----- Project Accountability Ė questions for industry 2.0
As a good corporate citizen will you send an open letter to Congress and the President urging them to end all subsidies and exemptions for Oil and Gas? If not,
please justify your subsidies and exemptions.
Are you required to have a regulator or independent third party perform a chemical analysis of flowback, produced water and other chemicals (FPO) from your wells? If not, please explain why you should not be required to do so.
Are chemical profiles of your FPO available to the public? If not, please justify that.
What percentage of your wells produce FPO which would be regulated as hazardous by the EPA under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act if it originated somewhere other than an oil or gas well?
What does it cost to handle, store, transport and dispose of FPO as residual waste? What would it cost if it were classified as hazardous waste?
Do you store any FPO in open pits? If so, what is your timeline for transitioning to steel tanks and are you currently building, or will you build, any new FPO
storage pits? Will you grandfather existing pits or replace them with steel tanks?
How radioactive are the materials from the Marcellus shale? In particular, please discuss the dangers from ingesting or breathing in these radionuclides.
A gas well produces about 1% of the air pollution which would require an EIS. We can expect about 8,000 wells in Tioga County alone. In other words, not even
considering pipelines, compressors and other facilities, or pollution originating up wind, weíre getting the equivalent of 80 projects which would require an EIS but,
since the PA DEP does not take cumulative impacts into account, not even one will be done. Would you care to comment?
What percentage of your wells undergo green completions as opposed to being flared? When will you phase out flaring? Have you called on federal and/or state regulators to mandate green completions? Why not?
By what percent would the cost of drilling a well increase
if you were required to pay for baseline testing of aquifers and surface water
within one mile of your production unit? Please assume only one test would be
required for any location and that cost sharing among production units would
take place. Aside from cost, do you have any objections to such testing? Have
you called on DEP to mandate it?
How many wells do you currently have in Tioga County and PA? How many nondisclosure agreements have Tiogans and Pennsylvanians signed with your company? How many allegations of water impacted by your operations have there been in Tioga County and PA? How many allegations of serious health impacts such as heavy metal poisoning? How many water treatment systems have you paid for? How many households have you had water delivered to?
DEP statistics show that methane migrations occur 5 times more frequently at Marcellus wells than at traditional wells, why is that? Is this acceptable? And why shouldn't we worry about it?
According to the DEP, about 1 in 150 Marcellus wells have been implicated in a serious health or environmental problem. Do you think that is an acceptable rate? If not, what are you doing about it?
What do you have to say about Cabot and their defective wells in Dimock? Are they a rogue company? If not, why shouldn't we expect similar problems with your wells?
What is the failure rate over time for your well casings?
While the current PA minimum royalty of 12.5% was codified in the 1980's, haven't royalty rates been relatively flat for over 100 years? As far as I can see, the only justification for drillers getting more than 50% of the wellhead price is to offset the risk of dry wells. Hasn't the industry's success rate improved over the past 30 years? If so, why is 12.5% still an acceptable minimum royalty? Please provide data from which a fair royalty can be calculated.
When did the industry realize that the Marcellus would be
producing large amounts of gas? Were there leases signed where insiders took
advantage of this information before the public knew about it? Do you see that
as a problem? If so, what do you propose to do to correct it?
In the West, gas fields - for example, the Barnett and Jonah-Pinedale - have caused terrible air pollution including ground level ozone. Why shouldn't we expect the same here? Why shouldn't we expect 25% of kids to develop asthma as in the Barnett Shale as opposed to 7.1% statewide in Texas?
PA and NY have very few injection disposal wells; the geology is not suitable. Why then did the industry try to get a disposal well permitted in Pultney, NY? Can you explain the difference between an injection disposal well and a gas well where 80% of the toxic frack chemicals allegedly remain in the ground?
Through 2011 DEP allowed frackers to dispose of waste at
municipal sewage treatment plants; this caused numerous problems; most notably
elevated salt in the Monongahela, which resulted in a massive fish die off and
forced nearly 100,000 people to use bottled water. Surely industry experts, to say
nothing of DEP, understood that these plants are not equipped to deal with this
waste. What did you do to oppose this ill-conceived policy? Is your industryís
pro-safety and pro-environment rhetoric merely propaganda?
The EPA justified the Halliburton loophole that allows drillers not to disclose the chemicals they inject because nearly all of the frack fluid supposedly returned to the surface. Now, in the Marcellus, 80% allegedly remains in the ground. Why hasn't the Halliburton loophole been revisited?
What do you have to say about green chemistry such as Schlumberger's GreenSlurry?
At least some drillers have said they are willing to voluntarily disclose the chemicals they use but I have yet to hear of a driller calling for mandatory disclosure (ie closing the Halliburton loophole). Is that because voluntary disclosure entails no penalty for failure to disclose?
Drillers blame their suppliers for refusing to disclose what
is in their products. Isnít this just self-serving finger pointing? Why donít drillers
simply adopt a policy of only buying products with fully disclosed ingredients?
The foam oozing from a well near Waterville in 2010 was identified as Air Foam HD, whose active ingredient is 2-butoxy ethanol; a potent carcinogen commonly referred to as 2BE. Why do neither Air Foam HD nor 2BE appear on the list of chemicals industry provided DEP? And why was 2BE used during the initial drilling, that is to say, before installation of a casing to protect groundwater?
Do you require workers to work more than an eight-hour
shift? Do you require that they pull a second shift if their replacement fails
to show up? How do such policies impact performance and safety? Do you require
workers to be on standby without pay? Do you require subcontractors to have at
least the same policies as you do? What have you done to ensure that all gas
companies honor your minimal worker protections? Surely you canít and donít
want to compete against companies that exploit their workers.
What the gas industry is planning for PA is nothing less than a 10,000 square mile industrial zone. Would a responsible advanced society allow such a project to go forward without a comprehensive harms/benefits analysis? What have you done to get DEP to undertake such a study? Would you call on the Governor to impose a moratorium on new wells until it is completed?