Fracking Our Democracy

 

Double flare stacks at a Hilcorp Energy well pad in Shenango Township, Mercer County, Pa. This well pad is just over 1,000 feet from a drinking water source for thousands.

Wilmington resident Jeffery Bersett is momentarily overwhelmed at a hearing to lessen the fracking restrictions in Wilmington Township, Lawrence County, Pa. This hearing was scheduled six weeks after an earlier hearing not to lessen the restrictions and uphold the current ordinance.

A man who does not wish to be identified tries to enjoy an early summer night as fracking operations are in full swing less than 800 feet away. He is furious over the heavy industrial practice and did not know what fracking was when he signed away his family’s mineral rights to a predatory investment firm, who later sold the mineral rights to HIlcorp Energy for drilling.

Men, who were originally identified as prison workers brought up from the South, help clean up oil and gas waste that had been leaking from an injection well at Kleese Development Associates in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio.

A flaring well behind a barn in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. Many farms had been locked into leases for shallow gas wells that were later sold to Hilcorp Energy for fracking without the landowners having much say.

A mother helps her young son ride his bike in the driveway of their home just 370 feet from a well pad in Summit Township, Butler County, Pa. Another small child and dog are also in the yard near the activity.

As the decision is voted upon by Wilmington Township supervisors in favor of a less restrictive oil and gas ordinance, Babst Calland attorney Blane Lucas (center) smiles as he realizes that the decision is in his favor, in the room full of long-time residents.

Vince Bevacqua, of ShaleComm, a public relations company hired by Hilcorp Energy to handle communications, becomes upset about his photograph being taken at a “Meet-U” event put on by Hilcorp in Pulaski Township. The event misled the public to believe that there was no real difference between conventional and non-conventional gas wells. Mr. Bevacqua used to work at Youngstown’s ABC affiliate WYTV TV-33 as a news anchor before being laid off.

An angry resident demands answers at a town hall meeting at Matthews High School in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, held by officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to address concerns over an injection well leak that spilled onto several residential properties.

An angry resident demands answers at a town hall meeting at Matthews High School in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, held by officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to address concerns over an injection well leak that spilled onto several residential properties.

An American flag is placed on top of a drill rig at the Verno well pad in Pulaski Township as the pad plainly erodes into the field below. The well pad is one of four well pads in less than 1.5 square miles, with another permitted within that same distance. Lease holders were told that fracking would help bring energy independence to the country.

An American flag is placed on top of a drill rig at the Verno well pad in Pulaski Township as the pad plainly erodes into the field below. The well pad is one of four well pads in less than 1.5 square miles, with another permitted within that same distance. Lease holders were told that fracking would help bring energy independence to the country.

An ill-suited worker cleaning up the injection well leak in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. This worker and 12 other men were thought to be inmates shipped from out of state to clean up the spill in April 2015. They were instructed not to speak to me or others who were inquiring about them.

An ill-suited worker cleaning up the injection well leak in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. This worker and 12 other men were thought to be inmates shipped from out of state to clean up the spill in April 2015. They were instructed not to speak to me or others who were inquiring about them.

Late night fracking operations at a Hilcorp Energy well pad in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

Late night fracking operations at a Hilcorp Energy well pad in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

Blane Lucas, an attorney for Babst Calland, looks directly at the camera during a zoning hearing board meeting in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County.

Blane Lucas, an attorney for Babst Calland, looks directly at the camera during a zoning hearing board meeting in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County.

Children play at the information table of The Fracking Resistance, a local fracking awareness group, at the farm of Maggie Henry. An activist, she hosted protesters from The Great Climate March while they traveled through the area.

Children play at the information table of The Fracking Resistance, a local fracking awareness group, at the farm of Maggie Henry. An activist, she hosted protesters from The Great Climate March while they traveled through the area.

A woman looks at a fracking operation that sits among many family homes. The picnic table sits just over 400 feet from the edge of the well pad and belongs to a family who has lived in the home for more than 20 years.

A woman looks at a fracking operation that sits among many family homes. The picnic table sits just over 400 feet from the edge of the well pad and belongs to a family who has lived in the home for more than 20 years.

A fracking wastewater or

A fracking wastewater or “brine” truck waits at a well site in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. The wastewater contains toxic chemicals from fracking fluid and samples have also tested positive for naturally occurring radioactive materials found deep within the earth. In addition to the chemicals used in fracking, the wastewater that is a byproduct of the drilling process picks up salts, naturally occurring radioactive material, barium, magnesium and various other volatile organic compounds, which are also carcinogenic. It has been definitively concluded that the wastewater contains radioactivity and other toxic materials at levels that are frequently geometrically higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for wastewater treatment plants to handle.

Although light from adjoining properties is clearly a violation of Pulaski Township’s zoning ordinance, the supervisors (all of whom have conflicts of interest) seem to overlook Hilcorp Energy’s activity nuisance on this home.

Although light from adjoining properties is clearly a violation of Pulaski Township’s zoning ordinance, the supervisors (all of whom have conflicts of interest) seem to overlook Hilcorp Energy’s activity nuisance on this home.

A group of residents listen to the details of a less restrictive oil and gas ordinance intended for adoption by supervisors in Wilmington Township, Lawrence County, Pa. It passed.

A group of residents listen to the details of a less restrictive oil and gas ordinance intended for adoption by supervisors in Wilmington Township, Lawrence County, Pa. It passed.

Two men who support drilling make themselves known at a zoning hearing board meeting in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, Pa.

Two men who support drilling make themselves known at a zoning hearing board meeting in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, Pa.

This Guy (who Michael Zydek rdemands answers from the company that was hired to clean up a 2,500-gallon oil waste spill on his property from an injection well leak in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. He is the fifth generation to live on the property where the spill happened. His son and grandchildren also live on the same property.se name I need to get) demands answers from the company that was hired to clean up a 2,500 gallon oil waste that spilled onto his property from an injection well leak in Vienna, OH. This guy (whose name I need to get) is a the fifth generation to live on the family property where the spill happened. His son and grandchildren also live on the same property.

Michael Zydek rdemands answers from the company that was hired to clean up a 2,500-gallon oil waste spill on his property from an injection well leak in Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. He is the fifth generation to live on the property where the spill happened. His son and grandchildren also live on the same property.

Lisa DeSantis, an activist, is the lone protester outside of a township meeting to approve more gas wells at a site where Hilcorp Energy has already contaminated three private water wells, in Pulaski Township.

Lisa DeSantis, an activist, is the lone protester outside of a township meeting to approve more gas wells at a site where Hilcorp Energy has already contaminated three private water wells, in Pulaski Township.

Maria Montanez, a devout Catholic, protests a “Meet-U” event sponsored by Hilcorp Energy with a life-size poster of Pope Francis.

Maria Montanez, a devout Catholic, protests a “Meet-U” event sponsored by Hilcorp Energy with a life-size poster of Pope Francis.

Pulaski Township solicitor Richard Harper limits testimony by residents at a hearing where Hilcorp Energy refused to say what the permit was for. The permit was granted; it was later confirmed that it was for a compressor station.

Pulaski Township solicitor Richard Harper limits testimony by residents at a hearing where Hilcorp Energy refused to say what the permit was for. The permit was granted; it was later confirmed that it was for a compressor station.

A drill rig can be seen from a nature trail at The Villa Maria spiritual retreat center in Villa Maria, Pa. near Pulaski. The nuns did not sign a gas lease but that didn’t stop Hilcorp from placing a well pad at the minimum distance from their property allowed by the state.

A drill rig can be seen from a nature trail at The Villa Maria spiritual retreat center in Villa Maria, Pa. near Pulaski. The nuns did not sign a gas lease but that didn’t stop Hilcorp from placing a well pad at the minimum distance from their property allowed by the state.

The flare of an eternal flame of a compressor station on a family farm in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

The flare of an eternal flame of a compressor station on a family farm in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

The sky and snow are illuminated in orange from a well flare that can be seen from over 15 miles away. The flare is coming from a Hilcorp Energy well pad that sits just over 200 feet from Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center’s Lawrence County property in western Pennsylvania. Villa Maria is a retirement home for Catholic nuns as well as a nature retreat center that encompasses over 700 acres with an operating organic farm and several scenic trails.

A truck that carries drill cuttings overturned at the busy intersection of Routes 422 and 551 in Mahoning Township, Lawrence County, after a trip to the landfill. No one was hurt.

A truck that carries drill cuttings overturned at the busy intersection of Routes 422 and 551 in Mahoning Township, Lawrence County, after a trip to the landfill. No one was hurt.

Standing room only and a line going out of the door is a result of Wilmington Township supervisors refusing to change the venue to accommodate the concerned crowd at this hearing to lessen fracking restrictions.

Standing room only and a line going out of the door is a result of Wilmington Township supervisors refusing to change the venue to accommodate the concerned crowd at this hearing to lessen fracking restrictions.

Pulaski Township supervisor Sam Varano is the only attendee at a township planning commission meeting to approve a Hilcorp Energy well pad on his property for review in front of the supervisors. The pad was approved by

Pulaski Township supervisor Sam Varano is the only attendee at a township planning commission meeting to approve a Hilcorp Energy well pad on his property for review in front of the supervisors. The pad was approved by ‘deemed approval” after the ethics of his vote were questioned.

Absorption pads at the site of an injection well spill in Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio, which affected several residential ponds and polluted Little Yankee Run.

Absorption pads at the site of an injection well spill in Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio, which affected several residential ponds and polluted Little Yankee Run.

Pipelines are installed to connect to a natural gas-fired cryogenics plant near North Beaver Township, Lawrence County, Pa. NiSource Midstream Services, which was building the plant near New Middleton, Ohio, just over the state line, partnered with Harvest Pipeline Co., the midstream subsidiary of Hilcorp Energy.

Pipelines are installed to connect to a natural gas-fired cryogenics plant near North Beaver Township, Lawrence County, Pa. NiSource Midstream Services, which was building the plant near New Middleton, Ohio, just over the state line, partnered with Harvest Pipeline Co., the midstream subsidiary of Hilcorp Energy.

The shadow of Julie Barr, mother of triplets who lives near the injection well leak in Vienna, Ohio, as she looks at oil in her neighbor

The shadow of Julie Barr, mother of triplets who lives near the injection well leak in Vienna, Ohio, as she looks at oil in her neighbor’s pond.

With the township choosing to skip the cost of a court stenographer, a resident takes it upon herself to video tape the public hearing for a less restrictive oil and gas ordinance so that there would be record.

With the township choosing to skip the cost of a court stenographer, a resident takes it upon herself to video tape the public hearing for a less restrictive oil and gas ordinance so that there would be record.

Ivan Dubrasky stands in front of his picture window in the living room of his four-generation family home in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. while Hilcorp Energy flares a well 505 feet away. The light from the flare is so intense that it casts a shadow on the wall behind him. The Dubraskys own their mineral rights and did not lease them to Hilcorp.

Light from a flaring well illuminates a bedroom in the Dubrasky home in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. The Dubraskys, who did not sign a gas lease and have a well pad 505 feet from the family’s four-generation home, challenged the township zoning ordinance and lost. The three-member zoning board and the board of supervisors who appointed them all hold gas leases with Hilcorp Energy.

A flare can be seen over a mound of dirt which was supposed to eliminate view of all activity from the Chrastina well pad. Hilcorp Energy constructed the dirt mound at the edge of a well pad only about 50 feet from the Dubrasky family property in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. The Dubraskys did not sign a gas lease.

A flare can be seen over a mound of dirt which was supposed to eliminate view of all activity from the Chrastina well pad. Hilcorp Energy constructed the dirt mound at the edge of a well pad only about 50 feet from the Dubrasky family property in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. The Dubraskys did not sign a gas lease.

A horizontal drill rig begins drilling the bore paths on a well pad just over 200 feet from the Dubrasky home in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. The Dubraskys refused to sign a gas lease but that didn’t stop Hilcorp from placing the well pad as close as possible to the four-generation family home.

As many as 25 trucks an hour can enter a fracking operation 24 hours a day to haul away toxic flowback water, until the fracking operations are complete.

As many as 25 trucks an hour can enter a fracking operation 24 hours a day to haul away toxic flowback water, until the fracking operations are complete.

An off-duty Pulaski Township police cruiser, hired by Hilcorp Energy, sits across the road from the Dubrasky home while construction begins on a well pad that did not yet have the proper paperwork approved by the township. The township allows officers to earn extra cash by being hired as security by private citizens or companies. The three township supervisors hold natural gas leases with Hilcorp and refused to stop construction of the well pad until the proper permits were received.

An off-duty Pulaski Township police cruiser, hired by Hilcorp Energy, sits across the road from the Dubrasky home while construction begins on a well pad that did not yet have the proper paperwork approved by the township. The township allows officers to earn extra cash by being hired as security by private citizens or companies. The three township supervisors hold natural gas leases with Hilcorp and refused to stop construction of the well pad until the proper permits were received.

A hearing in front of the zoning hearing board in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, challenges the outdated ordinance that did not take fracking into consideration when it was drafted in 2002. The zoning board upheld the township’s ordinance which left most of the zoning regulations up to Pennsylvania officials.

A hearing in front of the zoning hearing board in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, challenges the outdated ordinance that did not take fracking into consideration when it was drafted in 2002. The zoning board upheld the township’s ordinance which left most of the zoning regulations up to Pennsylvania officials.

Ivan Dubrasky stands in front of his picture window and looks at a guard shack that has been eerily placed to view the Dubrasky home instead of the Hilcorp Energy well pad in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

Ivan Dubrasky stands in front of his picture window and looks at a guard shack that has been eerily placed to view the Dubrasky home instead of the Hilcorp Energy well pad in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

A closer view of the guard in the shack keeping an eye on The Dubrasky home, in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

A closer view of the guard in the shack keeping an eye on The Dubrasky home, in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

Ivan Dubrasky’s shadow is cast on his Pulaski Township home from a flare a little over 500 feet away. A reflection of that flare can be seen in the window.

Ivan Dubrasky’s shadow is cast on his Pulaski Township home from a flare a little over 500 feet away. A reflection of that flare can be seen in the window.

Flaring at the Christina well pad in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

Flaring at the Christina well pad in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

A view of a flaring well via the Dubrasky

A view of a flaring well via the Dubrasky’s picture window in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa. Four generations were raised in the family home.

IllumiIllumination from a well flare in the back yard of the Dubrasky home taken at night in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.nation from a well flare in the back yard of the Dubrasky home.

Illumination from a well flare in the back yard of the Dubrasky home taken at night in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

Construction begins on a well pad about 200 feet from the Dubrasky home before local permits were approved. HIlcorp Energy hired local off-duty police to sit across the street from the unleased property while a private contractor began construction on the pad.

Construction begins on a well pad about 200 feet from the Dubrasky home before local permits were approved. HIlcorp Energy hired local off-duty police to sit across the street from the unleased property while a private contractor began construction on the pad.

Nighttime fracking operations continue in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.

Nighttime fracking operations continue in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, Pa.


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