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Improving Content

I choose logoWelcome to I Choose A Clean World.

You may have noticed or maybe not, we’ve added two new pages.

In the upper right corner, across from the site title:

Luzerne Green – click on it.   In the coming weeks we will be adding more information, tips, and ideas of what YOU can do to make Luzerne County Green one home at a time.

Calendar – click on it.  Here you will find upcoming events, meetings and other activities to mark on your calendar.

COMING SOON: News, Action Items, and more!


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Marcellus Shale Documentary Project

marcellus doc project

The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project: April 19, 2013 thru June 8, 2013 at the Moose Exchange, 203 West Main Street in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

The exhibition includes the work of six professional photographers who share in the telling of the complex story of Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. This traveling exhibition opens with a reception on Friday, April 19th, at 6 p.m. and will remain on view through June 8, 2013. Artist Talks are scheduled for Wednesday, May 1st, beginning at 5 p.m. Four of the six photographers in the exhibition will discuss the project and their individual contributions to it. The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project photographers are Noah Addis, Nina Berman, Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson, and Martha Rial.

A series of related programs will take place throughout the duration of the exhibition. All events are free and open to the public.

THE MESSAGE AND THE MESSENGERSmessage-messengers

Tuesday April 30, 7 p.m.: “Connecting the Dots: Marcellus Shale Players Echo Chamber”
Presentation by Dory Hippauf
From talking points to word play to politics, Dory Hippauf connects the messaging machines and echo chambers of the Natural Gas industry.

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Wednesday May 1, 5 p.m.: Artist Talks, Marcellus Shale Documentary Project with Noah Addis, Nina Berman, Brian Cohen, and Scott Goldsmith

Four photographers from the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project will talk about the project and their individual contributions to it.

 Friday May 3, 7 p.m.: “The Good Old Boy Extraction Club”, Presentation by Wendy Lynne Lee

Few issues connect environmental integrity with social and economic justice more palpably than hydraulic fracturing. Wendy Lynne Lee with show how the latest fossil fuel gambit is really the same old boy profiteering.

For additional information about the MARCELLUS SHALE DOCUMENTARY PROJECT at the Moose Exchange contact Sue O’Donnell at sue.mooseexchange@gmail.com


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Solve for X: Bill Gross on solar cheaper than natural gas

Bill Gross SolarProblem: The price of solar electricity is still higher than electricity from coal or natural gas. Price parity or perhaps making solar cheaper than fossil fuel is required for widespread adoption of solar.

Solution: Bill Gross outlines several ideas that could reduce the material, labor and maintenance costs of solar thermal electricity.

Gross has been an entrepreneur since high school, when he founded a solar energy company. In college, he patented a new loudspeaker design, and after school he started a company that was later acquired by Lotus, and then launched an educational software publishing company.


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Collaboration Between Natural Gas Industry And Environmentalists Is A Public Relations Gimmick

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2013

Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition of Luzerne County, PA

The Pittsburgh based Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), is a public relations tool, created by the biggest oil and gas companies in the world, such as Royal Dutch Shell Chevron, EQT, and Consol Energy. Their goal is to help sugar coat a method of natural gas extraction called fracking. Public perception of this technique has suffered because of the many problems caused.  The driller’s cynical intentions are clear in their announcement promoting the coalition, which is intended to ‘hasten the expansion and acceptance of fracking.  “Making drilling more acceptable and making drilling safer is not the same thing”, said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth.

To call the CSSD a partnership between environmental groups and the shale gas and oil industry is misleading at best and a convenient lie at worst.

The Clean Air Task Force, one of the “environmental partners” in this coalition, was formed mainly to help reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired electric plants.  Their effort is hypocritical and misguided in light of recent scientific studies indicating that methane, (natural gas), is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  Natural gas leakage from drilling to delivery (extraction, flaring, compression and transportation) is so high that some consider it worse than coal.  Sierra club campaign director, Deb Nardone says,” If we have any chance of avoiding climate disaster, the majority of natural gas must stay in the ground.”

Real environmental groups, along with the unwilling community stakeholders lives have been negatively impacted by this gas drilling, seriously question whether this partnership will create any meaningful change from the industry, in fact, such a front group may cause more harm in the long run by trying to give the public a false sense of security that fracking can actually be done safely.

According to Sam Bernhardt, Pennsylvania Organizer at Food & Water Watch “The only way for the fracking industry to self-regulate itself in a fashion that protects the people of Pennsylvania is to kindly end its operations in Pennsylvania and exit our state.”

Right now, the PA Alliance for Clean Water and Air has tallied a “List of the Harmed” from natural gas extraction activities including over 1,200 names of people harmed to date.  The concept of sustainable fracking for natural gas and creating voluntary standards for compliance is concept is not only based more on hype from the industry than real science, but it also cons the American public into thinking natural gas can actually become a safe bridge fuel until renewable energy development takes over. This may be why the Sierra Club called this coalition “akin to slapping a band aid on a gaping wound

The Environmental Defense Fund, another coalition member does not consider the partnership a substitute for strong regulations. Unfortunately, the regulations governing shale gas development are seriously wanting in PA.  The 80 oil and gas well DEP inspectors we currently have is woefully understaffed to inspect the over 83,000 active oil and gas wells in PA. In fact, a report by Earthworks indicated that 66,000 wells went uninspected in 2011 and about 23% of new wells were not inspected at all.  If a coalition wants to hold the gas industry to a higher standard maybe, they should seek to have them follow the same standards as other industries. Currently, they still enjoy special exemptions bestowed from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, where they gained special relief from the Clean Air, Clean Water, Safe Drinking Water and Superfund Acts.

The group established 15 voluntary “performance standards” that operators can follow to attain certification – which they claim is an implicit stamp of approval for consumers. These standards, for which many environmentalists say are set too low, range from well casings to waste disposal practices. Many of the “standards” are vague and misleading such as agreeing to disclose the chemicals used in fracking, unless the industry decides to invoke a proprietary exemption and declares an ingredient is a trade secret, and then they do not have to disclose this to the public. CSSD members agree to follow best industry practices in casing design and installation. However, over the past three years these practices have resulted in an unacceptable leakage rate of 6-7% on new casings. Science and common sense show this failure rate only increases with time.  Unfortunately, these s0-called standards call for voluntary compliance. Voluntary compliance with no sanctions, fines, or permit revocation should they fail to live up to their promises, is window dressing. CSSD has absolutely no power or authority to enforce compliance.  The fox guarding the hen house is more of the same, as currently the DEP depends too much on voluntary reporting of problems at well sites.

Data from the DEP shows that since 2008, the four drilling operators involved with CSSD – Consol, EQT, Shell, and Chevron – have racked up 237 violations on 100 of their respective wells. This seems hypocritical for an industry that has been blatantly disregarded already weak regulations to now tout empty “standards”.

It is disingenuous of CSSD to use the word “sustainable” in the name. Quality science available, including the casing failure rate, indicates shale development is non-sustainable. Where data is lacking in needed science, as in the health studies, reports indicate this will not be available for decades. Fossil fuels are not sustainable.  Fossil fuels are a finite resource, once used they are gone.  Sustainable energy is the sustainable provision of energy, which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Technologies that promote sustainable energy include renewable energy sources, such as solar power, wind energy, hydroelectricity, wave power, geothermal energy, and technologies designed to improve energy efficiency.

We should not allow this slick advertising campaign to front an industry that should take a back seat to true sustainable and clean energy that modern societies deserve and can realistically deliver the energy we need, create sustainable jobs in the process, and will help pass on a cleaner planet for future generations.

~Dr. Thomas Jiunta, Spokesperson- Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition


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What You Wanted To Know About Plastic Bags But Were Afraid To Ask

What You Wanted To Know About Plastic Bags But Were Afraid To Ask

by Diane Dreier, Guest Blogger

plastic bagsUbiquitous – they really are everywhere! Whether you go to the supermarket or a mini-mart, a major retailer or a quaint boutique, a big box home improvement store or a neighborhood hardware store, chances are you’ll walk away with several plastic bags.

One billion – – that’s the number of plastic bags handed to consumers every year in the US.

Single Use – they are used for a few minutes and then thrown away.

Did you know?

  • that plastic bags are made from oil – a non-renewable resource?
  • that in the US, 12 Million barrels of oil is used to supply 100 Billion plastic bags annually?
  • that both paper and plastic bags require lots of resources and energy to produce?
  • that less than 4% of plastic bags are recycled?
  • that recycling plastic or paper bags is not simple or easy?
  • that there are between 500 Billion and 1 Trillion plastic bags in circulation annually?
  • that plastic is forever? Plastic never breaks down in the environment – it just gets reduced to plastic dust?
  • that about 100,000 dolphins, turtles, whales and penguins are killed each year due to ingesting plastic bags?
  • that plastics bags have been found floating north of the arctic circle?

Using cloth bags can save anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 plastic bags in a lifetime. Try and viscanvas bagualize  what 50,000 bags looks like in a landfill- pretty gross! Reusable shopping bags reduces emissions, petroleum usage and waste.

During its four year ban on plastic bags, China reports saving over 4.8 million tons of oil (the equivalent of 6.8 million tons of standard coal), not to mention 800,000 ton of plastic . Several cities in the US and a number of cities in England, Italy, Mexico, Australia and India have enacted similar bans. Reusable bags just makes sense.

The Best thing is that it’s Really Easy!

All you have to do is buy some inexpensive reusable bags from the grocery store, keep them in your car, and remember to use them. It gets lots easier with a little practice. (Remember to throw the bag in the washer after transporting raw meat or fish).

And when you get good at the grocery store bags, buy a small, lightweight, fold-able bag (some even come attached to a little pouch that the bag folds into) that you can keep in your purse for trips to the mall or spur of the moment purchases.

You’re going to feel great! You’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment every time you reach for that reusable bag instead of a plastic bag. You’ll feel great for yourself, for your planet – and especially for the generations who will come after you.

©2013 I Choose A Clean World


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Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition to Present Triple Divide

fb event td3Triple Divide is unlike any other film about the gas drilling industry that has come before.    In their co-creation of Triple Divide, Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic break new ground with a cradle to grave investigation of shale extraction.

The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition of Luzerne County will be presenting Triple Divide on Thursday, May 9 at 7pm, Temple B’Nai B’rith, 408 Wyoming Ave  Kingston, PA.   A Q&A with the Joshua Pribanic will follow the film.   Free to the public.

The title of the film reflects one of Pennsylvania’s very special places; the triple continental divide in north-central Pennsylvania, close to the New York border. Rainwater from this area can flow to three sides of the North American continent; down the Susquehanna River to the Chesapeake Bay, down the Allegheny River to the Gulf of Mexico, and down the Genesee River to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada.

Co-narrated by Mark Ruffalo, Triple Divide features never before seen interviews with industry giants and advocates, uncovered state documents, and expert testimonies.  Triple Divide shows the desperate situation in Pennsylvania through personal stories of people who are living the drill.

If you breathe air and drink water, this is a wake-up call to the reality that we are all downstream and downwind.


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We, the People, Demand

The following was presented by Diane Drier, Vice President of the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, at the Earth Day Celebration in Wilkes-Barre, PA, on Monday April 22, 2013.

landscape

EARTH DAY, April 22, 2013:

Before the shale gas industry invaded Pennsylvania, most of us who now have serious concerns about shale gas extraction, had never written to our elected representatives, we had never written letters to the editor, and we had never taken part in rallies or protests.  But now, people from all walks of life are galvanized to try to preserve our air and water from the negative environmental consequences of gas and oil extraction. PA constitution

More than 20 years ago, Pennsylvania voters ratified a Constitutional Amendment that reads:   The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come.  As trustees of these resources the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

The problems with the DEP, even the casual observer would have to conclude, is that some of our elected and appointed officials, those who are responsible for protecting the rights delineated in this Constitutional Amendment, act as though they have never actually read this Constitutional  Amendment.

For instance, it has been reported that the DEP often takes a combative stance when presented with legitimate questions from concerned citizens and treats these concerned citizens as adversaries – and that when it comes to water near frack wells, the DEP is doing everything it can to put on blinders.  It has also been reported that the DEP has used incomplete and misleading water test results to dismiss homeowner’s complaints and to protect the gas industry.

  • We, the People, demand that the DEP adopt a consistent protocol for testing contaminants in residential water wells, based on scientific principles, –    a protocol which tests for dangerous toxins associated with shale gas drilling.   We, the People, demand that complete and transparent test results are provided to homeowners on a timely basis.
  • As the Governor considers his choices for the next Secretary of the DEP, We, the People, demand:    That the next Secretary of the DEP come from a background of science and not from a background of lawyering and lobbying.
  • We, the People, demand: That the next Secretary of the DEP be free of any ties to the oil and gas industry.
  •  And We, the People, demand:  That the next Secretary of the DEP agree not to work in the oil and gas industry for five years after he leaves office.
  • We demand a Secretary of the DEP who will take seriously the core mission of that important agency.
  • We, The People, demand that the Governor reopen the DEP Office of Energy and Technology  Deployment to develop solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies right here in Pennsylvania.

Nations, like Germany, are leading the way in renewable energy research and development.  Twenty two percent of Germany’s power is generated with renewables with solar providing a fourth of that total. Through a combination of government policy and widespread public support, Germany, which is smaller than the state of Montana, has more installed solar capacity than the entire United States.  And this in a country that has limited sunshine – Germany gets about the same amount of sunshine as the state of Alaska.

Countries are not the only entities turning to renewable energy sources – many of our airlines report increasing progress in research using combinations of bio fuels and synthetic fuels to eventually replace petroleum products.

The past belong to fossil fuels but the future belongs to renewable energy.

  • We, the people, demand that the Governor and the DEP to look to the future towards clean, renewable energy sources instead of looking to the past in the extraction of dirty fossil fuels.

The Constitution of our Commonwealth states that We, the People, have a right to clean air and pure water.   We Demand that our elected and appointed officials protect the rights that are guaranteed to us in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and return the DEP to its core mission of protecting the environment for all Pennsylvanians – including generations yet to come.

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CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE

World action

The Citizens Advisory Council to the Department of Environmental Protection is requesting ideas on how to improve public participation in developing environmental regulations and policies.  The deadline for suggestions is April 26. This is an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to a DEP policy that will have a great impact on future public participation policies. It has been more than a decade since these policies have been updated.

With the surge of shale gas development around the state, many residents have first-hand experience with public participation processes and may have suggestions that they can share with the Advisory Council.

According to John Walliser, Council Chair, “The Department of Environmental Protection is now updating the agency’s public participation policies which have not seen significant changes in more than a decade. The Council believes this is a unique opportunity to ask the public for ideas on how they can be better informed about regulations and policies under development and how they can offer their comments and suggestions.”

Current DEP Guides on Public Participation:

  • Public Participation Policy
  • Overview of the Regulatory Process
  • Guideline for Developing Regulations
  • Guideline for Developing Policies and Guidance
  • Policy on Forming Regulatory Negotiation Groups | Comments/Response
  • Policy on Publishing Sunshine Notices
  • Rulemaking Petition Process
  • Advisory Committee Guidelines

In recent years several issues related to the regulatory and policy development process have been brought to the attention of Council which might help guide the public in making suggestions for improvement:

— Infrequent updating of advisory committee webpages to include advisory committee agendas and handouts in time for public review before meetings and basic information like committee membership and agency contacts;

— Lack of public notice for some advisory committee and subcommittee meetings and conference calls;

— The eNOTICE system could be used more effectively to provide information growing through the regulatory and policy development process; and

— The lack of a single calendar of upcoming advisory committee and subcommittee meetings and conference calls on the agency’s website.

The Council invites you to submit comments by April 26, 2013 by sending email to: RA-epcontactcac@pa.gov.  Please include your name, organization, if any, return mailing address, email and telephone number.

Send in your comments and suggestions.   This is YOUR opportunity to be heard.   Tell the DEP to let the PEOPLE be heard.

Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence. ~  Leonardo da Vinci

©2013 I Choose A Clean World