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Whatthefrack.org is a program of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, an all-volunteer, grassroots organization that has been working to prohibit dangerous hydraulic fracturing (fracking) since 2008. Catskill Citizens provides one of the best websites in the country on fracking including an extensive Newsroom and a comprehensive Learn More section. Our Action Alerts make it easy for you to contact your elected officials in just a matter of seconds. Because we have an all-volunteer staff, all the money we raise goes directly into the fight against fracking. Please donate generously.

We support the American Clean Energy Agenda. Find out how your organization can also lend its support info@whatthefrack.org.

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info@whatthefrack.org

212 537 9249
PO Box 103 Fremont Center, NY 12736

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ROBERT REDFORD: Fracking Puts Our Drinking Water at Risk

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Unearthed: Official Trailer


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What you can do to prevent fracking.


STUDY: FRACKING DOESN'T CONTAMINATE DRINKING WATER, SHALE GAS WELLS DO

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined eight clusters of drinking water contamination (seven in Pennsylvania and one in the Barnett Shale in Texas) and determined that in each case the underground injection of fracking fluid was not responsible for the elevated levels of methane, ethane, and propane in the drinking water. Instead, the contamination was traced to problems with the construction of the gas wells themselves. These problems include defective cement jobs, defective steel casing, and in one case, well failure. Lead author Thomas Darrah of The Ohio State University characterized this finding as "relatively good news," because improvements in well integrity could potentially reduce the number of contamination incidents.

But this raises an important question—does the industry know how to ensure the integrity of horizontally drilled shale gas wells? Maybe not. Another study (also published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), examined compliance reports for the tens of thousands of gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2012 and found that shale gas wells had cement and casing problems far more often than conventional wells. It "predicted cumulative hazards exceeding 40%."

Another caveat: A single study of several water contamination clusters doesn't prove that fracking per se never contaminates drinking water. In the areas of Pennsylvania and Texas that were studied, the fracked gas formations are more than a mile underground. In other parts of the country where there have also been water contamination incidents, fracking has occurred within just a few hundred feet of nearby water wells. For example, in Pavillion, Wyoming, fracking occurred within 1,000 feet of the surface near water wells that are over 750 feet deep. Stanford University's Robert Jackson, coauthor of the water contamination study, told the Billings Gazette "Pavillion is a much more complicated place than where we looked at. The biggest difference is how near the surface the fracking occurred, and how close to people's water it was."

Read more about well integrity.

WHAT'S FRACKING? LOOK IT UP

The oil and gas industry has been using the term fracking for more than fifty years, but it has only recently found its way into dictionaries. In fact, it took Merriam-Webster until this month to include the word, along with hashtag and selfie. Fracking, of course, is the abbreviated form of hydraulic fracturing and is defined as "the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas)." Merriam-Webster doesn't recognize the term as shorthand for the entire process of unconventional oil and gas extraction, which also includes wellpad construction, drilling etc. Words such as fractivist, which clearly connote opposition to all aspects of unconventional drilling, have not yet found their way into the dictionary.

BRIEFLY NOTED:
  • The effect of natural gas supply on U.S. renewable energy and CO2 emissions, a study conducted by University of California, Irvine, Professor Christine Shearer and others and published in Environmental Research Letters, concludes that "increased natural gas use for electricity will not substantially reduce U.S. GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, and by delaying deployment of renewable energy technologies, may actually exacerbate the climate change problem."

  • Peter Mantius reports on a little-known loophole that permits corporations to avoid paying taxes on their fossil fuel investments. Because these structured investments, known as Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), are only available for income derived from "depletable" natural resources, wind and solar energy are ineligible. For that reason, Mantius calls MLPs a "reverse carbon tax." The combined market value of these MLPs is now more than $500 billion.

  • At the end of August, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a list of 243 private water wells that were damaged by oil and gas extraction.

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Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy,
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Economic Impact of Shale Gas Drilling

Read Selected Documents Authored by Jannette M. Barth, Ph.D.

Can New York Learn from Texas?. Economist Jannette Barth's latest analysis of the economic impact of shale gas plays.

Read more about LNG exports by entering the word "exports" in the Search feature of our website.

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LATEST NEWS

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Oct 27, 2014
Oct 27, 2014
Oct 27, 2014
Oct 27, 2014
Oct 25, 2014
    Komen acceptance of drilling-linked money raises ire

    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
    Katelyn Ferral
    n the race to raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer, there is division among advocates. Supporters of Breast Cancer Action are protesting the decision of fellow breast cancer awareness group, Susan G. Komen, to accept a $100,000 donation from Baker Hughes, the Houston-based supplier of ...  [Full Story]
Oct 24, 2014
    ‘80 by 50’ legislation gets first hearing in City Council

    Capital New York
    David Giambusso
    Legislation to codify an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 inched closer to passage Thursday during a hearing of the City Council's environmental protection committee. The legislation has 40 co-sponsors, giving it a veto-proof majority. But actually achieving the task of reducing g...  [Full Story]
Oct 24, 2014
    'Bomb trains': A crude awakening for Richmond, Calif.

    Aljazeera America
    Audrea Lim
    Local activists try to halt the shipment of explosive Bakken crude oil through their neighborhoods RICHMOND, Calif. — The streets are quiet in Lipo Chanthanasak’s neighborhood on the outer edge of this city’s downtown core. Each of the small houses is painted a variation of beige and separated fr...  [Full Story]
Oct 24, 2014
    What it’s like to have 30 oil & gas wells as neighbors

    Grist
    Tara Lohan
    The first thing Don Martin asks me is if I want the little picture or the big picture. Big picture, I tell him, and he leads me from the gate of his apartment complex to the driveway of his next-door neighbor. Martin’s neighbor is Freeport McMoRan, a company worth $30 billion. Freeport’s property...  [Full Story]
Oct 24, 2014
Oct 24, 2014
Oct 24, 2014
    Tool to detect ‘frac fluids’

    IOL SciTech

    Cape Town - Scientists have developed a geochemical tracer which can identify whether the fluids used in shale gas fracking – which include toxic chemicals – have been released into the surrounding environment and the water supply.   [Full Story]
Oct 24, 2014
    Landfill drops request for tenfold radiation increase

    Detroit Free Press
    Keith Matheny
    Gov. Snyder has convened a panel looking at regulations on disposing of technologically enhanced, naturally occurring radioactive materials A Wayne County hazardous waste landfill, under scrutiny for taking other state's low-activity radioactive wastes from oil and gas fracking, has withdrawn a r...  [Full Story]
Oct 23, 2014
    FEDS, STATES CONTINUE TO SHORTCHANGE DELAWARE RIVER BASIN COMMISSION

    NJ Spotlight
    Jon Hurdle
    Steve Tambini wants to ensure continuing clean water for the 15 million people who live in the Delaware River Basin, but he isn’t sure he will have the money to do so. The new executive director of the Delaware River Basin Commission -- which aims to coordinate management of water supply and qual...  [Full Story]
Oct 23, 2014
Oct 23, 2014
    A Bad Omen for Oil Stocks?

    Wall Street Daily
    Karim Rahemtulla,
    U.S. oil and natural gas rig counts just dropped for the second time since August. Why is that significant? A drop in the number of rigs is usually an indication that the companies doing the drilling and exploring are less sanguine about future prospects. But the two biggest oil companies’ ...  [Full Story]
Oct 23, 2014
    Andrew Cuomo: ‘I’m Not A Scientist’ When It Comes To Fracking

    ThinkProgress
    Jeff Spross
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) would like everyone to know that he, too, “is not a scientist.” Interestingly, Cuomo put a bit of a twist on the refrain. Unlike the Republican lawmakers and candidates who have taken up the line as their standard response to the question of whether manmade carbon...  [Full Story]
Oct 23, 2014
    Governor, open your eyes on fracking

    Albany Times Union
    Eric Weitman, Commentary
    On the morning of Sept. 9, something unexpected happened: Gov. Andrew Cuomo answered a question related to fracking clearly and definitively, in front of cameras and reporters for the whole world to hear. In a parking lot, I asked him if he would take a tour of fracking sites in Pennsylvania, to wit...  [Full Story]
Oct 23, 2014
    This fracking protest is more like Bonnaroo than Occupy

    Grist
    Sara Bernard
    On a bone-dry October day in Oakland, Calif., activists from Food and Water Watch, UC Berkeley’s Students Against Fracking, and a group of folk singers called the Occupellas gathered to celebrate the third annual Global Frackdown. Food and Water Watch launched the Global Frackdown in September 2012 ...  [Full Story]
Oct 23, 2014
    Mars Home for Youth asks board to reconsider fracking opposition

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Sandy Trozzo
    As Rex Energy prepares to operate as many as six gas wells on private property approximately a half mile from Mars Area schools, those on both sides of the issue continue to press the school district. During the board’s October meetings, requests came from both sides of the controversial gas well...  [Full Story]
Oct 23, 2014
    37 eco-groups ask governor to ban fracking in Florida

    Akron Beacon Journal
    Bob Downing
    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—Thirty-seven consumer, health and environmental advocacy organizations submitted a letter today to Governor Rick Scott expressing concern over the State’s unwillingness to take a position on fracking, even with the various comprehensive studies conducted on its potential public h...  [Full Story]

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Please share this link, cut and past to Facebook and Twitter.
http://bit.ly/1pk31Fz
President Obama, it's time to walk the walk on climate change—abandon your dangerous "all of the above" energy policy.

Take Action!




FRACTIVISTS MARCH...

September 20 ~ Tens of thousands of fractivists were among the more than 400,000 marchers who descended on New York City to demand that world leaders take immediate action to address climate change. On the same day, the Global Carbon Initiative reported that worldwide greenhouse gas emissions climbed by 2.3 percent in 2013; U.S. emissions spiked by 2.9 percent.


Photo by Jill Wiener


In a speech before the United Nations the following Tuesday, President Obama noted that, "the climate is changing faster than our ability to address it," and outlined "ambitious" plans to reduce carbon emissions—but he gave no indication that he is ready to abandon his ill-considered "all of the above" energy policy, which because it relies heavily on fracked gas is overloading the atmosphere with methane. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a heat-trapping potential that is up to eighty-six times more destructive than carbon dioxide.


...AND FRACKTIVISTS VOTE
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout made opposition to fracking central to her campaign, and fracktivists returned the favor. Anti-fracking volunteers played a major role in helping her carry more than half of New York's upstate counties. In several counties with robust anti-fracking movements (Tompkins, Otsego, and Sullivan), Teachout trounced Cuomo by a more than two-to-one margin.

But while there's no doubt that anti-frackers have emerged as a potent political force, there were also some sobering results. Incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo outpolled Teachout in Broome, Chemung, Steuben and Tioga Counties, four of the five Southern Tier counties that his administration has targeted for fracking. Republicans, who overwhelmingly support fracking, were not permitted to vote in the primary.

Quinnipiac Poll, August 14-17, 2014
"Some people say there should be drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale because of the economic benefits. Others say there should not be drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale because of the environmental impact. Which comes closer to your point of view?"
Quinnipiac_Results_2014


in memoriam

HILARY ACTON

Photo courtesy of New Yorkers Against Fracking


On the day of the record-setting Climate March, we lost one of our own—the indefatigable Hilary Acton, who has been a ubiquitous presence at virtually every hearing, screening, protest, and press event since the Northeast was first threatened by shale-gas extraction. Fracktivist Kelly Branigan spoke for many of us when she said "Hilary, in her quiet way, joined many of us together in this fight against fracking. 'Have you met...?' 'Let me introduce you to....' She would then step back and watch those connections grow and flourish, never seeking the limelight she so deserved. She drove many miles over the years, just to be wherever support was needed, or wherever she could help bring injustice to light. Her hugs were warm and her concern was real. We will miss her deeply."

NEW ITEMS IN LEARN MORE

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    Impact of Industrial Wind Turbines on Residential Property Assessment In Ontario 2012 Assessment Base Year Study. Municipal Property Assessment Corp.



FRACKING’S TOXIC LOOPHOLE Thanks to the “Halliburton Loophole,” Hydraulic Fracturing Companies Are Injecting Chemicals More Toxic than Diesel
    Environmental Integrity Project, Oct 22, 2014. This report was researched and written by Eric Schaeffer and Courtney Bernhardt. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws.

Drilling in California: Who’s at risk?
    Tanja Srebotnjak and Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, Natural Resources Defense Council, Posted Oct 2014.

FOOD, FOSSIL FUELS AND FILTHY FINANCE
    Oxfam Briefing Paper 191, Oct 17, 2014

Video: FRACK US: the dangers of gas fracking.
    RT Documentary--53 minutes. Published on Oct 10, 2014 All across the USA people are rising up against fracking. They don’t believe the process is safe and think it causes wide-scale land contamination. Ever more extraction sites are being approved and developed with new plant being built in once idyllic landscapes.

Department of the Army Letter: Permit Application by Constitution Pipeline Co., LLC
    Letter dated Oct 8, 2014 regarding construction of a new 124-mile-long natural gas pipeline.

Strengthening the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Increasing renewable energy use will achieve greater emissions reductions
    Union of Concerned Scientists Policy Brief, Oct. 2014. Document also available at: www.ucsusa.org/renewablesandcleanpowerplan

The Bakken Boom: East Coast at Risk
    Food & Water Watch, Sept, 2014 Transporting Bakken Crude: Potential Safety and Health Hazards

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fossil Energy Extracted from Federal Lands and Waters: An Update
    Wilderness Society Report by Stratus Consulting, Sept, 2014

Limited impact on decadal-scale climate change from increased use of natural gas
    Nature, Oct, 2014. Authors: Haewon McJeon, Jae Edmonds, Nico Bauer, Leon Clarke, Brian Fisher, Brian P. Flannery, Jérôme Hilaire, Volker Krey, Giacomo Marangoni, Raymond Mi, Keywan Riahi, Holger Rogner & Massimo Tavoni "Our results show that although market penetration of globally abundant gas may substantially change the future energy system, it is not necessarily an effective substitute for climate change mitigation policy9, 10.:

Upper Delaware River Basin: One of 10 Special Places
    As natural gas extraction expands across the Central Appalachian region, that industrial-scale energy development is encroaching on public lands that are critically important for fishing and hunting. In this report, Trout Unlimited takes a deeper look into those public places, outlining the potential risks posed by gas drilling operations and providing recommendations from sportsmen and women that promote responsible energy development.

The 2001–Present Induced Earthquake Sequence in the Raton Basin of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado
    Authors: Justin L. Rubinstein, William L. Ellsworth, Arthur McGarr, and Harley M. Benz, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, October 2014,

The URGENT Case for a Ban on Fracking
    Food & Water Watch, Sept 2014

DEP PA Water Supply Determination Letters
    The following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities in Pennsylvania

The State Clean Energy Cookbook: A Dozen Recipes for State Action on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    Standord Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and Hoover Institutiion's Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy, posted September, 2014.

Organic compounds in produced waters from shale gas wells
    by Samuel J. Maguire-Boyle and Andrew R. Barron, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts (Formerly the Journal of Environmental Monitoring), August13, 2014; abstract.

GLOBAL SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT Water Availability and Business Risks
    Authors: PAUL REIG, TIANYI LUO, AND JONATHAN N. PROCTOR; World resources Institute Posted Sept, 2014.

GLOBAL SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT Water Availability and Business Risks (Exec Summary)
    Authors: PAUL REIG, TIANYI LUO, AND JONATHAN N. PROCTOR; World Resources Institute, Posted Sept, 2014.

Climate Impacts of Natural Gas Production and LNG Export: A Synopsis of Current Science
    August 2014., Creative Commons, Oregon Sierra Club.

TOXIC WORKPLACE: Fracking Hazards on the Job
    Food & Water Watch, August 2014.

Blackout in the Gas Patch How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement
    How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement Published: August 7, 2014 by Earthworks By: Nadia Steinzor -

FEMA Mitigation Policy: Limits on Subsurface Uses of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Acquired Lands
    Policy Number: FP 302-405-146-1, May 5, 2014

Up in Flames: U.S. Shale Oil Boom Comes at Expense of Wasted Natural Gas, Increased CO2
    AUGUST 2014 EARTHWORKST OIL & GAS ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT

Climate Impacts of Natural Gas Production and LNG Export: A Synopsis of Current Science
    Oregon Sierra Club, Ted Gleichman, editor. August, 2014

Potential Public Health Impacts of Natural Gas Development and Production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland
    July 2014 Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health School of Public Health University of Maryland, College Park

Open Letter from members of Congress to Obama
    "To enhance our nations' energy security and reliability and to protect our environment, methane emissions must be reduced. Letter signed by 49 members of Congress. May 14, 2014

Anatomy of an Industry Front Group How the oil and gas industry runs the show at the Center for Sustainable Shale Development
    Public Accountability Initiative, August, 2014 report Executive Summary

UP IN FLAMES: Taxpayers Left Out in the Cold as Publicly Owned Natural Gas is Carelessly Wasted
    Western Values Project, May, 2014.

Letter: Shale Gas Development and Mars Area School Permitting Decision
    Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy letter to PA DEP dated Aug 12, 2014

Considerations in Signing an Easement Agreement
    Pipeline Safety Coalition, Posted August, 2014

Landowner's Guide to Pipelines: Safety, Responsibilities, Your Rights
    Pipeline Safety Trust, July 2014

FRACKING BEYOND THE LAW Despite Industry Denials, Investigation Reveals Continued Use of Diesel Fuels in Hydraulic Fracturing
    The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws. Report Aug 13, 2014

After Action Review Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Incident Response Chevron Appalachia LLC - Lanco 7H Well Fire Dunkard Township, Greene County
    This report provides an After Action Review (AAR) of the Chevron Appalachia LLC Lanco 7H well fire incident. This well fire incident occurred from February 11, 2014 through March 3, 2014.

SUMMARY OF BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS INFORMATION GATHERING EFFORTS CHEVRON LANCO PAD A GAS WELL FIRE
    This summary offers factual circumstances that may bear upon more complete evaluation of the Lanco A Well Fire and its cause(s).

Blackout in the Gas Patch How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement
    Earthworks report, August, 2014. Author: Nadia Steinzor. Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project

Blackout in the Gas Patch: How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement -
    Report Executive Summary by Earthworks, August, 2014. Earthworks conducted a year-long investigation into how DEP permits and oversees gas and oil operations, what has occurred at certain loca- tions, and the circumstances facing numerous households and communities. - See more at: http://www.earthworksaction.org/library/detail/blackout_summary#.U-O8a1ZD5g0

Environmental Public Health Dimensions of Shale and Tight Gas Development
    Authors: Seth B.C. Shonkoff, Jake Hays and Madelon L. Finkel in Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 122, Num 8, August, 2014

Fracking in the Digital Landscape
    2014 Makovsky Report, Makovsky Integrated Communications

Lighting the Way The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013
    Written by: Jordan Schneider, Frontier Group Rob Sargent, Environment America Research & Policy Center August 2014

Biotic impacts of energy development from shale: research priorities and knowledge gaps
    Authors: Sara Souther, Morgan W Tingley, Viorel D Popescu, David TS Hayman, Maureen E Ryan, Tabitha A Graves, Brett Hartl, and Kimberly Terrell. The Ecological Society of America, 2014. * Exploitation of oil and gas reserves trapped in shale rock, including the extraction process known as “fracking”, poses substantial and unexplored risks to living creatures • Understanding the biotic impacts of operations that fracture shale to access reserves is hindered by the unavailability of high-quality data about fracturing fluids, wastewater, and spills or violations • The risks of chemical contamination from spills, deep well failures, storage leaks, and underground fluid migration are top research priorities • Cumulative effects of shale development may represent the most severe threats to plants and animals, but are particularly challenging to study

Time Warner Cable News/Siena College Poll July 20-23, 2014 544 Registered Voters in Hudson Valley Southern Tier in New York
    Q20. Switching gears, the State Department of Environmental Conservation - or DEC - is expected to soon issue a decision on whether or not to allow hydrofracking - that is, the proposed method to recover natural gas from parts of upstate New York - to move forward. How much have you heard or read about it - a great deal, some, not very much, or nothing at all? Q21. Do you support or oppose the Department of Environmental Conservation allowing hydrofracking to move forward in parts of upstate New York? Q22A. Hydrofracking is too dangerous as it leads to unsafe levels of methane gas being released Q22B. Hydrofracking is important in order to harvest the abundant supply of natural gas that is otherwise currently inaccessible

DRINKING WATER: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated With Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement
    GAO Report 14-555, June, 2014.

Fracking Brussels: A Who's Who of the EU Shale Gas Lobby
    Friends of the Earth Europe; author Rachel Tansey, published july, 2014

Shale gas and fracking: examining the evidence
    Gwen Harrison, Stuart Parkinson and Gary McFarlane; Published by © Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) in July 2014

Health and fracking: Should the medical profession be concerned?
    This article attempts to summarise the health concerns and discuss them within the South African context. Published in the South African Medical Journal, May, 2014.

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