Award-Winning Filmmakers & Seneca Nation Threatened By Fracking Industry For Defamation

Public Herald
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa A. Troutman from Public Herald for further comment
March 28, 2018 

Directors of the award-winning fracking documentary, Triple Divide [Redacted] and the Seneca Nation of Indians have received cease and desist letters for slander against two companies in the fracking industry.

The targeted filmmakers, Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic, are the journalists behind the investigative news nonprofit Public Herald. ...

READ MORE: http://publicherald.org/award-winning-filmmakers-seneca-nation-threatened-fracking-industry-defamation/

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'The Harms of Fracking': New Report Details Increased Risks of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer

Rolling Stone, March 13, 2018, By Justin Nobel

"'Our examination…uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health,' states a blistering 266-page report released today by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, Physicians for Social Responsibility. Drawing on news investigations, government assessments and more than 1,200 peer-reviewed research articles, the study finds that fracking – shooting chemical-laden fluid into deep rock layers to release oil and gas – is poisoning the air, contaminating the water and imperiling the health of Americans across the country. 'Fracking is the worst thing I've ever seen,' says Dr. Sandra Steingraber, one of the report's eight co-authors, a biologist who has worked as a public health advocate on issues like breast cancer and toxic incinerators. 'Those of us in the public health sector started to realize years ago that there were potential risks, then the industry rolled out faster than we could do our science.' In recent years, the practice has expanded from rural lands to backyards, farms, and within sight of schools and sources of drinking water. 'Now we see those risks have turned into human harms and people are getting sick,' says Steingraber. 'And we in this field have a moral imperative to raise the alarm.' ..."

READ MORE: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/fracking-health-risk-asthma-birth-defects-cancer-w517809

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Seneca Nation Rallies To Defend River From Fracking Wastewater

Public Herald, March 3, 2018, By Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa A. Troutman

"In Coudersport Pennsylvania, over 100 members of the Seneca Nation of Indians appeared at a public meeting to oppose a fracking wastewater treatment facility planned for development on the Allegheny River, known by the Seneca as the Ohi:yo’, which means “beautiful waters.”

'We’re the protestors of tomorrow,' Seneca Treasurer Maurice John stated during public comment to the Coudersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) board on the evening of February, 26. 'The next generation is going to remember us. And they’re going to remember us telling your astute group here that we oppose the contamination of the Ohi:yo’ — or the Allegheny River.'

The fledgeling company Epiphany, LLC and the Coudersport Municipal Sewage Authority have been meeting since June 2017 to plan a build out of the fracking waste treatment facility at the river’s edge. The Allegheny or Ohi:yo’ is one of three rivers that begin at the Triple Divide in Potter County, Pennsylvania, where headwaters travel thousands of miles across the eastern United States serving drinking water to millions of people downstream.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) is currently reviewing Epiphany, LLC’s permit application and is expected to approve the facility in the coming months. Epiphany’s application to DEP does not include monitoring for radioactive material or chemicals used for fracking before treated waste is discharged into the river.

Wastewater produced by fracking is known to be radioactive. A new study by Dr. Avner Vengosh of Duke University revealed dangerous amounts of radioactive material in rivers downstream from facilities that attempted to treat wastewater from oil and gas operations. ..."

READ MORE: http://publicherald.org/seneca-nation-rallies-defend-river-fracking-wastewater/

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DEP Testimony By Seneca Nation About Fracking Waste Treatment Facility

Public Herald, January 18, 2018, By Joshua Pribanic

Two members of the Seneca Nation of Indians testified at Tuesday's [January 16] hearing regarding the fracking wastewater treatment facility proposed for Coudersport, PA slated to discharge treated waste water into the Allegheny (Ohi:yo') River. The Allegheny Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation is located downstream, along the Allegheny River from the Pennsylvania border upriver to Vandalia, New York in Cattaraugus County. This reservation also includes the City of Salamanca. (Ohi:yo' means "Good River.")

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“Screwed & Glued” – Trading Freedom For Clean Water When Regulators Walk Away

Public Herald, January 22, 2018, By Melissa A. Troutman, Joshua B. Pribanic, and Sierra Shamer

"In September 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) received six phone calls from residents in Lenox Township, Susquehanna County who feared pollution of their drinking water. The residents’ attorney had just alerted them to arsenic contamination at a nearby natural gas fracking site.

Those calls were grouped by DEP into one complaint file — complaint #300702 — with Inspector Michael O’Donnell and Supervisor Marc Cooley assigned to the case.

Just days later, Supervisor Cooley would deny the residents’ request for water testing.

According to records obtained by Public Herald through Right-to-Know, by the time the calls were made to DEP, Supervisor Cooley had been watching an arsenic problem unfold for months.

Southwestern Energy, an oil and gas drilling company from Houston, Texas had buried drilling waste at their “Price 1V” well pad less than 2,000 feet from residents’ homes. Southwestern removed the waste pit in June 2013, at landowner Ordie Price’s request, but contaminants – including high levels of arsenic, manganese, and thallium – remained. ..."

READ MORE: http://publicherald.org/screwed-glued-trading-freedom-for-clean-water-when-regulators-walk-away/

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Duquesne University Scientist Says State’s Water Testing For Fracking Chemicals Cannot Be Trusted

Public Herald, February 5, 2018, By Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa A. Troutman

"A Duquesne University professor studying fracking’s impact to drinking water in Pennsylvania says certain water tests used by state officials to detect fracking chemicals cannot be trusted.

The criticism points to the state’s determination letters — conclusions made by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about whether a person’s water supply has been impacted by oil and gas operations — and instances where ‘trip blanks’ are used to make the determination.

A trip blank is a container that is filled with water and sealed at the laboratory to confirm that no contamination has been picked up during the water testing trip. It’s not reopened until after testing is complete. Essentially, a trip blank should come back to the lab as clean — non-detect. According to information from the Alaska Department of Conservation, if any contaminants are detected in the trip blank sample, “your sample results may not be accurate, and a new test should be run.”

But in an untold number of drinking water complaint investigations by the Pennsylvania DEP, chemicals are being detected in trip blanks, and the Department is not retesting each of those water supplies. Even when those chemicals are associated with fracking.

Public Herald has found several cases across Pennsylvania where contaminated trip blanks have been used for DEP determinations – without retesting.

Dr. John Stolz, the Director of Duquesne University’s Center for Environmental Research and Education, has been testing residential water wells near oil and gas operations for over six years. He also served on DEP’s Laboratory Accreditation Advisory Committee, which addresses quality assurance and control issues in the Department’s water testing procedures.

Stolz says that as far back as 2015 he has told Scott Perry, DEP’s Deputy Secretary in charge of Oil & Gas, that relying on contaminated trip blanks to make conclusions about water quality is inaccurate and misleading. ..."

READ MORE: http://publicherald.org/duquesne-university-scientist-says-states-water-testing-for-fracking-chemicals-cannot-be-trusted/

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