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August 01, 2014
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Gas at a glance


Steingraber to dedicate $100,000 Heinz Award to fight hydrofracking

Ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber has been named the recipient of a Heinz Award, which comes with a $100,000 unrestricted cash prize, in recognition of her research and writing on environmental health, as reported on Truthout (www.truth-out.org/heinz-award-and-what-i-plan-do-it/1316444029). Steingraber has announced her intent to devote the award to the fight against hydrofracking in upstate New York, where she lives with her husband and their two children.

Steingraber, who is serving a residency as a scholar within the Department of Environmental Studies at Ithaca College, NY, is a bladder cancer survivor of 32 years. “Emancipation from our terrible enslavement to fossil fuels is possible,” maintains Steingraber. “The best science shows us that the United States could, within two decades, entirely run on green, renewable energy if we chose to dedicate ourselves to that course. Instead, evermore extreme and toxic methods are being deployed to blast fossilized carbon from the earth. We are blowing up mountains to get at coal, felling boreal forests to get at tar and siphoning oil from the ocean deep.

Through the process called fracking, we are shattering the very bedrock of our nation to get at the petrified bubbles of methane trapped inside. Fracking turns fresh water into poison. It fills our air with smog, our roadways with 18-wheelers hauling hazardous materials and our fields and pastures with pipelines and toxic pits. The bodies of my children are the rearranged molecules of the air, water and food streaming through them. As their mother, there is no more important investment that I could make right now than to support the fight for the integrity of the ecological system that makes their lives possible.”

Changes underway at PA DEP; Perry named Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas

Immediately following the announcement of a major agency reorganization recently, the PA Department of Environmental Protection appointed Scott Perry as new Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas Management. Also named were Denise Brinley as the new Director of the Bureau of Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields and Marcus Kohl as the Director of the new Office of Program Innovation. Both positions were created as a result of the restructuring of the department. Perry, an 11-year veteran of the agency, previously served as Director of the Bureau of Oil and Gas Management and was a former assistant counsel for DEP. Brinley was the former Deputy Secretary for Community Revitalization and Local Government Services and has been with DEP for seven years.

Kohl served as Executive Assistant to the Executive Deputy for Programs and previously worked as an Environmental Justice Advocate in DEP's Southcentral Regional Office and in the Office of Water Management. He has been with DEP for nine years. In April 2010, Perry told the Scranton Times-Tribune, “There has never been any evidence of fracking ever causing direct contamination of fresh groundwater in Pennsylvania or anywhere else.” Perry has also maintained that hydraulic fracturing is not a threat to water supplies.

Field course on ‘Hydrology and hydrofracking’ scheduled

Paul Rubin, geologist and president of the environmental consulting firm, HydroQuest, will present a one-day field course for educators on Hydrology & Hydrofracking at The

Heldeberg Workshop in Clarksville, NY near Albany, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 15. Participants will tour local nature preserves, examine the major aquifer types (unconsolidated, fractured bedrock, karst) and join in discussions of how groundwater and contaminants move in them, how freshwater aquifers are physically separated from deep, saline, waters and how they provide the sustained base flow to streams.

Hydrofracking will be extensively discussed, including means of methane and contaminant movement from gas-rich shale beds to explosive flares at kitchen taps. The fee is $25 and participants should bring a bag lunch and wear hiking boots.

Register at www.heldebergworkshop.org.