Risks of Living Near Ground Zero

Public health advocates push for Marcellus Shale registry

From an Article by Marie Cusik, NPR State Impact (Pennsylvania), May 20, 2015

More than seven years into the drilling boom, health advocates continue to push the state to track drilling-related complaints.

Public health advocates continue to urge the state to do a better job of tracking health complaints related to natural gas development. The state Department of Health and Department of Environmental Protection are discussing ways to work together to better monitor Marcellus Shale related health issues. But so far, there’s no money for those efforts.

Governor Wolf has proposed $100,000 to the health department in his budget plan, but it’s not guaranteed to make it through the legislature. Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley says he takes the issue seriously. “If that doesn’t pass, we’ll have to look for Plan B. This is an issue that’s not going away,” he says. “There are questions. They need to be dealt with in a transparent way.”

Health advocates say $100,000 is not enough money to fund a health registry, but they’re encouraged the state is taking steps to investigate complaints.

Raina Rippel directs the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, which tracks drilling related complaints. She spoke to DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council Wednesday about the benefits of monitoring health issues. “We truly believe this is a timely, urgent issue,” says Rippel. “We want to see action on this as soon as possible. We understand the political machine is such that it could take some time to see this fully up and running.”

In 2012, when Pennsylvania updated its oil and gas law, $2 million was set aside for the health department to track the issue—but the funding was ultimately cut from the legislation.

As StateImpact Pennsylvania has previously reported, some people who live near gas infrastructure believe their ill health is linked to drilling, but doctors say they simply don’t have the data or research – from the state or other sources – to confirm that.

Over the past four years the PA state health department says it has received 86 complaints from people who believe their symptoms are associated with gas development.

See also: Southwestern Penna. Environmental Health Project


Pipeline Construction Continues on 36 and 42 inch diameter long transmission lines

From an Article by Casey Junkins, Wheeling Intelligencer, May 19, 2015

Wheeling, WV — At a cost of $1.75 billion, the 36-inch Leach XPress pipeline through the Upper Ohio Valley is the first of $13.5 billion worth of infrastructure projects planned by Columbia Pipeline Group through 2020.

Despite a recent slowdown in drilling activity due to depressed natural gas prices, Columbia is just one of several companies building interstate pipelines in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, all with the hope of delivering natural gas drawn from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania to larger markets.

Similar projects include the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5 billion venture of Dominion Resources and Duke Energy; the $4.3 billion Rover Pipeline, developed by ET Rover Co.; and EQT Corp.’s more than $3 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Columbia Pipeline Group is now a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., the same corporation that owns Columbia Gas of Ohio. However, the pipeline firm is scheduled to become an independent company July 1 to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CPGX.” Its capital investments are set to grow from $4.6 billion to $13.5 billion over the next five years.

“As we execute on our deep inventory of modernization and growth projects, which are underpinned by long-term, fee-based contracts, we expect to triple our net investment by 2020,” Robert C. Skaggs Jr., who will become chairman and CEO of Columbia upon its separation from NiSource.

The Leach XPress pipeline will ship dry methane natural gas southwest from a Majorsville compressor station in Marshall County to a compressor station in Ceredo, WV, near Huntington.

“Historically, we have always drawn gas from the south. Now, we can send oil and gas produced in this area to the south,” said Columbia spokesman Zane Daniels. “This is the missing link in the chain.”

The Rover Pipeline will be able to transport up to 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the local area to Michigan. The Mountain Valley Pipeline will run 330 miles south from the MarkWest Energy Mobley complex in Wetzel County to the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Virginia.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, planned at a length of 550 miles and a diameter of 42 inches, is designed to send natural gas southward for use in North Carolina. Amid significant public opposition in southern West Virginia and Virginia, developers are considering possible alternate routes to present for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission consideration.

“While we have not surveyed them yet, we have determined there are several alternate segments that may have less of an impact than the initially proposed route,” Leslie Hartz, vice president of pipeline construction for Dominion Transmission, said. “Surveying is necessary to determine the final route.

“No one knows their property better,” Hartz added of the landowners in question. “It is in their best interest for them to allow us to survey and talk with them about the land’s unique characteristics. We have looked at more than 3,000 miles of potential routes and have adjusted the route hundreds of times as a result of surveys and discussions with landowners.”

NOTE: These pipelines represent a taking of a valuable natural resource from our States of origin without due compensation, the taking of public and private lands for pipeline right-of-way by eminent domain for corporate gain, and the disregard for climate change (perhaps the biggest problem now facing mankind). Natural gas is almost totally methane, an exceedingly potent greenhouse gas which is often vented, it also leaks and leads to fires and explosions. This says nothing about the excess land damages especially to our national forests and the resultant water pollution. Who cares? DGN

See also: Appalachian Mountain Advocates


Atlantic Coast Pipeline Continues to Raise Questions for Dominion Resources

May 20, 2015

Dominion shareholders pepper CEO with questions about the proposed natural gas pipeline From an Article by John Ramsey, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 7, 2015 Opponents of a 500-mile natural gas pipeline targeted Dominion Resources Inc.’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday, with more than 100 protesters picketing outside and others who will be affected directly asking the company’s top [...]

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BXE — Beyond Extreme Energy Rally — May 21 to 29

May 19, 2015

BXE New Call To Action — May 21 to May 29th — Be There or Be Square! We are Beyond Extreme Energy, a growing coalition of communities and individuals on the front lines—and taking casualties—in the extreme energy economy. We are the ones demanding to be heard, closing down First Street and getting in the [...]

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Documentary Proposed on WV — “In the Hills & Hollows”

May 18, 2015

Proposed Documentary on WV: In the Hills and Hollows Film Proposal by Keely Kernan, Independent Film Director, Shepherdstown, WV, May 15, 2015 The boom and bust coal industry that has dominated the landscape of West Virginia for over a century is being replaced by the natural gas industry. Rural West Virginian communities, steeped in history [...]

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Seneca Lake Defenders Oppose Gas Storage in NY Wine Country

May 17, 2015

Seneca Lake gas storage project: all the risks, none of the rewards From a Letter by Edgar Brown, Seneca Lake Defenders, South Bristol, NY, May 16, 2015 The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently filed a brief as part of an issues conference proceeding to determine if permits should be granted to [...]

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Climate Change — An Enlightenment

May 16, 2015

Sunday School Lesson — An Enlightenment on Climate Change Public Interest Article by S. Tom Bond, Lewis County, WV, May 15, 2015 Several things have come together in last few days that have made an impression I want to share with readers. The first is an article that identifies the ethic of big business as a [...]

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O & G Drilling and Fracking are Destroying our Landscape

May 15, 2015

TITLE: Oil and gas development transforms landscapes From a Report by Brady Allred, et al., The University of Montana, April 29, 2015 Researchers have conducted the first-ever broad-scale scientific assessment of how oil and gas development transforms landscapes across the US and Canada. A landscape transformed by broad-scale vegetation loss and fragmentation from oil and gas [...]

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Morgantown Utility Board Agrees to Disagree with Northeast Natural Energy over New Gas Wells

May 14, 2015

MUB public water service utility and NNE energy company settle most of their disputes From an Article by David Beard, Morgantown Dominion Post, TheDPost.com, May12, 2015 Morgantown, WV – The Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) and Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) have largely resolved their differences over water safety concerns related to three planned horizontal gas wells at [...]

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MVP and ACP Pipeline Meetings Scheduled in WV

May 13, 2015

Upcoming Community Meetings Saturday, May 16 (7 pm) – “In the Hills and Hollows” Documentary Trailer and discussion with filmmaker Keely Kernan. 600 Virginia St. West Charleston, WV. The film documents the lives of rural West Virginian communities, steeped in history and heritage, facing an uncertain future as the gas boom transforms their rural community [...]

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