.

White Introduces Bill Forcing DEP to Disclose Test Data to Landowners, Leaseholders

'There is no justification whatsoever for disclosing anything less than 100 percent of the information about the substances in the air and water of Pennsylvania residents,' the legislator said.

State Rep. Jesse White introduced legislation this week that would require the state Department of Environmental Protection to disclose the full and complete testing results—including raw data and documentation—of any environmental tests conducted by the department on a landowner’s or leaseholder’s property in Pennsylvania.

According to H.B. 268, DEP would have to make the information available at no cost and within five business days of receiving a written request from the landowner or leaseholder, or face civil penalties of up to $1,500 if the department fails to make the information available.

White, D-Cecil, who previously called on DEP to make public the full testing data and other details related to air and water quality tests amid concerns of nearby Marcellus Shale drilling operations, said his legislation would ensure that Pennsylvania residents can access their complete test results, and prevent that information from being withheld through bureaucratic maneuvering.

“Pennsylvanians have a right to know the entire truth about what DEP discovers from testing on their property; nothing more, nothing less,” said White. “DEP has used exemptions in the Open Records Law to deny requests for testing data and has even claimed there was a greater interest in withholding data than in releasing it to the public, which is fundamentally wrong. There is no justification whatsoever for disclosing anything less than 100 percent of the information about the substances in the air and water of Pennsylvania residents.”

In June, DEP denied White the complete details of air quality test results taken at Cornerstone Care, a Burgettstown-area health clinic that was forced to close on multiple occasions due to a mysterious odor that sickened employees. After given a series of partial and inconsistent test results, White said the raw data could have helped identify the cause of the odors at the clinic, which was located next to a Marcellus Shale drilling site.

In November, White criticized DEP’s usage of its “suite code” computer-code system after a DEP scientist testified in an unrelated case that her laboratory tested for a range of hazardous materials while analyzing the water-quality impact from a nearby natural gas drilling site, but reported results for only some of them.

White said of further concern to him was the recent discovery that DEP developed, but never used, a computer-code called “Suite Code 944” or “Marcellus Inorganic Survey” that would test for 45 contaminants in its water analyses, instead opting to use other suite codes that test for fewer than half the number of potentially hazardous materials.

“DEP developed a suite code to fully analyze for impacts of Marcellus Shale, and not only did they never use it, they never told anybody that it even existed,” White said. “Pennsylvania residents deserve to know exactly what’s in their air and water when DEP performs tests on their properties. If DEP is unwilling to provide the full truth, the legislature should reaffirm our commitment to openness and transparency by ensuring DEP does the right thing by law.”

House Bill 268 is awaiting consideration in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

cecil resident January 24, 2013 at 08:22 PM
If the law is clear then I agree with a full report if it is used properly. . To be fair the report should also state a list of the chemicals that the drilling companies is using in the area of these wells. Range Resources volunteered a list of the chemicals http://www.rangeresources.com/getdoc/50e3bc03-3bf6-4517-a29b-e2b8ef0afe4f/Well-Completion-Reports.aspx. People who are anti drilling when a chemical show up in their well will automatically assume it has to come from drilling and lawyers are none to happy to take their case. Personally I would have my own test done along with the DEP test better to be educated then to follow what someone wants you to believe. Never did understand that Cornstone Care situation the only place in that area that had problems was the second floor of the building and no one else that I'm aware of in the area had any issues and none since.You would think if the problem was air born the whole building would have been affected as well as other people in the area.
kc January 24, 2013 at 09:55 PM
If the e&p companies were really, really confident in the process they would put some sort of marker - a dye or other long lasting inert chemical in the frack water. All you would have to do is look for that in a homeowner's well! If not found then it's not your problem. However if it was found then it's your fault and thus your obligation to remediate.
Donald Roessler January 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I agree with you Proud American. One think that I thought about in the Corner Stone Clinic case is what kind of chemicals do THEY use there and is it possible these fumes may have been a result of a spill of one of them. I agree that the DEP should release it's information on this so we can all know where the fumes came from.
Jesse White January 24, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Okay, let's get this out of the way right now. The DEP originally agreed to release the 400+ pages of testing data from Cornerstone Care and then reneged three hours later. I have the emails to prove it. It happened. Fact. Another fact is the DEP spokesman lied on KDKA-TV by stating the DEP didn't find anything outside as a result of its air testing. This is a total lie which can be clearly disproven by the 'analysis' the DEP themselves released. Although no one was accusing drilling of anything, Range Resources (through Matt Pitzarella) and Energy in Depth mounted a massive media offensive trying to blame anything they could for the problem. I could say LOTS more about this part of it, like Range lying on TV about offering to help Cornerstone when they wouldn't even return their calls, but it's pointless to reargue the past. At this point, speculation from people who have no clue what happened needs to stop. There's a very easy way to know for sure, and that's for DEP to release the 400+ pages of raw testing data. Let the facts speak for themselves. If the DEP wants to shut me up, there's a real easy way to do it, and until they release the data, it is absurd to blame Cornerstone or anyone else.
Donald Roessler January 24, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Mr. White what did the information they did release say ? I don't recall seeing anything about it anywhere.
Jesse White January 24, 2013 at 11:41 PM
There were two different analyses released, each of which found elevated levels of different chemicals; MIBK (Methyl isobutyl ketone) was one for sure. But the analyses also left out critical data about how they conducted the testing (quality assurance/quality control data) that any scientist will tell you is essential to really understand a test. The analyses also failed to give levels for any substance not over DEP limits, even though a collection of chemicals at any elevated levels combined could easily provide guidance as to what was at fault.
Donald Roessler January 24, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Thanks
cecil resident January 24, 2013 at 11:47 PM
If Range or another drilling company is found responsible for anyone's well being damaged by fracking hold their feet to the fire make them pay. All I was saying that the law can't be one sided which opens the door for anyone who is anti drilling to flood the courts with law suite. I'm all for your bill if it protects the citizens as well as the drilling company it shouldn't be one sided. Drilling is not going away and we all need to work together to make it safe. I didn't see anyone blaming Cornerstone we just trying to understand how a few people on the second floor and no one on the first floor got sick and the first floor never closed. And I think it was three times they closed the dentists office on the first floor had no affects or odors and stayed open. Rep. White you as an elected offical could do a lot to bring the community together by showing both side of the industry I have never seen one thing you have posted that said this is a wonderful thing for our community even though you have said many times you are for drilling.
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM
What is METHYL ISOBUTYL KETONE? Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) is a colorless liquid with an odor similar to mothballs. MIBK is also known as 4-methyl-2-pentanone, hexone and isopropylacetone. While it is usually in liquid form, MIBK can change into a gas. MIBK will dissolve in water, alcohols, benzenes and ethers. Where is MIBK found and how is it used? MIBK occurs naturally in oranges, grapes and vinegar. MIBK is used as a solvent in factories that produce paints, rubber products, chemicals and machinery. As a solvent, it is used in pesticide application. Pharmaceutical companies that produce prescription drugs also use MIBK. MIBK strengthens and preserves flavors and fragrances. Consumer products containing MIBK include aerosol paints, coatings used in construction, and automobile and machinery paints and primers. MIBK is used in home products like hard surface cleaners, dyes and tints, laundry starches, paints and varnish products. MIBK is also used in insecticides that control garden insects, greases and oil used as lubricants, automotive chemicals, pet flea and tick products, shoe polish, wood office furniture, and clear finishes, undercoats and primers.
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 12:10 AM
How does MIBK work and how can it affect my health? Exposure to low levels of MIBK causes headaches, weakness, dizziness, sleepiness, and sleeplessness. Skin contact irritates and burns the eyes, nose and throat, and makes people cough and wheeze. Other symptoms of exposure are vomiting, loss of appetite, heartburn and stomach pain. Exposure to high levels of MIBK can be fatal. At high levels, MIBK can lead to narcosis, a condition that causes a person to lose consciousness or become unable to function. Some of the symptoms they experienced are the ones listed here you might be on to something
Donald Roessler January 25, 2013 at 12:14 AM
I wasn't trying to blame them with my comments. I was just trying to point out that something else could have caused it before everyone starts blaming Range. And I also agree that if Range caused it hold them accountable and fix the problem so it doesn't happen again.
Donald Roessler January 25, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Also I haven't heard that they are still having the problem so whatever caused it must have stopped.
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Rep white could you post the the two different analyses that might help us to understand.
Jesse White January 25, 2013 at 12:29 AM
I just wanted to address the Cornerstone issue right up front because it has gotten so ridiculous in the past. Facts should be facts, and there is no justification whatsoever for DEP keeping information from anyone.
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Rep. White Donald and I like to see written facts we do a lot of research even if the ananlses you have you say is not complete I won't speak for Donald but I would like to see them
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 02:37 AM
sorry for the misspell Analyses do you know when the bill will be put up for a vote?
Donald Roessler January 25, 2013 at 04:17 AM
I checked the DEP website and can't find anything on there about it.
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM
I didn't find anything Donald I'm just curious what they did find maybe Rep. White will post it for us
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 11:30 AM
What is METHYL ISOBUTYL KETONE? this is some info on the one Rep White posted Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) is a colorless liquid with an odor similar to mothballs. MIBK is also known as 4-methyl-2-pentanone, hexone and isopropylacetone. While it is usually in liquid form, MIBK can change into a gas. MIBK will dissolve in water, alcohols, benzenes and ethers. Where is MIBK found and how is it used? MIBK occurs naturally in oranges, grapes and vinegar. MIBK is used as a solvent in factories that produce paints, rubber products, chemicals and machinery. As a solvent, it is used in pesticide application. Pharmaceutical companies that produce prescription drugs also use MIBK. MIBK strengthens and preserves flavors and fragrances. Consumer products containing MIBK include aerosol paints, coatings used in construction, and automobile and machinery paints and primers. MIBK is used in home products like hard surface cleaners, dyes and tints, laundry starches, paints and varnish products. MIBK is also used in insecticides that control garden insects, greases and oil used as lubricants, automotive chemicals, pet flea and tick products, shoe polish, wood office furniture, and clear finishes, undercoats and primers. .You could be exposed to MIBK through: Drinking water containing MIBK, but most people can smell MIBK’s mothball odor. The water will taste bad. Breathing MIBK at workplaces where it is produced or used as part of paints, adhesives and pesticides.
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM
How does MIBK work and how can it affect my health? Exposure to low levels of MIBK causes headaches, weakness, dizziness, sleepiness, and sleeplessness. Skin contact irritates and burns the eyes, nose and throat, and makes people cough and wheeze. Other symptoms of exposure are vomiting, loss of appetite, heartburn and stomach pain. Exposure to high levels of MIBK can be fatal. At high levels, MIBK can lead to narcosis, a condition that causes a person to lose consciousness or become unable to function. They did experience some of these symptoms
Jesse White January 25, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Proud American, due respect, you are not a scientist. The DEP needs to tell everyone what they found so real scientists can tell us what it means.
Amanda Gillooly January 25, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Mr. Jefferson, no personal attacks are allowed on the site, and for that reason your comment has been deleted. If you'd like to reword and repost with no name calling, please do. I just ask that everyone on this forum remain civil, please. As always, if anyone has any questions, feel free to give me a ring. My cell number is 724-510-5659. Thanks!
cecil resident January 25, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Never said I was Rep. White but it doesn't mean that I can't research and see where these chemicals come from and where they are used. Since I'm also a cititzen that you represent and if it is not against the law to post I didn't see a problem with me asking my representative. If I did something wrong by asking I apologize.
cecil resident January 26, 2013 at 02:45 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323854904578260173099118476.html very good article Rep. White do you feel the EPA will give a fair report of fracking because they are trying to work out a deal with Range for one in Washington county
cecil resident January 26, 2013 at 03:11 AM
sorry that last site if you don't subscribe to the Wall Street Journal but if you GOOGLE chesapeake invites epa to drill site it will show up and you can read the article
cecil resident January 26, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Donald don't know if you get the Observer-Reporter or not but their is a whole section that is an energy report in our area.If you don't get the paper it is worth picking up just for this section
Donald Roessler January 26, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Yes I get the O-R. I haven't looked at the Energy Report section yet but it looks like a good one.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something