TOPThis Changes Everything
December 7, 2015
"I urge you to consider the needs of the youngest generation, because none of us has the right to assume that for our today they should give up their tomorrow."
- Prince Charles, heir to the British throne

From terrorism to food production, climate change is at the forefront of every challenge we face as a global society. "The crisis we have been seriously ignoring is hitting us in the face," writes Naomi Klein in her book This Changes Everything

According to a 2014 report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, "Pushing global temperatures past certain thresholds could trigger abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes that have massively disruptive and large-scale impacts. At that point, even if we do not add any additional CO2 to the atmosphere, potentially unstoppable processes are set in motion. We can think of this as sudden climate brake and steering failure where the problem and its consequences are no longer something we can control."

Because of the enormity of the problem and the need for widespread public education about the details and implications of climate change and its relationship to natural gas production, RDA is sponsoring a sale on Naomi Kline's book at Otto's in Williamsport. See our feature article for more details about This Changes Everything and this ongoing RDA event. 

Economist Robert Pollin, author of Greening the Global Economy, argues that investment in renewable, efficient energy is a win/win. Not only can such a plan drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is also the best way to simultaneously fuel economic growth. Click here for an inspiring 1/2 hour interview with Pollin originally aired on WNYC Public Radio.

Our second story begins with a warning from Mark Lichty, director of the film Groundswell Rising, which is followed by Pennsylvania's current infrastructure planning initiatives. The future of our Commonwealth is under design as you read this. Now is the time to get involved in your state and local planning process. 

To those of you who are new to this publication, welcome & thank you for joining the conversation. We have Other News as well as Action Points in the sidebar to the right. This week's Other News kicks off with EPA scrutiny from an advisory board over their recently completed fracking study. A new merger combines oil and natural gas marketing operations. A leaking gas-well (much like BP's Deepwater Horizon mishap) might take up to four months to control. That, and Erin Brokovich's input on the Oklahoma quakes, news of livestock illness in fracking regions as well as a number of other Action Points close out the sidebar.

Stay positive. Focus on equipping yourself to speak with wisdom and scientific validation about the methane challenges, water concerns and air quality issues associated with natural gas production. Furthermore, be sure to promote renewable energy opportunities as viable solutions.

Thank you for caring and staying informed.

Sincerely,

Brooke Woodside
RDA Member, Managing Editor
 
Visit our website at:  www.rdapa.org
This Changes Everything
Capitalism vs. the Climate

"So many lives are on the line right now. This system is crashing. It's crashing economically and it's crashing ecologically. The stakes are too high to not make the absolute most of this moment." - Naomi Klein

Because of the crucial message of Naomi Klein's book This Changes Everything, RDA is sponsoring an educational outreach project, making the book available at Otto's (www.ottobookstore.com / 4th Street, downtown Williamsport) for $7 off the regular price (Reg. $16.99 - Sale $9.99). Consider buying a book for yourself, and one as a gift for a friend or family member. The sale is ongoing through December, as supplies last.

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn't just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It's an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not fixed -and cannot fix - the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.

Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift - a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.

Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.ca/This-Changes-Everything/Naomi-Klein/9781442372924#sthash.t9oDC4fm.dpuf

The book has also spawned a full-length film of the same title. RDA plans to host a public showing of the documentary in the Spring of 2016.

Planning & Pipelines
Mark Lichty, business owner and film producer, warns us that using natural gas as a bridge fuel is a VERY BAD IDEA. Here's why: 

Unfortunately, all of this evidence came too late for me. Eight years ago I converted my manufacturing plant to gas, driven by the attractive economics of gas and thinking that I was doing the right environmental move. It turns out I wasn't. I had spent over $200,000 converting to gas. Had I remained with oil, I would now have funds to consider alternative energy sources. That option is not now available. My business is a microcosm for the nation and the planet. As the country spends funds on infrastructure supporting gas, we will not have the funds to consider more responsible alternatives. For example, if a city converts its fleet to gas, it may be decades before it could afford electric vehicles. As the infrastructure becomes entrenched in fossil fuels, we will be unable for many years to extricate ourselves.

In the face of all of these studies and a tsunami of anecdotal evidence about the harmful effects of fracking, gas companies are permitted to go on with nonsensical advertising that fracking is safe.

We know from numerous impartial studies that there are serious health and environmental risks with fracking. Second, the industry speaks of jobs, but jobs could be created in the alternative energy sector as well if we weren't providing life support to the dinosaur of fossil fuels. Finally, they claim we need fracking for our national security, but we know from the export terminals being created, that it is about profit. Click here to read Walter Brasch's full post of what Mark Lichty has to say.

Here in our region of Pennsylvania, SEDA-COG is proving the truth of Lichty's claims by conducting a regional gas utilization initiative study to see how the state can best capitalize on our gas reserves by INVESTING in natural gas infrastructure. This means our tax dollars at work subsidizing a private for-profit industry. The SEDA-COG website claims:  "Pennsylvania's shale gas resources are providing new long-term opportunities for supporting the state's economic growth and energy needs. Natural gas is increasingly being utilized as a source of environmentally cleaner power for industries, businesses, and residences. Better delivery systems are needed to make natural gas available, and can be provided through expansion of existing infrastructure." Click here to read more about the study.

Pipeline Construction; photo credit: John Trallo, courtesy: Fractracker

In further development news, DEP's pipeline plans sound pretty intensive:

The state Department of Environmental Protection has announced the release of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Draft Report.

The extended 30-day comment period began November 14th and ends December 29th. RDA joins other grassroots organizations in expressing our regret that there will be no public hearings or meetings that would allow Pennsylvanians to speak directly to task force members and comment on this report.

We are entering the next boom phase with regard to natural gas:  construction of pipelines to carry fracked gas to new and existing markets. Multiple pipeline projects are in various stages of development throughout Pennsylvania. There are hundreds of concerns held by thousands of Pennsylvanians that must be addressed, yet the composition of the Task Force is extremely skewed. There is nary a seat at the table for those opposed to the 30,000 mile network of new pipelines, referred to in the Draft Report, which states:  "All told, this pipeline infrastructure build-out will impact communities and the environment in every county in Pennsylvania."

According to the Task Force mission statement:  "The unprecedented build-out creates an opportunity for the Commonwealth to engage stakeholders in a collaborative process to achieve a world-class pipeline infrastructure system." The report further claims: "This will be a transparent process, and will entail close coordination with federal agencies, state partners, local governments, industry representatives, landowners and environmental advocates." RDA believes that the holiday-framed comment period and utter lack of public hearings belies this claim of transparency. That said, there is still time to make your voice heard.

A new resource has been launched to help folks learn what they need to know about the impacts of pipelines and associated infrastructure, to begin to get active on pipelines and to connect with the organizations battling the pipelines in their communities - www.stopthepipelines.org.

What YOU Can Do (compliments of Dory Hippauf):

-Write a Letter to your local Newspaper and demand public hearings. DEP has 6 regional offices across Pennsylvania; there is no reason why public hearings cannot be held in your area.
 
 
-Click here to submit an eComment. Let PITF know what you think. Giving kudos where kudos are due, the eComment for the PITF draft report is much easier to navigate than FERC's equivalent. Click here to download Instructions for eCommenting on the Draft PITF Report. 
 
If you prefer NOT to use the eComment process or know someone without access to the internet, comments may be submitted via US Mail:

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection,
Rachel Carson Building, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

Be sure to include a statement that you are submitting a comment on the Draft Governor's Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report and wish have it made part of the record.

IMPORTANT: Successfully submitted comments will appear on the View Comments page within 5 business days of receipt. Check for your comment before resubmitting to avoid duplicate submissions.
Well Count - Lycoming County
Lycoming County Stats

1,697 - The number of drilling permits issued by PA DEP from January 1, 2015, to November 1, 2015. This is equivalent to one permit issued for every hour DEP's doors were open. At this rate, DEP will have permitted about 8,212 wells by the end of Governor Wolf's term. If all of those are allowed, Wolf's administration will have nearly matched the 8,862 shale gas wells given permits under all of his predecessors combined.
Join RDA!
Sign Up/Make a Donation

We welcome your active participation and are in need of help for special events, publicity, research and other projects.

It costs nothing to sign up for our e-newsletter, but tax-free donations are accepted & greatly appreciated. 2016 is right around the corner. Please consider a year-end donation to RDA.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, RDA relies on donations for the important work we do. In order for RDA to continue its valuable education and advocacy outreach in 2016 and beyond, please consider a tax-free contribution to our efforts.

You can send a donation to the address listed at the bottom of this email, click here to donate via PayPal or click here to download our current membership form to fill out and send in along with your donation.
 
Membership levels:
Adventurer..................$10 
Explorer.....................$20
Woodlander.................$50
Guardian...................$100 
Naturalist..................$500 
Preservationist..........$1,000 

In This Issue
In Other News InOtherNews
------------------

Board Questions EPA Draft Report on Fracking

A review by an EPA advisory board says that a draft report on hydraulic fracturing did not support the conclusion that shale gas fracking hasn't caused significant damage to the nation's water supplies.

According to the peer-reviewed document by the 30-member Science Advisory Board, the EPA's primary conclusion to its June draft study - that fracking has not caused "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States" - isn't supported by the cited data, which has gaps and deficiencies.


------------------
Oil and Natural Gas Boosters to Merge into Energy Lobbying Behemoth

The American Petroleum Institute and America's Natural Gas Alliance, two of the largest energy lobbying groups, said they plan to join into a single voice promoting the industry.


------------------
Leaking Gas Well May Take Four Months to Plug; Families Evacuated

It could take up to four months to plug a leaking gas well above Porter Ranch, marking the most concrete prediction since the problem arose more than a month ago, Southern California Gas Co. officials said Monday.

With the work ongoing, the number of families relocated because of the gas' rotten egg odor has swelled to nearly 300.


------------------
Oklahoma Quakes - Erin Brockovich Weighs In

Erin Brockovich posted to her Facebook page that the damage reports she received from residents was "indicative of a much more serious and long-term problem."

Brockovich is urging property owners to email her if they have damage from the frequent earthquakes.

Oklahoma recorded four earthquakes in one day with the strongest of them measuring 4.7 magnitude. It was felt across the state, even into Kansas.

In 2014, the Center for Investigative Reporting said Oklahoma had three times more earthquakes than California. It also said scientists linked the quakes to "fracking-related" activities, specifically wastewater injection.


-------------------
Livestock Falling Ill In Fracking Regions

Are dying cattle the canaries in the coal mine? Farmers and ranchers are sounding the alarms about the risks of hydraulic fracturing to human health.

In a Brooklyn winery on a sultry July evening, an elegant crowd sips rosť and nibbles trout plucked from the gin-clear streams of upstate New York. The diners are here, with their checkbooks, to support a group called Chefs for the Marcellus, which works to protect the foodshed upon which hundreds of regional farm-to-fork restaurants depend. The foodshed is coincident with the Marcellus Shale, a geologic formation that arcs northeast from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and into New York State. As everyone invited here knows, the region is both agriculturally and energy rich, with vast quantities of natural gas sequestered deep below its fertile fields and forests.

In Pennsylvania, the oil and gas industry is already on a tear-drilling thousands of feet into ancient seabeds, then repeatedly fracturing (or "fracking") these wells with millions of gallons of highly pressurized, chemically laced water, which shatters the surrounding shale and releases fossil fuels. New York, meanwhile, is on its own natural-resource tear, with hundreds of newly opened breweries, wineries, organic dairies and pastured livestock operations-all of them capitalizing on the metropolitan area's hunger to localize its diet.

But there's growing evidence that these two impulses, toward energy and food independence may be at odds with one another


Events/
Action Points

------------------
Pipelines - Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

The Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force recently released its draft report on the anticipated massive construction of gas industry infrastructure. The task force and DEP will accept public comments on the recommendations of the report only until December 29th. No public hearings are scheduled, in spite of the fact that the report acknowledges that, "All told, this pipeline infrastructure build-out will impact communities and the environment in every county in Pennsylvania." 

Click here for details and instructions for submitting comments.

------------------
Our State Forests v. Fracking

Please act TODAY to continue protecting Pennsylvania State Forests from fracking.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is drafting a plan that will change the way it manages our 2.2 million acre state forest system including shale gas and water resources, and they want your input.

So whose plan will it be? Will it be a plan for the people of Pennsylvania who enjoy the great outdoors? Or will it be a plan designed for the exploitation of thousands of acres of forest land for industrial energy development?

Take action now and let DCNR know they need to create a plan that protects our state forests from existing and future natural gas drilling operations.


------------------
Tell Congress: Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground!

It's time to protect our people, our economy, and our planet. It's time to take action to turn the tide on global climate change. It's time to end all new leases for coal mining, oil drilling, tar sands extraction, and fracking on our public lands, stop all new leases for drilling off the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, and prohibit offshore drilling in the Arctic. Let's keep it in the ground!

We need to manage our coastlines and public lands for the benefit of the public, not big polluters.


-------------------
Fracking Industry Workers Deserve Better Protections

Recently, a warehouse storing fracking chemicals caught fire near Pittsburgh. Plumes of black smoke poured from Lubrizol Corporation's Oilfield Chemistry facility and explosions were heard. Five workers were injured, three of which were hospitalized. The plumes from the fire resulted in the evacuation of 70 nearby homes in Leetsdale. Click here to read more about the story from the Pittsburg Post Gazette.

Workers at sites like this, along with compressor stations and drilling operations, are often the first to face the dangers of fracking. Yet just like environmental protections around fracking, worker safety rules lack the protections that workers need and deserve. 
RDA Newsletter

Brooke Woodside, RDA Working Group, Managing Editor
Barb Jarmoska, Treasurer - RDA Board of Directors, Editor
Ralph Kisberg, RDA Working Group, Contributing Editor
Ted Stroter, RDA Working Group, Chemical Advisor & Contributing Editor
Jim Slotterback, President - RDA Board of Directors
Robbie Cross, Vice President - RDA Board of Directors
Jenni Slotterback, Secretary - RDA Board of Directors
Mark Szybist - RDA Board of Directors
Roscoe McCloskey - RDA Board of Directors 
Dianne Peeling - RDA Board of Directors

This biweekly e-newsletter is written and designed by the RDA consultants and Board of Directors and sent to RDA members/subscribers. Every effort is made to assure complete accuracy in each issue. This publication and the information contained herein is copyrighted by RDA and may not be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. Readers are invited to forward this newsletter in its entirety to broaden the scope of its outreach. There is a forward link below. Readers are also invited to submit articles to be considered for publication in a future issue.    

Please note: The RDA newsletter includes reporting on a variety of events and activities, which do not necessarily reflect the philosophy of the organization. RDA practices only non-violent action in voicing the organization's beliefs and concerns.

Responsible Drilling Alliance | responsibledrillingalliance@gmail.com
Phone:  888.332.1244 (toll free)

Please mail donations to:
RDA, PO Box 502, Williamsport, PA 17703