Here are the key facts reported in the must-read Scranton Times Sunday article (see prior post for link to full article):
1. 10 confirmed cases by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection of gas migrating from gas wells to private water wells.
2. 7 of 10 confirmed cases were in Bradford County, with the other 3 cases in nearby Wyoming, Susquehanna, and Lycoming counties. The gas migration cases are regionally concentrated.
3. Each gas migration case typically impacted more than one private water well.
4. 7 gas migration cases for every 1,000 wells drilled in 2010.
5. Pennsylvania DEP issued 90 cementing and casing violations on 64 gas wells in 2010.
6. Pennsylvania DEP issued 47 cementing and casing violations in first 5 months of 2011.
The article does not have information about stopping the gas migrating and getting methane from gas drilling out of private water wells. In the case of the Susquehanna county gas migration case (Dimock), as of January 2011, methane had been removed from 14 of the 19 gas wells impacted by drilling.
The new Pennsylvania gas drilling standards rule that was proposed in 2009 became final February 5, 2011. The content of rules matter. The enforcement of rules matter.
And the quality of the work done by each company everytime that drilling is done matters most of all. The gas industry as a whole must come to grips with this issue and not reflexively, defensively and sweepingly deny it. Importantly some companies are coming to grips with it.
Finally a couple observations about the journalism displayed in this piece compared to that of the infamous NYT reporter.
The Scranton Times article quotes leading experts on the record within the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and outside of the agency. The experts are accurately described, unlike the presentation to the public of Ms. Rogers in the June 26th NYT story (see postings regarding the story for detail on this point). The experts quoted by the Scranton Times are not widely debunked, fringe figures like Mr. Berman who the NYT reporter elevated to near genius level.
Unlike the NYT, the Scranton Times's did not rely heavily on anonymous sources, outdated information, or quotations made by people at some other time, at some other place or for some other purpose. Laura Legere actually interviewed for this story each of the people quoted in the story. How quaint!
Finally this piece focuses on a real issue in a serious manner without deliberately injecting sensationalistic, false narratives or frames such as Ponzi scheme, Enron, or radiation poisoning drinking water. The Scranton Times shames the New York Times.