When water contamination concerns were mentioned by symposium attendees, Callum Streeter, operation manager for Edgemarc, extolled the virtues of steel pipe and cement casing to protect aquifers while saying that the process is “closely monitored.” That “close monitoring” by the state Department of Environmental Protection has yielded numerous violations for faulty cement casings in the past several years. Many of the 100+ documented cases of shale gas-related water contamination on file at the DEP are due to those faulty casings.
Streeter also mentioned that drilling companies voluntarily disclose the chemical composition of their hydraulic fracturing fluids to the website www.fracfocus.org. If that is so, why then is there a provision in Act 13, the state's oil and gas law, that requires physicians to contact drillers in order to obtain information about the chemicals their patients may have been exposed to, and then to sign a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits them from sharing that information with their patients, their colleagues and the communities they serve? Clearly, not all companies are disclosing all chemicals on the FracFocus site.
I noticed that there was no mention of clean, renewable, fossil fuel-free energy at this “energy” symposium. Why is that? Why not just call it ShaleFest 2014 and be done with it?
Let's cut to the chase, shall we? Shale gas drilling is a HUGE moneymaker, in Butler County, in Pennsylvania, in the nation, and in the world. Clearly, in Butler County, that's all that needs to be said. Spigelmyer and Streeter don't need to sugar-coat their message with false assurances of environmental safety because, to the majority of Butler County residents, those things don't really matter. With the exception of a few conscientious citizens, most notably of late in Butler city and in Middlesex and Adams townships, the only message that county residents will hear is how much money they can make from the drilling.
The rest will go in one ear and out the other.