“Gold Mine of Natural Gas” is in Dimock, PA
Hearing board judge lets Dimock water appeal continueBy Laura Legere (Staff Writer) Published: February 13, 2013
A state Environmental Hearing Board judge has denied a natural gas drilling company’s motion to throw out a recently reinstated appeal by two Dimock Twp. families who object to the state’s remedy for their methane-tainted water supplies.
Judge Bernard A. Labuskes Jr. rejected Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.’s argument that the families had forfeited their right to appeal by accepting payments that the company had put into escrow accounts for them. The money had been set aside as part of a Department of Environmental Protection order that required the company to restore or replace 18 damaged water supplies.
The families have argued that the remedy outlined in the order – payments tied to the value of their homes and a now-expired offer to install treatment systems – is not sufficient to permanently replace their water wells and would not remove contaminants other than methane. Cabot denies that its operations affected the water supplies.
The two families, the Elys and Huberts, are the last of 12 that initially appealed the state’s order with Cabot. The others withdrew their hearing board appeals after they settled a separate lawsuit they brought against the company in federal court.
The Ely and Hubert appeals were briefly withdrawn by their former attorneys without their consent in an “unauthorized, inaccurate, ineffective, and void” action Judge Labuskes said was made by “attorneys who no longer had [the families'] interests at heart.”
In his ruling on Friday, Judge Labuskes upheld the reinstatement of the two families’ appeals and found that their receipt of the escrow payments did not preclude them from continuing their case.
“So long as a party is aggrieved by a Departmental action, it may pursue an appeal, even if its receipt of some benefits make it less aggrieved than it otherwise might have been,” he wrote.
He also pointed out that Cabot had committed “very clearly” to the board in the past that it would not take the position that the families waived their rights or any claims against the company, including their right to continue with the appeal, if they accepted the escrow funds.
“Somewhat remarkably,” he wrote, Cabot “has now taken that very position.”
In a separate motion filed last week, Cabot offered to install effective treatment systems at the homes if the board agreed to stay or dismiss the appeal and the families agreed to certain conditions, including not having access to the systems without a Cabot representative present and signing a confidentiality agreement that bars them from photographing the system, discussing it with the press or disclosing water sampling results until after the testing phase of the installation is over.
The families’ attorneys have until Tuesday to file their response to Cabot’s motion.
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DEP opens investigation of methane in Dimock water wellBy Laura Legere (Staff Writer) Published: February 13, 2013
State environmental regulators are investigating high levels of methane in a Dimock Twp. water well in an area of the community still off-limits to some natural gas drilling operations because of a past methane incident.
The Department of Environmental Protection began the investigation last week after it received a complaint of turbid water in a private well and later found “high levels” of methane dissolved in the water and airborne gas accumulating in the well, spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said.
Tests at four other water wells did not show elevated levels of the gas, she said, but the state plans to continue monitoring.
The home is near the Costello and Gesford well sites operated by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. that the state is evaluating as part of its investigation, she said. It is also in a 9-square-mile area where the DEP has barred Cabot from drilling new wells until methane the state first linked to the company’s operations in 2009 subsides in 18 water supplies.
The water well now being investigated was not part of the earlier incident, Ms. Connolly said.
Cabot spokesman George Stark said crews discovered that a line that vents shallow methane from the Costello well was frozen during a recent period of cold weather. Since the plug was cleared, levels of gas in the water well have decreased.
“It appears to be a small and localized event,” he said and added that Cabot will now monitor all its vent lines during extreme weather events.
The company is providing the home with bottled water.
The Gesford wells being evaluated were hydraulically fractured, or fracked, in November after the state lifted some of its restrictions on Cabot’s operations in the area. The process of injecting chemically treated water and sand into rock formations at high pressure releases the gas trapped in the shale.
Fracking has not been implicated in gas migration incidents in the region. Instead, past problems have been tied to faulty construction of gas wells.
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Press Release Source: Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC.
Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC received Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission certificate to natural gas to the public in Susquehanna CountyThursday September 27, 6:30 pm ET HARRISBURG, PA—Sep. 27, 2012 –
At its public meeting today the Pa. PUC approved Leatherstocking’s application 5-0. Chairman Powelson and Commissioner Gardner both had positive written statements they summarized stating they were “very pleased to support the application,” emphasizing that local gas for local customers is a great idea, and that it is a “win” for businesses and residents in the application territory. Chairman Powelson stated that he “applauds Leatherstocking’s management” (mentioned Corning and Mirabito as well known and well run companies) for investing in PA.
Under Docket No. A- 2011- 2275595 LGC can provide service to the Townships of Bridgewater, Forest Lake, Great Bend, Harmony, New Milford and Oakland and the Boroughs of Great Bend, Hallstead, Lanesboro, Montrose, New Milford, Oakland and Susquehanna Depot. The new service territory is approximately 210 square miles.
LGC will begin constructing natural gas distribution networks in the summer of 2013. Initial construction will be from existing gathering lines in the region to larger volume anchor customers such as hospitals, schools, commercial areas and municipal buildings. The Company will connect residential customers along the initial route. Customer demand in the form of received applications and transportation agreements will provide future development. Company official believe providing one of the area’s most abundant natural resources to the people living above it makes good business and environmental sense. The company will be able to provide a lower cost cleaner burning energy source to the people of the region. This will create the greatest benefit for the most people.
Company officials are pleased with the news and excited about the prospect of serving customers in 2013. LGC would like to thank local and state legislators and business officials with the help they have provided throughout the filing process. Leatherstocking CEO Mike German stated “the level of support provided by the community has been outstanding. We feel obligated on a personal level to provide gas service as quickly and economically as possible”.
LGC currently has gas supply agreements in place with Cabot Oil & Gas and Williams. The company will continue to expand its supply portfolio in the region with other producers and energy marketers. The LGC system will be an open access system that provides customers to opportunity to purchase gas supplies from the most economical provider.
Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC is a joint venture between Corning Natural Gas Corporation (“CNGC”) and Mirabito Holdings Inc. (“MHI”). The Joint Venture was formed in November of 2010 with the purpose of providing natural gas distribution service to currently un-served or underserved regions of central New York State and the northern tier of Pennsylvania. The company currently has 6 municipal franchises in central New York along the I-88 corridor. Currently corporate headquarters are 49 Court St. Binghamton, NY 13902. The company will open operational centers through the service territory as the distribution network develops.
Has the Dust Settled on Carter Road?
Monday, May 14, 2012
EPA: Well water in Pa. gas drilling town is safe
EPA says well water in northeastern Pa. gas drilling town is safe; residents dispute assertion
Friday, May 11, 2012
Story found here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/epa-well-water-pa-gas-165639678.html;_ylc=X3oDMTNucGF1MTQ5BF9TAzExODMzMDAxMDEEYWN0A21haWxfY2IEY3QDYQRpbnRsA3VzBGxhbmcDZW4tVVMEcGtnAzQ1NDM0ODY0LTZlZGEtMzc2MC1iYjY1LTQ4YmMyNTllZjVlYwRzZWMDbWl0X3NoYXJlBHNsawNtYWlsBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3
EPA: Water Quality OK at 20 wells in PA Gas Town
POSTED: Friday, Apr. 06, 2012 The Associated Press
DIMOCK, PA – Testing at 20 more water wells in a northeastern Pennsylvania community at the center of a debate over the safety of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale shows no dangerous levels of contamination, according to a report issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA had already tested 11 wells in Dimock, showing the presence of sodium, methane, chromium or bacteria in six of the wells before the results of the latest round of testing.
Three of the newly-tested wells showed methane while one showed barium well above the EPA’s maximum level, but a treatment system installed in the well is removing the substance, an EPA spokesman said.
Featured in the documentary “Gasland,” the Susquehanna County village of Dimock has been at the center of a fierce debate over drilling, in particular the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals deep underground to free trapped natural gas so it can be brought to the surface.
State environmental regulators previously determined that Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. contaminated the aquifer underneath homes along Carter Road in Dimock with explosive levels of methane gas, although they later determined the company had met its obligation to provide safe drinking water to residents.
The EPA is still providing drinking water to three homes where prior tests showed contamination. A second round of tests is under way, regulators said.
A group of Dimock residents suing Cabot assert their water is also polluted with drilling chemicals, while others say that the water is clean and the plaintiffs are exaggerating problems with their wells to help their lawsuit.
A Cabot spokesman said in a statement Friday that the “data confirms the earlier EPA finding that levels of contaminants found do not possess a threat to human health and the environment.”
“Importantly, the EPA again did not indicate that those contaminants that were detected bore any relationship to oil and gas development in the Dimock area, particularly given the fact that any contaminants are more likely indicative of naturally-occurring background levels or other unrelated activities,” the statement said.
EPA Says No Evidence Fracking Polluted Water In Rural Pa.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Pro-drillers in NYC watershed demand $81 B for lost rights. Resolution sets stage for next big battle over fracking ban.
Friday, March 2, 2012
EPA Testing in Dimock, PA, Feeds Drilling Debate
Fill Your Car for $1 a Gallon
New York Post Covers Frack Nation
The New York Post recently allowed Phelim McAleer to tell his story. For those who don’t know, Phelim is the documentarian behind “Frack Nation.” Frack Nation is a film coming out soon to debunk Josh Fox and his crappy lie of a movie, Gasland. You may have heard of Phelim before. He famously taped Josh Fox admitting too leaving out keys facts about the flaming faucet. When Phelim called Josh out on this, Fox responded with something along the lines of; I didn’t think it was relevant. Such a strange concept, right?
Below is the article Phelim wrote for the New York Post.
EPA Says Fracking is Safe
Posted Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Story found here:http://www.wealthwire.com/news/energy/2773
3M & Chesapeake Energy Partner on New Cost-Saving CNG Tanks
Posted on Feb 22, 2012