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Life in the Gas Lane: Blowout! Edition

So, as just about everyone within range of a media source knows, Chesapeake Energy had a blowout at one of its natural gas drilling sites here in Bradford County, PA.

On the anniversary of BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout, thousands of gallons of chemical- and salts-laden fracking fluid were released, with an unknown amount entering the Towanda Creek.

A creek that is considered one of the prime trout and bass streams in the area, and which feeds into the Susquehanna River. (Pretty much anything I could say, Amy Souers Kobar at American Rivers said much better, and without cursing.)

As always in these situations, emergency management, the Dept. of Environmental Protection, and company officials are spewing the happy horse manure that all's well and there will be no impact on fish, wildlife, or plant life -- or the humans -- in the area. Considering that DEP now has a "top-down" directive, which gives officials in Harrisburg the final approval before "enforcement orders involving a fine, remedial action or the initial notice of violation" can be issued by the regional DEP, yeah. Like the member of the local "Official Old Dudes" coffee klatch at the local diner said yesterday, "If it came from Harrisburg, assume it's lying."

Chesapeake has suspended "well completion operations" at all its sites in Pennsylvania until the cause can be identified, which is currently thought to be a failed coupling below the blowout preventer.

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Personal Note: It isn't all bad news in BC, and I want to share my excitement. On May 4th, I'll be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society of two-year colleges, and on May 14th, I'll graduate from college (summa cum laude!) with an associate's degree in human services.

But wait! There's more! I received acceptance letters from all twelve schools I'd applied to for transfer, including (to my utter shock) Ithaca College. However...after a lot of thought, especially about the amount of debt I'm willing to take on, I'll be pursuing a bachelor's in sociology at Minnesota State-Moorhead.

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Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

A piece in the Scranton Times-Tribune said they called in Boots & Coots to deal with the well. Boots & Coots [an off-shoot of Red Adair's company] is very well known in the oil business and extremely well-compensated for their work, so Chesapeake must be really concerned to call them within the first day of the blowout.

Congratulations on graduation. A degree is only as good as the person who earned it, and I attended six different colleges or universities in my life, and taught at two others. George W. Bush graduated from Yale and Harvard, and he was dumber than a brick, so the institution doesn't really tell the HR department anything.

Submitted by lambert on

Great news, and I'm sure in MN you'll find other out-of-state corporations using the same playbook, although to extract different resources....

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

from our ranch. I hope they rethink all this fracking before they drill where they shot "The River Runs Through It". I'll send this story around as the local and,yes, yokels, think that fracking is perfectly safe.

Submitted by gob on

But congratulations and Minnesota will be the better for your presence.

Submitted by PA_Lady on

@ Bryan: Yeah, having Boots & Coots in here is a sign of desperation on Chesapeake's part. Either they were smart and knew this was beyond their capabilities, or they were smart and knew they needed a super-fast shutdown to limit the comparisons to BP.

@lambert: Indeed, and just across the Red River is North Dakota, where they're also fracking.

@twig: Ain't that the truth? And I heard on the news that cursing is supposed to be a good pain reliever....

@MM: Ugh!! The closest I've ever been to MT was watching that movie, and I can't imagine that landscape clear-cut and bull-dozed for well pads.

@gob: I'm going to miss PA as well! I've lived here for all but four years of my life, and most of it in Bradford County, so this will be a huge (but welcome) change.