Get Your Shale Gas Facts Right, Please!

Last week Tom and I made a trip to Spencer, New York about 15 miles south of “Planet Ithaca” for an educational program on shale gas development. The program was put on by some individuals associated with the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition, together with residents of the Town of Newfield. The session was designed to equip area residents  of with the “other side” of the debate happening in surrounding communities. It was quite an evening of education, as local experts explained their perspectives on some of the supposed big issues connected with natural gas. The theme of the evening could have been “Get Your Shale Gas Facts Right, Please!” as a number of myths regarding the industry were exploded.

Tom Reynolds, former banker and retired businessman, served as emcee for the meeting, which was attended by roughly 60 people. Noting he had assigned himself all the “fun” duties for the event, Reynolds started off by observing the tactics of anti-natural gas advocates, which he described as uncompromising and intended to confuse. Here’s some of what he had to say:

Other “fun” duties for Reynolds included a debunking of the facts surrounding the “documentary” Gasland, produced by that same avant-garde filmmaker from New York City who recently threw together The Sky Is Pink. Reynolds didn’t want to waste too much time talking about it, but he wanted to make sure the people in his community understood the degree of propaganda within Gasland.

Next up was blogger Tracy Marissa who spoke to the issues of chemical contamination of groundwater from hydraulic fracturing (there being none of course) and the amount of water used (miniscule). She quickly and effectively dispensed with both charges:

Another speaker at the meeting was local attorney, Henry Kramer. Kramer spoke about the various laws surrounding natural gas development. He helped the public understand exactly what a moratorium and ban were and addressed some of the ongoing lawsuits. Kramer helped to explain the rights landowners have and how bans and moratoriums have begun to strip away these rights. His presentation demonstrated how important coming to meetings like this one are to members of the community who need to “arm” themselves with knowledge rebut anti-natural gas propaganda.

Our own Tom Shepstone also had the opportunity to address the Newfield community. He spoke about how members of the anti-natural gas crowd constantly do “scientific studies,” which tend to amount to nothing more then pseudo-scientific propaganda.

He noted how many of these studies are agenda driven and that many were authored by NIMBY types who “Parade around and masquerade as scientists.”

He also suggested the anti-natural gas movement has begun to lose the battle over “contaminated water” as the truth has come out about places such as Dimock, so these activists have switched gears to now claim natural gas development will have an overall negative effect on the health communities where it will occur.  Tom related several statistics from the Barnett Shale region to demonstrate how health had significantly improved even as shale gas wells had increased by over 2,200 percent.

Tom also explained how natural gas development also leads to improved health and water quality.

Its not a great revelation, its common sense; the statistics are there and the data is revealing. The statistics show that when you have a better economy like the Marcellus Shale has brought to Pennsylvania and will bring to New York, you have better overall health – not only better health, but also better water quality.

Before a company proceeds with any natural gas development on the properties it has leased, it does extensive baseline water testing on those properties and as far as 4,500 feet away to identify existing conditions.  This process typically uncovers problems and brings them to the attention of the landowner to address if they so choose. These are problems that, of course, existed pre-development in the area and correcting them inevitably raises water quality.

This meeting was a great opportunity for residents of greater Ithaca area who do not share the views of their Planet Ithaca anti-natural gas neighbors (most of whom use natural gas) help their more sensible neighbors gain the real facts and equip themselves to debate the propagandists. It is our hope that more people will stand up  to speak their mind regarding this issue.

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  1. Sadie Marksworth says:

    Does this website reek of frac fluid or what? I wonder if the author would drink water from a treatment plant that had processed the millions upon millions of gallons of pure water turned to carcinogenic waste? If you really believe the scientist are frauds move two hundred feet away from a drill site and drink the well water for awhile…that should clear up this propaganda. Unite for your pure water and air!

    • Tom Shepstone says:
    • Nina says:

      Over 90% of produced water is reused on other wells. None of it goes into the water cycle without treatment. In PA the requirement is treatment to drinking water standards so there is no problem and this is technologically no problem at all.

      As for wineries, just travel to Chatauqua County, NY. Thousands of wells have been drilled over there at close surface spacing with neither impact to the tourism nor the groundwater. Horizontal wells are even less intrusive as the well pads are a minimum of a mile apart and often over two miles apart.

      Live and Learn if you dare Sadie.

  2. Sadie Marksworth says:

    interestingly enough, I see that Joe Massaro is a writer for Winery Patron. The local Wineries and Beer Industries are threatened by the effect that high industry hydraulic fracturing would have on the land, water and air quality in the region. Many initial inspections have failed regarding the gas companies ability to prevent leaking wells and containment vats of their carcinogenic waste pools. In fact almost all inspections conducted revealed serious problems with containment and safe disposal of hazardous chemicals and water quality. If Joe Massaro is an honorable journalist he might consider the impact heavy industry will have on Wine and Beer Brewery’s in NY. if this comment is not published, which it will most likely not be because this is a pro gas ad, I hope the author considers his representation.

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      Joe did work for Winery Patron prior to working with EID but no longer does, having left there to join us.

      As for your multiple assertions, you are illustrating our point – that most of the propaganda coming from the other side is little more than unfounded speculation.

      • Dave Perotto says:

        Totally unfounded, claim anything you want. You state that you are for pure water & air, but there can be both drilling and clean environment. In fact, the US is lowering its carbon footprint with the expansion on NG. Yet you still bash this industry. The facts dont matter do they? And Sadie, if you are from NY, do you realize there will be no such thing as a frac waste pool in NY. Closed loop systems only, but why consider that reality? That fact and others would discredit your belief system. Keep parotting the Park Foundation to your own detriment.

    • Joe Massaro says:

      Sadie, I am glad you took the time to see where I have worked previously. Hopefully you took the time to read some of my past work and enjoyed. That being said I will leave you with this picture from the Vote4Energy Rally in NY this past weekend.

      You said “If Joe Massaro is an honorable journalist he might consider the impact heavy industry will have on Wine and Beer Brewery’s in NY”

      I will tell you that I have considered the impacts and it seems like this women from Black Bear Winery also has. Note this Winery is located 15 Minutes from Binghamton in a county looking to develop Natural Gas.

  3. Victor Furman says:

    If BS were a source of electricity then the NIMBY’s would have solved the energy demands

  4. susan dorsey says:

    outside of the 10 square miles,
    on the eastern edge
    today (Sunday 7/15)
    will be a gathering today of some of those in favor of developing our clean, abundant, local natural gas
    including a wine tasting tent set up by a local winery
    if you are in the area, do drop in as you drive by on Rt. 79

  5. The United States experienced stale job creation for the third consecutive month in a row. Roughly 80,000 jobs were created in June and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2 percent. Meanwhile, the oil and natural gas boom in North Dakota, Ohio and Texas are fostering job growth, favorable wages and local economic stimulation.

    Oil and natural gas production in the United States currently supports roughly 9.2 million jobs and contributed $476 billion to the economy in 2010. Moreover, the industry has created over half a million new jobs in the past decade.

    The shale boom is causing an unprecedented level of expansion in the United States, and is providing economic benefits to state and local communities. Various regions now have producing assets in the nation’s largest shale reservoirs. Domestic oil production has grown by 10 percent since 2008, and the import share of U.S. oil has lowered to 45 percent from 65 percent in 2005. Furthermore, an article in USA Today reported that the economic growth of the industry is approaching $1 billion a day, and is preventing the U.S. from another possible recession.

    Because this trend is expected to continue, a study by Wood MacKenzie claims that oil and natural gas production could create an additional one million new jobs by 2018.
    TAP Management and other domestic energy suppliers are anticipating a more favorable, long-term energy solution that will provide Americans with more affordable energy and create thousands of jobs. A realistic approach to our growing energy demands, combined with a shared vision from our political officials, will make the United States one step closer to achieving energy independence.

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