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Fracking & Light Pollution in PA

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#76 Smittty692k4

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:20 PM

Neilson,

Where outside of Pleasanton are you?

I have mixed emotions on this topic.
1) I LOVE dark skies, using my scopes, seeing stars, and most recently imaging.

2) I work for MI Swaco/Schlumberger in the Production Testing Services area. My main area is the Eagle Ford. My job allows me to have the funds to support my family and curve my telescope addiction.

I need the work, but want for dark skies.

Yes, any type of oilfield always has its downsides, but there are some (depending who you are) upsides as well. Small towns down here like Catarina, Carrizo Springs, and Cotulla were barren wastelands 6 years ago, but now thrive due to oilfield traffic. New businesses, better roads, and local economy are thru the roof. Plus it doesnt hurt if you happen to have mineral rights.

I know the upsides and down, and I dont want anyone here to think im an oilfield lobbyist. I am gone away from my family for days, weeks, and occasionally, months on end.
I hate my job, but it pays the bills.

I brought my 8SE with me on this job (I posted a pic in the "Viewing area" thread yesterday) and last night turned off the light plants on location just to show my night guy what he was missing.

I agree with all of you, the light pollution COULD be cut down tremendously, but with oilfield companies bringing in billions in revenue, being charged for light plant and diesel rentals is insignificant compared to profits.

I hope it changes I really do, but as far as the near future, in south Tx anyways, it will only get worse before it gets better. At least for the life of the Shale play.

Clear skies to you all.

#77 George N

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:26 PM

Hi George,

Thanks for the update. Was there any mention of working with the gas companies to install night sky friendly fixtures with motion control at the various sites to minimize their LP impact? Enacting LP regs. would certainly help but the time frame to get them enacted in the current climate would take quite some time. I think the horse will have left the barn at that point, assuming it hasn't already.

John


John,

The only thing I can remember Chip saying is that "the gas industry" is not adverse to anti-LP regulation, shielded lighting, etc. Apparently they are willing to do a lot to improve their public image. Chip emphasized the point that the long-term LP threat to the area is from the logistics sites that will remain long after the drilling. There is already a new equipment staging area to the northeast of the park with piping, drill rigs, parked trucks, etc. I did not see it at night, but I think I remember light poles.

Considering the anti-LP efforts that the village of Galeton has already done (changed to all shielded street lights), I would bet that the gas industry might be willing to do a lot if they can be sure that they will not have to re-install new lights at a later time to meet new laws.

#78 Kfrank

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:40 PM

Here in Colorado, you can heat your house, run your car, and your lawnmower...all from the convenience of your Kitchen faucet!!


Where are you getting this from???

I regularly watch the local news in Denver and read 2 daily newspapers and I've never seen anything about the faucet incidents you keep referring to.

#79 neilson

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:42 PM

Hi Matt,
I live on Corgey rd. Near interstate 37. East of Pleasanton. There was nothing but ranch land and 2 cemeteries on our road until 2012. Now there's about a dozen or more brand new businesses all in brand new buildings, all built since January 2012. All of it was a ranch with trees and cattle. A smooth talking developer guy bought small parcels then finally the entire ranch all the way up to our 10 acres. The owner of the ranch didn't need the money and didn't want to sell any of it but the developer guy just wouldn't stop bothering him until he got every acre of it. He is building quickly coming up the road. These are all oil field support businesses.

On the other side of town is a large industrial park that was abandoned many years ago. Some of the buildings and lots have been bought by oil field businesses but there are more open spaces for sale there than could fill this entire road. There are even truck stops and access to the interstate over there. Our road just goes over the interstate with no access at all. The bad part is they didn't need to install all those high powered lighting up on high poles that light up the sky all night long. They are closed at night. You'd think they were new car dealers.

I have seen how the oil field has overtaken those areas you talk about like cotulla. There are some huge ranches all around there owned by rich people in Houston and Dallas that use them for hunting. Now they are getting even richer from the oil wells. Until a few years ago all that area use to be extremely dark all around as far as you could see. Not anymore.



neilson

#80 David2011

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:19 AM

And herein Wisconsin, home of numerous frac sand mines that run 24-7, the light domes mark each facility.


Why do they feel they have to light up every facility? Lighting does not equal security!


New to the forum and don't want to ruffle feathers but I've been an amateur astronomer for a long time and have some exposure to the oilfield. There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about fracking. The sand mines run 24x7 and are lighted so the operators can dig up the sand. Fracking a well takes from a day to a week depending on how many zones are to be fracked. The locations are lit while the crews are working. When finished there are normally no lights or flares left. Natural gas has gotten into water wells for as long as there have been water wells. Fracking occurs thousands of feet below the surface. Most water wells are 25 to 250 feet deep. The casing (pipe) of a well is cemented into the ground under
high pressure to seal the casing to the ground and isolate the production zones from one another, groundwater and the surface. I won't say that a natural gas well has NEVER contaminated groundwater but don't believe that every story I see on TV is related to drilling. Decomposing vegetation or coal is a more likely source of methane at water well depths.

David

#81 csa/montana

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:35 AM

Welcome to CN David! Thanks for your input concerning fracking, good to know these things.

#82 George N

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:46 PM

And herein Wisconsin, home of numerous frac sand mines that run 24-7, the light domes mark each facility.


Why do they feel they have to light up every facility? Lighting does not equal security!


New to the forum and don't want to ruffle feathers but I've been an amateur astronomer for a long time and have some exposure to the oilfield. There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about fracking. .....

David


David,

This is (in my opinion) not the place to discuss the pros and cons of gas frack'ing, except as it impacts Light Pollution in PA.

There has been a *major* impact to LP in PA, especially in the Cherry Springs dark sky park area, and others.

They are in the process of drilling many thousands of wells in what was empty forest, and will continue for many years. The lights on the well pads, and from all of the new truck traffic is part of the LP problem right now, plus the flaring. They do *a lot* of flaring right now in PA because there is no pipeline system in place, and thus no place to send the gas when it's first produced, and has to come out of the well. The industry itself acknowledges that in PA wells will have to be re-frack'ed every 5 years or less, so there will be no reduction in drilling/frack'ing light any time soon. However, as the gas lines go in, the need to flare will go down, or even disappear.

However, the bigger issue is the light coming from unregulated "industrial areas", like pumping stations, equipment storage facilities, truck parks, other support facilities, and other related development. Long convoys of water and drilling related heavy trucks and equipment now sometimes stream past Cherry Springs late at night for 30 or more minutes at a time. Without some sort of anti-LP regulation there is no doubt that the pristine dark sky that won Cherry Springs a "gold standard" designation from the IDA will be gone forever.

Other areas, like the nearby Mt. Pisgah State Park (formerly a green/gray zone border area), are already strongly impacted, with measurable loss of dark sky.

#83 amicus sidera

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:39 PM


New to the forum and don't want to ruffle feathers but I've been an amateur astronomer for a long time and have some exposure to the oilfield. There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about fracking. .....

David


David,

This is (in my opinion) not the place to discuss the pros and cons of gas frack'ing, except as it impacts Light Pollution in PA.


Indeed, George... indeed. :4

Any progress yet at the state level against these overlit towers?

#84 George N

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 09:33 AM


Any progress yet at the state level against these overlit towers?


From what I remember of Chip's talk at CSSP:

PA does not currently have any anti-LP laws that apply to the gas drilling industry. He also believes that long-term lighting of the various "industrial infrastructure" sites that will remain is the long-term LP "problem" for Cherry Springs and Northeast PA. He is a member of an IDA group working on suggested law covering the gas and oil industry, and he noted that Texas already has such laws and he is currently thinking they would work in PA.

As I mentioned before, new well gas burn-off (flaring) will become less of a problem as the collection pipeline system is installed. Only the first burst will be burned once they have enough pipes to collect the gas. I'm not sure what happens when an existing well is re-fract'ed to get it going again - something that has to happen about every 5 years.

In the past, they have noted at Cherry Springs discussion of the issue: Lighting on the drilling towers is dictated by existing Federal safety law, and is very unlikely to be impacted by any anti-LP law. Apparently, there is at least one person up on the tower at all times while drilling and the lighting has to be the same level as in a factory.

#85 galaxyman

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:34 PM

Hi George

Pennsylvania will probably not have any statewide LP laws anytime soon, for they do things like that on the local level.

Now my question is about the lighting fixtures at these gas facilities. Are they shielded or not?

I have not been up at Cherry Springs for a while now, so I have not seen any of this.

Something like this should get the full attention of the IDA. I know representatives of the POLC have been up there in years past.


Karl
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#86 George N

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:19 AM

Hi George

Pennsylvania will probably not have any statewide LP laws anytime soon, for they do things like that on the local level.

Now my question is about the lighting fixtures at these gas facilities. Are they shielded or not?

I have not been up at Cherry Springs for a while now, so I have not seen any of this.

Something like this should get the full attention of the IDA. I know representatives of the POLC have been up there in years past.


Karl
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Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...65?feature=mhee
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
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Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos


Karl, et al:

I took only a brief look at the new equipment storage yard east of Galeton. I believe that there are just plain ol' cobra-head street lights..... i.e., the worst kind. There were also a lot of trucks, so I expect some head light increases.

Chip said that he is on a new IDA committee drafting rules changes for their dark sky parks. They will now monitor LP, and a park (like CSSP) *can* now be down-graded if LP gets worse. Bottom line: CSSP could lose its 'gold standard' rating!!!

Chip is also on the IDA committee that is coming up with draft anti-LP laws for the gas/oil industry. He said that the industry in PA is agreeable, and looking to take actions that increases their popularity with the locals. Perhaps the IDA, PA state parks, other groups, could convince the PA gas companies to voluntarily implement the IDA recommendations? From what Chip said, it sounds like they would be agreeable. Again, he said that the anti-LP laws applicable to the gas/oil industry in Texas look to be a good model for PA, but will be reviewed.

#87 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 01:52 PM

The Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is seeking permission from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to frack and industrialize an unspoiled area of the Loyalsock State Forest known as the Clarence Moore Lands.

http://www.bayjourna...one_of_pas_g...

http://www.dcnr.stat...cnr_20026829...

Dave Mitsky






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