" Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
-Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese Philosopher
Get over your winter blues by joining us on our first Keep it Wild hike of the year! This Sunday we will adventure back into the Loyalsock State Forest for some fresh air fun and comradery. Come get lost in the natural world for the afternoon and remember the importance of the wild places we are working to protect.

In breaking news, retribution has finally come for 160+ salamanders and many amphibian egg masses that were killed back in the beginning of 2015. Read all about the charges below.

Money is talking and fossil fuel interests continue lobbying in an attempt to speed up extraction and block much needed environmental protections. According to  Rep. Greg Vitali's recent report , th e natural gas industry in Pennsylvania spent more than $7 million last year and more than $62 million in lobbying expenses since 2007 to influence the Pennsylvania legislature One finding shows that there are 203 registered natural gas industry lobbyists in Pennsylvania - equal to the number of state House lawmakers.  And as for the promise of industry jobs, a recent article in the New York Times describes how Texas Oil Fields are Rebounding from the Price Lull, but Jobs are Left Behind .

One local organization proactively archived some important documents from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in case they are ever lost or removed from the DCNR site. Thanks to the PA Forest Coalition, links to studies such as "Impacts of Drilling in State Forests" and the "Citizens Guide to Protecting Our State Forests" are now included on the "current issues" page of the Coalition's website.

As gas well permits are renewed and drilling is starting in new places, the PA Department of Environmental Protection is issuing more well cementing and casing violations. Get the details below Defective well casings are a threat to drinking water and our environment. According to  Dr. Anthony Ingraffea , all cement will fail eventually, some immediately, some over many years. Spills are another risk for environmental contamination and a  recent report published in "Environmental Science and Technology"  highlights thousands of spills at oil and gas sites across the nation. And to top it all off, Pennsylvania  has just confirmed its first fracking-related earthquakes  which took place in back April, 2016.

The petition for hotel tax money accountability is still open for signing (please share on your social media sites... we need more signatures!)

And now on a more personal note, I would like to express my gratitude for your readership over the years, a true testament to your will to stay informed on current industry happenings, as well as your participation in helping to protect our beautiful homeland. A shift is occurring within our organization and there will be a "changing of the guards" going forward in managing this news publication. 

I'm not going to lie, it has been a challenging couple of years seeking and sharing much of the information presented to you through this newsletter. The number of you that come out and show your support in times of need helps to keep the faith alive that we can make a difference when we work together, and we are doing that. Knowledge truly is power, and as I resign from the Managing Editor position, I can assure you that RDA is committed to keeping you informed via our newsletter, website and event sponsorships. 

We welcome your input, suggestions and article submissions for future newsletters. Please consider attending our Working Group meeting held the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm at Cloud Nine Restaurant in Montoursville.  We also need your financial support & the Raise the Region fundraiser coming up next month would be a fine way to contribute. 

I am hopeful that the grassroots groundwork has been laid and that active organizations will continue working together in order to protect and preserve the environment we all require to thrive. Community is the key and now is the time to band together to make an even larger impact on Pennsylvania's environmental protections. Get involved at the local level, attend your township/borough/city meetings & keep your local legislators accountable and working to represent you wonderful citizens of PA, not big industry money. There is still much to be done, so please don't be discouraged. Keep up the fight to Keep it Wild!

Our first hike of 2017 will launch this Sunday, February 26, at 11 am. Come join us!

It's time to get back into the Keep it Wild spirit and get back out onto the trails! This hike will be a pretty easy one to get us back in the swing of things. We will be meeting at the parking lot on Little Bear Road and heading south on the Loyalsock Trail for a bit. Some may choose to stay on the trail when it splits and others may choose to go up Pete's Path for a little more of an adventure; either way you choose it will be a great outing! We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Driving Directions: Follow Route 87 north about 9 miles. Turn right onto Little Bear Creek Road and proceed about a mile to the parking area on the left.

ENGLISH CENTER - Misdemeanor charges have been filed against Texas-based Anadarko E&P Onshore and a second company, Oil States Energy Services, of Clearfield, for allegedly polluting Little Pine Creek and a tributary of Bonnell Run in Pine Township, according to the state attorney general's office.

The companies are accused of allowing wastewater to flow into the two waterways,  "which caused the death of aquatic life" in mid-February 2015, Paul Zimmerer, a member of the Environmental Crimes Unit of the attorney general's office, said in an affidavit.

Despite  "verbal agreements"  with the hunting and fishing corporation that no contaminated water would be stored on the property, Anadarko  "placed 65 temporary frac storage tanks"  on one of the pads, Zimmerer said.

Louis Grant Jr., the head of the gas committee for the hunting and fishing corporation, was notified on Feb. 17, 2015, that there was  "a release of production water from frac storage tanks on Pad D," Zimmerer said.  When he visited the site the next day, Grant saw that  "the release originated from a tank overflowing from the top, despite being told there had been a faulty valve,"  Zimmerer said.

Zimmerer said that an environmental health and safety representative from Anadarko estimated the release of wastewater was "25 barrels, or 1,050 gallons."

A pollution investigation by a fisheries biologist with the state Fish and Boat Commission determined that the release from Pad D resulted in  "the death of 165 salamanders, with an estimated value of $6,100, as well as dead amphibian egg masses," Zimmerer said.

Anadarko and Oil States Energy both were charged with pollution of waters and disturbance of waterways and watersheds. The companies each have been sent a summons to appear before Judge Lepley of Jersey Shore, PA.

February 26 -  Keep it Wild Hike - This Sunday! 11 am ( details above).

March 4 -  Fight for the Land: No Pipelines Rally -  Hearts & Bones Organic Farm, 4 Covered Bridge Drive (east of State Route 42), just north of Bloomsburg, PA - Noon-3 pm -  The farm lies near Little Fishing Creek, one of the waterways endangered by the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. The rally will include speeches, a guided walk, food and drinks.  - Click here for the Facebook event .

March 8 - RDA Working Group Meeting - Cloud Nine Restaurant, Lycoming County Airport - 5:30 pm - All are welcome!

March 8 - Salamander Kill Hearing - before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley for Anadarko E&P Onshore of Woodlands, Texas, and Oil States Energy Services of Clearfield regarding the salamander kill mentioned above.

March 8 & 9 -   Raise the Region - the First Community Foundation Partnership's 30-hour regional fundraising event - This is a wonderful opportunity for you to help RDA with our fundraising efforts. Please consider making a donation. Thank you!  Click here for details.

March 22 - The Big Picture of Energy and Climate - 7 pm, Keiper Recreation Center, Lycoming College - Penn State professor Richard Alley will discuss the dynamics of how money, jobs, national security, ethics and the environment influence perceptions and decisions about energy. This event is free and open to the public. Alley  has conducted important research in glaciology and contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Click here for more information.

April 22 - Earth Day March for Science - Washington, DC - Bus from Williamsport available - The March for Science is a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. It's time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.  To reserve your seat on the  April 22nd  bus leaving from the Lycoming Mall to Washington, DC, contact organizer  Glenda Heyd at  knitkook@icloud.com. Tickets are $43.

Well Permits & Violationspermits

New drilling has begun and violations have been issued within the following Lycoming County Townships:

Jackson Township
Brown 2H (permit renewal)
SWN Production Company

Eldred Township
Winter 3 Winter 4  (drilling has begun)
Inflection Energy

The following permit violations were issued to Exco Resources for casing & cementing failures, as noted below: 

Gamble Township
Permit violation (1/23/17)

Penn Township
Permit violation (2/6/17)
Permit violation (2/6/17)

78.86 - CASING AND CEMENTING - DEFECTIVE CASING OR CEMENTING - Operator failed to report defect in a well that has defective, insufficient or improperly cemented casing to the Department within 24 hours of discovery. Operator failed to correct defect or failed to submit a plan to correct the defect for approval by the Department within 30 days.

Defective well casings are a threat to drinking water and our environment. According to Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, all cement will fail eventually, some immediately, some over many years. Spills are another risk for environmental contamination and a recent report published in "Environmental Science and Technology" highlights thousands of spills at oil and gas sites across the nation. And to top it all off, Pennsylvania has just confirmed its first fracking-related earthquakes which took place in back April, 2016.
Where Does Our Tax Money Go? petition

A bipartisan group known as the Lycoming County Citizens For Hotel Tax Accountability is concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of millions of dollars generated through hotel tax. These public funds are paid by hotel customers.

If you agree that it is time for transparency in the use of our hotel tax, we  invite you to sign on to a letter asking the Lycoming County Commissioners to hold the Chamber of Commerce accountable for appropriate use of this public tax money. Please SIGN ON at the link below.
Click here to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. It costs nothing to sign up, but tax-free donations are accepted & greatly appreciated.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization,  RDA relies on donations for the important work we do. In order for  RDA to continue its valuable education and advocacy outreach in 2017 and beyond, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to our efforts. Click on the Facebook or RDA logo below, then click the "Donate" tab on the top right of either page to make your donation.

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Responsible Drilling Alliance

Managing Editor: Brooke Woodside
Contributing Editors: Barb Jarmoska,
Ralph Kisberg,  Ted Stroter, Norman Lunger