April 28, 2011 —
Overview of PA law on municipalities and drilling available
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS) has obtained an overview of current Pennsylvania law related to local ordinances and gas drilling to aid citizens of the Commonwealth in their efforts to protect communities from potential impacts. The document was prepared by PA municipal law expert Jordan Yeager and is a legal memorandum intended to facilitate PA municipalities in drafting zoning ordinances. See the document at www.damascuscitizens.org/PA-TOWNS_LEGAL-ADVICE.pdf . An art auction is currently underway to benefit DCS’s legal fund. Works contributed by 40 artists can be seen and bid on at www.ebay.com  under DCS Art Auction Benefit. The auction concludes on May 1 at 9 p.m.
Gas Drilling Awareness Walk slated for May 7
A walk to raise awareness of gas drilling and its potential impacts has been scheduled for May 7, beginning at 1 p.m. in Honesdale’s Central Park. Participants are asked to wear a blue ribbon to honor the importance of clean water.
PFBC announces hotline for suspected pollution incidents
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has introduced a new toll-free hotline for the public to report suspected pollution incidents or fish kills. The number — 855/FISH-KIL (855/347-4545) — provides a means to quickly alert PFBC staff to suspected environmental incidents. “Timely notification is the critical factor in dealing with suspected pollution cases and protecting our aquatic resources,” said board president William Worobec. “The sooner we know about an incident, the sooner we can evaluate it and, if necessary, implement a response plan.” Worobec emphasized that the number is not meant for general inquires related to license sales, boat registrations or other agency issues. A list of frequently asked questions is available at: www.fishandboat.com/faqpollute.pdf . Callers using the hotline will be directed to the PFBC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement in Harrisburg, where staff will answer calls from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Calls received after hours or on weekends will be sent to a voice mailbox where the caller can leave a message. PFBC staff will review voice messages and respond as soon as possible. If someone spots a suspected incident and believes it is an immediate threat to public safety or the environment, they should dial 911 or the Department of Environmental Protection’s emergency number at 800/541-2050.
Hydraulic fracturing products report released
Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Edward J. Markey and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette have released a report that summarizes the types, volumes and chemical contents of the hydraulic fracturing products used by the 14 leading oil and gas service companies. The report contains the first comprehensive national inventory of chemicals used by hydraulic fracturing companies during the drilling process. Key findings are: The companies used more than 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products, with 2,500 products containing 750 different chemicals and other components. Between 2005 and 2009, the companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for their risks to human health, or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The BTEX compounds – benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – are SDWA contaminants and hazardous air pollutants. Benzene also is a known human carcinogen. The hydraulic fracturing companies injected 11.4 million gallons of products containing at least one BTEX chemical over the five-year period. Methanol was the most widely used chemical between 2005 and 2009. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under SDWA. Isopropyl alcohol, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethylene glycol were the other most widely used chemicals. The companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers deemed proprietary or a trade secret. In many instances, the companies were unable to identify these “proprietary” chemicals. See the report at http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/... .