SMITH CASE STUDY:  Blackout in the Gas Patch: Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement

From EarthWorks Action’s  study:

Our research on gas wells and facilities in the area revealed several pollution events, problems that persisted for long periods of time, and plausible reasons why the development would have compromised air and water quality. In addition, there were instances when the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave operators the benefit of the doubt about activities and incidents. Yet it was only because residents filed complaints that DEP conducted some inspections and investigations and discovered violations. – See more at: http://www.earthworksaction.org/library/detail/blackout_case_study_4_angel_and_wayne_smith#.VEVm6PnF9MU

http://gasvets.org/2014/10/20/705/

Bad Air Day

Around North Texas parks and playgrounds, children are breathing dangerous doses of toxic fumes from gas industry sites.  (Read More…)
(NB from GasVets:  For more on how frackers have been contaminating playgrounds and schools,  please see our “Timeline of Federal Regulations”  and “What They Knew In 1988-89”  which contain this 1989 assertion  from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality:  “The State of Mississippi has found contaminated pipe used in the construction of bleachers at schools.”)

http://gasvets.org/2014/10/13/701/

Wage theft rife in oil and gas industry cheats workers out of millions

A ProPublica review of U.S. Department of Labor investigations has found that the oil and gas industry is also rife with this kind of of corporate banditry. Naveena Sadasivam reports:

In 2012, the DOL began a special enforcement initiative in its Northeast and Southwest regional offices targeting the fracking industry and its supporting industries. As of August this year, the agency has conducted 435 investigations resulting in over $13 million in back wages found due for more than 9,100 workers. ProPublica obtained data for 350 of those cases from the agency. In over a fifth of the investigations, companies in violation paid more than $10,000 in back wages.”  (Definitely read more….)

 

http://gasvets.org/2014/10/08/696/

Fracking workers exposed to dangerous amounts of benzene, study says

(NB GasVets.org:   Although this article was first published  9/11/14,  it’s received little attention.  For more on worker health and threats to it,  see  GasVets’  Timeline of Federal Regulations which includes data from  “What They Knew in 1988-89,  and  the 2011  Minority Congressional report which lists 650 fracking chemicals that are known- or potential-carcinogens,  If you are a GasVet worker or a resident of  “Gasland”  who believes you’ve suffered harm from fracking,  please participate in Damascus Citizens’  Health and Community Impacts Survey.)

“Some workers at oil and gas sites where fracking occurs are routinely exposed to high levels of benzene, a colorless gas that can cause cancer, according to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The agency, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends that people limit their benzene exposure to an average of 0.1 of a part per million during their shift. But when NIOSH researchers measured the amount of airborne benzene that oil and gas workers were exposed to when they opened hatches atop tanks at well sites, 15 out of 17 samples were over that amount.

Benzene, a component of crude oil, “is of major concern because it can be acutely toxic to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys at high concentrations,” the study authors wrote. As the CDC explains, benzene interferes with the normal workings of cells.

‘It can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia,” according to the CDC. “Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.’”

http://gasvets.org/2014/10/08/693/

COMPENDIUM OF SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL, AND                                             MEDIA FINDINGS 

DEMONSTRATING RISKS AND HARMS OF FRACKING
(UNCONVENTIONAL GAS AND OIL EXTRACTION)

Succinct, easily-understood breakdown  of  the risks and harms of gas extraction & production  with a call that governments and industry  heed the many alarms sounded by the medical and scientific professions.  When you post it at your website and Facebook pages and hand it out at your events, maybe say something  like,   “After you’ve read this, please ask who has your back.  Fossil fuel companies and the government?  Or, doctors and scientists who aren’t being paid by either of them?”  (And then encourage individuals, families and communities who’ve been harmed to consider taking  DCS’  Health & Community Impacts Survey.)

 

From the compendium by  Concerned Health Professionals of New York:  “With increasing urgency, groups of medical professionals and scientists are issuing calls for comprehensive, long-term study of the full range of the potential health and ecosystem effects of drilling and fracking. These appeals underscore the accumulating evidence of harm, point to the major knowledge gaps that remain, and denounce the atmosphere of secrecy and intimidation that continues to impede the progress of scientific inquiry. Health professionals and scientists in the United States and around the world have urged tighter regulation of and in some cases, suspension of unconventional gas and oil extraction activities in order to limit, mitigate or eliminate its serious, adverse public health hazards.”  

 

Read  more …:

http://gasvets.org/2014/07/14/633/

Fla. DEP gives oil drilling company 9 demands

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.

  1.  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.
  2.  Publicly announce media and public access to your operations to ensure that the previous violations are not ongoing.
  3.  Publicly commit to testify before the County Commission’s July 8 meeting to discuss your current practices and long term plans.
  4.  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.
  5.  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.
  6.  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.
  7.  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.
  8.  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.

http://gasvets.org/2014/07/06/622/

NY’s top court says towns can ban fracking

 In its majority opinion, the Court stated,  “We are asked in these two appeals whether towns may ban oil and gas production activities, including hydrofracking, within municipal boundaries through the adoption of local zoning laws,” Associate Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote in the majority opinion. “We conclude that they may because the supersession clause in the statewide Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) does not preempt the home rule authority vested in municipalities to regulate land use.”

(Poster’s note:  New York’s municipalities have been awaiting an appellate level decision for three years.  During that time,  municipalities around the State have been banning “oil and gas production activities”  or they have been reluctant to do so in the face of threatened lawsuits.  Although this decision is open to  appeal,  all  New Yorkers, no matter their stance on fracking,  should celebrate this affirmation of local control.  Read the Court’s opinion here.)

http://gasvets.org/2014/06/30/612/

Residents in Colorado Town File Class-Action Lawsuit Against State and Governor to Uphold Fracking Ban

“While the suit centers on fracking, it seeks to protect the citizens’ right to self-governance under the Community Bill of Rights. The residents allege that the Colorado Oil and Gas Act and the industry’s enforcement of it violate that right to local self-government under the U.S. Constitution….  ‘This class action lawsuit is merely the first of many by people across the United States whose constitutional rights to govern their own communities are routinely violated by state governments working in concert with the corporations that they ostensibly regulate,’ said Thomas Linzey, Esq., executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which helped craft Lafayette’s Community Bill of Rights.”    (Read more….)

http://gasvets.org/2014/06/11/592/

Daily Air Quality Maps.  View by USA, State, Region, Zip Code!

I’m probably the last person in the fracking world to find this but in case anyone else is interested, here’s a terrific link to daily air quality maps. You can look at your specific zip code, at an entire region, etc.  (Follow link….)

Obviously,  these maps are excellent resources for natural gas industry workers and folks living near natural gas industrial activities, especially in light of recent jury awards.

For more on air quality exemptions awarded the fracking industry,  please download DCS’  Timeline of Federal Regulations which includes data from  “What They Knew in 1988-89,” and the 2011 Committee Report that describes the damage done by the 2005 National Environmental Policy Act.

http://gasvets.org/2014/06/09/578/

Romanian Fracking worker dies on the job, as toxic frack chemicals kill or harm many more around the world.

“…they came for the [workers] and I didn’t stand up…”  Please defend the world’s workforce.  They are we and we are they.  Join us at our Gas Vets Facebook page and on Twitter.

 

http://gasvets.org/2014/06/04/575/

Physicians, Scientists & Engineers Video on Fracking and Worker Health:

Excellent video about the impacts of fracking and related activities on worker health.  This is particularly interesting in light of silicosis and all of what NIOSH and OSHA have known for years.  Please review our timeline of federal regulations, including what  the Feds knew in 1988-89.

http://gasvets.org/2014/06/04/573/

Letter from 250 Medical Organizations, Health Experts and Researchers Sent to NYS Governor Cuomo and Acting Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. Zucker

Per Dr. Sandra Steingraber:  “Yesterday, [May 29, 2014] a broad-based coalition of more than 250 medical organizations, health experts and researchers – mostly from NYS but some luminaries and fracking researchers from elsewhere as well – sent a letter to NY’s Governor Cuomo and our new acting Department of Health commissioner, Dr. Zucker.

The letter lays out recent science and trends in the data and calls for a 3-5 year concrete moratorium. The national Physicians for Social Responsibility is among the signatories, as are the American Academy of Pediatrics District II, American Lung Association in NY, Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy, numerous breast cancer networks, many doctors and even some county health departments.”

Medical Experts to Governor Cuomo May 29FINAL (2)

http://gasvets.org/2014/06/02/568/

The AFL-CIO  Issues 23rd Annual  “Death on the Job Report”  and fracking in North Dakota shows alarming data.

  • The fatality rate in the mining and oil and gas extraction sector in North Dakota was an alarming 104.0 per 100,000, more than six times the national fatality rate of 15.9 per 100,000 in this industry; and the construction sector fatality rate in North Dakota was 97.4 per 100,000, almost ten times the national fatality rate of 9.9 per 100,000 for construction.  Read much, much more…..

http://gasvets.org/2014/05/17/552/

Without a health registry,  the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not know the health impacts of fracking.

(To view and/or participate in Damascus Citizens’ Natural Gas Health & Community Impacts Survey,  please visit this link.)

 

 

http://gasvets.org/2014/05/02/498/

The US Supreme Court Upholds EPA’s  “Good Neighbor”  cross-state air pollution rule.

(The link is to the actual SCOTUS majority opinion.)

http://gasvets.org/2014/05/02/496/

Breaking: $3 Million Jury Verdict in Texas Fracking Nuisance Case

A jury in Dallas, TX today awarded $2.925 million to plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr, who sued Barnett shale fracking company Aruba Petroleum Inc. for  intentionally causing a nuisance on the Parr’s property which impacted their health and ruined their drinking water.   (See more…)  (Poster’s comment:  This is huge.  Bypass FERC.  Bypass statutory exemptions.  Go to “Intentional Tort.”  Truly great news from this jury trial.  And no surprise, DeSmog Blog is on top of it.)

http://gasvets.org/2014/04/22/484/

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