Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Split Estate" showing at the Santa Fe Film Festival

Time: December 5, 2009 from 5:45pm to 7:45pm
Location: New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe
Phone: 505.988.7414
Event Type: film, screening
Organized By: Aaron Leventman, Bioneers


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pa, Residents Sue Gas Driller for Contamination

Pa. Residents Sue Gas Driller for Contamination, Health Concerns
by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica - November 20, 2009 10:00 am EST

Dimock resident Julie Sautner, seen here in her basement with her water filtration system, flushed her toilet one day to find a rush of earth-brown water. Tests showed her drinking water was high in aluminum, iron and methane. She is now part of a lawsuit against driller Cabot Oil and Gas. (Abrahm Lustgarten/ProPublica)Pennsylvania residents whose streams and fields have been damaged by toxic spills and whose drinking water has allegedly been contaminated [1] by drilling for natural gas are suing the Houston-based energy company that drilled the wells. A worker at the company is among the 15 families bringing suit.

The civil case, filed Thursday in U.S District Court in Scranton, Pa., seeks to stop future drilling in the Marcellus Shale by Cabot Oil and Gas near the town of Dimock. It also seeks to set up a trust fund to cover medical treatment for residents who say they have been sickened by pollutants. Health problems listed in the complaint include neurological and gastrointestinal illnesses; the complaint also alleges that at least one person's blood tests show toxic levels of the same metals found in the contaminated water. More>>>

Friday, November 20, 2009, "Protestor's Drive Home Anti-Gas Message: No Way!"

By Krissy Gasher

More than 200 people rallied on The Commons Thursday night to spread their message: 'No way' to unconventional gas drilling in New York.
The two-hour rally immediately preceded a public forum on gas drilling held at the State Theatre and hosted by the Tompkins County Council of Governments.
The plethora of posters ran the gamut from professionally printed and wide-as-a-storefront to small signs clearly made by children. They carried messages such as:
* "Do you want brain damage, birth defects and cancer? Stop fracking" More>>>

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is 270 documented spills in NY State over the past 30 years an acceptable number?

Gathering Line: oil & gas drilling news by NA4DR
Posted in Community, More Resources, Oil & Gas Industry, State & Federal Regulation, Water, Soil, & Habitat by wellwatch on November 18, 2009
Gathering Line – a special pipeline that transports gas from the field to the main pipeline.

The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.

Amy Goodman interviews of Toxics Targeting, an Ithaca, NY-based environmental database firm which released a report last week, uncovering 270 documented hazardous chemical spills which occurred over the past thirty years. PA’s own Department of Environmental Conservation’s database contained records of fires, explosions, wastewater spills, well contamination, and ecological damage related to gas drilling More>>>

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Treatment Plant for Gas Drilling Wastewater Subject of Athens TWP. Hearing Tonight

(Source: The Daily Review)By Brian Bishop, The Daily Review, Towanda, Pa.
Nov. 18--ATHENS TWP.
-- Drilling in the Marcellus Shale not only produces natural gas, but millions of gallons of waste water that need to be dealt with.

The drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a gas well requires between two and four million gallons of water, according to a U.S. Department of Energy report published this spring. Some of that water, along with ground water, returns to the surface as waste water. More>>>

I found this article interesting for two reasons. One, it gives a very different water use number than the one given to our county commission by an industry representative (the representative stated that they used between 300,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water per fracture). Two, what is not stated is more interesting than what is. There is talk of the naturally occurring hazardous compounds that are a risk of natural gas drilling, and says basically nothing about the chemicals used and their hazardous nature.
Recently, some of our county officials and several citizens were taken to see a very clean drill site and given some fancy little handouts. One of the pages in this handout stated that the chemicals only comprise .49% of the total solution used and had a pretty little drop of water at the top of the page. To put that in context, that is 49,000 gallons of water for each fracture if one million gallons of water is used, 98,000 gallons of chemicals if two million gallons of water is used, etc. It should also be kept in mind that each well can be fractured up to 17 times. In context, that .49% is a lot more than it seems at first glance.

Dallas Fort Worth, WFAA TV, FW Leaders Order Report on Barnette Shale Emissions

FORT WORTH — Fort Worth is preparing to take action concerning reports of high levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene in air surrounding Barnett Shale natural gas facilities.

City leaders are concerned that the city may need to do more to protect its citizens.

Las Vegas Optic, San Miguel County Wants Oil and Gas Regulations


By David Giuliani

San Miguel County is looking at a proposed moratorium on oil and gas drilling permits while it drafts regulations for such activities.

No permits for oil and gas drilling are pending before the county. But County Commission Chairman David Salazar said he wants to make sure the county has sufficient rules in effect before companies come forward.

The county has a general ordinance that deals with conditional land uses, but it doesn’t contain any regulations specifically designed for oil and gas drilling.

Over the last year, Mora County has been reviewing its regulations to determine whether changes are needed to deal with proposed oil and gas drilling. A company has expressed interest in drilling in the Ocaté area and has already been in talks with landowners, some of whom have entered agreements to allow access.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mora County Commissioner Meeting

As usual, I hauled my children to our monthly Mora County Commission meeting this morning, praying for good behavior. I missed a fair amount of the agenda items, but did hear someone speaking against the way public lands commissioner Pat Lions is caring for our state trust lands and another gentleman who has leased his minerals spoke in favor of oil and gas drilling and the revenues it would bring to our county. During public comment a lady announced plans to sue the commission for their refusal to sign an affidavit that had been presented at a previous commission meeting.
Listening to these speakers got me to thinking about a variety of things. The landowner who has leased his mineral rights is speaking to what he feels is best for the county and he has every right to do so. Just because I disagree with his position does not mean he has any less right to speak to the commission than I do. I think it is important to bridge the large gap that has sprung up between people who have leased and those who are opposed to oil and gas development. We are after all, one community, regardless of our differences. I do believe however, that it is important to remember that, while we all use money, and a vast majority of us are consumers of the gas industry's products, we can survive without these things. We cannot survive without water.
On the topic of suing our commission...I will only address the affidavit in question as far as saying that the presentation was ridiculous and I found the content to be even worse. I was deeply disappointed to see citizens threatening to sue our commissioners on the grounds of not signing the affidavit I mentioned. I think this is probably a very difficult time to be a commissioner in Mora County. The impending oil and gas development is new territory for our county, and this is an otherwise fairly quiet place. When leases are being signed and the largest company in the world is at the door, is not the time to divide. If citizens sue our county officials we are simply benefiting industry by drawing a line between our community and those members of it who are in a position to be able to protect us from devastation. We need our commission to work for the people they represent. Attacking them is not going to further the cause of preserving that which is truly sacred--our water, land, and quality of life. We cannot afford to define our quality of life by the amount of money we make. It must be defined by those things we already have which are truly irreplaceable.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Commentary on "Split Estate" screening at the United World College in Las Vegas NM.

I was a bit surprised at how few students seemed to be in attendance, but overall, there was a good turnout. The panel answered a variety of questions from concerned citizens. Most of the questions revolved around how we can prevent Mora and San Miguel Counties from becoming like the decimated counties shown in the film. I was encouraged by the variety of people giving their voice to this issue and expressing their intentions of continuing to work for the safety of counties in Northern New Mexico. If you would like to know more details about the screening and subsequent meeting, contact me and I would be happy to pass along further information.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NPR Story, "Health Issues Follow Natural Gas Drilling In Texas"

By John Burnett

November 3, 2009 Vast new natural gas fields have opened up thanks to an advanced drilling technique. While natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel than coal or petroleum, extracting it is still hard, dirty work. Some people who live near the massive Barnett Shale gas deposit in north Texas, have compliants. Health and environmental concerns are prompting state regulators to take a closer look. More>>>

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New York Times Editorial - The Haliburton Loophole

Published: November 2, 2009
Among the many dubious provisions in the 2005 energy bill was one dubbed the Halliburton loophole, which was inserted at the behest of — you guessed it — then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a former chief executive of Halliburton. More>>>

Press Release, Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center, Split Estate Screening

"Contact: Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center
(505) 425-3840, (505) 617-6794, lvpeacecenter [at]
Event: Film Screening ("Split Estate ") and panel discussion re: Oil & Gas Industry
Event Date: Sunday, November 8, 2009, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Location: United World College-USA, Kluge Auditorium, Montezuma, NM

The United World College Students for Peace & Justice and the Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center will be hosting a film screening and panel discussion on Sunday, November 8, 2009,
1:00 - 3:00 PM at the Kluge Auditorium on the campus of the United World College-USA.

The agenda for the forum will include the following:

*Special screening of the just-released, highly-acclaimed, 76-min. documentary "Split Estate"
* Discussion with four panelists about the impacts posed by the Oil and Gas Industry's potential for drilling in San Miguel County and Mora County;
*Comments from local community advocates who have been actively working on this issue; &
*Comments and questions from the audience.

PANELISTS: Debra ANderson, Filmmaker (Director, Producer & Editor of "Split Estate"); Paula Garcia (President, Mora Land Grant); Johnny Micou (Co-founder, Drilling Santa Fe, & Executive Director, Common Ground United); & Linda Spier (Producer, Galisteo Basin Photography Project and Mora Photography Project)

We encourage UWC students, staff, faculty, San Miguel County and Mora County residents, land owners, public officials, community leaders and others to attend the film screening and discussion. This 2009 documentary shows the impacts caused by oil and natural gas drilling in Colorado and New Mexico. Tens of thousands of acres are being leased to the O&G Industry in San Miguel and Mora Counties right now. Come learn about the consequences for those in the path of this drilling boom. Oil and Gas development has arrived and we need to educate ourselves about the potential effects of this industry, and what we can do about it.

Everyone is welcome. Please join us."

Monday, November 2, 2009

What qualifies as riches?

New Mexico has the third largest natural gas reserves in the country, and we often hear about the money generated by drilling activities. Not so widely commented on, is the price paid by individuals whose health is sacrificed, air quality that is impacted, water that is contaminated, and irreplaceable environments that are destroyed in the process of oil and gas development.
Many of us probably wouldn't mind having a bit more money in the bank, but at what cost? While lack of money oftentimes leads to hardship, it is possible to overcome the hurdles of monetary need; however, there are no forms of life on earth that can survive without water.
We need to reassess our values and determines what truly makes us wealthy, is it industry's contributions to schools and political campaigns, or is it the unique environments that surround us and the irreplaceable natural resources like water, that we cannot live without?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The beginning

This is my first venture into blogging. It may take me a while to get this blog going, so please bear with me. My intention is to use this blog as an up-to-date source for information about events related to oil and gas development in Northern New Mexico.