Amber, Thank you for your email. Since you asked, I actually do have a few questions. 1.

How does the MSC reconcile the use of wastewater impoundments as an industry best practice, when virtually everyone, including the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, comprised of MSC member companies Shell, Chevron, CONSOL and EQT, clearly says otherwise? Their performance standard #3 says they should be eliminated. From https://www.sustainableshale.org/performancestandards/: Pits/Impoundments Performance Standards Performance Standard No. 3: 1. After the promulgation date of these standards, any new pits designed shall be doublelined and equipped with leak detection. 2. Operators, within 12 months of implementation of these standards, shall contain drilling fluid, when using oil-containing drilling fluids to drill a well, in a closed loop system at the well pad (e.g. no ground pits). 3. Operators, within 24 months of implementation of these standards, shall contain drilling fluid and flowback water in a closed loop system at the well pad, eliminating the use of pits for all wells. 2. Does the MSC believe it is a best practice to allow an open-air impoundment within 300 feet of a residence, as permissible under Act 13? How would the MSC respond to concerns that because there are no fencing or bird netting requirements, and municipalities are unable to enact such requirements under Act 13, animals such as deer often access the wastewater pits to drink from them and/or fall into them, causing damage to the liner in the process. Does the MSC believe it is definitively safe for Pennsylvania hunters and sportsmen to eat animals which have drank the wastewater from these unfenced impoundments? Since 2011, the DEP, Governor Corbett and the Marcellus Shale Coalition itself have spoken out against taking this wastewater to municipal treatments plants. MSC President Kathryn Klaber said on 5/19/11 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Research by Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority experts suggests that the natural gas industry is a contributing factor to elevated levels of bromide in the Allegheny and Beaver Rivers," said Kathryn Klaber. So if this wastewater is known to impact the waterways of the Commonwealth even when treated, how is it good policy to dig an enormous hole in a residential area and let the water (and whatever volatile organic compounds it contains) evaporate into the surrounding air? Does the MSC acknowledge there is an impact in air quality in the areas using wastewater impoundments? Despite claims of lower statewide air emissions, the Rand Corporation (which is hardly known for anti-industry positions) published a study on air quality in PA relative to Marcellus Shale activity, and they made an interesting point (see http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014017): Because the relative damages will tend to be larger in the counties where shale gas extraction activities are concentrated, where population is relatively high, and where air quality is already a concern, it is also important to consider the county-level damage. For example, Washington County had the fifth largest number of wells (156) in 2011 but resulted in the highest damages, estimated at $1.2–8.3 million. Damage in this county represented about 20% of statewide damages from the extraction industry16. And while not typical of 2011 development, this example illustrates the potential impact of extraction when located in relatively populated areas17.

3.

4.

5.

Since Washington County represents about 20% of the statewide damages, and the use of waterwater impoundments is widespread with documents leaks and tears (per DEP consent agreements), can MSC definitively say there is no connection between the use of wastewater impoundments and the poor air quality? I look forward to your response as debate moves forward on these amendments. Thank you,

Jesse White State Representative, 46th District Washington/Allegheny/Beaver Counties
From: Amber Benzon [mailto:abenzon@marcelluscoalition.org] 
 Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 4:59 PM 
 To: Amber Benzon 
 Subject: Please Vote NO on Misguided Amendments to HBs 302, 303, 308 & Other Similar Efforts Good afternoon, Opponents of tightly-regulated natural gas development are attempting to add non-germane amendments to the “Marcellus Works” legislative package, which aims to expand the use and availability of affordable, cleaner-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles for Pennsylvania consumers and businesses. Three amendments proposed to HB 302 (A01033), HB 303 (A01035) and HB 308 (A01037) would require closed loop systems or closed containment systems for water utilized during the hydraulic fracturing process and implement a ban on centralized impoundments. The use of impoundments for either freshwater or flowback water is a highly-regulated industry practice that minimizes individual well site reserve pits, which reduces aboveground land disturbance and truck traffic on local roads as water is generally piped from one central location to multiple well sites. Furthermore, centralized impoundments are tightly-regulated and DEP-monitored impoundments, which are required to be double-lined with leak detection systems, enable the recycling of flowback water for future hydraulic fracturing operations – a clear environmental winner. Such misguided and non-germane efforts to ban these common sense and well-regulated water management operations would undermine the safe development clean-burning natural gas, and thus potentially deny the Commonwealth the economic, job creation and energy security benefits tied to these clean-burning resources. Please vote “no” on these amendments and on similar efforts pushed in either chamber going forward. I am happy to respond to any additional questions and concerns that you have on this matter. Thank you!

Amber Benzon Director of Government Affairs Cell: 717-585-9182
 abenzon@marcelluscoalition.org

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful