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Marcellus Shale

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DonS
I usually return most every year to attend funerals, see friends and family, hunt, fish and shoot clays. And take my son when he can. It is called heritage. As I said I don’t pay taxes or own land in Pa. But I do have a vested interest.

Best I can tell - natural gas provides the  cleanest fuel, with the lowest environmental impact of any source currently widely available to us.

It seems to me that there is a movement to stymie any/all economic development unless it can be proven beyond all doubt to have zero environmental impact - which doesn't exist.

I'm sure its not intended that way, but when you think about it you may agree - your annual trout trip (maybe, for a while) vs clean fuel for an energy hungry America and jobs for a lot of your old friends/kin still in PA  - could be seen as a bit self centered.

R,

Don

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Briarscratch

That's a good one Don.  Telling a fellow upland bird hunter and outdoor enthusiast with a love for clean water and natural resources that his concern about environmentally destructive drilling practices is "self-centered".

I guess it's all in your perspective. Besides, what's the economic value of clean water?  Or public healthcare costs due to increased rates of diseases like cancer?  Some people may even enjoy a little Benzene in their iced tea.

Trifling issues next to our right to consume as much energy as we want. After all, the traditions of gas heat, electricity and internal combustion engines go way back in human history.  At least a whole century.

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wcpeabody

My education is in hydrology and I grew up working in the oil fields in PA.

IMHO - Even if the well(s) causing the issue were plugged tomorrow, due to the slow rate in movement-exchange of water in aquifers, a polluted aquifer is polluted for multiple human lifetimes and extremely hard to clean up.

Bill

That's odd.  The article didn't mention the aquifer - just the bubbles at ground level.  

What's missing here is facts.

R,

Don

P.S. Not questioning your credentials, just validating them. How long have you been employed as a hyrdrologist, and in what capacity?

I worked in hydrology for a couple of years (a combination of contamination aquifer monitoring- testing and stream bed restoration) after college but for the last 15 years I have worked in "tech" (more money, better fit for family).  But all I am talking about is very generic features of aquifers.

re:bubbles at the surface; If water comes from a spring or a well, it comes out of an aquifer.  In fact, depending on the drainage and on the time of the year rivers-creeks can even get a substantial amount of their flow from aquifers.

What are your credentials?

Bill

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DonS
I guess it's all in your perspective. Besides, what's the economic value of clean water?  Or public healthcare costs due to increased rates of disease like cancer?  Some people may even enjoy a little Benzene in there iced tea.

Scratch,

Which is exactly why this cleanest of all fuel sources (best I know) should be developed, not stymied.

R,

Don

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DonS

I worked in hydrology for a couple of years (a combination of contamination aquifer monitoring- testing and stream bed restoration) after college but for the last 15 years I have worked in "tech" (more money, better fit for family).  But all I am talking about is very generic features of aquifers.

re:bubbles at the surface; If water comes from a spring or a well, it comes out of an aquifer.  In fact, depending on the drainage and on the time of the year rivers-creeks can even get a substantial amount of their flow from aquifers.

What are your credentials?

Bill

Bill,

I claim no specialized credentials of any kind.

So the term "aquifer" refers to all water below the surface level?

Stream bed restoration sounds interesting.  How does one do that, and who signs your paycheck for doing it?

R,

Don

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Kansas Big Dog

I have been following this thread and have contributed from time to time.  As I live in KS, I do not have a dog in this fight, other than I heat with natural gas, and some of my rancher friends in W. KS own gas wells.

But, I do believe that we all want to have affordable energy that is produced in a environmentally safe fashion.

Here is what happened to the 16 household wells that were contaminated:

"At various times throughout 2010, DEP investigated private water well complaints from residents of Bradford County’s Tuscarora, Terry, Monroe, Towanda and Wilmot townships near Chesapeake’s shale drilling operations. DEP determined that because of improper well casing and cementing in shallow zones, natural gas from non-shale shallow gas formations had experienced localized migration into groundwater and contaminated 16 families’ drinking water supplies."

Here is what happened at the hunting camp:

"torn liner under one or more EOG Resources Marcellus Shale drill cuttings pits allowed leakage that contaminated groundwater feeding the spring almost two years ago."

To me, it does not sound like these are very serious environmental accidents that would preclude continued drilling and fracking.

As I noted earlier, the EPA is currently looking into the various additives that are added to the water.  IMO, it does not appear that the Gas Companies are operating as a serious threat to the environment.  I do believe that the state of PA should impose some type fund, obtained from the Gas Companies, such as a severance tax that would provide for any property damages that might occur after the drilling and extraction are complete.

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wcpeabody
Bill,

I claim no specialized credentials of any kind.

So the term "aquifer" refers to all water below the surface level?

Stream bed restoration sounds interesting.  How does one do that, and who signs your paycheck for doiing it?

R,

Don

Basically yes, aquifer is a generic term for water in the ground.  There are different types of aquifers.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquifer

When I was doing restoration work it was for the local county conservation district.  What I was doing was more or less bank stabilization projects and to a lesser degree actually re-habbing the stream bed to make it better for aquatic life.  I would say in the PNW the bulk of the money being spent on stream bed work over the past 20 years was spent in the forest - mountains, predominantly by the Forest Service with the large timber companies also spending a fair amount on it.

Bill

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Dave Gowdey

I'm always struck by the way that some folk seem to be able to deny the environmental costs associated with extractive industries and focus solely on the monetary profits.  This is one of the main reasons we have seen the increase in environmental degradation we have over the last few decades.  

A couple of quick points - this argument isn't about whether we should have natural gas or not - it's about HOW it's obtained.  

We can do it the cheap and dirty way - which pollutes groundwater, kills wildlife, and leaves an enormous environmental burden for future generations to deal with.  This will maximize short term profits for natural gas companies at the expense of the environment and the public.  This is the way that ALL natural gas development has been proceeding for the last thirty years because the rules have been written by the companies.   The environmental cost in places like Wyoming have been enormous -though because there are few people there nobody seems to care.  

Alternatively, we can do gas development the right way - which places the priority on obtaining the gas in environmentally sustainable ways, minimizes the impact on wildlife (though there will always be some), and protects the aquifers.  This requires government to develop strict regulations about where, when, and how companies can drill.  It puts the long term health of the environment and local communities at a priority while ensuring that companies have moderate, if not exorbitant, profits.  It seems like NY might be trying this route -and more power to them if it's so.

I'm always a bit surprised that we all can't agree that this is the way it should be done - but as we can see here there are plenty of folks who don't want to see environmental concerns get in the way of corporate profits.  

Unfortunately, as long as we elect politicians who place oil/gas company profits over the public good, and who fight to allow the companies to dictate the rules - cheap and dirty will be the way it continues to happen.  Public, wildlife, and future generations be damned.  Future generations will curse us for the damage done -as we curse those who clearcut all of our eastern forests, killed off the passenger pigeons and buffalo, and trashed the environment to extract coal a hundred and fifty years ago.

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DonS

I'm always struck by the way that some folk seem to be able to deny the environmental costs associated with extractive industries and focus solely on the monetary profits.  

Dave,

Ah - there you are!  I'd have been disappointed if you hadn't weighed in.  I'm struck with your persistence in attempting to redefine every discussion to claim sole proprietorship of environmental rectitude, with a keen eye toward cultivating a "we good guys vs those bad guys" spin.   We are pretty much all good guys here, no boogermen.

Most of us recognize that when you prohibit or stifle one form of energy production, another will generally take its place.  Mishaps can and do occur in the course of any productive venture - have you heard of  TMI and Fukishima - or seen an industry more heavily regulated than nuclear power production?  Massive new regulations on a well established, successful, and SAFE industry would serve only to increase consumer costs.    

I think most of us are here are in agreement that natural gas is here, much needed - and one of the cleanest (if not THE cleanest) of all energy sources.  Its production should be encouraged, not discouraged. On behalf of - not despite of - our environment.

R,

Don

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Mike Connally

DonS,

I thought I would stay out of this until now.  Why would you state that the ONLY result of new regulations would be to increase consumer costs?  It's not possible, even probable, that well researched regulation could make the industry safer, in addition to raising costs?

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DonS
DonS,

I thought I would stay out of this until now.  Why would you state that the ONLY result of new regulations would be to increase consumer costs?  It's not possible, even probable, that well researched regulation could make the industry safer, in addition to raising costs?

Mike,

Not sure I'd accept the premise that most regulation, or it's ugly sister, legislation,  is "well thought out" in terms of costs vs benefits for the vast majority of citizens.  JMO.  

This is not to say that producers (of any commodity) should not be held accountable for any damages that might result from malevolent or careless actions on their part.  Under existing laws.

One thing I don't think we need to worry about is regulators or lawyers facing double digit emloyment rates any time soon (although I suspect they have been helpful in approaching those levels of pain in other, more economically productive fields of endeavor).

Rspy,

Don

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polecat
Now I have never weighed in on this stuff.If you have any real reservations I can bring some water bottles over for anyone to try. Any takers?

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DonS

Now I have never weighed in on this stuff.If you have any real reservations I can bring some water bottles over for anyone to try. Any takers?

Polecat,

I see you are from south east PA - isn't that a bit far from the hub of PA's gas production?

Just checking.

R,

Don

P.S. Are  you a net energy producer, or consumer?

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polecat
Mostly  Pa. water consumer.

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DonS
Mostly  Pa. water consumer.

Are you actually near the heavy gas production, and is your water municipal or well?

R,

Don

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