- The Reign of Kane Falls (Mainly...)
- The Audacity of Dopes
- Kathy Kane: Resistance is Futile!
- Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton Dances Cheek-to-Cheek with Convicted Commissioner Bonner.
- Did you hear the one about Steve Urban?
- Joe Paterno 1926-2012
- Goodnight Sweet Prince
- Wilkes-Barre Prepares as Susquehanna River Rises To Dangerous Levels
- Tattooed Man Blames Needle Phobia for Assault on Cop
- W-B CTC tables vote on superintendent of record - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
- Summer program fuels healthy habits - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
- Value history, save the station - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
- Pa. McDonald's franchise sued over payroll cards - Boston.com
- News for Seniors - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
- Wilkes University Announces Dean's List for Spring 2013 Semester - Wilkes University
- Desire2Learn Representatives on Campus June 19th - Wilkes University
- This week's meetings 6/17/13 - Citizens Voice
- Wilkes reading series nears - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
- Wilkes University Professor Eric Ruggiero Wins Fellowship With Sony Pictures ... - Wilkes University
- Pittston Twp. tables motion on rezoning request for veterans' housing
- Lehman Twp. says paving project ready for bidding
- Nuke plant medical issues faulted
- L-L OKs non-teacher principal, new budget with tax hike
- IN BRIEF
- Summer program fuels healthy habits
- W-B CTC tables vote on superintendent of record
- Court briefs
- Man pleads guilty to pharmacy robbery
- Castle Inn demolished
- Two robberies at Wilkes-Barre stores
- Woman robbed by three men
- Mountain Post, Back Mountain split twinbill
- Philharmonic Season Finale Tapas Brunch
Clean Up Corruption Now
Coal Region Voice
Not Cease From Exploration
Circumlocution for Dummies
A Big Fat Slob
The Lu Lac Political Letter
Scranton Public Policy Examiner
Luzerne County Railroad Blog
What the Frack is Fracking?
Fracking is a scary sounding name for a process engineers like to call "horizontal hydraulic fracturing." Fluids and solids (typically sand, but often enhanced with a long list of salts and chemicals(1)) are injected into rock formations at high pressure, forcing oil or natural gas to the surface. The solids keep the rock separated, creating a fissure (basically, a bunch of cracks) for the oil or gas to flow through. Fracking is also used in mining operations (to create caves) and in granite quarries to separate the granite from bedrock.
I Drink Your Milkshake!
The Marcellus Shale is a geological formation that snakes from Marcellus, N.Y. through northern Pennsylvania. For years geologists knew there was natural gas in the Marcellus, but the projected yield was too low and spread out over too wide an area to be profitable. Things changed after an experimental drill in Washington County, Pennsylvania showed promising results with fracking techniques developed at a Texas site. When estimates of the natural gas deposits in the Marcellus jumped from 1.9 trillion to 500 trillion cubic feet, things really heated up. New estimates say the Marcellus Shale could produce enough natural gas to meet all the United States' needs for two years.
But What about the Fracking Children?
The gas deposits in Marcellus, New York are threaded through the aquifer that feeds the New York City water supply. Speculators in upstate New York face a population well-equipped to rise against environmental threats. Getting things moving upstate means throwing down with the NPR tote bag crowd.
In northeast Pennsylvania, the geology looks the same but the demographics are a bit more desperate. After the corrupt coal-barons fled, many moons ago, residents should have learned a lesson about trusting the mustache-twirling black hats who promise gold in them 'thar hills.
That didn't happen.
The scenario is a perfect storm just waiting to happen. Boomtown landowners vs. environmentalists vs. tax-hungry politicos vs. energy companies.
Environmental concerns are far from the only potential problems with gas drilling, at least according to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. Like any politician, Rendell loves to talk about tax relief for voters. Yet Ed has no problem pushing new taxes as long as they're sucking money from uncharted, start-up businesses. Rendell says gas drilling will lead to an influx of sex offenders and gun-wielding yahoos looking for jobs. New taxes are needed to keep the barbarians in check.
No, really. He actually said that.
Still, Rendell sounds like a guy who knows the gas lobby will soon be making it rain gold on those willing to go along with the plan. He seems reluctant to address any environmental issues directly. He sounds like a politician.
From the speculators point of view, it looks like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may have the potentional to put a bit of uncomfortable spin on events in the Marcellus. The horse is already out of the barn. The toothpaste can't be put back in the tube. But a bit more oversight and melodramatic outrage would serve the residents --and future residents-- of northeast Pennsylvania well.
Let's hope so.
(1)The list of additives injected into a well range from familiar household substances like salt, citric acid and guar-gum to less potable chemicals typically found in pool cleaners, anti-freeze, glass cleaners and disinfectants.
Fluid additives: http://www.energyindepth.org/frac-fluid.pdf