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Gulf of Mexico Has Long Been a Dump Site for Industry

According to data from the Minerals Management Service compiled and analyzed by Toxics Targeting, a firm that documents pollution and contamination, at least 324 spills involving offshore drilling have occurred in the gulf since 1964, releasing more than 550,000 barrels of oil and drilling-related substances. Four of these spills even involved earlier equipment failures and accidents on the Deepwater Horizon rig. Thousands of tons of produced water — a drilling byproduct that includes oil, grease and heavy metals — are dumped into the gulf every year. The discharges are legal and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Landowners and environmentalists agree: Broome County should not sign gas deal

BINGHAMTON -- In the highly polarizing debate about the natural gas rush in the Southern Tier, environmentalists and landowners don't agree on much.

On Monday, they were nearly unanimous in their opposition to a proposed lease deal between Broome County and a Denver energy company. Of 22 people who spoke at a public hearing on a $16 million land deal before the county legislature, 18 were against it.

CS Sunday: Oil Spill & Jobs

The segment in the transcript below starts at 11:00 minutes into the video.

Devastating BP oil spill was inevitable as government failed to learn from past tragedies

A catastrophic oil spill was waiting to happen.

That's what one expert who has studied government data on the huge and growing number of Gulf of Mexico spills is saying.

"There have been thousands of spills from 1990 to 2009," said Walter Hang, head of Toxics Targeting, an Ithaca, N.Y., company that tracks and analyzes federal hazardous spill reports.

While many were small, the sheer number of incidents is mind-boggling, Hang said.

The Next Drilling Disaster?

A tour of Dimock, Pennsylvania, with Victoria Switzer is a bumpy ride over torn-up roads, around parking lots filled with heavy machinery and storage tanks, and past well pads that not long ago were forests. The winter here was quiet, but with the thawing ground came the return of the rigs, the trucks, the constant noise and lights of a twenty-four-hour-a-day gas drilling operation.

Drill down, to the truth

One of the natural gas industry's selling points on why New Yorkers should welcome drilling of the vast Marcellus Shale is that the method of choice, hydraulic fracturing, has never contaminated a drinking well or water supply, or caused any environmental mishap in this state.

Never. That's a pretty definitive word, allowing no exceptions. But in this case, it may require an asterisk. Or a bunch of them.

Activist slams DEC on drilling

He claims agency files fail to include water contamination cases in western counties.

Complaints in Western NY raise questions about drilling safety

Information obtained by a local environmental activist is raising questions about the safety of natural gas drilling.

Link to video

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY -- Walter Hang, of Toxics Targeting, used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain more than 140 complaints filed with the Chautauqua County Health Department by residents living near drilling rigs. The complaints, filed over a 25 year period, correspond with the time when gas drilling started in Western New York.

Hang: Dec & Gas Drilling Problems

Toxic Targeting president Walter Hang releases numerous documents indicating the state has not protected its citizens from gas accidents for years.

Activist challenges DEC claim of few gas drilling problems

The state's assertion that natural gas production is a clean, well-regulated industry has been called into question by memos from a health official working in drilling communities in western New York.

William T. Boria, a water resources specialist at the Chautauqua County Health Department, reported his agency has received more than 140 complaints related to water pollution or gas migration associated with nearby drilling operations. The cases correspond to a time when the industry took root in western New York decades ago, according to Boria, and continue through the last few years.

"Those complaints that were recorded are probably just a fraction of the actual problems that occurred," Boria stated in a 2004 memo summarizing the issue. County health officials tabulated information on 53 of the cases from 1983 to 2008 on a spreadsheet, including one where a home was evacuated after the water well exploded.

Plan to send fracking wastewater near Keuka Lake is abandoned

A contentious plan to locate a wastewater disposal site in the Steuben County town of Pulteney is officially dead, although the company that proposed the project is leaving the door open for similar facilities in the future.

Chesapeake Energy sought approval to convert an abandoned natural gas well on the west side of Keuka Lake into a site that would accept more than 180,000 gallons of wastewater a day.