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Written by Roseanne Staab   
Monday, 03 October 2011 00:00
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The Supervisors of North Shenango Township held a Town Hall Meeting on September 24, to discuss the negative side of the Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Industry.

Supervisors Jeff Daniels, Eloise Settlemyre and Bill Emerick sponsored the meeting and provided donuts and coffee for the audience, paying for the refreshments out of their own pockets.

No taxpayer money was used to pay for any aspect of the meeting.

A private citizen donated $20.00 from his own pocket to the NST Community Center, a non-profit entity.

The NST Supervisors continue to offer free rental of the DVD Documentary, "Gasland" by Joshua Fox, which was nominated for an Academy Award this year.

It follows the story of Fox and the town of Dimmick, PA, and the drilling for natural gas out in Eastern Pennsylvania, along with the consequences. Families are featured who have had to leave their homes due to environmental damage and water contamination so severe that faucets can be lit on fire.

Citizens interested in viewing "Gasland" may call 724- 927- 2568 and make an appoint- ment with the township secretary.

The DVD rental is free, please return it to the township office, damage free, when finished.

Community News has published some information relating to Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling, along with several articles on Pymatuning Lake and clean water being such as important issue.

Most notable, the Espyville Buzz titled, "What the Frack?!" and the Horsin’Around with Roseanne, "The Kiss of Life."

The NST Supervisors stated that this Town Hall meeting was to present one side, the Con or negative, and that a later meeting would be held to present the positive, or Pro side.

The NST Supervisors hosted Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields as the keynote speaker. He traveled from Pittsburgh to Espyville for the meeting, and did not charge a speaking fee for his time.

Doug Shields, along with fellow City Council members, has successfully passed a Drilling Ban Ordinance within Pittsburgh City Limits on November 16, 2010.

Pittsburgh is the first city in the USA to do so,

Doug Shields is also a member of the Community Environmental Defense Fund Unit.

This non-profit group provides free legal advice to citizens and municipalities who are struggling to regulate or stop corporations from (harming) local communities.

See www.celdf.org

Political notables in this audience were Michele Brooks, State Representative, Lonny Sowers, the current EMA Director for North Shenango Township, and Patricia Gillette, candidate for Crawford County Commissioner.

There were none of the three sitting Crawford County Commissioners present.

There were no members present from any of the local Fire Departments, although two members were present from the 17 House Crew, stationed next door to the Community Center.

When asked for a comment to the newspaper, Rep Michele Brooks responded that she, "Wants to hear both sides of this issue and was here to get more information."

Crawford County Commissioner candidate Patricia Gillette stated that she, "Had this drilling subject on media releases from the beginning, and that Shale Fracking would become a very big issue; in fact, it will become the main issue of our time."

Continuing, she said, " Water will become a very big issue for us and people better get educated on both sides of this."

Doug Shields took the floor to speak in front of an audience of over 150 people, stating that the most important thing for people to do on this issue is think.

He said that he wasn’t here to sway opinions, but to present scientific facts, and with these, he wanted people to think:

  • To think about your land and your community, a rural and farming area.
  • Think about your children, family, your town, your government officials.

Shields encouraged the audience to go look at the gas fields of Washington County, Pa.

Go see the dead cows; the owners are now freezing their corpses to be used as evidence in lawsuits.

Go talk to farmers and land owners whose wells have been contaminated and whose local roads destroyed by heavy truck traffic.

Shields began by giving some background information on himself, starting with farming and farm work in his early life, before moving on to working on oil boats and river boats.

He has extensive knowledge of the oil industry and later went on to get a degree as a Paralegal.

He worked at two different law firms, one dealing with complex case litigation, the other a firm specializing in Environmental Law.

He is currently seated on the Pittsburgh City Council and plans on retiring in January of 2012.

Shields mentioned that the company Quaker State had drilled wells in the Allegheny National Forest, so he is familiar with the regulatory side of Environmental Law, and also the viewpoints of the Oil and Gas Industry.

Shields came across as well-spoken, educated and very informed on this issue; he never shouted or became loud, but simply stated the facts as he has researched them.

The City Ordinance enacted by Council in November of 2010 has not been repealed nor the City of Pittsburgh sued.

He has gathered many, many facts on this issue and is publicly stating them to audiences, who are growing in numbers.

If the information he is publicly dispersing was false and untrue, he would be sued for libel and slander.

It is obvious he has spent hours researching and experiencing this issue first-hand; the fact that he is not in litigation over falsehoods and slander attests to this

Community News will publish his speech in a series, as there is a lot of information to assimilate.

Please read future issues of CN to see the remaining parts to this article.

He went on to say that the first exploratory well for Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling was in 2003, in Washington County.

Pennsylvania sits atop an enormous gasfield, locked deep within shale rock deposits; the state holds some 20% of the world’s reserve.

Included in this is the Marcellus, the Utica and the Devonian Shale deposits.

These gasfields are known as "plays," in the industry, and PA alone has three of them.

Drilling companies refer to Pennsylvania as "The Fairway of the Marcellus."

Horizontal drilling practices, which use hydraulic fracturing, follow the shale lines outward, for up to a mile.

Fracturing," or "fracking," blasts the natural gas out of the rock using water, sand and a combination of chemicals, which include rust inhibitors, Benzene, Barium and Strontium. (1)

The blasting process not only unlocks the natural gas from the rock, it unlocks everything else, as well, including something called, "Volatile Organics."

This material is unique to Pennsylvania.

Natural gas is formed when organic material, such as plants, die and decay.

Volatile Organics exist underground, along with appropriate amounts of radio active material

The "chemical cocktail" used to frack a well consists of 99% water, or 750,000 gallons, and 1% chemicals, or 7,500 gallons, for every well drilled.

Approximately 20% of this comes back out of the well, as a by-product .

Some 60% of these chemicals are known carcinogens and more than 40% are endocrine disruptors. (2)

BTEX is short for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and zylenes.