Large gas pipelines create sediment at stream crossings, etc.

The Halliburton Loophole Started an Attack on the Environment

Letter to FrackCheckWV and Tom Bond from George Neall, June 22, 2017

What has been taking place in WV, PA and other states since 2004/2005 is a carefully choreographed action plan devised by the oil and gas industry. The first step was getting the “Halliburton loophole” written into the energy bill in 2005. This opened the floodgates to the fracking industry so they could assault Marcellus shale areas and reap methane from previously uneconomic shale formations.

At the same time, the O&G industry was working behind the scenes to get the complex government bureaucracy working for them. They knew that once they got thousands of fracked gas wells producing, they would need infrastructure to transport that gas to markets along the east coast. Natural gas markets could be expanded by switching from “dirty coal” electrical generating plants to “clean gas” plants. Plans were also made to liquefy the natural gas so it could be exported.

All of this should have served as warning to environmental organizations, but they apparently failed to realize the significance of what was to follow. Few, if any, in the environmental community were doing strategic planning and thinking so they could effectively oppose such future assaults before they occurred.

To aide in this, the O&G industry made sure that PHMSA’s budget was increased (at a time when other government agency budgets were being slashed) so more pipeline inspectors could be hired and trained. The O&G industry also worked with the states to make it easier for them to survey and steal land for pipelines using eminent domain.

Though opposition to the pipelines has been strong, I believe few, if any, protests will prevent those pipelines from being built, especially considering the actions of the Trump administration and recent court rulings, which clearly favor corporations. “It’s difficult to win a game when the rules are stacked against you.” Once the pipelines are built, that will provide justification for further drilling of fracked wells in deeper shale formations.

Of course, the price of natural gas will rise because of exports and the increased production costs, but that’s OK because consumers will pay these costs and the O&G industry will make their profits. Low and middle income rural people will bear the brunt of the environmental and social damage that results from this.

The O&G industry is working in concert with coal companies, pipeline contractors, mining companies and the Trump administration. Their goal is to divide and conquer and it seems to be working. We have thousands of hard-working environmental and social justice organizations working independently and uncoordinated. Many are duplicating the efforts of other groups. The O&G industry is playing on the egos of leaders of these organizations and the organizations don’t seem to understand that unification, a united front, is needed to effectively oppose what is being done to people and the environment.

The O&G industry recognizes the importance of water, probably more so than the average urbanite who takes clean water for granted, and is taking steps to maximize their profits by investing in water (link). The Haliburton loophole makes it legal for them to pollute aquifers. But that’s OK to them because it opens up another huge market that everyone needs even more than oil and gas……..clean water.

Fracking (like other environmental and social justice issues) needs to become an election issue! It’s not a Democratic party issue or a Republican party issue. It’s a “what’s right” issue. Not “what’s right for the rich”. Not “whats right for corporations,” But “what’s right for people and the earth.”

Submitted by George Neall, Mathias, Hardy County, WV


Should WV-DEP provide safety guidelines?

Industrial site explosion kills McDonald fire chief

From an Article by Andrew Goldstein, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, June 20, 2017

The chief of the McDonald Volunteer Fire Department died Tuesday in an explosion at an industrial site in West Virginia while working a contracting job.

Scott Albertini, 53, had been a member of the fire department for about 35 years.

“Very sad day for us here,” said borough Councilwoman Marilou Ritchie, who added that Chief Albertini had grown up in the community.

Chief Albertini, a contractor for Specialized Professional Services, was working to depressurize a tank at the Midland Resources Recovery industrial site in Arden, W.Va., when the tank exploded, killing him and injuring another worker, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Arden is in Barbour County, about 130 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Ms. Ritchie and fire department president Joe Rehak confirmed Chief Albertini had died in the explosion. “He’s been a member since he was 18 years old,” Mr. Rehak said. “We’re devastated, everybody is. He was very well-liked.”

Chief Albertini was working to disassemble the empty, 30-gallon tank when it exploded shortly after 10 a.m., according to the DEP. Officials late Tuesday had not said what the tank had contained or why it exploded.

The West Virginia DEP, the state fire marshal and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating. The Barbour County sheriff’s office and West Virginia State Police were among the agencies that responded to the scene.

Chief Albertini was part of a crew from Specialized Professional Services that was attempting to make safe tanks at the site after an explosion there killed two workers in May, according to the DEP.

MetroNews of West Virginia reported that an explosion at the site May 24 killed Midland Resources Recovery president Jan Strmen, 72, of Canada, and Justin Marsh, 19, of Philippi, W.Va.

Mr. Rehak said Chief Albertini rose through the ranks of the department before being named chief several years ago. Mr. Rehak said the department has 128 members, but only about 35 who actively fight fires. Members of the department and community were shocked when they heard the news of the chief’s death, Mr. Rehak said.

“We just sat there, numb,” Ms. Ritchie said. Ms. Ritchie said Chief Albertini also served the community as a paramedic. “He was our fire chief, and very well liked — a good kid,” Ms. Ritchie said.

He is survived by a wife and two daughters. Arrangements for his funeral and a possible memorial service were incomplete Tuesday night.

See also:  Hazardous Chemical Safe Storage Compliance


Pipelines Are Not Being Planned to Serve West Virginia

June 22, 2017

$-Living With Our Energy Choices Long Term-$ Letter to the Editor of the Weston Democrat, Weston, WV,  June 20, 2017 A recent talk to the local Rotary, by a spokesman for the gas industry, seriously needs a rebuttal. Fracking and pipelines are not a solution to West Virginia’s problems, but a continuation of the economic [...]

Read the full article →

History Reminds Us that Economic and Environmental Narratives are Intertwined

June 21, 2017

EDITORIAL: Pittsburgh myth, Paris reality Guest Editorial by Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh From: Science: June 16, 2017: Vol. 356, Issue 6343, pp. 1103 When announcing his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, President Trump reminded the world that, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, [...]

Read the full article →

It Appears that Exxon has Committed Climate Fraud

June 20, 2017

A Tale of Two Numbers: Exxon’s Alleged Climate Fraud From an Interview by Living on Earth, June 16, 2017 CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Steve Curwood. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed the records of several ExxonMobil executives as part of his probe into allegations that Exxon knew about the dangers of [...]

Read the full article →

WVPB Features the 1000 Year Flood of 2016 One Year After

June 19, 2017

Inside Appalachia: A Year Of Recovery from the Flood of 2016 Premieres Tuesday, June 20 at 6:30 PM on WVPB Following historic flooding last year that killed 23 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, residents across the Mountain State are still grappling with a long recovery. In this TV special from WVPB’s Inside [...]

Read the full article →

Environmental Justice Under Challenge in Marcellus Region

June 19, 2017

Natural Gas Industry Brings A Fake Grassroots Group To Eastern Pipeline Fights From an Article by Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post, June 12, 2017 The industry-funded “Your Energy” is trying to mobilize a movement to counter pipeline protesters. Amid intensifying fights over new natural gas pipelines in Virginia, New Jersey and New England, the gas [...]

Read the full article →

Big Oil & Gas Promotes Fossil Fuels in Our Children’s Classrooms

June 18, 2017

Pipeline to the classroom: how big oil promotes fossil fuels to America’s children –Documents show pro-industry organizations target schoolchildren and teachers From an Article by Jie Jenny Zou and Joe Wertz, Center for Public Integrity & State-Impact Oklahoma (NPR), June 15, 2017 This story was a collaboration between the Center for Public Integrity and StateImpact [...]

Read the full article →

The Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Seeks to Compute (Update) the “Social Cost of Carbon”

June 17, 2017

OIRA works quietly on updating social cost of carbon From an Article by Hannah Hess, E&E News, Greenwire: June 15, 2017 Some federal employees are still working to analyze and compute a social cost of carbon. Not far from the White House, some of the federal government’s most influential number crunchers are still working to [...]

Read the full article →

Natural Gas Pipelines in the Marcellus Shale Region, Part 2

June 16, 2017

Natural Gas Pipeline —  A Bird’s Eye View, Part 2 From an Article by Robbie Harris, WVTF News, National Public Radio, June 14, 2017 Decision day is getting closer for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. If approved, it would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania, through Virginia and beyond. In part one of our report, Robbie Harris [...]

Read the full article →