Saturday, March 27, 2010

Photo of the Day

A foggy spring morning in Emporium

Thursday, March 25, 2010

EPA Launches Study of Hydraulic Gas Drilling

U.S. environmental regulators said last week that they would begin a new study of hydraulic gas drilling, or fracking. The focus of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigation will be the environmental and human health impact of shale gas drilling.
Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water, sand and a cocktail of chemicals at high pressure into rock formations thousands of feet below the surface. This opens existing fractures in the rock and allows gas to rise through the wells. The practice makes drilling possible in areas that 10 to 20 years ago would not have been profitable.
Hydraulic fracturing is currently used in 90 percent of the nation’s natural gas and oil wells. Recently fracking has been used to tap natural gas stored in shale formations, including the Marcellus Shale that lies beneath New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
Energy companies tout fracking as a way of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and polluting coal. But many are beginning to wonder about the impact the practice could have on the environment and public health. The major concern with hydraulic gas drilling is the chemicals used in the process, and the wastewater it produces. According to a recently released report from the Environmental Working Group, distillates from hydraulic drilling include kerosene, mineral spirits and a number of other petroleum products that often contain high levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen that is toxic in water at even minuscule levels. In 2005, Congress in exempted hydraulic fracturing, except fracturing with diesel fuel, from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The EPA has allocated $1.9 million for its study, which the agency said is in the very early stages. It will look at the effect on groundwater, surface water, human health and the environment in general. The study should be completed in 2012.
“Our research will be designed to answer questions about the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on human health and the environment,” Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development said in a statement. “The study will be conducted through a transparent, peer-reviewed process, with significant stakeholder input.”

PA Forests 'Significantly Threatened' by Gas Drilling

By Iris Marie Bloom 24.MAR.10
Vote on Rep. Vitali’s 5-year Moratorium Expected this Week
The Pennsylvania legislature may vote this week to allow Governor Rendell to force the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to lease yet another huge chunk of Pennsylvania state forests. At a Temple University teach-in attended by over 200 people last Thursday, DCNR Secretary John Quigley stated that Pennsylvania’s forests are "significantly threatened by this uncontrolled gold rush to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale."
The forest land already leased is one third of all Pennsylvania’s state forest land. All the state forest land left is sensitive and deserves special protection, according to the Pennsylvania Forest Coalition, PennFuture, Trout Unlimited, and other members of a wide-ranging coalition springing up to defend Pennsylvania’s forests and rivers.
Pennsylvania Representative Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) has introduced a resolution, HB 2235, which would require a five-year moratorium on any further leasing of forest lands. Supporters have become more vocal and active this week, expecting the vote any day. In a March 22nd editorial, "Stop, Look, Assess Drilling’s Full Effects," the Pocono Record advocated for HB 2235: "Pennsylvania should not risk the integrity of the beautiful forests that gave the state its name… Pennsylvania has already leased…a whopping 700,000 acres. Let’s see how that goes before opening the remainder of this valuable public land to energy companies." Over 145 people attended a Poconos forum on Marcellus Shale drilling last month, sponsored by the League of Women Voters out of growing concern about forest fragmentation, water quality and other impacts.
Vitali’s bill would also authorize DCNR, rather than the governor, to decide whether to authorize further drilling after the five-year moratorium.
Legislators not particularly known for environmental advocacy may favor the moratorium for economic reasons: tourism is Pennsylvania’s second most lucrative industry, and that’s not all about people standing in line to see the Liberty Bell. According to the Appalachian Mountain Club, Pennsylvania has more maintained hiking trails than any other state.
The Pocono Record commented, "Responsible legislators also must weigh [shale gas drilling’s] substantial risks, which include chemical spills, water pollution, the incursion of new roads in pristine remote land and heavier traffic in rural areas. Our legislators have a sworn duty to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources." The Record concluded, "Don’t let our historic forests become a cash cow for drillers."
In related news, environmentalists found a temporary solution to protect West Virginia forests also vulnerable to shale gas drilling. Conservation groups succeeded last Friday in stopping the federal Bureau of Land Management from auctioning publicly owned oil and gas reserves under the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The Center for Biological Diversity, Wilderness Society and Friends of Blackwater were among the groups warning that oil and gas development would threaten endangered bats, a native brook trout fishery, clean water and scenic resources inside the forest.
In Philadelphia, packed auditoriums marked two watershed events last week: the Schuylkill Watershed Congress, sponsored by Delaware Riverkeeper Network on March 13th, and the March 18th teach-in on the environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania, sponsored by Temple University. The Temple teach-in included highly technical and scientific information as well as lively debate and confrontations between environmentalists, regulators, and industry lobbyists. "The timing was good… listening to the speakers, I renewed my commitment to work hard to keep shale gas drillers out of our watershed," commented Francine Cohen, a graduate student at Temple.
The Delaware River Basin Commission public comment period remains open until April 12th regarding the first shale gas drilling permit, and the first water withdrawal permit, in the Delaware River watershed. Both permits could be decided as early as May 5th.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Welcome to Emporium!

Attached is a photo of the new and awesome Emporium sign from the Pennsylvania Wilds Design Assistance Program. Congratulations to the Sylvan Heritage Council for securing this grant! Another grant was secured by Copy Katz…that sign is coming from another source and should be installed soon.

A total of 29 signs were awarded in the Pennsylvania Wilds12 county region.

The Lumber Heritage Region serves as Project Manager for this current program. Congratulations again!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photo of the Day

Red squirrels are the theme of the day :) Be sure to check out Nelson Haas' red squirrel, and other works, HERE

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas

click the image to enlarge

Cameron County to mark 150th anniversary

Beginning Monday and lasting through December, the schedule is packed with activities as Cameron County celebrates its 150th anniversary, or Sesquicentennial.On Monday, the kick-off event will be held at 7 p.m. as 46 banners showcasing individuals who helped make the county the way it is today will be unveiled, according to Cameron County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tina Johns Lorson. The photos, collected by the Sylvan Heritage Council, are also part of a booklet which will be for sale at the end of March. The booklet will allow those interested to take a tour of the areas where the banners hang and also learn the story behind the individual on each banner. Johns Lorson said the Cameron County High School band will also be present on Monday at the corner of Broad and Fourth streets in Emporium to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” Free cake and coffee will be available at the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce office to celebrate the Sesquicentennial. More...

Monday, March 22, 2010

2010 CC Canoe and Kayak Classic

Click image to enlarge:


Three Junior Olympic wrestlers will advance to the PJW Championship Tournament in ,Wilkes Barre, this weekend.

Zack Becker (90lbs, 9-10yr div.), and Brandon Saline(80lbs, 11-12 div) each took 1st place at the Area V tournament in Clarion, earning themselves a chance to compete at States. Paul Etchepare (77lbs, 13-14 div) took 2nd place at Areas and will also compete at States.

Good luck Junior Wrestlers!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photo of the Day

A mountain spring in the Hicks Run area

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photo of the Day

Its almost spring and I feel the need for a trip to Heinz Field to watch the Pirates

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rep. Causer's Resolution Honors Cameron County's 150th Anniversary

HARRISBURG - The state House of Representatives has approved a resolution sponsored by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) recognizing Cameron County's 150th anniversary."Cameron County has many 'claims to fame' in its 150-year history, but what really makes it a great place to live are the kind, hard-working people that call the county home," Causer said. "As we mark this 150th anniversary, we should not only celebrate the past but also the present and the future."Among those claims to fame is the use of flagstone from the county to build the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Dynamite made in the county was used in the building of the Panama Canal. Cameron County is also home to Tom Mix, the King of the Cowboys in Hollywood's silent movie era. Additionally, Sylvania Electric Corporation has its roots in Emporium.The county was created after people migrated from Williamsport to timber the county's forest land. True to its roots, timber products remain an important industry along with powdered metal manufacturing.Cameron County was formed on March 26, 1860, by vote of the General Assembly. The county was made up of portions of Clinton, Elk, McKean and Potter counties. It is named for Simon Cameron, a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania at the time. Cameron later served as Secretary of War to President Abraham Lincoln.House Resolution 644 passed the House unanimously.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wolves May Have Killed Alaska Teacher

From the Anchorage Daily News:
Authorities were in an Alaska Peninsula village Tuesday investigating whether a 32-year-old schoolteacher, found dead off a road leading out of town, was killed in a wolf attack, according to state and local officials.
The body of Candice Berner of Slippery Rock, Pa., was discovered Monday evening off a roughly 7-mile gravel road leading to the Chignik Lake airstrip… [after what one state trooper described as an] "animal attack, possibly a wolf attack."
"I don't think there's any decision yet as to whether it was predated before or after death," [said Bruce Woods, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]. "In other words, the (woman) might have died of something else and wolves might have found the body…."
"There's only been one other case of a fatal wolf attack by a healthy, wild wolf in North America, and that happened in 2005 in northern Saskatchewan," [wolf expert Mark] McNay said. "It is extremely rare….
"The frequency of these cases seems to have increased in the past decade or so."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Photo of the Day

I took the wife for a late winter ride in the Hicks Run area this weekend. The snow was beautiful but will be gone soon

Opinion- Roads To Ruin Without Natural Gas Production Tax

By Rep. Camille George
Pennsylvania's natural gas supplies in the Marcellus Shale deposit don't have to be the road to ruin.
But it's looking shaky.
Follow the money, follow the rutted roads, follow the fines. However, don't believe for a second the gas industry blather about "best management practices" and it complying "with all state regulations to protect the environment and the people of Pennsylvania."
A gas-industry truck was impounded in January after it was found to be 41.6 tons over the weight limit on a Bradford County road. The truck also had "numerous other permit violations."
"We've had so many problems lately with blatant [weight limit] violations," said a state policeman. "It's only going to get worse with all these gas companies coming in."
Four drivers of trucks serving the gas industry were fined and jailed in February after they allegedly hauled oversize loads illegally on Bradford County roads. Before being found almost 27 tons over weight, one of the trucks struck utility lines, a traffic signal and finally an overpass that sheared off part of his load.
A week later, a truck bound for a natural gas-drilling site was found to be 49.9 tons over the weight limit.
The state Public Utility Commission is increasing enforcement in northeastern Pennsylvania after receiving complaints. A township supervisor in Clearfield County told me that drilling trucks had pulverized roads to the point that they remind his son "of the bombed out roads in Iraq."......READ MORE

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas

Click the image to see enlarged version of Nelson's fine art

EQT Announces Strategic Marcellus Acreage Acquisition

PITTSBURGH, March 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT) today announced that it will acquire approximately 58,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale from a group of private operators and landowners. The acreage is located primarily in Cameron, Clearfield, Elk and Jefferson counties in Pennsylvania. The purchase includes a 200 mile gathering system, with associated rights of way, and approximately 100 producing vertical wells.
At closing, EQT will pay approximately $280 million, MORE

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Photo of the Day

Spring is just around the corner, but its not too late to enjoy the winter snows while it lasts!