Does The Corbett Administration Hate Nature As Much As They Hate Environmentalists?
Not all Pennsylvanians are prepared to accept the governor's latest executive order for a fracking "Permit Decision Guarantee" without crying foul, as Kevin Begos of the Associated Press reports via Businessweek in Foes: Pa. State Permit Order Threatens Environment.
StateImpact’s Scott Detrow appears to concur that Corbett’s new decree is a potential political misstep in How Will Corbett’s Executive Order Change The Marcellus Permitting Process? on August 13, 2012. Though he barely hints at it, Detrow’s article earned him a proper bitch-slapping in the Comments section by the governor’s hyper-conservative energy czar, Patrick Henderson, who takes to task both StateImpact and the AP for their apparent, willful lack of “context.”
Henderson insults the intelligence of the average NPR reader. State Impact Pennsylvania does a remarkable job of providing unbiased coverage of Marcellus Shale drilling issues. And anyone can see that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is an agency working at cross-purposes amidst steep budget cuts. To develop shale gas and to protect the environment, these aims are mutually exclusive. I’m not even sure the DEP is of much use to Pennsylvanians these days, unless the initials stand for Department of Expedited Permits.
Random reader, barneycs, however, voices the most common qualm over Tom Corbett in the Comments section of the Businessweek article:
“The Govenor is really good at trying to rush policies that make money for those he owes at the expense of the citizens who actually pay his salary. As Attorney General he dragged out the Jerry Sandusky investigation long enough to make sure it did not affect his run for Govenor. Does anyone think he would have been elected Govenor if he had arrested Sandusky sooner. Fast for his friends slow for his own political sake.”
“This executive order does not recognize any of the complexities of what the agency is required to do,” Jugovic added. It also won't affect operations “other than to further beat down an already demoralized staff.”
PennFuture may be a “big green” with a sorta spotty reputation, but I like this guy! He’s seen how DEP operates from the inside, and he remains undaunted by Secretary Krancer’s tendency to fall back on complex legalese to shift attention away from valid environmental concerns. Jugovic also said, "It's going to put the public health and safety at risk... I think the message is clear. Issuing the permit has a higher priority than doing a fair and thorough job of insuring that the application complies with the law."
Doesn't get any clearer.
Summer In Gasland
Only weeks earlier, in the gas bubble that is the Pennsylvania portion of the Marcellus Shale, PA DEP spokesperson Dan Spadoni was busy downplaying the severity of a 4,700 gallon hydrochloric acid spill at a Bradford county well site, blaming the spill on the all-too-common “valve failure.”
“The acid breached containment and flowed off the well pad... Some of the acid was collected in a sedimentation pond, while the remainder flowed through a field and some reached a small tributary to Towanda Creek causing a minor fish kill. Dams were constructed in the tributary before any acid reached Towanda Creek,” according to StateImpact.
A few weeks later, in New Columbia, White Deer, PA another Pennsylvania “valve-failure” incident resulted in another hydrochloric acid spill. It barely made the papers, though the highly toxic cloud of vapor engulfed an entire neighborhood, mini-mart and all, which had to be evacuated in the middle of the night.
And so the fraccidents continue, all summer long, and all on the heels of DEP Secretary Krancer’s giddy, June-time stumping for a natural gas processing facility in Delaware County, PA, in which the secretary promised “DEP employees will ‘work night and day’ to get industry the necessary permits.”
Less than a month later, on July 13, 2012, Krancer could be found explaining away more gas industry methane pollution in Bradford County, the most drilled out county in the universe, as reported in DEP Secretary: Methane May Have Leaked Through Perforations In Bradford Gas Well by Laura Legere in The Times-Tribune.
Gas vs. Water
If all this insanity is making you crazy, here’s a reality check from sub-radical fractivist extraordinaire, Alexander Lotorto. This subversive little nugget, Water Resource Portal Map, can be found at http://gis.srbc.net/WRP_FV25/ and it shows water wells and gas pads in the Susquehanna River watershed. It was created by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and, essentially, it depicts Pennsylvania’s Sacrifice Zone. Funny, I never thought of the SRBC as a bunch of enviro-radicals, yet maybe now Corbett and Henderson will feel justified in choking off this relatively small, obscure state agency's funding even further. Will the Delaware River Basin Commission be next?
Don't Frack The Delaware River Basin!
Join The Delaware Riverkeeper Network Virtual Canoe Race...
"The Delaware River is the last major free flowing river in the east. Unlike most major river systems, the Delaware has no dams and so can be canoed for its entire length. September is a little chilly yet for most of us to get out on the water — but there is no need for the weather to change for us all to get out on the River, to enjoy its beauty, and to remind ourselves why we must be ever vigilant in protecting it. Entering this canoe race will not only allow us all to enjoy the River so late in the season, as the weather is still turning, but will also help raise the funds needed to ensure that when we really want to get out on the water the River is clean, filled with healthy fish and surrounded by the natural beauty that keeps it that way.
"The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, organizer of this event, champions the rights of the River to be free-flowing, clean and healthy. Through strong advocacy, including lawsuits when needed, scientific monitoring, and hands-on stream and habitat restoration the DRN ensures protection of the River and its communities are high priority in all decisions. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is unique in that it is founded upon the expectation of personal and community responsibility for river protection, as personified by the Delaware Riverkeeper. DRN is the only grassroots advocacy organization that operates watershed-wide and empowers communities with the engaged interaction and information needed to succeed in protecting our River and region now into the future. Learn more and get involved at www.delawareriverkeeper.org."
Learn more: www.delawarerivercanoeing.org