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December 11, 2016
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PA FBC sues Consol Energy over Dunkard Creek environmental disaster

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has sued Consol Energy for civil damages resulting from a devastating 2009 pollution incident in which discharges from a Consol coal mine entered Dunkard Creek, contributing to a massive fish kill spanning nearly 30 miles of stream in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The lawsuits seek compensatory damages for the lost aquatic life and lost fishing opportunities for Pennsylvania anglers and punitive damages to deter future pollution.

“The devastation to Dunkard Creek was astonishing,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Commission biologists estimated that over 42,000 fish, over 15,000 freshwater mussels and over 6,000 mudpuppies were killed. They also estimated that a large number of angler trips have been lost as a result of the fish kill. The Commission, acting as the Commonwealth’s trustee of these aquatic natural resources, is seeking compensation for the losses that occurred.”

In early September 2009, a total fish and mussel kill occurred in the creek after high concentrations of chloride and total dissolved solids in the discharge from Consol's Blacksville No. 2 mine in W.V. created brackish water conditions favorable for a bloom of toxic golden algae. The Dunkard Creek main stem begins near the town of Brave, Greene County, Pa., and meanders approximately 37 miles between Pa. and W.Va. until its confluence with the Monongahela River near Dunkard Township, Greene County, Pa. PFBC biologists collected 40 species of fish and 14 species of mussels that were killed by the incident. Among the dead mussels was the Pennsylvania endangered snuffbox mussel.

“This was a popular warm water fishery,” added Arway. “It will take decades to restore it to its prior condition.”
The PFBC filed lawsuits in West Virginia on Sept. 2 and in Pennsylvania today seeking monetary relief against Consol for damages to the natural resources of Pennsylvania and lost recreational opportunities for Pennsylvania anglers. The lawsuits were filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court, Morgantown, W.Va., and in the Greene County Court of Common Pleas, Waynesburg, PA.

In March 2011, Consol reached settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The company agreed to pay a $5.5 million civil penalty to settle hundreds of federal Clean Water Act violations at six of its mines in West Virginia over the past four years, including the Blacksville No. 2 mine. Consol also agreed to compensate West Virginia for the natural resources lost in the West Virginia portion of Dunkard Creek by paying $500,000 to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

PA FBC sues Consol Energy over Dunkard Creek environmental disaster.

My 1st and last post

The Natural raises concerns that many of the anonomous posters share. I have a business that interacts with people of a varied socio-economic background. I choose to not let my politics or opinions interfere with my business. I could potentially lose customers if I were to let all my beliefs known. I have in the past commented in other papers on topics where my knowledge could have been helpful to someone. Your reason for changing this policy is lame, like a spoiled child that does not want to hear they are spoiled. There is a policy in place to flag offensive comments, this alone should be effective in policing the comments.
Why are Barths words taken as credible,pertinent information while the Hicks is not. I have been following this paper, the comments, and editorials for some time. The few with opposing views,posting under false names,tend not to be the ones posting offensive comments.
I have logged on to TRR online for the last time. I will also be sure to discourage anyone,who is looking for a NEWSpaper, from purchasing the TRR as it has become clear it is only an adgenda driven rag.
Thank You

As a subnote...i am not comfortable with TRR having my name on file. It would not surprise me to find my name has been passed along to other commentors by some staff obviously sympathetic to their agenda.

This problem resulted from coal mining?

Wasn't this creek pollution the standard used by our obstructionist friends to vilify gas drilling?

Is it shale gas ignorance, or willful, snide, misrepresentation?

"CONSOL Forms CNX Gas.
Defendant CONSOL Energy, Inc. (“CONSOL”) is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. CONSOL is the largest producer of high-Btu bituminous coal in the United States. Its shares trade publicly on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CNX.” CONSOL is also a leader in the production of coalbed methane gas. In the early 1980s, CONSOL began extracting coalbed methane gas to reduce the gas content of its
coal and enhance the safety and productivity of its mining operations. From these beginnings sprang a commercial coalbed methane gas business. In June 2005, CONSOL formed defendant CNX Gas Corporation (“CNX Gas”),
also a Delaware corporation, to conduct CONSOL’s natural gas operations..."

About a year ago, I scolded such gas lackeys as Natural, and a Hancock representative on the UDC, for misrepresenting the US EPA preliminary report on the Dunkard Creek disaster. They wanted to portray Consol as "coal". Well, the fact is, they are "gas flowback waste" too, and they had permits to dump this waste into their closed mine, adjacent to the one everyone identified as the source of the TDS and chloride overdose that caused the algae bloom (formerly only found in the south, such as TEXAS, in salt water, not fresh water).

Consol was a coalbed methane extractor, but it is well reported that that same closed mine owned by Consol began being used as an "injection" / illegal dumping site for the shale gas extraction waste flowback resulting from local Marcellus frac'ing.

It is further well reported that this closed mine overflowed into the mine #2, the source of the outflow to Dunkard Creek.

We will hope that the Fish and Boat Commission (I told those anonymous fellows, Natural, and the UDC rep from Hancock, that the FBC was conducting a criminal investigation over a year ago [this settlement is the closing]), will come out with the full truth of its investigation, but I'm not holding my breath.
After all, settlements are often closed, just look at Stephanie Hallowich's settlement with Range Resources, recently.

To anyone who has actually followed this Dunkard Creek tradgedy, it was clearly caused, or at the minimum, reached beyond the tipping point, by the addition of unknown, but large quantities, of shale frac'ing flowback waste, added untreated, to Dunkard Creek. It is Marcellus Shale flowback waste that is astronomically high in the chlorides and TDS.

Consol coal mining operation waste had proceeded, unremarkably, flowing into Dunkard Creek, for many years prior to shale gas extraction. Very soon after shale gas extraction flowback waste was added to the equation, the Dunkard Creek fish kill, and Creek kill, resulted.

The usual suspects, with their propaganda denials, may continue to portray this disaster as "coal" based, but if you have a brain that is capable of logical evaluation, please use it.

I broke my personal "boycott" of TRR's anonymous comments, because Dunkard Creek's truth is very important to know.

Shame on you

You still refuse to acknowledge or are just ignorant to the difference between frac' fluid and acid mine wash. For the umpteenth time, the fish kill has absolutely nothing to do with frac fluid and everything to do with acid mine wash which is very prevalent in southern PA and West Virginia where "soft coal" is strip mined exposing acidic pyrite. Acid mine wash pulls iron from the soil then deposits it in the rivers as the acid dilutes and drops the iron which coats everything in a rust which in turn kills everything in the river down to the microbial level. Anyone who has witnessed it (which is blatantly obvious you have not) is aghast at the site of it. You willfully try to confuse the two issues in your sick attempt to demonize this industry. Just stop it already. You and your fellow DCS obstructionists at some point should do us all and even yourselves a favor and take a hydrology class already so you can stop making these kindergarten mistakes and argue with a hint of knowledge on the subject of "your" precious river of which you haven't even the core concepts of its basic principles and yet blather incessantly upon. The irony of this whole situation which no doubt escapes you is that if the area had been drilled for natural gas instead of strip mined, the river would be fine.

The Hick says it is so, therefore, it is?

At the end of the original "King Kong", the impresario looks at Kong, and says something to the effect, "it wasn't bullets, it was beauty that killed the beast".

Shame on who? Mr. Anonymous?

Hick, continues HIS misrepresentation, saying that the dumping of drilling/frac flow back waste into the adjacent mine shaft had NOTHING to do with the Dunkard Creek kill, while offering no evidence of analysis of the Creek water, yet telling us that what flowed out of the #2 mine was "...iron which coats everything in a rust which in turn kills everything in the river down to the microbial level."

Congratulations to him for that presentation, as he is right to suggest that it is the first time I have heard that "cause" postulated. Iron and rust?

First, the flip side of his coin, Mr. Natural, and Mr. Hick, for "umpteen times", have described Consol as only coal, and refuse to acknowledge Consol's huge gas extraction subsidiary AT THE TIME OF THE CREEK KILL, CNX. They refuse to acknowledge that CNX had permits to dump flowback waste from methane coal bed drilling (but not marcellus shale flowback waste) into the adjacent mine shaft. They refuse to acknowledge the reports of waste overflow from the adjacent mine shaft into the active mine, which flows out to the Creek. They refuse to acknowledge the reports of the illegal dumping of the marcellus waste, into that adjacent mine shaft, and they refuse to acknowledge the reports of the overdumping of flowback waste, in general, into that mine.

All reports state that the golden algae caused the kill, and that golden algae thrives in high salt (chloride) water. This phenomenon had previously only occured in certain warm water, southern climes, and yet here it appeared, out of the blue, in Dunkard Creek, one late August, 2009.

Iron? Rust? Ridiculous!?

The acid mine water is not comparably high in TDS and chlorides, and in this location, had been released into the Creek for years. Then, Consol/CNX got the permits to dump their coalbed methane flowback drilling waste, and reports point to the inclusion and dumping of the Marcellus shale drilling waste, which IS extremely high in both TDS and Chlorides.

Warm water + salt = golden algae = Creek kill.

Iron + rust = ...Arnold Schwartznegger?

Answer me this, Genius...

Have you ever witnessed acid mine wash first hand? Yes or no? You can make all the stupid equations you want here but the fact remains: you don't have a damn clue what you are talking about.

First hand knowledge?

My response to Mr. Snotty's comment is:

I do not present myself as a genius. I do,however,try to make a serious attempt at presenting information on a given shale gas extraction issue, as opposed to a simple, nasty, worthless, opinion, that is never backed up by any references.

Second, No, I have not "witnessed acid mine wash first hand". Neither did I have access to all that secret, classified information that G.W. Bush had, but I KNEW that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the attack on the WTC. You, like Bush, never produce any information, just accusation, and propaganda, that serves your greed, or cause.

I'll wrap up this last comment to Mr. Hick, by referring to another comment he made about MacBeth being his favorite play written by Shakespeare, because he could squeeze "obstructionist", without grace or wit, into Lady MacBeth's "Out damn spot" quote.

Really Hick, the appropriate quote for you, from MacBeth, is "Fair is foul, and foul is fair", because you have absolutely no regard for truth. Anything that serves your purpose, is fair, and that is why you, and your opinions, are so foul.

This goes for your identical twin, Natural, who thinks that anonymity serves "democracy", instead of transparency. Anonymity only serves cowards. It emboldens the coward to say things, and say them in a manner that any exposed person would not. The democratic process, and intelligent discussion, happen in the light of day, which the pundits often describe as the best disinfectant. That is, perhaps, why neither of you will post as real human beings. Given your sad track record, this will not be a loss to the community.

As I thought

Firstly, anyone who has witnessed acid mine wash first hand could not confuse it for anything else, it is that evident at a mere glimpse (thank you JB for your rare honesty on that obvious observation). Secondly backing up my self evident observations with references such as yours would only bastardize such observations to the point of making them bold faced lies. In closing as the TRR enacts its new requirements I say without grace or wit, "You shall be king of this paper but you shall have no heirs.".

James, you already say things most "exposed" people would not.

You are rude and use many insults in your comments. You are base and can only strive to avoid showing your true personality. You did, however hit the nail on the head. "anonymity serves "democracy", " was the statement you dismissed, but is true. It allows commenters the ability to speak without reprisal. What does it harm? The issue is moot, however, since you will have the stage henceforth and will be able to bloviate at will. Since no one is able to disagree, you will believe everyone feels the same as you and marvel at your amazing intellect. If you were on solid ground, the issue of anonymity would not matter to you. This is your game, your world, your paper. Know that you will be preaching to the choir, to like-minded obstructionists and not reaching those that feel differently. What good will your brilliant observations do if those that read them already feel as you do? You'll miss us when we're gone, as will this paper. For a liberal leaning publication, this censorship is a strange step, but one that will please its base. (Imagine The Wayne Independent actually showing more understanding of freedom and the exchange of ideas than TRR.) Now, if we could just get rid of those damn gas and oil ads?

Iron? Or irony?

You question TheHick and imply that simply because he says something doesn't make it so. No one makes more false assumptions and assertions, and hurls more insults that the aptly named James Barth. Next week you will have these pages to yourself. You will be able to make your ridiculous assumptions and assertions without dispute.

One can imagine the complaints the Editors here have received from their obstructionist base about the comments of TheHick and TheNatural. The powers that be got together and blame-stormed for awhile and suddenly realized that only a few characters actually use their real names and usually they are narcissists. Why not blackball those that register under creative, but non-identifying nicknames? Eureka! James will be able to blather at will. A couple others will join him. Everyone else will be silenced. This will once again be a paper totally devoted to the anti-drilling agenda and supporters will be pleased. Is that the path this paper truly feels is best? Eliminate opposing opinions? Will that make your cause stronger?

Mr. Barth declares victory!

This paper will no longer allow opposing opinions. Everyone will be on the same page and democracy will circle the drain. This is the paper's right to disallow comments, but what is the signal it is sending? The rude comments were from obstructionists like Mr. Barth and his friend, Obie. Well, these pages will be much duller and less read, but will be unanimous. This is a sad day for freedom of expression, but the anti-drilling position of this paper trumps its desire to find the truth. Adios, Amigos!


>>This paper will no longer allow opposing opinions.<<

If TheNatural is speaking of the "real names" policy TRR announced today, that is not true. One can write under one's own name and oppose the opinions of others in a civil, rational and fact-supported manner. Calling someone an "obstructionist" is not particularly civil because TN does not translate what an obstructionist is. What is it? It sounds bad and perhaps is meant to sound bad but what is an obstructionist and what is being obstructed exactly -- or blocked (per Webster)? Why not use straight language instead of provocative words with private meanings?

While Mr Barth is educating me on the details of Dunkard Creek, perhaps you can educate me on the meanings of your derogatory language

In any case, I'm immensely grateful to Mr Barth for explaining the history of Dunkard Creek. The quality of his comment is thoughtful and helpful, while I derived little significant value from TN's comment on the subject. This has nothing to do with my opinions about gas drilling, just about how I read English.

My own belief is that once we clear aside the debris of small and large snipes and ridicules such as those of MrNatural and MrHick, we might get down to the core debate about shale gas drilling without being distracted with side-plays and repulsed by disparagements. I look forward to more participants to join this blog to generate a civil and fact-filled conversation like Mr. Barth's note above, comparable to the print letters in TRR's print edition which are hardly all the same opinions and hardly "dull."

At center of TN's argument is the idea that without rude comments this TRR blog will be "much duller and less read." It could hardly be less read than it is now if one goes by the tiny number of comments, most of which are from TheNatural or TheHick. People I know stay away from this blog because they don't feel like getting shot down and TRR has not been very protective of civil discourse. TN has probably not read some of the famous blogs on the Internet whose comment threads are often perfectly fascinating in bringing together multiple different views using facts and clearly stated argument, not insinuation, denigration and ridicule as TN tends to do.

I thank Mr Barth for hanging in this long and breaking his boycott to make this important comment on Dunkard Creek. It opens up a whole new area of research for me to explore.


Mr. Barth has been less than civil, not that is concerns those of us that love him. His anonymous buddy, Obie, has been even less so. You can deny it and you can pretend this paper accepts all views, but in truth, there will be a one sided debate with only anti-drilling people commenting here. Watch and see. People with jobs and businesses can ill afford to lose what few customers they may have or incur the wrath of superiors. Major online publications and news outlets do not require real names. Why does this paper? It boils down to preaching to the choir, or keeping their base. This is unfortunate, but not unexpected. TheNatural did think the paper would probably make it to the end of the year, but some others thought it would end before now. You guys have the bat and ball and can make up the rules. We must accept that, but there will be less interest in reading these pages online henceforth. It was fun while it lasted. Luckily, drilling is now on the horizon. Government is backing the EPA off and realizing it needs to create jobs. Now obstructionists will be able to tell each other that there will be no jobs, the jobs will suck, they will all be filled by drugged Texans, and no one wants drilling anyway. This paper has lost something it will never regain. Credibility.

Is that another trick question?

Once again, Mr. Barth breaks his self-imposed exile to deliver information others need to know. This is some burden to carry. Does one remain silent in protest of this paper allowing freedom of expression that allows morons to voice wrong opinions? Or does one give the readership the advantage of reading the thoughts of real genius to better understand the truth behind every story? Most of us have no idea how difficult it is to know so much more than everyone else. Mr. Barth asserts that if one is smart enough to add up a few things "widely reported" to obstructionists everywhere, like add another 100%, divide by number of snails killed, and subtract the depth of the mine, you will see the obvious. Gas drilling caused a coal mine to contaminate the creek. We are fortunate that Mr. Barth gives us the benefit of the truth according to Barth, even if it is at a much reduced rate.