Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is calling for a study aimed at reversing the increase in workplace deaths that has accompanied the boom in natural gas drilling and production from the Marcellus Shale fields in Northern West Virginia. –
The nine demands levied against the Dan A Hughes Company by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FLADEP) reflect the fundamental reasons Damascus Citizens for Sustainability created 1) the Natural Gas Health and Community Impacts Survey and 2) a protocol for transmitting individual and community impact data to the (federal) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR):
- DCS and ATSDR recognized that the Agency does not receive enough data from state authorities to initiate Public Health Assessments or to create a federal registry of reported natural gas extraction and production harms and impacts. (Demands # 2, 3, 5, 6, 9)
- Beyond illuminating individual and community health impacts, the Survey asks several questions that establish the nature of residents’ interactions with oversight agencies and the responses received.)
Other of the nine demands might establish,
- proximal cause of contaminations;
- who knew what when and what they did about it;
- whether or not protocols exist to enable reasonable oversight and enforcement to protect the public health and safety and whether or not fraudulent actions were taken to bypass existing oversight and enforcement protocols. (Demands # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-9)
Demand #1 seems innocuous but DCS’ review of the Hancock Compressor proposal, for instance, questioned whether or not the pro forma nature of FERC approvals and consequent dismissal of public concerns and comments contravened the National Environmental Policy Act.
(From the ABC coverage…) The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is giving the Dan A. Hughes Company two weeks to comply with nine demands or face penalties.
A letter was issued to the Texas-based oil drilling company from Florida DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard, Jr. on Thursday.
The letter outlines steps the company needs to take to restore public confidence in it’s Collier County projects.
The demands were stated as follows:
1. Publish dates and times that Dan A. Hughes will hold three public meetings to discuss and take public comment on your plans for the Collier-Hogan site and future operations in Collier County.
- Confirm whether Hughes took samples of the flowback material that was trucked off the Collier-Hogan site prior to June 23, 2014, when DEP arrived to inspect the site. If samples exist, immediately provide those samples to DEP. If Hughes did not take samples of the flowback material, prior to trucking off-site, provide an explanation as to why and who, specifically at Dan A. Hughes, made the decision not to sample these materials and why DEP was not notified of this action.
- Publicly announce media and public access to your operations to ensure that the previous violations are not ongoing.
- Publicly commit to testify before the County Commission’s July 8 meeting to discuss your current practices and long term plans.
- Provide an explanation of the agreement between Dan A. Hughes and the facility that agreed to accept the flowback material to provide full assurance that this material is being disposed of appropriately to safeguard the public. Also include a copy of the renewed pretreatment permit issued by Miami-Dade County, as the current permit you provided to DEP expired on May 31, 2014.
- Provide the revisions of the groundwater monitoring plan as required by DEP to address the deficiencies previously identified by the Department. This would include a prompt schedule of when Dan A. Hughes will be conducting on-site testing.
- Provide the names and qualifications of the individuals at Dan A. Hughes who are responsible for implementing the requirements of this Consent Order and ensuring compliance on-site. We are aware that you have released the environmental compliance consultant and project engineer who were working with DEP on the implementation of the Consent Order, and we ask that you provide an explanation for the release of these individuals. It is important that we have the information necessary to determine the expertise of those employed by Dan A. Hughes to protect the public.
- Provide the name of your recommended independent third-party expert that will conduct the study under the Consent Order. The Consent Order required Dan A. Hughes to provide a third-party expert acceptable to DEP and a scope of work within 60 days, which was June 7, 2014. The independent third-party expert you initially proposed was rejected by DEP because, as a prior contractor for Dan A. Hughes, that company (Stantec) had a clear conflict of interest. The independence of the third-party expert is critical to ensure unbiased information.
- The Company must provide every 10 days a status report as to the utilization of its Spill Prevention and Cleanup Plan to ensure that proper safety mechanisms are in place. Aerial photographs and on the ground assessments have exposed oil sheen on the ground that are allegedly the result of Hughes’ techniques of spraying oil into truck tanks. It is important to know whether or not this activity is part of the Spill Prevention and Cleanup Plan.
The letter states that the stipulations are non-negotiable. The Dan A. Hughes Company has until July 15 to complete the demands.
For background on Dan A. Hughes in Collier County, Florida, you can begin here.