U.S. Coast Guard publishes proposed policy on moving frack wastewater by barge

The U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates the country’s waterways, will allow shale gas companies to ship fracking wastewater on the nation’s rivers and lakes under a proposed policy published Wednesday.

The Coast Guard began studying the issue nearly two years ago at the request of its Pittsburgh office, which had inquiries from companies transporting Marcellus Shale wastewater.

If the policy is approved, companies can ship the wastewater in bulk on barges on the nation’s 12,000 miles of waterways, a much cheaper mode than trucks or rail.

The public will have 30 days to comment.
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Environmental group sues company over waste dumped into Allegheny River

An industrial treatment plant near Allegheny National Forest is dumping illegal amounts of salty, contaminant-laden wastewater from drillers into the Allegheny River in violation of state and federal laws, an environmental group charges in a federal lawsuit.

The state director of Clean Water Action said the group can't say whether Waste Treatment Corp.'s discharges into the river in Warren include wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of getting gas from the Marcellus shale.

“From our perspective, we just don't want it in the river,” said Myron Arnowitt, whose group asked a federal judge in the lawsuit filed on Monday to order Waste Treatment to stop discharging and fix any damage done to the river.
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Federal lawsuit: Plant in Warren discharging drilling waste into Allegheny River

Clean Water Action has filed a federal lawsuit against Waste Treatment Corp., alleging the commercial water treatment facility in Warren is illegally discharging gas drilling wastewater containing high levels of salts, heavy metals and radioactive compounds into the Allegheny River.

The statewide environmental organization, which filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Erie, said the company has violated its discharge permit limits more than 400 times since 2010.
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Pennsylvania Currents | Late Summer 2013

pennsylvania currents
late summer 2013 edition

Fracking Contaminates Water, DEP Finds

The potential for local water supplies to be contaminated by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas is among Pennsylvania residents’ top environmental concerns. Oil and gas companies claim this never happens. In 2011 testimony before Congress, Pennsylvania’s then- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary, Michael Krancer said he knew of no cases of contamination.

Clean Water Action has been helping a statewide coalition determine how many water contamination cases DEP is aware of. The groups want to know what the state has done to help affected families and what actions are being taken to prevent future contamination. Under pressure from Clean Water Action, environmental allies, legislators and the public, Krancer finally wrote a lengthy April 2013 response, stating that DEP was aware of twenty-five water contamination cases from Marcellus Shale gas wells. Krancer resigned as DEP secretary two days later.
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Maybe Pennsylvania can be friendly to clean water

Group Hails Kathleen Kane’s actions against XTO as a refreshing change from Governor Corbett’s policies

Clean Water Action welcomes Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s decision to prosecute XTO Energy for dumping more than 50,000 gallons of fracking wastewater in Lycoming County in 2010.  The attorney general is showing that at least one elected state leader is serious about protecting clean water by arguing strict liability, which doesn't require that intent or even recklessness be proven. This case is especially notable because it is the first time a Marcellus Shale company is facing criminal charges for their actions.

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09/13/2013 - 08:44

Shale criminal charges stun drilling industry

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision to prosecute a major Marcellus Shale natural-gas driller for a 2010 wastewater spill has sent shock waves through the industry.

But environmentalists Wednesday hailed the prosecution of the Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary as a departure from the soft treatment they say the industry has received from Pennsylvania regulators. "We have been very concerned about enforcement in the Marcellus, and we welcome the attorney general's taking an active role," said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action.

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2013 Eastern Pennsylvania Celebration

Boat House Row.jpgPlease join us at The Fairmount Rowing Association boathouse for our annual fundraising event to support Clean Water Fund's work to protect our water, our health and our future.

Get your tickets or learn more about sponsorship here!

This year we will have many wonderful items for auction including:

Get Toxics Out of Our Three Rivers, Say River Users

Activists gather to advocate for clean water

[Pittsburgh, PA]   On Saturday, August 24th, the Sierra Club,Clean Water Action, the Center for Coalfield Justice with support from Three Rivers Waterkeeper, gathered at a Point State Park press conference and rally that included kayaks and canoes with banners and signs to declare support for clean water standards recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and currently open for public comment.
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08/24/2013 - 07:26

Sometimes raucus crowd confronts group threatening waste water suit

It was standing room only at a public meeting held at First Lutheran Church on Wednesday sponsored by Clean Water Action, the environmental group that has filed an intent to pursue legal action against Warren-based Waste Treatment Corporation for what it contends is an illegal discharge in the Allegheny River, and the West Side Alliance.

The vast majority of those in attendance sported hats with PIPP, Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers, and stickers that said "Our industry needs the services of WTC."

Clean Water Action Pa. State Director Myron Arnowitt opened the session with a presentation outlining the case his group believes warrants potential litigation against WTC.
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Appeals court says residents can sue owner of Cheswick power station

When Kristie Bell bought her Springdale home in 2008, she realized it was close to the Cheswick power plant and asked company officials about the plant's visible plume.

“They said it was just water vapor, steam,” she said. “Steam that has stuff floating in it?”

Bell and Joan Luppe sued GenOn Power Midwest LP in April 2012 on behalf of residents living within one mile of the 570-megawatt, coal-fired power plant who contend it causes a nuisance because particulate matter and white fly ash land on their properties and it emits cancer-causing chemicals.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a lower-court decision dismissing the case.
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