It is truly amazing that information based on ignorance and disregard of scientific method is given any credance at all. Who in the heck do you fault, the environmental zealot, the poorly educated journalists, the greedy news organization that for the sake of sales and advertizing give these things legs? This article is done by a writer who shows a clear understanding of  the flaws in this study and makes sure the flaws are mentioned. The big problem is that posting the story puts bad science in the hands of small thinking zealots with only one goal entrenched in their single topic minds. What is really scary is that New York politicians are buying into this crap.JLCpulse

By Jim Efstathiou Jr. Oct 18, 2012 2:10 PM ET in Bloomberg

People living near natural gas wells in Pennsylvania say drilling has triggered respiratory problems, fatigue, severe headaches and skin rashes, according to a study from Earthworks, a Washington-based environmental group.

The findings come from a survey released today of 108 residents in 14 Pennsylvania counties. Since 2009, more than 5,000 wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Marcellus Shale using hydraulic fracturing. This process requires sending millions of gallons of chemically treated water and sand underground to break shale rock and free trapped gas.

There should be ‘‘no more permitting for drilling until the health impacts can be fully understood.’’

“Many residents have developed health symptoms that they did not have before, which is a strong indication that they’re occurring because of gas development,” Nadia Steinzor, eastern program coordinator for Earthworks and lead author of the study, said on a conference call. There should be ‘‘no more permitting for drilling until the health impacts can be fully understood.’’ The group says that air samples reveal 19 volatile organic compounds, some of which can be linked to gas development.

Fracking has lowered U.S. energy prices, created jobs and enhanced national security, according to a task force formed by President Barack Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Critics say the benefits may not outweigh the environmental and health risks. Fracking has been linked to groundwater contamination in Pennsylvania, high ozone levels in Wyoming and now to health impacts for people living close to wells. Those living closer to gas wells reported higher rates of symptoms, according to the study. The survey was distributed to both Earthworks’ existing contacts in communities where drilling has occurred and other people who were referred to the group.

‘‘We are not saying this is definitive cause-and-effect proof,” Steinzor said. “What we’re saying is there are a lot of associations that are very strong and that need to be investigated further.”

The study results are questionable because of the participants chosen for the survey may have come in with a bias against drilling, according to Steve Forde, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group.

"By the ‘researchers’ own admission, their so-called methodology clearly demonstrates that this is not a work of objective scientific research, given that they relied completely upon ‘existing contacts’ and others who attended their anti-natural gas ‘public events’ for their survey," Forde said in an e-mail.

Efstathiou Jr. covers energy and climate change for Bloomberg News.

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 17 10/17/2012 By Nick Snow OGJ Washington Editor in Oil and Gas Journal

US House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Republicans raised concerns about the US Environmental Protection Agency’s selection process for a scientific advisory board reviewing the EPA’s study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water prior to its release later this year.

Chairman Ralph M. Hall (Tex.) was joined by Andy Harris (Md.), who chairs the committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee, and committee member Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.) in asking EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to make certain the new SAB’s members include nominees with hands-on or operational fracing experience.

A 2010 22-member panel reviewing the study’s draft excluded persons with industry experience, the three committee Republicans said in an Oct. 16 letter to Jackson. The earlier panel also suffered from meager state, local, and Indian tribal representation, they added.

“Given the importance of this study and the potential implications it could have for oil and gas production in the US, we urge EPA to ensure selection of a balanced panel with relevant technical expertise, and one that does not unnecessarily exclude nominees with relevant (and in fact essential) industry experience,” Hall, Harris, and Rohrabacher said.

By John Zick in Corning Leader Posted Oct 16, 2012 @ 11:19 AM
Chemung County hopes to hold its tax rate steady for the eighth consecutive year, but the county’s chief executive said maintaining an unchanged tax rate will likely be impossible in the coming years as unfunded state mandates cripple local governments.
County Executive Tom Santulli said Monday he believes Chemung’s property tax rate will remain at $6.98 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2013, but only because the county has cut expenses. Eventually, though, there will be nothing left to cut without seriously impacting government services, he said.
“I think we’re reaching the end of the road,” Santulli said.
In 2013 alone, the cost to counties for the top nine state-mandated programs will grow by $244 million statewide, according to the New York State Association of Counties. Because of the tax cap, counties can only generate $114 million in new property tax revenue next year, leaving a $130 million deficit statewide.
“We haven’t seen this type of fiscal shortfall in our lifetimes,” NYSAC President Edward Diana said. “ The deficit is forcing counties to make incredibly difficult decisions. Local leaders are draining their reserves and gutting local programs to balance their 2013 budgets. Very soon, there will be nothing left to cut. At the same time, our costs are pre-programmed by the state and will automatically rise.”
Diana said that without meaningful mandate relief, expenditures will continue to outpace revenues, and Santulli said the trend could lead to fiscal collapse in some counties.
“There are some counties that are going to fold -- 11 are in serious danger,” Santulli said. “You are going to see a lot of city governments -- cities more so than counties -- with control boards put in place.”
NYSAC has proposed 51 ways to reduce the cost of government at both the state and county levels, but Santulli said he doesn’t believe the state is serious about enacting true fiscal relief.
“I really do think the state’s in denial,” Santulli said. “It’s both parties. I see nothing of substance from anybody. Certainly not the Senate, and nothing ever comes out of the Assembly .. the goal in Albany is primarily to get re-elected.”
Santulli said the state’s inaction on unfunded mandates has contributed to the poor economic climate in New York.
“What business would want to do business with New York state?,” Santulli said. “They want to say we’re open for business, but not one’s coming ... This state’s an economic disaster.”
The state’s most expensive mandated programs are Medicaid, pensions, temporary assistance for needy families, child welfare, special education/pre-school, early intervention, indigent defense, probation and youth detention. The mandates cost more than the entirety of Chemung County’s property tax revenue. The county uses almost a quarter of its sales tax revenue to cover the difference.

By in US News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recently that the latest test results from groundwater in the Pavillion, Wyo. area are "generally consistent" with test results from late last year that showed possible contamination from hydraulic fracturing. The methods EPA used to conduct these tests have come under scrutiny, however, and the agency's recent issues with the "shoot first, ask questions later" approach should warrant additional caution about the conclusiveness of its findings in Wyoming.

According to a draft report released by EPA in December 2011, the agency's tests of two groundwater monitoring wells the agency installed in the Pavillion area in 2010 indicated "likely impact to ground water that can be explained by hydraulic fracturing." However, concerns about the testing methods and findings of the report, which EPA released hastily without peer review, were numerous. In one instance, the Wyoming State Director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sent a letter calling EPA's groundwater sampling "not statistically valid" and said the findings were premature. Additionally, state regulators in Wyoming expressed reservations about EPA's testing procedures, and requested an independent review from the U.S. Geological Survey. As such, EPA has delayed making a final determination about Pavillion pending a more thorough review of the data, and retesting by the Geological Survey.

[See a collection of political cartoons on energy policy.]

Although EPA has yet to make all of its latest retest data available, issues with the reliability of its procedures have already surfaced. According to the U.S. Geological Survey's report on Pavillion—which EPA claimed supports its own findings—the Geological Survey refused to take samples from one of the two monitoring wells (MW-02) because the water flow rate was inadequate for sampling. Moreover, the Geological Survey failed to detect several compounds in its samples that EPA's report documented, and a down-hole camera used by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality showed several problems with the construction of one of the monitoring wells. These are just a few of the inconsistencies and methodological errors that call into question the reliability of EPA's data, and they will need to be accounted for if EPA eventually follows through on its commitment to have the report peer reviewed.

While the EPA's plans for Pavillion remain in limbo, it is abundantly clear that something needs to be done about the agency's unfortunate tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. Pavillion is the third instance where EPA has attempted to prove that hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater, only to have their science questioned or their claims refuted entirely by tests. In Parker County, Texas, EPA dropped its 15-month long groundwater contamination case against a natural gas operator over elevated levels of methane in the water; EPA was unable to prove that the presence of methane was due to drilling in the area. As one of the Texas state regulators said at the time, "By dropping their court case and enforcement actions, EPA now acknowledges what we at the Railroad Commission have known for more than a year: Range Resources' Parker County gas wells did not contaminate groundwater."

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Is Fracking a Good Idea?]

In another instance, EPA was concerned that hydraulic fracturing may have contaminated drinking water in Dimock, Pa. But after a repeat round of tests, EPA said that the water was safe.

In bypassing state regulators and making public announcements about what they think may be true—but often isn't—EPA is giving fodder to people who want to stop hydraulic fracturing and the natural gas it produces at all costs. The anti-hydraulic fracturing HBO documentary Gasland featured both Dimock and Parker County, as well as an interview with the former EPA Region 6 administrator who resigned in disgrace, Al Armendariz. And as the saying goes, even if EPA retracts its claims, it can't un-ring a bell—environmental groups like the one formed by actor Mark Ruffalo still maintain the water in these places is contaminated.

Going forward, it is critical that EPA be held to a higher standard for scientific rigor and transparency—the stakes are too high. The energy renaissance made possible by hydraulic fracturing has made the United States the world's largest producer of natural gas and helped increase U.S. oil production. This has meant lower natural gas prices, more job opportunities, and more economic growth. Moreover, with the advent of newly accessible shale gas supplies, we now have enough natural gas to last for at least a century at today's rates of consumption. The importance of safe hydraulic fracturing to America's energy future cannot be understated, and we cannot allow it to be jeopardized by sloppy, unsound science.

Debbie Swarts in

BINGHAMTON — Don’t believe the popular notion that out-of-towners are getting a majority of the gas drilling jobs in Pennsylvania, a natural gas drilling representative told a Binghamton business group on Tuesday.

Seven out of 10 hires for the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania are residents, not those coming from other states, said John Augustine of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. In addition, Augustine said, Marcellus Shale drilling has created 239,000 jobs based on Pennsylvania Department’s statistics.

Greater Binghamton business leaders and others spent Tuesday morning hearing about the benefits of natural gas drilling.

Presented by the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, the morning presentation brought several speakers, including those from the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Chesapeake Energy, BK Energy Services and the National Federation of Independent Business.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Augustine said.

The short- and long-term benefits of natural gas drilling include jobs, landowner lease and royalty payments and the increased business among local suppliers and subcontractors.

Dow Chemical, Bayer Corp, Westlake Chemical among other companies are bringing manufacturing facilities back to the United States because of the availability of inexpensive natural gas, Augustine said. Other markets for the commodity include the expansion of vehicles powered by natural gas, he said. Of the 12 million natural gas powered vehicles in the world only 125,000 are in the U.S., Augustine said.

“This is one of the opportunities we have,” he said.

The boom to bust cycle of natural gas drilling portrayed by critics is a falsehood, said Mark Lane of URS Corp.

“This is a huge source of energy,” he said. “It is an energy revolution.”

Support for drilling is widespread in the business community, said representatives of The National Federation of Independent Business. Based on surveys, 73 percent of the organization’s more than 10,000 clients in New York support drilling, said Executive Director Mike Durant. Gas drilling represents a significant way to jump start the economy upstate, he said, and will help various levels of government that have been straining under increased costs.

Nonetheless, gas drilling faces stiff headwinds in New York under a well-organized environmental lobby, Durant said. He urged those that support drilling to get more involved in the debate.

“Push loudly because that’s what the others are doing,” he said. “This is an opportunity to reverse that trend.”

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