Aug 18 2010

NIMBY Gas Execs

New NIMBY – Gas Industry to Property Owners:

Not In My Back Yard But in Your Back Yard

Gas Execs Don’t Want Drill Pads

& Frack Water Ponds Near Their Homes

Experience a Shale Gas Drilling Operation Near Your Home!

  Photo courtesy of Note the Hallowich house and nearby gas operations.  Photo shows 3 hydraulic fracturing wells -- but today there are four.  Compressor station is now three times the size shown in this photo.  Photo courtesy of

Note Hallowich house & nearby gas operations. Photo shows 3 hydraulic fracturing wells -- today there are 4. Compressor station is now 3 times the size shown here. Click on photo to enlarge.

A new version of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) has emerged in the shale gas “boom.”

Executives from the gas industry want wells, frac water impoundments, compressor stations, cryogenic gas processing plants and pipelines on your property, not their property.

This blog has been reaching out to the gas industry to identify senior managers who believe in what they sell to other property owners.  To date, no gas executive has stepped up; but we’re still looking.

Nominate a favorite gas company exec by contacting this blog (click on “Contact Us” at the top of the page).


After all, computer, auto, and soft drink executives proudly take their products home for their families to enjoy and/or consume.  It is time for gas industry execs to step up to the leadership-by-example challenge.

This is a great opportunity for senior managers of the industry to:

  1. Demonstrate their personal belief in what they say is the inherent safety of shale gas extraction; and
  2. Demonstrate solidarity with property owners by living the dream of shale gas extraction on their own home property.

Gas executives who might privately worry about this strategy can take comfort in the promise of Range Resources, sometimes referred to as “the leader in the Marcellus.”

On the subject of hydraulic fracturing, Range Resources declares on its website:  “This technology has been safely used in more than 1 million applications in the United States with an explemplary [sic] safety record. In fact, there are ZERO confirmed cases of water contamination or pollution from hydraulic fracturing.”1

Property owners in many shale gas states would love to see gas executives share their experience.

4 Gas Wells Near House

For example, Stephanie and Chris Hallowich and their two children live in Washington County, PA, not far from Pittsburgh.  They are nearly surrounded by the shale gas industry (see photo).

Steph shared with this blog her family’s experience that began after they closed on their 10-acre property in November 2006 and started building their house.

“We had no clue as to what was coming our way,” Steph explained.

Today, next door to their property, there are four gas wells, a 12-million-gallon water impoundment (covering about 4 acres), a cryogenic gas processing plant, compressor station, meter station and numerous pipelines.

Three different gas companies are involved:  Range Resources (4 wells & 12-million gallon water impoundment), Williams (gas processing plant), and MarkWest Energy (compressor station).

Toxic Neighborhood

The distances from the family’s home and the facilities are as follows, according to Steph:

  • Nearest gas well – 930 feet from the house
  • Water Impoundment – less than 150 yards from the house
  • Cryogenic gas plant – less than 300 yards from the house
  • Compressor station – less than 600 yards from the home

The cryogenic gas processing plant and compressor station are less than 150 yards apart.

But because the gas processing plant and the compressor station are operated by two different companies (Williams and MarkWest), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) does not consider the combined air emissions from these two facilities when granting air permits.

This effectively raises the allowable limit for pollutants from two operations that are a mere 150 yards apart.  This is similar to what happens in Texas in terms of alleged environmental protection.

All of these operations have toxic emissions, and as Steph Hallowich notes:  “The Pennsylvania DEP only asks for the ‘Potential to Emit’ on nitrogen oxides, Volatile Organic Compounds and carbon monoxide.  THAT”S IT!  No methane.  No formaldehyde.  Sadly NO ONE is monitoring what is coming out on a daily basis.”

Because air quality is an issue, the Hallowich’s limit their children’s time outside.  Even wind direction is a factor.

Property owners who are weighing the risks/benefits of leasing drilling rights to a gas company should always talk to, or research, property owners who have such operations on or near their property.  Find out what their experience is like.

Meanwhile, ask gas company representatives if they have such operations on their property, near their home.

NOTE:  Next week’s blog post will continue to share the experience of the Hallowich family.  What happens if the so-called “fresh water” impoundment is contaminated?

How does a company like Range Resources maintain a 4-acre frack water impoundment?  The company brags in its annual report:  “At Range, we like to call ourselves ‘the white hat guys,’ … because we are committed to doing things right.”  See how the white hat guys do things right.2

Stay tuned!

Links & Resources

1 Range Resources on the safety of hydraulic fracturing – See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on its website – note the answer to the first question (and see 5th paragraph in the response):

Or here is the pdf file: range-resources-faq

2 “White hat guys” – see p. 15 (top of page) of the company’s “Annual Report 2009″ for Range Resources’ statement about what it does to “protect the environment, promote safety and support local communities.”  Pdf file: rr-annual-report-2009

For more information on the experience of property owners, see The Scranton Times-Tribune article titled, “Western PA communities changed by natural gas drilling offer local lessons” at this link:

Or here is the pdf file: steph-hallowich-gas-ops-times-tribune

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