Water is our most Precious Resource

Friday, November 13, 2009

David and Goliath

All couple important developments on the NY Hydrofracking front - first, the NYDEC has extended the hearing period by 30 days, which of course is not much at all, but something. Hopefully it will give our cause enough time to organize a legal block to drilling until a true environmental impact study can be undertaken by the EPA at the national level.

There has been a tremendous amount of research done on both accidents and the wastewater. Apparently over time the DEC has not done a very good job at either investigating or disclosing accidents; I guess with the mindset that ignorance is bliss.

It has been discovered that there is radium-226 in the wastewater, a derivative of uranium with levels hundreds of times over what is acceptable for drinking water. Somehow, the DEC thinks that this is okay for New York Citizens. In another study, a researcher from Ithaca found 270 instances of "wastewater spills, well contamination, explosions, methane migration and ecological damage related to gas production in NY state since 1979". The DEC investigators somehow only found 60 of the 270 accidents; all others were reported by residents.

Imagine; if drilling is to go into effect on the scale that is proposed, how many accidents we can expect to happen, just in the next few years alone! Who could look at this information and think that our water will be fine??? Only people who are blinded by something else - lies, money, power.

Or, perhaps the planned destruction of our water supply IS their agenda? Because, you may or may not know that a gallon of water - when bought in smaller units such as a pint or liter, costs more than a gallon of gas at the pump. Perhaps they own Nestle water or some other water distribution outlet, and that is their real financial goal? This is worth checking out.

It's evident that Governor Patterson is blind in more than just one way. He actually thinks that hydrofracking will create income for our state. Whoever is advising him on this issue is drinking the Oil and Gas Lobby's kool-aid. With no plan for dealing with accidents or wastewater, and with accidents being as catastrophic as they are, it is negligence of the grandest order to allow this drilling to happen. It will kill this state financially, as well as ecologically.

And to that end, I am concentrating all of my energies on Governor Patterson now. He wants to run for governor again? Well, rest assured that there is not a chance in hell he will be re-elected. I personally will put all my energies and efforts into an independent run by Andrew Cuomo. Y'all thought Spitzer was bad? Run out of office for having sex? Well that will be nothing compared to what's going to happen to Patterson if he ruins our water supply and kills NY citizens slowly with radiation and chemical poisoning. Tarred and feathered would be a good beginning. Then, put him next to a 5 acre wastewater holding tank, and force him to live next to it so that he can die a slow and painful death with the rest of us.

I'll personally see to it that he has all the water he can possibly drink!

By the way, at the second DEC hearing this week in NYC, they only allowed 52 people to speak, out of 170 who signed up. This pretty much shows us how much they care about our comments.

My optimism from my last post has faded. Seems like it's going to be a true David and Goliath fight here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shocking Oil Discovery.....

Last week I read a headline that really got me laughing hard. It was an investment newsletter which I opt to receive because it's very anti-Obama (I like to hear all sides) and they write all kinds of interesting things about how to protect your millions from the Socialization of America, how to make more money and where to hide it, etc etc etc. They're always coming up with hair-brained schemes to make investment profits. In this past year, it's really been very amusing. But this one headline really took the cake.

The headline reads, "Shocking Oil Discovery Made Under Eiffel Tower"

and the sub-headline reads, "Dallas, TX Company preparing to legally "steal" $2.8 trillion in oil from the French"

Ah, great. More oil. As our world becomes more and more sicker for our addiction to oil, more oil has been found! And who better to SHAFT than the French, eh? How good it will be to steal from those frog-eating socialists who actually think health care is important.


Last night I went to see "This Is It", the documentary about the Michael Jackson show that wasn't to be. Aside from incredible music and dancing, I was very moved by the ending of the show, which I think was the only new song. The movie in the show was about the destruction of the rainforest, done very well I might add, with commentary by MJ interspersed with the music. His basic point is, if WE - meaning citizens of the world - don't do something to stop global warming, then nobody will. The governments obviously CAN'T. And if we don't take care of this issue, NOW, then nothing else is important, because we won't be here.

A football field a second.... that's what we're losing in the Amazon Rainforests, and have been losing for a very long time.

Well said! (I was a MJ hater; I really was, except that as a DJ I could ALWAYS use his music to get people up on the dancefloor, and since his death I have seen how deeply he has influenced millions upon millions upon millions of people in this world. Whatever he did or didn't do with little boys, as a musician he was the best we've seen in our lifetime, in that genre. And after seeing this movie, as a musician, I am truly humbled.)

So what should we do about a Texas Oil company that wants to drill for more oil in France? Or, about the Bureau of Land Management that wants to lease more gas fields in Wyoming? Or Chesapeake Energy that wants to come in to the Catskills, destroy our water so they can make profits on natural gas, which we don't even need because there's already too much natural gas in storage in this country?

Right now, people need to stand up and SHOUT, as loud as any Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly - SHOUT yourself heard. Talk about global warming every chance you can get - get evangelical about it - start learning how to reduce your carbon footprint TODAY, and DO IT. Teach it to your family, insist they make this a part of their daily routine. Take your money out of oil and gas investments, pour it into renewable energy. Drive less!!!!

Bottom line: Don't make it profitable for oil and gas companies to do any more drilling!! (Okay, that's ONE of the bottom lines...)

If you care about our world, the time for each of us to make a change is RIGHT NOW. Don't be lazy! It is a small sacrifice to make for your children, and your grandchildren etc, to alter your daily routines just a little bit!

This is NOT the world we grew up into. But it's a world that we must take care of.

- Use less energy
- Winterize your house
- Grow as much of your food as you can; eat locally grown food
- Plant trees
- Drive less
- Invest in renewable energy

And, perhaps most importantly, shine your love out onto the world as much as you possibly can!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On a More Positive Note....

Well, I have to say that I am really proud of the LOUD NOISE that people are making regarding the evils of Hydro Fracking!!! Wow, if I ever had a thought that Americans are not paying attention, I have had to readjust my views completely!

The outpouring of outrage at the potential poisoning of our waters has caused an ocean of uproar among a huge population, from New York City all the way north and west in this great state of New York. The education of our citizens, that our state Department of Environmental Conservation would pave the way for Chesapeake Energy (or any gas company) to come in here and destroy our LIVES has led to the following action:

1. Representative Maurice Hinchey of New York has persuaded Congress to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to study the safety of hydrofracking. (This is what the NYDEC said it COULD NOT do!) The EPA has indicated a willingness to do this, and says that it does have the resources to move forward with such critical research. Let's hope that we can get a moratorium on fracking while the research is in action!!

2. There are now at least 36 representatives who have signed on to sponsor the FRAC Act. This is perhaps the most important piece of legislation concerning hydrofracking, and it is my sincere wish that we can move this along in time to prevent any more Fracking from happening, anywhere in the US. If you haven't voiced your opinion yet, please tell your congresspeople to support the Frac Act!

3. Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy are now calling for the removal of Commissioner Pete Grannis and Division of Mineral Resources Director Bradley Field of the NYDEC. These two individuals have lied to us about the contents of fracking fluids and have attempted to fast-track HydroFracking operations with ZERO environmental review. They CANNOT be trusted with our human and environmental safety! Call Governor Patterson and demand for them to be FIRED!

So, what's next? The 2nd NYDEC hearing in NYC on Tuesday, November 10th at Stuyvesant HS Auditorium, 345 Chambers Street 10282. Doors open at 6pm so you can sign up to give comment, and doors open at 7pm for the session. Be prepared to stay late!!

The 3rd NYDEC hearing will be on Thursday November 12 at Chenango Valley HS Auditorium, 221 Chenango Bridge Road, Chenango Bridge NY 13901. Same times.

The final NYDEC hearing will be held on Wednesday November 18th at the Corning East HS Auditorium, 201 Cantigny Street, Corning NY. Same times.

We were almost completely civil at the first hearing, even though the representative from Chesapeake was lying through his teeth. There was only one person giving a comment who was vehemently pro-drilling and called the rest of us "environmental radicals". Yeah, OK; so I want to be able to drink my well water. That makes me a radical?

For now, I'm infinitely more positive that something good is going to come out of this mess. Perhaps there is a little more "transparency" than there was even a year ago. If we can win this battle, it will be forgotten soon, but it will last forever in the hearts of our children, and our children's children.

Another great online resource for information:
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy (http://www.catskillcitizens.org/)

Friday, October 30, 2009

The First Public Hearing on HydroFracking in NY State

I just returned from a very long public hearing on the New York State DEC Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Study, ("The Draft") regarding drilling for natural gas using the HydroFracking method in New York State.

This was the first public hearing, sponsored by the DEC, as a forum for residents of Sullivan county, NY and nearby counties to express their concerns about the impending drilling.

A vast majority of speakers asked for the DEC to extend it's period for public comment by another 120 days, and to add more public hearings.

It should be noted that as this drilling goes forward, it will be the single largest industrialisation of any region in New York State, ever. There will be over 10,000 wells dug, and the area will be forever changed as the "view-shed" is destroyed, streams, aquifers and the ecosystem are contaminated, and our air is polluted by neurotoxins and "mutagens".

The theater at Sullivan County Community College was packed to the gills with concerned citizens. The first who spoke were highway superintendents, commenting that their tiny highway budgets cannot even begin to deal with the kind of destruction the millions of truckloads will bring. In the Draft, there is no mention about road maintenance whatsoever.

There were a few citizens who spoke out in favor of drilling, but mostly said that they want to make sure that it's safe. Representatives of Chesapeake Energy, New York State Oil and Gas Exploration Initiative and other oil/gas interests commented on how extensive their experience is in drilling for natural gas in New York. However, they do not distinguish between the kind of drilling that is done in Chautauqua County, for instance, where the waste-water is nothing more than salt water, and Sullivan County, where the drilling is much deeper and they use a cocktail of over 200 deadly toxins, including benzene, cyanide and radioactive elements.

But overwhelmingly, citizens, public officials from Sullivan county and land steward organizations stepped forward in eloquent, intelligent discourse about how HydroFracking, in its current technology, is prone to accidents (as evidenced by every state in the country who has experienced it), and a single accident can cause horrific, irreversible damage to the water supply and ecosystem.

They spoke about how the Draft doesn't address the most important issue, called "Cumulative Impact". It means, in effect, they are not discussing the short or long-term environmental impact of HydroFracking, or the health and safety issues for the workers and the residents.

The Director of Sullivan County's Department of Public Health spoke. Hers is a state agency which has had to cut all non-mandated personnel. This agency is supposed to be responsible for inspecting all the wells, but there will be no personnel to do that. This agency is supposed to take care of the health of Sullivan county residents, but the problems associated with HydroFracking are too immense to deal with: ie, the chemicals used in the process include carcinogens, neurotoxins and "mutagens" which will cause a rash of diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Leukemia, Parkinsons, Brain Tumors, and Lupus. Our hospitals will not be able to handle these problems.

A representative from the Sullivan County Legislature spoke about the "unprecedented and profound effect" HydroFracking would have on our infrastructure, our aquifers and the cumulative impact on the health of county residents.

Others spoke about how there was no mention of cleanup measures in case of an accident in the Draft; there is no mention of what Chesapeake will do with the incredibly toxic wastewater.

One of the major points of the night was that under a 1992 ruling, the Oil and Gas Industry are EXEMPT from the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Air Acts, which means that in case of contamination, there is no culpability.

To this end, The Frack Act (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/06/frack_attack.html) was introduced into national legislation this summer, and if passed would force oil and gas companies to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. It would also force them to list what chemicals they are using in the process. It is believed that the rush for Chesapeake to begin its drilling in New York is to get in and drilling before the possibility of this bill passing.

There was mention about the noise factor - for the 21 days it takes to drill a well, anyone nearby will experience noise at 86 decibals, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. That is like standing next to a food blender. And that's just the drilling, not even mentioning the actual HydroFracking process. And, not mentioning the constant rumble of huge diesel trucks in and out.

In addition to flooding the earth with 202 incredible toxic chemicals, Fracking can cause explosions, release methane into water supplies (imagine your tap water coming out flaming), and can release radon, a highly toxic - and invisible - carcinogen into ground water supplies. If your water is contaminated, you will not be able to bathe in it, do laundry, feed your pets or water your lawn, much less drink it.

A professor from Cornell recently reported that 5% of the Fracking fluid is a "mutagen" that is USED TO INDUCE CANCER IN LABORATORY ANIMALS. It is also reported that 50% of the chemicals used in the process cause brain and nerve damage, as reversed engineered from Pennsylvania HydroFracking wastewater.

Many people spoke about how the natural gas will be used up in 20 or 30 years, at which point the fresh water will be ancient history.

It's obvious that Chesapeake is pushing for the drilling to move forward very fast, at a time when New York State is in a dire financial situation. But many people pointed out that the math does not work in favor of our state budget; if a water filtration plant is needed for New York City, NYC will NOT want to pay for it. So who will get saddled with that expense? Upstate. If New York State earns $1 billion a year from gas drilling for 10 years, and a water filtration system for NYC costs $20 billion, we'll be much worse off than we are even now.

Before tonight, I really thought that this was all about corporate greed. But after listening to the 60 speakers tonight, I began to get a different picture; I don't think it's about the gas. Instead, I'm beginning to see it as a planned destruction of one of the worlds largest reserves of fresh water. Our time to stop the madness is NOW; if we wait until our water is poisoned, it's TOO LATE.

One person nailed it when he said, "We expend so much energy protecting ourselves from an enemy attack, so why are we letting these people come in here to poison us?"

My opinion: The NYDEC is not doing their job of protecting the citizens or ecosystem of New York State; they have hidden motives. I call for a Complete Ban of HydroFracking in New York State, Nationally if possible.

You can find the Draft for reading at the DEC Central Office in Albany, DEC Regional Headquarters and Most public libraries in the Marcellus region. You can find it on the Internet here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/47554.html

All New York State citizens may send in a written comment, which will be held in the same regard as all spoken comments at any of the public hearings. The comment must be specific to the Draft Supplemental, and must be received by November 30th. You can use this online form:


Other Resources:


Friday, October 16, 2009

Marceulls Shale Drilling vs. Renewable Energy

Listening to a recording I made earlier this year with On'kaa Davis and his Original Djuke Players. Trying to get into the head of writing about trying to prevent a disaster from happening. Hoping that my words energize you to take some kind of action on this issue.

I live in the Catskill Mountains, near to the PA and NJ border, Delaware River, and just a coupla miles from the border of Catskill Park. We moved here just a year and a half ago so my young son can grow up enjoying the wood, stream, fresh air and water; so that we can create a sustainable plot of land for our family. But right now there is a threat to this part of the world, where the outcome is frightening.


The Marcellus Shale formation runs through several states - beginning in central New York and running through West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Because of our nation's addiction to petroleum products, the gas in this shale has a very high value right now, and there are companies very eager to start the process of hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as HydroFracing.

On September 30th of this year, the New York State DEC published it's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Study. In it, they essentially lay down the environmental guidelines for the companies that want to come in and get this gas.

HydroFracing has been in operation for several years now, out in the west and more recently in Pennsylvania. Actually Pennsylvania just stopped production, because, among other things these clowns destroyed a whole river with illegal dumping of these highly toxic, somewhat radioactive "chemicals" that are a byproduct of the process.

Summary from catskillmountainkeeper.org:
Dunkard Creek which meanders lazily back and forth across the border of Pennsylvania and West Virginia was one of the most ecologically diverse streams in both states, containing freshwater mussels, mudpuppy salamanders and a host of fish species from minnows to 3-foot-long muskies. Today 161 species of fish, mussels, salamanders, crayfish and aquatic insects have been wiped out along the creek. While the EPA has yet to pinpoint the cause, chemical analysis shows the creek water contains extremely high total dissolved solids or TDS and chlorides, properties found in wastewater from Marcellus Shale. The state agencies are now looking at the possibility that someone has illegally dumped drilling wastewater into the creek to avoid the expense of complying with laws governing its disposal.

The stories coming out of hydro-fracing sites in the West are also very disturbing; and it's looking like these "experts" don't care HOW they get the gas out, or who it affects.

Some of the immediate results of this process to any community include unbearable stress on the infrastructure (estimated 50 million diesel trucks hauling stuff in and out of the Catskills!), public health problems, aquifer and ground water & aquifer contamination, property values plummet, and possible earthquakes.

In conjunction with the gas drilling, NY State will be obligated to implement an entirely new water delivery system to the southern counties (including NYC), to the tune of $36 billion dollars!!

Whoa!! That's a lot of money!!!!

Which leads me very quickly to ask a question.

WHO IS IT that wants to destroy some of America's most beautiful landscapes, purest water and air, creating unimaginable consequences, when for HALF THE PRICE of the water delivery system, they could take this entire corridor and create a new green economy - start building and researching and manufacturing product for the renewable energy future. And by doing so, put millions back to work!!!!

FOR EXAMPLE: The Delaware River has a powerful wind corridor which could power all of Sullivan County if installed, for just $100 million. And, Orange County has a new facility that turns garbage into energy. There are tons of old warehouses that could be turned into manufacturing plants.

THERE ARE SO MANY POSSIBILITIES that make DRILLING FOR GAS an INSANE option!! IT IS NOT NECESSARY! As a matter of fact, this is the PERFECT OPPORTUNITY to turn away from gas and implement RENEWABLE ENERGY!

It seems to me that somebody is making a boatload of money off this deal, while those of us who live here are being left for dead. Because if these drilling companies get their way - and time is SHORT and they have only the public as an obstacle, it's possible that the entire Marcellus range - from NY to Ohio - will have no fresh water or fresh air!


I can't. That's why I'm doing something about it.

Please visit catskillmountainkeeper.org to read all about this issue, they are really on top of the news and updates.