Accountability Should Be Demanded in Wake of Greene County Gas Well Explosion

Editor’s Note: I felt this needed to be said. Op ed piece below.

Let me ask you a question: In your experience, what would happen to your neighbor – the guy who lives, say, a half-mile down the road – if he was working on his property and something exploded?

Like, a crazy-flames-shooting-into-the sky, local-first-responders-need-to-set-up-a-perimeter kind of explosion. Before you answer, let me add this query: What if the explosion sent someone to the hospital (while another disappeared during the incident)? What if it was the kind of explosion that burned for days – the kind of explosion that, the day it happened (in, say, the dead of winter) there was an air quality alert?

Think he would be taken in for questioning? Think he might get criminally charged? Have some explaining do?

I do.

For some folks in Greene County, Pennsylvania, Chevron is that neighbor down the road.

Local news reports confirm: The explosion happened early Tuesday morning. A half-mile perimeter has been established by local first responders. The fire is expected to rage for days. There will not be access to the site for days.

If past practice is any indication, our state Department of Environmental Protection will, at best, say it is “investigating.”

Just like it was investigating the various incidents of billowing black smoke and unexplained, prolonged flaring at one of the Marcellus Shale compressor station sites in Washington County, Pennsylvania. And let’s not forget about the DEP’s “investigation” into what internal emails from a water hauler in Washington County referred to as a “massive” spill that was the subject of a “cover up.”

A state official asked the DEP (and Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone’s office) to refer the case to the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.

What’s happened with all that in the past couple of months? Nothing that the public is, or likely will be, privy to.

Because it seems like when it comes to environmental accountability for incidents that may impact the community, the term “it’s under investigation” is the equivalent of a junk drawer where you throw all the stuff you don’t want to deal with.

If you haven’t seen video footage online, please take a look. Like, now. The video is embedded above.

Now tell me: Would you feel safe living 500 feet away from a well? Would you feel your child was safe if she attended school within 500 feet of a well? What if your child attended school 2,500 feet away from a drill site? Safe? (If you answered no, and live in the Fort Cherry School District, for example, it’s just too bad– because the junior-senior high is 2,500 feet away from the Chiarelli well pad).

Here’s my last question: What is it gonna take for people to start getting pissed off enough by these incidents to demand accountability and transparency?

We live in a society where a petition to get Justin Bieber deported got 100,000 signatures almost overnight, but there is little righteous outrage over these kind of incidents. The people who do raise a little bit of hell? They are criticized for being radical activists.

Caring about your community, your neighbors and your natural resources – and demanding accountability from people and corporations that threaten them – is far from radical activism.

It’s being a good citizen.

And I wish I saw more of it.

Pissed off enough to make a phone call or send an email? Here’s a page of contacts to start with.

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15 thoughts on “Accountability Should Be Demanded in Wake of Greene County Gas Well Explosion

  1. John says:

    Your a complete idiot you need to get off the subject that you have no clue about

    • Do you mean “you’re a complete idiot?” #irony

    • Accountability is not a subject that requires any expertise. Most people have been held accountable for their actions since childhood so they can speak from experience. The only people who have no clue about accountability are the people who work for the oil & gas industry.

    • Roscoe McCloskey says:

      It seems like John is a little angry. By chance did an uneducated gas worker stumble upon a page or words he barely understands but realizes is part of a large movement that threatens to make his easy money train disappear? That is my suspicion. Oddly enough John, I am quite certain the author has a considerably greater knowledge on the subject of hydrofracking AND accountability than you.

    • Werner Rhein says:

      Since when are you the expert? Learn some manners and correct writing first, get some education and stop getting brainwashed form the advertising between the sport shows.

    • Damien Luzzo says:

      John,

      #1 — That’s not a grammatical sentence.
      #2 — It’s “You’re”, not “Your”…
      #3 — You’re an idiot.

  2. Debra says:

    Well of course this company should be held accountable. .unless the EPA and Obama has anything to Do with it!

  3. Criminal.
    Fracking is criminal.

  4. Jana DeGrand says:

    I completely agree. Reichmann Petroleum tried to do the same thing to me and my neighborhood, then Carrizo Oil and gas resurrected the wells. The only difference was that they were 250 feet from my back door and hovered above my house. The pad was made to sit above my house, it did not naturally happen that way. I fought for 5 years to keep exactly this type of scenario from happening to me and everyone I care about. Criminal does not even begin to describe what this is.

  5. Elizabeth Engleman says:

    Would this be considered a FRACKING BLOWOUT?

  6. chris says:

    accountability, well lets see, maybe its the well workers, their bosses, or maybe the fracking companies managing directors, in ne case someone needs to be held responsible, in my eyes its none of the above, its, the government wigs tht all have dollar signs in their eyes, an couldnt care less for health an safety, or loss of human life

  7. Here’s what I posted to my own FB page yesterday along with a link to this story:

    “How many accidents like this will have to occur before we collectively decide we have had ENOUGH? Why don’t we call CHEVRON–one of the world’s WORST human rights violators–what it IS–a sponsor of industrialized TERRORISM? Why on earth do we continue to accede our rights as citizens and human agents to this predictable, preventable VIOLENCE?

    And they call US the terrorists?”

    But I’d add this: If THIS is the best–and it IS–that we can expect from “regulation,” imagine what we’re in for if the export facilities at locations like Cove Point, MD become a reality.

    Imagine accidents like this magnified by 100,000 wells–and their compressors, pipelines, transport tankers, etc. Imagine this occurring, say, at the EXCO 7 well head pad on Rt 118 less than a driver’s minute over an old bridge from an elementary school near Lairdsville, PA, and on a rural route shared by school buses and frack waste tanker trucks. Wanna see just how close that is? Look here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendylynnelee/collections/72157634625434504/.

    Or how about the Inflection Nature Boy Costello Pad, Rt. 87, Montoursville, PA–directly across a road heavily travelled by school buses and local traffic from an established residential neighborhood: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendylynnelee/collections/72157633517335343/.

    Regulation means nothin’ but “controlling the rate–not the AMOUNT–of harm.

    Scratch that–it doesn’t even mean that.

    Wendy Lynne Lee
    Shale Justice: http://shalejustice.org/

    http://thewrenchphilosleft.blogspot.com/

    • Werner Rhein says:

      All the Power to you wendy, we have to stop this insanity. We have to fight the corrupt politicians, the Government bureaucrats who switch steady between Fossil Fuels Industry and Regulator jobs, the so called scientist who are paid by the Industry and falsify studies. The public media who is owned by the Industry. The electronic media is our best tool (weapon) that is way the corrupt politicians try to control it or even take it away from us.

  8. john w. says:

    Renewable Energy NOW

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