Snowshoe Documentary Films:
for social and economic justice
FRACKING 101: Glenn Wahl
Glenn Wahl, a member of Cattauraugus-Chautauqua for Clean Water, spoke in Jamestown NY, Oct. 22, 2013. His talk, entitled Fracking 101, offers a comprehensive look at high volume horizontal fracking in western New York state and Pennsylvania. Wahl, a geology instructor at Jamestown Cmty College (Olean), explains the geology of the methane-rich sandstone
(Medina) and the deeper Marcellus and Utica shales, thousands
of feet below the surface of Western New York and Pennsylvania.
Wahl discusses the radioactivity of much of the most lucrative (methane) dark shale, as well as the dangers of the huge volume of undisclosed chemicals used to frack lateral drills. Wahl touches on the 'gag order' imposed on the Pennsylvania medical establishment trying to treat the poisoned victims of
fracking. Wahl notes also that the 'Halliburton Loophole' in effect prohibits local officials, emergency medical technicians
(EMTs) and others from knowing the content of frack fluids when responding to emergencies such as explosions, wrecks, truck and site spills and the many other accidents resulting from the intense industrial activity in otherwise rural areas. Wahl, a retired public high school science teacher, is available for public speaking engagements:
Geologists Dr. Anthony Ingraffea and Glenn Wahl
Drawn from excerpts from talks in Chautauqua County in 2013, the
geology teachers give us a 10-minute look at what 'fracking'
means: ultra-high volume hydraulic fracturing of methane-rich
Utica shale nearly 2 miles deep. It means clustered multi-well
pads with long laterals. It means millions of miles of pipe,
roughly 6 million gallons of water per well, thousands and
thousands of trucks hauling water, pipe and the huge diesel
engines that will pump some 600 chemicals (biocides, friction
reducers, corrosion inhibitors,
proprietary concoctions that not even
emergency workers are allowed to know about). It means noxious
emissions, noise pollution, and flowback: millions of gallons of
flowback from the fracked wells, even more toxic now with heavy
metal such as arsenic, barium; a radioactive sludge that further
despoils streams, rivers and lakes when it leaches through
retaining pits or landfills or is sold to cities and counties for
its high salt content, sprayed as 'brine' on New York roads in the
winter, and dirt roads in the summer. It means the 'Halliburton
Loophole' which exempts the 'fracking industry' from parts of
seven major environmental laws. In Pennsylvania, where fracking
has taken its toll, the State has been forced to impose a gag
order on medical doctors from talking to each other about their
patients' illnesses caused by this process. Ultra high volume
fracking methods are experimental; they've only been used since
2007. Let's not be guinea pigs. Join the 170 villages towns and
cities in New York State that have issued bans or moratoria on
ultra-high volume fracking.
CHAUTAUQUA TOWN VOTES
DOWN FRACK MORATORIUM
The Town of Chautauqua board considered enacting a
one-year moratorium on high volume horizontal fracking, at a
public hearing, February 10, 2014. Though the Town board voted 3:1
to reject the moratorium, the two-hour public discussion reveals
the nature of the divide between those who support the new
industrial scale high volume horizontal multi pad fracking and
those opposing HVHF in Chautauqua County.
The 96-minute video, filmed and edited by the Mayville-based film
group, Snowshoefilms, documents the full statements of each of the
45 speakers. As several local residents noted, over 160 New York
towns and villages have enacted moratoria or bans of high volume
horizontal fracking, to allow them local control in the event New
York State lifts the moratorium on high volume horizontal fracking.
FRACKED IN DUNKIRK Dunkirk is the prime spot in Chautauqua
County for potential wet gas, a mile or so below the surface in
Utica shale plays. The County Nursing Home sits on 30+ acres
that are a likely spot for multi-well fracking pads. The
question is, should the County hand over the Home and the land to
a private owner -- who will do what he wants with the land,
irrespective of the Home; in effect, the people of Chautauqua
County -- and especially Dunkirk -- will likely be fracked twice
if the home is sold. Please forward this video to friends
FOUR MYTHS ABOUT FRACKING
Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Feb. 26, 2013, explicates the pros and cons
of fracKing Marcellus shale for methane.
Many Chautauquans are familiar with 'fracking'
for gas, but contemporary technology is altogether different:
directional drilling, high-volume frack fluid, slickwater,
multi-well pads. It's experimental, it's environmentally a
disaster, and it's not realizing the big profits for those who
signed over their mineral rights to Shell, BP and the big oil
companies (or the 'bottom feeders') in the industry
-- so says Prof Ingraffea, Cornell
University shale expert. He notes also that in spite of natural
gas's reputation as a clean energy, "the footprint of
is greater than that of any other fossil fuel, including
coal." Many in Western NY believe that fracking won't present
a threat because it doesn't have Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale.
However, the area does have Utica shale, rich in methane, though
much deeper (7,000 feet or so). Ingraffea's talk (Feb. 26, 2013)
was sponsored by the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, the SUNY
Fredonia Academic Cmty Engagement Center, and the Environmental
Justice Ministry of the Unitarian Church.
Part Two of
Prof Ingraffea's (Feb. 26, 2013) Chautauqua County NY talk,
Four Fracking Myths. Western NY, from Buffalo down through
Pennsylvania and west into Ohio, has several seams of shale
(plays), including Utica, some 7,000 feet deep.
Drilling and extraction poses no danger to public drinking
water because of the EPA's rigorous enforcement of the Safe
Water Drinking Act.