The new location – VFW Barto Post 6553 at 65 Run St. in Slovan, Washington County.
Immediately following the open house which starts at 6:30 pm- the hearing will start. The anticipated start time is at 7:30 p.m., members of the public may present up to five minutes of formal testimony for the public record. The testimony will be recorded by a court reporter and transcribed into a written document, and DEP will create a written response to all relevant testimony.
Those who wish to present oral testimony should contact DEP Community Relations Coordinator John Poister at 412-442-4203 or register that evening prior to the hearing. Only those who register can give testimony at the public hearing.
For anyone unable to attend the public hearing, written comment should be submitted by the close of business on May 11 to Alan Binder, PA DEP Bureau of Air Quality, Southwest Regional Office, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
Website Provided for Educational Purpose.
Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
“Typically, nitrogen is delivered to the well site as a refrigerated liquid that is gasified prior to injection and then is injected into the well to enhance recovery. As the primary component of the air we breathe, the benefits of nitrogen include it being inert, environmentally friendly, non-flammable, and when gasified, exhibiting very low densities with large expansion factors. These properties make nitrogen the perfect choice for safely and efficiently tackling the toughest well needs.”
Ferus Website on Nitrogen
Superior Well Services- PDF of Process
Gas Frac Process
EPA Report on Types of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids
Books on Natural Gas Development
Information on FracWater Chemistry and Flowback Water
Website Provided for Educational Purpose.
Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tree Risk Assessment for Community Trees webinar, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 12-1 p.m. ET. Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound. To take part in the live seminar, visit https://meeting.psu.edu/pacommunityforestry. Login in by registering as a guest (type your name). To view previously recorded webinars, please visit: http://www.pacommunityforests.com/webinar/index.htm.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — There is broad public support among Pennsylvania residents for increased renewable-energy generation, according to a study recently conducted by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
The research found that Pennsylvanians rate hydropower, solar electricity and wind power highest among electricity generation technologies, followed by nuclear power and natural gas. The results indicate that the average Pennsylvania household is willing to pay an extra $55 per year to increase renewable-energy production by an amount equal to 1 percent of Pennsylvania electricity consumption.
The study, “Pennsylvanians’ Attitudes Toward Renewable Energy,” was conducted by Clare Hinrichs, associate professor of rural sociology, and Richard Ready, professor of agricultural and environmental economics, with assistance from doctoral students John Eshleman and James Yoo. The project was funded by a grant from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
“The dominant message that came across was that there is broad support for increasing the amount of renewable energy production in the state, and there is broad support for the state taking an active role in encouraging that,” Ready said. “The majority of Pennsylvanians support strengthening the state’s alternative-energy portfolio standard that mandates that a certain amount of electricity comes from renewable sources.”
Ready noted that researchers were surprised they did not find a single group of respondents who disagreed. Read more
Monday, July 30, 2012
New this year is the Renewable Energy Showcase, a series of presentations on energy resources and conservation practices, to be held on Tuesday, Aug. 14, in the Learning Center Tent at Main and East 9th streets (below the Pasto Museum).
“These will be short, informative presentations by industry experts and Penn State Extension energy specialists,” said Ed Johnstonbaugh, extension educator, who is coordinating the showcase. “The topics will focus on conservation, solar and wind energy, and biogas and biomass energy. We have a great lineup of educational and thought-provoking presentations.”
Topics will be presented all three days at the following times:
Noon — Conservation
–Travel Adventures on a Solar-Powered Canal Boat
–Energy Efficiency and Conservation to Lower Costs
–Southwest Pa. Renewable Energy Incubator Project Update
1 p.m. — Solar and Wind Energy
–Solar Energy 101, Financing Options, System Design, and Combination Benefits
–Why Wind? Developing the Partnerships
2:15 p.m. — Biogas and Biomass Energy
–Manure Cures: Benefits of Biogas
–Switchgrass Pellets for Fuel
–Warm Season Grasses as Bioenergy Crops and for Environmental Benefits
–Woody Crops as Biomass Energy Resources
Ag Progress Days visitors also will have the opportunity to talk with commercial exhibitors involved in alternative-energy opportunities and conservation in the Energy Conservation Area on West 9th Street.
In addition, energy crops and biofuels will be the subject of an exhibit in the new Joseph D. Harrington Crops, Soils, and Conservation Building at the end of East 5th Street. Information will be available about several varieties of plants that can be grown by farmers in the Northeast and converted into energy.
“Our team is working to develop bioenergy cropping systems that provide value-added co-products and soil-conservation benefits in addition to bioenergy,” said Dan Ciolkosz, extension associate who specializes in energy crops. “This work will be on display at Ag Progress Days.”
Show attendees also can collect fact-based and timely information on issues related to Marcellus Shale exploration, leasing and drilling from Penn State extension educators and commercial vendors at the Marcellus Center on West 10th Street.
“The development of the Marcellus Shale has impacted the agricultural community in many ways,” said Tom Murphy, extension educator and co-director of Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.
“Our focus this year at Ag Progress Days will be to present science-based information on topics ranging from the latest research on industry workforce development to remediation techniques after pipeline installation, and many other related subjects in between.”
Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 14; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 15; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 16. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at http://apd.psu.edu. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress.
The number of natural gas compressor stations planned for Northeastern Pennsylvania is multiplying as companies lay more pipelines to carry Marcellus Shale gas to customers.
The state has issued or is considering 29 air quality permits for separate stations in the northeast region, all of them in Susquehanna, Wyoming and Luzerne counties, according to a tally by the Department of Environmental Protection. Nearly two dozen of the permits are for stations planned within a 15-mile radius of the Susquehanna County seat in Montrose.
DEP has issued 383 of the permits statewide since October 2005, according to the agency’s tally. Not all of the permitted stations have been built and some may never materialize.
The permits cover facilities related to gas production, including compressor stations and dehydration units that strip liquid from the gas and speed it up for transport through interstate pipelines.
Each station emits a mix of pollutants – volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx), formaldehyde and greenhouse gasses – in varying amounts that are limited by the type of permit governing the site.
Residents concerned about the proliferating stations’ impact on air quality have brought basic questions to public hearings in the region that are sometimes held as the state considers issuing permits: How many compressor stations will be built here? What is the combined impact of all these new pollution sources? When, if ever, can the state say stop?
The state considers the cumulative effect of the compressors using an existing network of monitoring stations that measure the ambient air quality, mostly in urban areas, Mark Wejkszner, DEP’s regional air quality program manager, told an audience at a hearing this spring in Susquehanna County. The closest monitors are in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, about 30 miles away.
Pollution levels above federal air quality standards measured at those stations would determine if the state issues fewer or stricter permits, he said, but “right now, we’re in compliance with all of them with a lot of leeway.”
Environmental groups have criticized the state in lawsuits, letters to federal regulators and in public comments on proposed permits and regulations arguing that DEP is not doing all it can under the law to limit the amount of pollution the oil and gas facilities are allowed to emit.
They say that the state’s current air quality monitoring network is inadequate to measure the impacts of gas drilling and infrastructure in rural areas far from the established monitors clustered in population centers and point out that it is too late now – years into the development of the gas-rich shale – to measure what the air was like before the wells, pipelines and compressors were built.
“DEP does not have a comprehensive monitoring program to monitor contaminants in the air throughout the shale play regions of the state,” PennFuture president George Jugovic Jr. said. “We’re not monitoring for VOCs in these rural areas. We’re not monitoring for toxics. Having already begun this development, baseline is not really a question anymore. Now the question is can we get monitoring to ensure there are no local or regional impacts as we move forward.”
Jugovic was the director of DEP’s southwest regional office prior to joining PennFuture last year. He testified at a state House Democratic Policy Committee hearing in February that his former regional office alone has permitted over 13,000 tons per year of NOx emissions from compressor stations. If each station emitted the maximum allowed by its permit, it would add up to about 10 percent of the NOx emissions from all sources of air pollution statewide.
Nitrogen oxides, which are commonly released in car exhaust and cigarette smoke and by burning fossil fuels, can contribute to respiratory problems and lung damage on their own as well as when they are combined with sunlight and volatile organic compounds to form smog.
Environmental groups also say the state is not using a tool frequently enough that would limit emissions by considering connected wells, pipelines and compressors owned by the same company and built near one another as one pollution source governed by one, stricter permit – a process called aggregation.
None of the oil and gas air pollution sources permitted in Northeastern Pennsylvania have been aggregated, a DEP spokeswoman said, but all of them have been evaluated to see if the aggregation rules apply.
“It’s like a cumulative impact assessment,” Jugovic said. “If you look at each pollution source individually, it never looks like a significant impact on the air or the water. But whenever you look at it more holistically, you start seeing a bigger potential impact, which may lead you to regulate it differently.”
BY ROBERT SWIFT (HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF email@example.com)
Published: January 31, 2012
HARRISBURG – Operators of Marcellus wells, drilling rigs and compressor stations are being notified by state officials to provide air emissions data by March 1, highlighting an issue activists want more attention given in pending impact fee legislation.
A notice by the Department of Environmental Protection in the Pennsylvania Bulletin calls for operators to provide emission source reports covering 2011 for facilities involved in different phases of the Marcellus production process. The agency notified 99 firms about the requirement last month and the notice in the Jan. 28 bulletin is to cast a wider net.
The March 1 deadline is set because DEP has to provide a comprehensive inventory of air emissions to the federal Environmental Protection Agency by year’s end. This inventory is updated every three years. This will be the first time emissions data for Marcellus production and processing operations is included in the inventory, which covers everything from refineries and manufacturing plants, to dry cleaners and gas stations.
The inventory is important for maintaining air quality standards and determining ozone levels, said DEP officials. The agency plans to start long-term air monitoring studies at several sites and the emissions data will be part of that effort. DEP did not identify any emission levels that would constitute a public health concern when it did short-term air quality sampling in 2010 in the drilling regions of Bradford, Susquehanna, Tioga, Greene and Washington counties, said DEP Secretary Michael Krancer.
A Pittsburgh-based environmental group said Pennsylvania needs to do more to address the issue of Marcellus-related air emissions.
DEP should look at the combined impact of emissions from stages of Marcellus production rather than permitting each emission as a minor source of pollutants, said Lauren Burge, an attorney for Group Against Smog and Pollution.
“Many sources in this industry are located near each other, connected to each other and owned by the same company. However, because DEP considers them to be separate sources of pollutants, many of these facilities are able to avoid being permitted as major sources.
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: January 5, 2012
The amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment nationwide in 2010 increased 16 percent over the year before, reversing a downward trend in overall toxic releases since 2006, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The spike was driven largely by metal mining, but other sectors — including the chemical industry — also contributed to the rise in emissions, according to the new analysis from the annual federal Toxics Release Inventory.
Air releases of dioxin, which is linked to cancer as well as neurological and reproductive problems, rose 10 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the report. Other releases, such as landfill disposal, increased 18 percent.
Dioxins are formed as a byproduct of some processes with intense heat, such as smelting and recycling metals. The 2010 increase stemmed largely from the hazardous-waste-management and mining industries, according to the EPA.
In a statement Thursday, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson did not address the specific sources of emissions but said that the public reporting “has played a significant role in protecting people’s health and the environment by providing communities with valuable information on toxic chemical releases.”
According to EPA officials, a handful of metal mining operations helped drive the overall increase in toxic emissions.
“In this sector, even a small change in the chemical composition of the ore being mined — which EPA understands is one of the reasons for the increase in total reported releases — may lead to big changes in the amount of toxic chemicals reported nationally,” the statement read.
Some environmentalists said the new data show why the EPA should swiftly move to release a long-anticipated environmental assessment of dioxin, the first installment of which the agency plans to issue this month. EPA officials say they will issue a report addressing dioxin’s non-cancerous effects first and then later release a cancer-related report.
Some industry groups, including the American Chemistry Council, have urged the EPA to hold off issuing the report in what the trade association’s president and chief executive, Cal Dooley, has called “a piecemeal fashion.” Chemical manufacturers accounted for nearly 64 percent of total disposal of dioxins in 2010, though they reported a 7 percent decrease from 2009 to 2010.
In a letter dated Dec. 20, Dooley wrote Jackson that “it is worth noting that the Agency’s efforts to manage dioxin emissions have been successful. Indeed, as a result of both regulatory and voluntary initiatives, U.S. dioxin emissions from man-made sources have dramatically declined and environmental levels of dioxin have plummeted.”
ACC spokeswoman Anne Kolton noted in an e-mail: “U.S. emissions of dioxin have declined more than 92 percent since 1987 [through 2009] to the point where backyard trash burning is the primary source of dioxin emissions.”
Mike Schade — a campaign coordinator for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice — said the fact that emissions are now on the upswing makes it important for the EPA to release a report it started working on in 1985.
“Communities across America have been exposed to dioxin for decades as EPA has continued to work on this study. Every American has measurable levels of dioxin in their body,” Schade said in an interview, noting that most humans are exposed by eating meat or dairy products from animals that have accumulated the chemical in their bodies. “It’s critically important for EPA to finalize this study so the EPA can protect Americans from this toxic chemical.”
December 27, 2011
By Steve Mocarsky firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilkes-based group finds natural gas has smaller greenhouse footprint.
A research group based at Wilkes University recently revised its position on whether burning coal or natural gas has a worse impact on the environment and global warming.
Based on several new studies, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research of Northeastern Pennsylvania concluded that, contrary to findings in an April study by researchers at Cornell University, natural gas produced from Marcellus Shale wells has a lower greenhouse footprint than coal.
According to the institute essay, the use of natural gas and the other fossil fuels for energy releases greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Those gases are thought to increase global temperatures.
Studies conducted between 2000 and 2007 suggested that natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gases than coal, especially when used to generate electricity.
But a study by a team of researchers at Cornell University published in April found that extracting natural gas from shale released large quantities of methane – a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
The researchers concluded that when the full life-cycle of energy extraction, delivery and use is considered, shale gas produces up to twice the greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning coal or oil – especially when viewed over a 20-year time span.
However, seven analyses released in the summer and fall of 2011 came to a different conclusion than the Cornell study. All seven found that natural gas produces 20 percent to 60 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions, especially when used for electrical generation and when viewed over a 100-year time span.
The discrepancies between the Cornell and subsequent studies appear to result primarily from the different time frames used (20-year time frame versus 100-year).
Wilkes professor Kenneth Klemow, one of the authors of the institute essay, was hesitant to rank as more credible either the Cornell study or a study by Carnegie-Mellon University researchers that the energy industry said disputed the Cornell study when the Carnegie-Mellon study came out in August.
Klemow had said the Carnegie-Mellon study tipped the balance more in favor of natural gas, but only “by a little bit.” While the gas industry had claimed the CMU study slam-dunked the Cornell study, Klemow said he wasn’t so sure about that.
He was sure that more research was needed and researchers needed to take more field measurements rather than rely on data from previous studies.
Klemow said last week that because of several new articles and reports that have come out in the past three months, researchers at the institute found it necessary to issue an update on the original position.
“The main message is that seven independent studies now agree that shale gas has a lower greenhouse footprint than coal. That conclusion largely contradicts the findings by a team of researchers at Cornell who published a paper last April that argued shale gas has a higher footprint than coal due to inadvertent releases of methane at gas wells,” Klemow said.
In addition to incorporating the findings of the recent studies, the institute included some graphics to illustrate key trends that have been observed. And in addition to summarizing the research to date, they say they provide “our own synthesis – especially relating to future research needs.”
“Scientists are becoming increasingly convinced that burning fossil fuels releases gases that affect our climate,” Klemow said. “Therefore, studies comparing emissions of natural gas against coal are vital if we want to have informed discussions and make wise choices.”
“While recent analyses generally show natural gas has a lower footprint than coal, the science is far from settled. More studies of methane leakage near Marcellus wells and pipelines are critically needed to give us a more accurate picture,” he said.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state environmental regulators will follow new guidelines endorsed by a natural gas industry group for deciding how to group together facilities such as wells, dehydrators and compressors when enforcing air pollution standards.
The Department of Environmental Protection issued the new guidelines Wednesday and opened them up for public comment until Nov. 21.
The Citizens Voice of Wilkes-Barre reports (http://bit.ly/q4a4KE) that the industry group, Marcellus Shale Coalition, last year urged the state not to group air pollution sources that are not contiguous or adjacent, even if they’re connected by pipelines.
Instead, it recommended a quarter-mile rule that several other states follow and which the Pennsylvania DEP wants to follow.
The new guidelines take effect immediately, but are considered interim for now.