Primary Source Report-RS

“Get the Frack Out”: Environmental and Economic Implications of Fracking in Bradford County, PA.

Roy Samuel

Source 1:

“EPA Retrospective Study in Bradford County, PA – Weston Solutions Evaluation of Data” (2012) https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/808165-chk-unable-to-perform-full-test-for-bradford.html

This document was leaked from internal conversations between the EPA and Chesapeake Appalachia LLC. This particular company questioned the findings of the EPA in regard to the results from sampling thirty-seven residential drinking water sources in Bradford County. Chesapeake commissioned WESTON Solutions to collect only 14 samples, and assumed, from that significantly lower sample size, that these sources “do not appear to be impacted by Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling or production activities — including hydraulic stimulation.” This source is useful for multiple reasons. Namely, it could speak to the persistent presence of this particular company in the county despite numerous repeated violations: by coming up with its own insufficient data and publicly disseminating it, Chesapeake appears to be engaged in a campaign of misinformation that seeks to delegitimize authorized opinions on the matter.

Source 2:

“Commonwealth of Pennsylvania DEP in the Matter of Chesapeake Appalachia LLC Tuscarora, Terry, Monroe, Towanda, and Wilmot Townships, Bradford County” (2011)

http://www.damascuscitizensforsustainability.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Wyalusing-161-Consent-Agreem-Susquehana-River.pdf

            This document is the settlement between Chesapeake Appalachia LLC and three families residing in Bradford County. It was for $1.6 million in damages and was the first case pertaining to Marcellus Shale contamination that did not include a non-disclosure agreement. This allowed the three parties to publicly talk about this incident. These residents had initially signed leases with Chesapeake Appalachia to drill beneath their land. However, muddy water began to flow from their water wells. The company provided a filtration system, but, according to the three families, the system did not work. As a result, methane migrated from the Marcellus Shale region of drilling into the water supply of nearby residents. This source is useful, because it represents a break from the previous trend: what specifically about this case was successful in removing the nondisclosure agreement between the residents and the company? The previous arrangements all had these agreements, allowing the company to continue its operation in areas where it continually violates policy. Moreover, this source was the first to suggest some sort of community activism in the area against fracking. This source may serve as a segue for more information about community-level organization.

Source 3:

“Bradford County releases video slamming Chesapeake Energy” (2016)

https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2016/10/14/bradford-county-releases-video-slamming-chesapeake-energy/

            This newspaper source, as well as the video it contains, discuss a different issue related to hydraulic fracturing: the royalties that the landowners are entitled to. However, residents of Bradford County are criticizing Chesapeake Energy for cheating them out of that money. As a result, they are advocating for legislation to address this “royalty rip-off.” While this issue is not directly pertinent to my topic, I believe that the video serves as a revealing insight into the kinds of people who are affected. One of the individuals says: “Most of the small landowners who were seeing their deductions taken…they don’t have the ability to hire a lawyer.” This source can be utilized within my project in two ways. In one sense, it supports my argument that the persistence of these violations and the practice of hydraulic fracturing in this region is linked to the fact that it disproportionately impacts poorer residents who do not have the financial means to challenge it. Moreover, it also provides evidence to begin answering my question: How has the community responded, and has that response led to tangible reforms or conflicts with the well operators, the local and state government, or both? Very clearly through this source, it is evident that this video was made and sent to Pennsylvania elected officials as a means of advocating for change.

Keyword Tags:

Keywords: Class, Toxics, Water, Soil, Pollution, Energy