attached to the water wells–

    they have not been offered new water wells–

    if Cabot is willing to drill new wells on their properties, then get Cabot to offer that and see what
    happens–

    and it’s just not methane found in the water, its other elements, also–

    get a copy of the test results from DEP and see for yourself what is found– its public knowledge–

  • Ignorant landowners

    It’s too bad so many ignorant people were “blessed” to have gas rich land. I wonder how many people actually consulted a lawyer before they signed leases that would sever their gas rights from their land? Did any of you even understand what you were signing? Nah, you just got so much per acre and thought, “Sure. Sounds good to me.” But hey, it was only your land. You know, the land where your house is, where you get your water, where you raise your family, where you once had naturally beauty. Just a bunch of suckers that ruined it for everyone. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • http://frontier Rottweiler Gloria

    Thank you Not soprerfect & NEPAGal! Our community does need to come closer together, stand up for what is right and stop nonsense when it is Enough, Already! Pippi: Your comment: Gas wells move into the not so rural areas & people fear about contamination of water and air and move which in turn means local businesses lost the revenue and makes it unattractable for new buyers to invest.. Well, you must be as surprised as I am, this town was not even known to half the residents across the state nor across the country until you made it very unattractive to all. Mortgages wont be given on properties with mineral leases which means no new construction…. I do not know what bank your dealing with, maybe its the one that is relying on your information of contaminated water in your residence? What monsters you have established for yourselves. I do not think any of you will ever be satisfied. When I came here and ready to build, it was commented on how they did not want this area built up, keep the out of towners out of here. These statements were made , you cannot have it both ways. For years it was feared to subdivide, you do not want all these homes, but you are now complaining about no mortgages granted for new construction. The NEPAGAL has it rgiht, do your own research and come to conclusions, that is what is needed before you start adding more comments on this subject. Maybe, you might want to add what fees the litigants may have with their attorneys, as being one of the Bright residents here, I have a gut feeling that you are keeping this going as you have dug yourself so deep into a hole, you do not know what to do. You cannot withdrawl your claim as you still owe legal fees , we are very smart and intuitive people, just like Not soprerfect put it, perfectly!

  • Craig A Sautner

    @NEPAgal: You could at least use your real name instead of hiding behind your “NEPAgal” title, unless you’re too afraid to. I didn’t know that you were into water well construction. First of all, you would have had to come visit my water well to see the construction of it. Second, if you did see my well, you would have been TRESPASSING. You don’t even know the facts, so why do you say things that aren’t true? CABOT did hire not one, but two well drillers to come check out my well. The well passed all of the tests. Nothing wrong here with this well. BOTH well drillers said that a new well could NOT be drilled here to get clean water. Ask your friends at CABOT about that. As far as a treatment system, I guess you forgot that CABOT had one installed in my house for almost a year until the PA DEP took it off line. You’re learning new things now, aren’t you? About the over-hyped troubles, we have not been reimbursed. I also have a letter from the PA DEP holding CABOT responsible for my water well contamination. I don’t know where you got my results from, but my most recent one showed just under 20% methane at the well head. If you had been following what’s been going on all along, you would have known where the water came from. The water came from my WELL. Simple as that. “Weak claim of contamination?” I have all the test results I need to prove otherwise. Next time, NEPAgal, you should arm YOURSELF with TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE before you write anything.

    NSP: Read the above to find out about the “ALLEGED” water contamination. The only damage done to this community was by CABOT. The meeting put on by ENOUGH ALREADY at the Elk Lake school was the most one sided forum I have ever been to. I guess they didn’t want to hear our side. The TRUTH! I could not believe I was seeing all the suck ups HUGGING on George Stark.That was enough to make me want to throw up. BARF! You’re right, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

  • Rosielil

    The Department of Environmental Protection for New York City has concluded that drilling for natural gas within the NYC watershed (Delaware River) is dangerous to the health of the drinking water for the city’s multi-million residents. If it is dangerous to their water, then it is dangerous to those whose water comes from the Susquehanna River watershed. Especially when one considers that the Delaware River has a basin commission with regulatory authority…and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission has none except with respect to water quantity.

    As it is right now, the rate of violations this industry is mounting is rising, not abating. Yet the governor want to expedite the process by which this industry operates allowing them to drill faster and faster. The cumulative impacts of this are going to be extraordinary.

    To those of you who are becoming wealthy as a result of your lease, congratulations. I won’t begrudge you this windfall. But please understand that those of us who own small lots of land…..and that’s the majority of the people in these northeastern PA counties…..and have not been asked to lease, or who have refused to lease……we are the ones paying for your good fortune. We are the people who cannot afford to have our water tested over and over because wherever this industry goes water quality is impacted, who must pay higher taxes, who have our cars damaged by potholes left by the water trucks, who must smell the air around your wells, who are losing value in the property we own. You didn’t ask us if you could destroy our way of life. You didn’t ask us if it was okay to mar the landscape. You didn’t ask if we minded that our quiet country roads could be filled with thousands of trucks. You didn’t ask us if you could bleed dry our streams and lakes. You didn’t ask us if you could allow wastewater that is known to be toxic to be transported through our neighborhoods. You didn’t even ask if our emergency management people….the fire departments…..could handle a blowout, a spill, a leak.

    Your partnership with the natural gas industry doesn’t affect just you. It affects all of us. And most of us are having a lot of trouble seeing a good side to this.

  • pippi

    First of all I have researched this new drilling technique quite extensively on both sides. As for mortgages This was in march 21 edition of the post gazette in Pittsurgh: They said they can’t sell their home because real estate agents aren’t interested and many loan companies won’t approve mortgages for homes close to gas wells. That includes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which won’t approve loans for homes within 300 feet from an active or planned drilling site because the drilling poses “potential hazards to housing, including potential fire, explosion, spray and other pollution,” according to the agency’s website
    Nep, I have contacted “all” of my representatives on several occasions about different subjects regarding this so no I am not one that whines online and doesn’t do anything to let my concerns be heard to my politicians and state agencies.
    This is in reply to your study: EPA Launches National Study of Hydraulic Fracturing/March 19, 2010
    The study, announced Thursday but hinted at for months, will revisit research the agency published in 2004, which concluded that the process of hydraulic fracturing did not pose a threat to drinking water. The 2004 report has been widely criticized, in part because the agency didn’t conduct any water tests in reaching that conclusion.
    “The use of hydraulic fracturing has significantly increased well beyond the scope of the 2004 study,” EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones wrote in response to questions from ProPublica. The old study, she said, did not address drilling in shale, which is common today. It also didn’t take into account the relatively new practice of drilling and hydraulically fracturing horizontally for up to a mile underground, which requires about five times more chemical-laden fluids than vertical drilling
    As far as fear, people have valid reasons for that. The industry claims that because of the depth of these wells that it is impossible for ground water contamination. What they try to hide are numerous instances of contamination due to faulty casings, drillers error, accidents involving the tankers carrying the chemicals, pits with liners that are faulty, companies illegally dumping on roads, water ways and fields, blowouts, air contamination with the drilling process as well processing the gas which eventually will settle on the ground or in water.
    As hard as the gas industry tries to justify that they have been doing this for decades is nothing more then a lie. The amount of land, chemicals and water not to mention the abuse to both the surface and underground can in no way compare to the conventional wells of yesterday.

  • pippi

    Gloria you can sit there and call me names and accuse me of any number of things but you are not making any legitimate reasons for your attitude. You blame me for something that is going on in your life which is absurd to say the least. I doubt I live in your area, I have never said my water was contaminated and my main issue with the original posting was about the loss of other jobs and businesses in an area that has a lot of this drilling being done. As for the mortgage issue you can look at my response to NEPAgal. Mortgages also include already existing homes so how would you feel if in the future you wanted to move but were unable to sell the home your living in. As far as me being in some kind of litigation or being in debt your wrong on both counts, it may be hard for you to understand this but there are actually people that are concerned about the environment and human health problems that could arise from this process.

  • http://frontier Rottweiler Gloria

    I do have legitimate reasons, and the attitude is a positive one and based on facts and continual learning. I will retract my partial word of “you” in my reference, Pippi, this was incorrect , the area has seen its changes and it needs to be investigated more in depth than just being one sided on the issue. You have taken the assumption that I do not care about the environment or the residents for loss of homes or jobs or to be able to sell their homes. I stated what was based on your comments above, and you have no idea what I or others are trying to do for our community . At the meeting at Elk Lake school, there was not a mature level of behavior when you scream and yell at people when they are trying to speak, yes you may disagree with what they are saying, but to act that way has shown a pattern of behavior that concludes there is no resolvance of any issues with anyone that behaves that way. The media has only listened to one particular group in our area, the positive sides of our efforts or our beliefs are still unheard to the rest of the public. If you are not a resident in this area, you are not aware than of what efforts anyone is trying to accomplish to have a balanced side on these issues and to try and help anyone we can. What is going on in my life, has been to try and assist small businesses and area residents for jobs, safety and other issues that are very important to all of us and I do care. As for homes in the area not being able to sell, well there are two homes within 1300 feet from my house, drilling is around us and they sold. The mortgages not getting approved cannot be based soley on the gas issue, the market has proven over the past few years the decline in sales , the economy has been declining for years from the Bush administration and there are allot of other factors that address this subject. It cannot be soley on the Gas Industry for the problem with mortgages not getting approved. Printe Dec. 8 2010: $ 40 million in federal aid would capitalize the newly created Pa Housing Trust Fund so it can help developers and non profit agencies finance new housing and stabilize rents in drilling areas, help first time home buyers and provide homes for individuals with disabilities, Former Governor Rendell signed that law in Novemebr 2010 to establish that trust fund, but no state funding was appropriated yet. The trust fund will help the PHFA respond better to shifting demands for housing in Different regions,including the Marcellus region, said Brian Hudson, executive director. They are looking at the challenges presented with an INFLUX of workers from the natural gas industry to largely rural areas where wells are being drilled. There is a shortage in affordable housing, rental assistance to families and tax credits to developers to build apartments that would be rented to families that meet the guidelines. They need $ 1 billion in federal trust housing, $40 million in Pa’s share and ask the Gas Industry to make financial contributions. Former Governer Rendell has many tract records on numerous issues that have ruined this state financially and has left us in a deep hole. The Gas Industry is being looked at as the cause for all the problems and the answer for all the problems. Believe me I have done my homework especially on our former Governor, I can give you links to all the ridiculous spending that has been done over the years and this is why our state is in the shape it is, and the housing problems along with it.

  • pippi

    Since I did not attend the meeting your referring to I have no idea of what was said or people’s actions. I have always found that direct and civil talking usually gets heard clearer then screaming although I can understand the frustration that a lot of people are feeling. Do we need gas? Yes we do just not the way its being done right now without safety measures taken especially when it comes to our water resources. This is not just an issue where you are at, I talk to people from all around the country that have been impacted by this industry. Let me ask a very simple question, if you read in the paper that the McDonalds in your town had been serving food that had been infected because of roaches and mice and people were getting ill what would be your reaction? I know most average people would refuse to do business with them, demand they either clean up their act or close down and surely would never allow their children to eat there. Even after they did get rid of the problems that caused people to get sick would you really trust them? I know a lot of people are going to say that this scenario has nothing to do with the topic but think about the logic behind it. Trust is something we give sometimes to easily and when businesses, any business does not or seems to not have concern about the quality or impact of their product it tends to upset people. Bottom line is the impact will effect every state in the country and many generations to come so to ask for a slow down to ensure and study the effects of what has already taken place I really dont see as being anti drill but pro common sense.

  • Patrick Walker

    If I said that the average member of the anti-drilling movement is above average in intelligence and education, that’s based on (1) meeting activists from all over Pennsylvania and New York state and (2) trying to counter the gas industry smear campaign against activists, which portrays us as know-nothings who’ve done no research. I was simply defending people who share my views against a typical self-interested industry smear campaign; I was saying or implying nothing whatsoever about people on the other side.

    I’ve been trying to see the big picture, and no one has questioned my facts. It’s simply a fact that the recorded DEP incident rate jumped from 2009 to 2010, despite industry claims of implementing best practices. It’s simply a fact–and a scary one–that the Corbett administration, deep in industry pockets, plans to cut DEP funding and accelerate permitting at a time when the incident rate suggests a serious need for tighter enforcement. Nor has either the EPA or the DEP proven itself a very competent watchdog. The EPA underestimated the methane leaks from drilling by a factor of 9,000(!), and the DEP failed to notice the HUGE mistake Seneca made in reporting its wastewater in barrels instead of gallons, which vastly inflated the rate of actual wastewater recycling in PA, which is 38% at best, and possibly as low as 17%. (Industry inconsistency in reporting practices accounts for the trouble of specifying more precisely.) And, despite Tom Ridge’s hyperbole that every drop is accounted for, the fact is that 53 million gallons of toxic wastewater weren’t accounted for at all.

    I don’t see why anyone–unless biased by financial gain–trusts an industry as deceitful as this one. For starters, there’s Kathryn Klaber’s lie, refuted by the facts above, that over 90% of the wastewater is recycled. Then there are the deliberate deceptions that (1) the technology has been used for 60 years (only radically less dangerous forms of fracking have), (2) gas is a “clean” fuel (only if you just count burning; in lifecycle, it may be dirtier than coal), and (3) that it guarantees us energy independence (only if we switch cars to natural gas–probably a horrible idea until billions of dollars are invested to solve the climate change disaster of methane leaks. And that doesn’t even cover the predatory lies of landmen, who in some instances deceived even some bright, educated people.

    Events like the Cabot picnic are propaganda events aimed at perpetrating lies that harm the common good; every informed citizen should want to protest them–if only to draw attention to the truth. This industry has exploited the economic weakness of rural regions and PA government to the put our common environment–and most unfairly, the quality of life and property values of unleased third parties–at risk. I don’t blame poor farmers who’ve been exploited forever or leasers deceived by landmen, but their desperation or deception should NOT dictate decisions about the quality of third parties’ lives and the common good.

  • NEPAgal

    According to Baker Hughes, North America Rotary Rig Counts – (Archive and Reference section), Pennsylvania had a rig count of 45 at the last reporting period of 2009, 2010 ended the year with a rig count of 85. According to PA DEP Oil & Gas Inspections, Violations and Enforcements page, 314 inspections resulted in 639 citations in 2009, in 2010 the number of Violations and Enforcements stats were: 634, 1227. So, there you have it, twice the number of rigs, twice the citations. But hold it – there were also more wells drilled in 2010 than the previous year, which would actually mean the number of citations might actually be lower. In 2010 there were 1386 Marcellus wells drilled. If you compare that to the 764 wells drilled in 2009 that’s an 81% increase in the number of wells drilled. The violations are also broken into Administrative or Environmental/Health/Safety. For anyone interested, I invite you to view for yourself the number of violations in each category, as seeing what the violations are gives a more complete picture.

    But wait, there’s more: Your allegation that number of violations increased per well, though, is also correct also. DEP inspected 41% of the wells in 2009 and 51% of the wells in 2010, resulting in .83 violations per well in 2009 and .88 violations per well in 2010. However, which number more truly reflects the actual efforts of both the drill operators and DEP oversight? That’s exactly my point in all of this – it depends on which side of the drilling coin you are on as to which you see is more favorable to your position.

    The numbers you cite for the Seneca reference is off too, but I will only give you a hint where the math is wrong in that one. Hint: Don’t compare the uncorrected wastewater figures to the corrected recycled water figures, as the uncorrected wastewater figures will give an erroneous result implying less water being recycled.
    Second thought, recycling didn’t start in earnest until the second half of the year, so currently more is being recycled and more complete data will emerge in 2011.

  • NEPAgal

    From testing results (from older samples, cited from PA DEP records), your well contained just under 20 mg/Liter (L) in February 2010. First, that is not 20% methane – for it to have tested at 20% methane, your results would have been 200,000 mg/L. You have overstated the level of methane by, well, a lot. Second, it was 19.9 mg/L a year ago. In August 2010, your well contained 0.0157 mg/L of methane. The Water Systems Council considers levels below 10 mg/L safe, and levels between 10 mg/L and 28 mg/L be monitored routinely.

    You are right I don’t have more current results, as they were not included in the most recent data sent to DEP on February 28, 2011. In fact your results are not included at all. Cabot, in accordance with the updated Consent Order in December 2010, “must perform Screening and Water Sampling at least once every two weeks at the well head at each Water Supply for percentage of free combustible gas, and sample the well water at each Water Supply”. The letter accompanying the most current available results includes this statement: “As explained in my January 20, 2011 letter, Cabot has not received permission from the Plaintiff Property Owners identified on Exhibit D of the CO&SA to conduct testing”. Results are only available for non-plaintiff wells. My mistake, of course they are not included as apparently you have not given permission for their testing.

    That’s okay though, because I referenced the data from a sample collected from a water well located 300 feet from yours indicating varying levels between 3mg/L and 17mg/L prior to treatment. Following the installation of the treatment system in your neighbors’ home those levels have fallen to between 3mg/L and 8 mg/L, again within acceptable levels.

    A Penn State professor with the Water Resources Extension, Dr. Bruce Swistock states “we find that only about 5% of the water wells we tested (in PA) have sanitary construction that would be required in 48 other states.” So, odds are, if you have a water well in Pennsylvania, it doesn’t meet what are considered the majority of other state minimums across the country. So when you say it passed the tests, what criteria are those based on; Pennsylvania standards or stricter standards of the other 48 states?

    A local newspaper article reported the litigants as refusing to abide by the initial Consent Order by not allowing system installers or water well drillers on their property. One litigant made the excuse “Carter Road residents have been experimented on enough,” so it sounded as if none of you were going to abide by the order. As far as I am aware, the information you shared has not been made public until now. I apologize for not being aware updated information. That does, however, lead me to ask the following questions.

    The Baker well was plugged in April 2011: when was your methane filtration system taken off-line and for what reason? The new Consent Order dated in December 2010 again calls for the installation “at Cabot’s sole expense, a whole house gas mitigation system device at the Property Owner’s residence.” Have you or are you going to give it another try, now that the Baker well has been plugged for almost a year and other residents have reported the systems as working satisfactorily?

    The largest issue that leads me question and research your claims is your consistent claims of frac fluid contamination. Water well contamination due to methane migration is NOT the same as contamination causation by frac fluid. I have seen interviews with you where you confuse the two contaminations. John Hanger or DEP have never said your wells were not the victims of methane migration; that is not what I said. They HAVE gone on record against your claims of frac fluid contamination. None of the Consent Orders address frac fluid contamination; they all outline remediation efforts in regards to methane migration only. Had there been proof of, or even evidence indicating, this kind of chemical contamination, I am quite confident mention would be made.

    In fact, according to a series of emails dated during the month of February 2009, investigators discussed how the offending methane was from the “Devonian layer located strategraphically above the Marcellus Shale”. This means this gas was found at much more shallower depths than the Marcellus, by thousands of feet. If the well bore bottoms out at 7,000 feet below ground and is protected by multiple layers of cement and casing, and the fractures themselves don’t reach beyond 500 feet, it seems highly unlikely the frac fluids would reach the freshwater aquifer zone 6,000 feet above.

    So there is the truth and knowledge as I have researched it and some of the reference materials I have used in arriving at my opinion and allegations. So while you state the damage to the community was done by Cabot, your version of the truth is perpetuating a wrongful depiction of Dimock as a virtual wasteland because of unfounded frac fluid contamination.

  • NEPAgal

    This is in reply to how the 2004 report has been widely criticized, in part because no water tests were conducted in reaching that conclusion.

    I looked into it. I perused a 463-page document. Chapter 6 lists all the water test data that had been provided by seven states covering four coalbed basins. I quote from Chapter 7, page 7-2, second paragraph: “Incidents in Alabama were investigated by the Alabama Oil and Gas Board, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and EPA Region IV. Samples from drinking water wells did not test positive for constituents found in fracturing fluids.” My guess is you will find entries for the other states with similar citations.

    So I just want to make sure I understand this – even though two boards and one EPA regional office investigated and tested, but the actual authors of the 2004 report did not, the whole entire report is being criticized? Or is it just another case of people not liking the conclusions, so let’s waste taxpayers money to do another study?
    How can you base your faith on an updated study that won’t even be out until 2014 at the earliest and of which you are apparently pinning your hopes it will show drilling to be detrimental? With the way things are overseas and our country’s demand for fuel, I have to ask why?

    Instances of contamination due to faulty casings, driller error, accidents involving the tankers, pits with faulty liners, etc… Now, there you are talking accurate, documented, and very real concerns and issues associated with drilling. I urge you inform and educate yourself on those, including putting it into perspective of occurrences versus wells drilled, instead of worrying what the future might or might not bring.

    Again, it is only with knowledge and information that one can make intelligent decisions.

  • Patrick Walker

    First off, it’s the CORRECTED wastewater figures that show how low the rate of recycling actually is; as I understand it. Seneca reported a high rate of recycling on a number of barrels when it should have reported this rate on gallons; the falsely reported number artificially swelled the reported statewide rate. Everyone acknowledges that the industry–under public and environmentalist pressure–is doing MORE recycling than previously, but the rate is still low enough to be hardly reassuring. Yet an another example of how this industry is experimental and–as Terry Engelder publicly admitted–is “learning on the job.”

    Even if the incident rate per well increased because of more oversight, this again is hardly reassuring. Given the dangerous power of the technologies being used here, a rate of nearly one violation per well is no cause for applause–and this means that significant environmental damage probably occurred previously that was never noticed. Besides, Corbett (unless environmentalists can keep him from getting his way) intends to simultaneously speed up permitting and cut the DEP budget. Hardly a recipe for effective oversight–unlesss “oversight” means “overlooking.”

    I notice you made no attempt whatsoever to refute my examples of gas industry lies and deception. It’s my experience of life that those who deceive us have things to hide and mean the people they’re deceiving harm; I doubt yours differs.

    The corporations of the gas industry–and particularly these corporations, since they command the political and media resources to get away with murder–will cut corners and endanger us for profit unless kept under the tighest reguation and scrutiny. Those who argue for loose reglation either have little concern for the environment and public welfare–or no insight into the historic behavior of excessively powerful corporations.

  • Notsoprerfect

    There is no winning for either side. The anti’s will continue to belittle the pro-drillers and the pro-drillers will continue to ridicule to anti’s.

    Mr. Sautner: I know you are a member of the Susquehanna County Gas Forum, therefore you are very familiar with what a one sided forum is.

    BTW: My mom’s well water has 16% methane at the well head, and no drilling has occured in our vacinity. Explain that… oh, I forgot, that’s a different type of methane!!! By the way, no one paid for water treatment system. It came out of her pocket.

  • pippi

    We could go back and forth all day about the safety or lack of depending on who you are talking to. What I would really like to see is a scientific study done that shows that this type of drilling does not affect the environment and not a study done by a college that was sponsored by the industry. I have seen studies done by scientist that show otherwise. As for your critisism of the EPA and what they are now saying you also have to take into consideration the chemicals being used were not used then so even if they had done water test what exactly were they testing for?
    I also do not get my information from the EPA when it comes to my concerns, the only reason I posted that is because you were the one that said a study had been done and since you dated the study I assumed correctly that you were referring to the EPA study.
    “Again, it is only with knowledge and information that one can make intelligent decisions” couldnt have said that better myself that is why I tell people to research before signing their investments away. Make informed decisions, learn the whole truth and not just what you see in TV commercials. As for the incidents involved with drilling that pose contamination problems that the industry says is on a very small scale considering the amount of the drilling they are doing. It only takes one incident to ruin a water source that may not be usable again for decades. It could also change a childs life permanently if his home is close to a drilling site with the air borne chemicals, noise, chemical leaks, dust and stress..

  • pippi

    Patrick I’ll share something with you. Gas companies keep saying that they want to bring jobs to these communities and work as partners. Pa is prime coal country and I know a lot of people in that field are hurting right now, this should give you a good idea of the reason for it:

    For years, certain natural gas producers, led by Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, have pursued a myopic strategy of demonizing coal in an effort to seize a larger share of the electricity generation market.
    It started in 2008, when Chesapeake funded an unsigned “Dirty Coal” advertising campaign. It featured black and white photos of children, with coal smudged faces, looking sad. Having set the table with anti coal propaganda, McClendon then teamed up with the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope to implement a legislative strategy. The pair traveled around the country, pitching natural gas as the “bridge fuel” to a green energy future.

    Anyone that has done any research on natural gas knows that it might burn cleaner then coal but when you take into account the contamination it causes from the extraction activities to the processing it really isn’t any cleaner. You also do not have to worry about stored coal exploding like a natural gas storage unit. I have not seen any follow up in the news pertaining to the natural gas storage plant in Japan that was on fire due to the earthquake that they couldn’t put out. Just so you know, I’m only sharing this so that you have a good idea of the type of mindset your dealing with when it comes to this industry.

  • Patrick Walker

    Thanks, Pippi

    I did have some idea of the industry mindset, so it hardly surprises me they’d gladly increase unemployment in other industries–or generally–if it suits their purposes. These are, after all, big corporations, and behave as such.

    But it is interesting Chesapeake funded the “Dirty Coal” campaign. Makes sense, but I didn’t know it. And your point about coal not exploding (unlike gas) is a good one.

  • PARoughneck

    Patrick and Pippi,
    I’m trying to understand your aversion to gas and the companies that explore, develop and market it,but to me, a number of things just don’t add up.
    Yes, Chesapeake did join with the Sierra Club in promotion of nat. gas as a ‘bridge fuel’. With the current concerns regarding global warming and the increasing movement towards more earth friendly sources of energy, it would appear to be a good fit. Gas does burn cleaner than coal and Dr. Howarths preliminary study on GHG emissions from the production of gas, showed no methodology regarding determining the carbon emissions from coal transport. (If either of you have a link to the good Dr’s final report I would be most interested.)
    Based just upon his preliminary findings, I have not found where he takes into account the substantial amounts of fuel used to transport coal from the mine mouth the power stations.
    Considering the fact that Wyoming, the nations #1 coal producer, supplying almost 1/3 of all the coal mined in the US,
    ships out 80 miles of coal trains DAILY, many to destinations over 1000 miles away, I would figure it is reasonably safe to assume that every day, all the coal mined in the US requires over 240 mile long trains to deliver it to its destination. All of these returning EMPTY, to be refilled once again. In one year this equates to journeys that would encircle the globe SEVEN times!
    Why would an oil and gas company like Chesapeake, work on slitting it’s own throat by ending the production of coal, when they themselves provide the fuel to move it?
    Pippi, you mention the fire at an LNG terminal in Japan following the earthquake and mention how coal ‘doesn’t explode’, and “that they couldn’t put out.”
    No, coal doesn’t explode but just ask the folks who used to live in Centralia, PA how easy it is to put out a coal mine fire.
    In short, us Americans are energy hogs, and no matter what the fuel source, be it wind, solar,gas,oil,coal, nuclear or renewables, there are going to be external costs associated with it. Either we must be willing to pay substantially more to maintain our consumption habits via wind and solar, cut back substantially on our energy use or be willing to look at ALL possible alternatives, including clean coal, gas and nuclear to supplant a slow growth in wind and solar.
    Each and every one of these fuels has its drawbacks and its benefits. Might I suggest that rather than spending our time bashing one fuel or another, we seek the safest, most environmentally sound means to utilize all of them to lead our country to a position of energy independence, no longer allowing ourselves to be jerked around like puppets on a string every time overseas events raise the cost of the fuels that sustain our way of life.

  • PARoughneck

    Patrick, just a quick question.
    I’ll agree with your statement “another example of how this industry is experimental and–as Terry Engelder publicly admitted–is “learning on the job.”
    Where would you suggest that the industry perfect its drilling in the Marcellus? Until now, the industry has never operated domestically on this scale in a region such as this. Where would you suggest that has equivalent geology, topography, climate (the freeze/thaw cycles of the northeast are a major contributing factor to road damage as well as all the storm water that must be collected on each pad and treated as waste water) and a polarized population playing tug-of war with the industry caught in the middle?
    All these factors are considerably different than those areas where the industry is used to working. The Barnett isn’t the Haynesville, the Fayetville, the Eagle Ford, the Bakken, the Niobrara or the Marcellus. Each region has very differing characteristics and resources that it will take time to learn, in order to produce in the most economical and environmentally safe manner.
    The only reason that the industry is here, working out the kinks in Marcellus shale production is because:
    A) There isn’t a whole lot of gas left to produce by conventional methods
    B) The Marcellus is closest to the largest market of those who consume the most gas and
    C) The Marcellus is here, not somewhere else.
    It’s kind of like driving. Just because one has safely driven for years in rural PA, doesn’t mean that one is ready to get a chauffeurs license and safely and sanely navigate the streets of Manhattan. There is a learning curve.

  • Patrick Walker

    @PARoughneck

    I’ll be glad to talk with you, as you keep a reasonable tone and ask reasonable questions.

    I’m pleased you admit this is all experimental. But I as a landowner in a rural town–not itself prime drilling ground but surrounded by it–am indignant that I as a stakeholder was never asked if I wanted to participate in this experiment, an experiment with huge consequences for my quality of life and property value.

    As you again reasonably admit, there’s not a whole lot of gas left to be extracted by conventional methods. The unconventional ones are dangerous and deeply intrusive on the landscapes and lives of people where they take place. People who actually live in those places should have been fully informed and consulted before any drilling took place at all. This affects people like me too much to let the matter be decided by leasers’ decisions. What they do with their land deeply affects neighbors, who deserve consultation, strong protections, and possibly some financial compensation.
    At the very minimum, the state or drillers themselves should pay for independent testing of our water. If it’s contaminated by drilling on nearby properties, we’ll otherwise have no evidence that will have teeth in court. You seem reasonable, so I don’t think you’ll deny that your employers will fight tooth-and-nail to deny responsibility. I see no reason why I, based on neighbors’ decisions. should have to shell out for the expensive independent testing needed to protect myself. And trusting the gas companies–who lie persistently in their PR–to test is NOT an option.

    Given the extreme nature of unconventional drilling in the Marcellus, a reasonable question is whether we should be doing it at all. I’m not saying the answer is clearly no, but that the political pull of gas companies kept this reasonable question from even being raised. The Marcellus, unlike many other shales, sits close to huge population centers; that, in itself raises flags about the reasonableness of experimenting here. And the current gas glut certainly suggests we could have reasonably taken a moratorium to give the matter more forethought and planning. Corporate interests are being far better served than the general public’s.

    And yes, Americans are energy hogs. We should be having a national conversation about changing that; real political leaders, not the hacks we have–and I include Obama–should be taking the lead. Obama’s Secretary of Energy, physics Nobel prize winner Steven Chu, did write in 2009 that “special interests” can no longer be allowed to dictate energy policy. The “special interests” clearly means companies like your employees. Sadly, their political arm twisting is so strong–look at our PA governor–that I wonder at this point if even Dr. Chu is taking his words to heart.

    More later.

    Patrick