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Posts from category "What's New"

Questioning The Coudersport Authority

circle of life indigenous medicine wheel

Questioning The

Coudersport Authority

An Opinion Letter

By Georgeanna DeCarlo

 

I like the way that Director of Media and Communications for the Seneca Nation Jason Corwin introduced himself to Coudersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) members at their meeting Monday, February 26. After thanking them for taking the time to listen to him, Corwin acknowledged a comment made earlier that night by Coudersport Borough Manager Beverly Morris's husband, David, who said, “The people that sit in front of you are smart, they're intelligent, they're hardworking. They will take everything into consideration and I trust their judgment one hundred percent.”

Corwin confronted what's been an underlying problem for everyone who's voiced their opposition to CAMA's partnership with Epiphany Environmental to put a frack Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) here since they heard about it last June - in a brilliant way.

I'm glad to hear that you all are intelligent and thoughtful people,” Corwin said, “I'm relatively intelligent myself. I graduated with high honors and Dean's List from Cornell University and I have a Phd. in natural resources also from Cornell University.”

I grew up here, a third generation resident, same as some CAMA members. I barely recognize these people who now sit stoic during CAMA meetings allowing their solicitor to field questions for them.

Since when does questioning an authority insinuate that you think that they're stupid? That is an outdated strategy that served to instill fear and subsequently control a school room. Stifling input from residents who are paying you to serve in the position that you're in is indicative of dictatorship, certainly not what our founders had in mind when they created this country as a democracy.

Our leaders should expect to be questioned. What members of the public are bringing up at CAMA meetings is addressing a gaping hole, a void where data should be.

CAMA should have been prepared for a barrage of questioners and stood ready with risk assessments, environmental impact studies, background business portfolio of their new tenant and partner, Epiphany Environmental LLC (Epiphany). Especially after we got a crash course in the damage that frack chemicals, carcinogens can inflict on our environment and its inhabitants a few years ago when JKLM contaminated the aquifer at North Hollow and violations at wellheads have become commonplace. It could be years before we see the affect of radiation. But we have evidence from communities already afflicted; scientists discerning the data and journalists determined to expose the truth.

As a result of JKLM's toxic injection into the aquifer, and ongoing endangerment of fracking, some of us attended Frack University, fracku.org.

Even knowing this, CAMA still didn't feel obligated to produce documentation to prove that their acceptance of JKLM's proposal to create a local spot for JKLM to dispose of its frack waste was a well-rounded decision where wellness of environment and residents took precedence. A pattern emerges when we connect dots and recognize that some of these CAMA members, and the solicitor himself, George Stenhach, share positions on Coudersport's Water Authority. They were the ones that handled the aftermath and eventually took our town's water supply including that going to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, offline. They didn't knock on doors then to inform residents that their water was contaminated so expecting them to do business differently and work pre-emptively in the public's best interest, seems a stretch.

I think the reason that this gaping hole exists is because CAMA is well aware that processing the preliminary work that usually precedes implementation of a project of this magnitude – exactly what the public has been clamoring for - would have proven this project too hazardous of a risk to take.

Corwin also spoke to another glaring and significant difference in the way that business is conducted in the Seneca Nation and here, locally. He said that his degree wasn't what made him intelligent or wise, that what did was that he listens to the elders in his community.

I listen to the women and what they've said is that the water is the most important thing. Air - the quality of life is more important,” Corwin said, “All of you have children and grandchildren and families. I know you don't want to do anything that will put their lives at risk.”

Since residents began attending CAMA meetings last year, their input has has been patronized, mocked and at times barely tolerated. I think CAMA members were banking on our fear of insulting or challenging them. That they counted on our politeness, the respect that we give to our relationships as their friends, neighbors, relatives to inhibit us from questioning their decision. And when they learned otherwise, tried to turn it back around on us, portraying it as if the people who questioned them were ignorant or misinformed.

We've seen the destruction firsthand of what frack waste does to an aquifer.

CAMA's response to questions regarding safety is to refer people to DEP or Epiphany. But DEP currently does not possess the agency oversight that most people assume that it does. DEP can approve a permit and provide full agency oversight on a frack WWTF that would still be spewing radioactive materials and countless chemicals, carcinogens. Ask Epiphany? They've never created nor operated a frack WWTF before and their proposal, particularly claims about safety are getting shredded by environmental scientists daily.

List of those harmed grows daily with fracking production. https://pennsylvaniaallianceforcleanwaterandair.wordpress.com/the-list/ .

When is enough, enough? Are the fatalities, the birth defects, the assault to people and our environment's health, worth it? What do we value most?

There were many brilliant speakers who addressed all facets of this issue, the crux in the road we're on, to CAMA members at their February 26th meeting. So many, that transcribing the whole public comments meeting is something that I am working on. Resounding message was to consider first the impact of our actions on others; all is related, and to broaden our perspective to long-term thinking that upholds value of sustainable living in balance with the circle of life.

It is worthwhile for everyone to hear what CAMA members heard that night.

I will close with what one of those speakers that night ended his comment to CAMA members with. Steven Gordon from Seneca Nation said, “So my grandfathers always used to say at the end of my teachings, they would say, (speaks in onöndowa'ga:' gawë:nö', Seneca language)- When you go home, you think, you think really hard about this. And when you get up in the morning and you look at that face that's looking back at you in the mirror – can you live with that person? Are you satisfied with the decisions that you've made? I will hope and I will pray that you are all wise men and women.”

 

Photo Credit: photo from Wake Up World online article, “The Medicine Wheel of Time and Karma” By Jennifer Deisher, “'The Medicine Wheel' We tend to look at time as linear with events happening one after the other and this is true. But time is also experienced in cycle. We may not find the exact same events or opportunities recur, because change is constant in the Universe, but we will find similar energetic opportunities are presented to us so that we may confront and release our karmic patterns and emotional triggers.” https://wakeup-world.com/2015/01/19/the-medicine-wheel-of-time-and-karma/

 

Comments sent to the DEP

 

The following are links to letters sent to the DEP regarding Permit Application (NO: 5317201) filed by Epiphany Allegheny, LLC, for a Centralized Waste Treatment Facility. Epiphnay plans to pre-treat waste from unconventional wells for discharge to Coudersport Area Municipal Authority's sewage plant for further treatment and discharge to the headwaters of the Allegheny River.

Seneca Nation President Responds

On January 26 Seneca Media and Communications Center made the following announcement.

 

The Seneca Nation is calling upon the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) to reject permit applications for a destructive water quality management and discharge plan at the headwaters of the Allegheny River that would have severe impacts on the Nation’s Allegany Territory, located 65 miles downstream from the project. In a letter to PA DEP officials, Seneca Nation President Todd Gates called for the denial of the proposed plan by Epiphany Allegheny, LLC (Epiphany) and the Coudersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) that would allow for the transport, treatment and release of thousands of gallons of dangerous wastewater from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) into the Allegheny River.“Allowing this plan to move forward would permit poisonous contaminants to travel downstream into New York State and onto the sovereign ancestral lands of the Seneca Nation, which sit upon the Ohi:yo (Allegheny River),” stated President Gates. “The Seneca people have a deep spiritual connection with the land and we depend on our natural resources, including native plants, trees, wildlife, fish and water. These resources are critical components of our culture. We will zealously defend and protect what remains of our territories and our natural resources, which would be further threatened by this dangerous plan.”The current plan by Epiphany calls for wastewater created by fracking, a practice not legal in New York State nor authorized on Seneca Nation lands, to be transported to the CAMA wastewater plant in Eulalia Township, where it would be treated and released into the Allegheny River system. The proposed treatment facility would discharge up to 42,000 gallons of treated fracking water into the river each day, although the plant can process between 20,000 – 80,000 gallons daily. Water used for fracking in Pennsylvania contains high levels of radiation.In his letter, President Gates contends that during extreme high water events, which are a regular occurrence in the region, contaminated sediment from the facility will be transported and deposited downstream, ultimately accumulating in the Allegheny Reservoir, which sits on Seneca Nation Territory. The reservoir was created by the construction of the Kinzua Dam in the 1960s, when 10,000 acres of Seneca land was condemned by the United States government and approximately 600 residents were removed from their homes. Further, President Gates explained, the proposed treatment facility would be located in a 100-year floodplain. In the event of a flood or spill, thousands of gallons of untreated hazardous and radioactive material stored on-site would be released directly into the Allegheny River.“Allowing pollutants to be released into the river and transported downstream would create imminent health risks for thousands of residents of Pennsylvania, New York and the Seneca Nation,” he said. President Gates said the Seneca Nation was not consulted on the proposed changes that would allow the treatment of the hazardous wastewater from fracking, as a sovereign government located downstream from the project site. The Nation is calling upon the State of New York, communities between Eulalia Township and the Nation’s Allegany Territory, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of the Interior, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, to stand together to halt the proposed activity.“There is no proven technology that allows for the complete treatment of wastewater from fracking, particularly in the Marcellus shale region,” he said. “Allowing this project to move forward would be a reckless assault on Mother Earth, the resources of the Ohi:yo, the health of thousands downstream and future generations.”Written comments of any length may be provided to Thomas Randis, Environmental Program Manager, at 208 West Third Street, Suite 101, Williamsport, PA 17701, or via email at RA-EPNCEPIPHANY@pa.gov, no later than January 29, 2018.

 

Seneca Nation hosts Triple Divide [Redacted]

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Pics from Public Awareness Event at Coudersport Courthouse Square Jan. 27, 2018

  Public awareness event at Coudersport Courthouse square

Courthouse Demonstration A Success!

As knowledge of this facility gains momentum we can expect to see a continued barrage of support from local, national and international environmental advocates! We got lots of honks with thumbs-up and people calling out that they support our public opposition of the proposed frack Waste Water Treatment Facility as we carried signs and stood at the red light to raise public awareness about Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) deadline on Monday to receive written testimony for the hearing they held in Coudersport recently.

At last year's event to make people aware of Coudersport Area Municipal Authority's agreement to help JKLM put a local frack plant here organized by Laurie Barr, we choked on fumes of dozens of tankers passing in minutes but this year there were relatively few tankers. A woman who participated in the demonstration lives a couple blocks from the courthouse and said she sees tanker trucks running mainly from 10 pm to midnight now. 

We met people who were unaware that a frack WWTF is being planned for Coudersport. They were happy to know that they hadn't missed the opportunity to submit their testimony to the DEP.

 

Jan 22 2018 CAMA Meeting Part 1

Video

Part 1 https://youtu.be/Z6y71ctyyCg

Part 2 https://youtu.be/MtO0I1BaJgA

Part 3 https://youtu.be/Sbw733WN4K0

Part 4 https://youtu.be/ZB7apN-2FMI

Jan 22, 2018 Meeting. The Coudersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) recently leased land to for a location of a frack waste pre-treatment facility after JKLM Energy (founded by Terry Pegula the owner of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres) proposed using the sewage plant as a location to dispose of their frack waste. CAMA's sewage plant discharges into the headwaters of the Allegheny River in Coudersport, PA.

 

Tangled Webs 'n All That

By Georgeanna DeCarlo

I've been wondering what Triple Divide Watershed Coalition has to say about CAMA trying to put JKLM's fracking wastewater treatment facility here. According to their mission statement maybe they're busy processing loans. Oh, the things that can happen when our back's turned for a moment, or a month, or a year.... :) http://www.tripledividewatershed.com/ 

Regardless, learning about who's who and where is turning out to be such an interesting ordeal. 

 I guess they like the idea. Or the chairman does anyways. William Krog is not only chairman of Coudersport Area Municipal Authority CAMA, but represents Coudersport Borough as its chairman of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition as well. "AUTHORITY MEMBERS/MEETING SCHEDULEWilliam Krog, ChairmanJames Wilkinson, Vice ChairmanWalter BakerNatalie StenhachGary Gunzburger" https://goh2o.net/tripledividewatershed/422

Funny, I would have thought that Krog or Solicitor Stenhach would have corrected Tom Joseph at the June 26 CAMA meeting when Joseph said he planned to sell the salt produced from his intended operation adjacent to our sewer plant for use on public roadways. Years ago, the Triple Watershed Coalition made its position apparent that it wasn't going on roads around here! And comments showed majority of public approved :) MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2011Water Suppliers In Region Oppose Well Brine On RoadsLocal Coalition Takes Stand On Drilling Waste/Road IssueNovember 14th, 2011 "Members of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition have unanimously adopted a position statement on state proposals to use waste water from natural gas drilling for treatment of roads.The statement is in response to a request for public comment by Scott Walters from the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Waste Management. All ten Coalition members signed onto the petition, including municipal systems in Shinglehouse, Austin, Galeton, Coudersport, Genesee, Port Allegany, Roulette and Ulysses, as well as the Northern Tier Children’s Home and Charles Cole Memorial Hospital.Here’s are excerpts from the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition letter delivered to DEP last week:It is important to note that this is the Headwaters region of Pennsylvania, where the Allegheny, Genesee and Susquehanna rivers get their start. This is an area of many small, unclassified streams adjacent to rural, unpaved roads.All of the member systems from our Coalition currently have a DEP-approved Sourcewater Protection Plan. This includes a detailed delineation of the recharge area for each water source, as prepared by a professional hydrogeologist.Committees were formed to assess potential sources of contamination within the recharge area and undertake activities to reduce or eliminate the potential for contamination of each drinking water source. The committees are determined to protect these sensitive areas from the addition of new sources of contamination.We do not consider the application of any gas well brines, whether from conventional or unconventional wells, within or in close proximity to a delineated public water supply recharge area, to be a “beneficial use” under General Permit Number WMGR064.We strongly feel that the proposed changes could have a negative impact on our public water supply sources, as well as the pristine watersheds that we are rigorously trying to protect under ever-increasing pressure from the gas industry and other sources.Because residual waste fluids from natural gas well operations (brine) can be laden with heavy metals (i.e., arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium lead, chloride, antimony, selenium and mercury), this activity has the potential to increase the contamination risks for both surface and ground water sources.When brine is applied to the soils on roads, the mineral-laden sediment in the subsequent runoff has the potential to dissolve in either surface or ground water. If such contaminants were to be detected in any of our water sources at levels exceeding drinking water standards, we would be required to either remove the minerals from the water (by installing additional treatment), or abandon the source and develop a new source.The introduction of lower levels of any of these contaminants into a water source also has the potential to adversely impact the aesthetic value of the water and could prompt the water supplier to install additional treatment, resulting in significantly higher costs to our customers.We offer the following suggestions regarding General Permit number WMGR064:1. The application of any gas well brine waste, whether from a conventional or unconventional well, should be prohibited within, or in close proximity to, any delineated public drinking water supply source recharge area — unless permits are obtained, water testing parameter levels are met and it is specifically approved by the water supplier. The water supplier should be empowered to adjust application rates within its delineated recharge areas to balance the potential adverse impacts on drinking water sources with the driving safety of the traveling public2. The application of any gas well brine waste, whether from a conventional or unconventional well, should be prohibited within the boundaries of the municipality where it is to be applied without the written approval of that municipality. The municipality should be empowered to adjust application rates to minimize the adverse impacts on high quality streams and other environmentally sensitive areas.3. The application of flowback water and other by-products from unconventional gas well drilling operations should remain prohibited for application to roadways in Pennsylvania.Public comments on Permit No. WMGR06 are being accepted by Scott Perry through Thursday, Nov. 17, at scwalters@state.pa.us. Phone number is 717-787-7381." http://solomonswords.blogspot.com/.../water-suppliers-in...

Water Suppliers In Region Oppose Well Brine On Roads Local Coalition Takes Stand On Drilling Waste/Road… SOLOMONSWORDS.BLOGSPOT.COM

 

 
CAMA's Willing to Forfeit "Adorable" Are You?

 

By Georgeanna DeCarlo

Great to see another article that promotes the natural beauty of Coudersport and recognizes efforts of our residents and businesses to co-exist in balance with our natural resources."The Most Adorable Town In Pennsylvania Is Perfect For A Summer Day TripFeel a blast of cold air on your face as you experience a natural phenomenon. Lie back against the grass and stargaze. Or, simply stroll through the quaint streets of Coudersport to discover charming shops and delicious restaurants. Embark on a summer day trip to just what might be the most adorable town in Pennsylvania."It is still possible to achieve the goal set by area leaders decades ago to make this area a tourist destination. But not if our local officials do not share this vision. Coudersport Area Municipal Authority (CAMA) had an obligation to inform the public that they were hijacking this plan. Not only will homeowners' property value suffer from a fracking wastewater treatment facility here - which is only happening at JKLM's request, not as a result of CAMA exploring pathways to increase revenue without raising taxes (there are other options) but CAMA blatantly disregarded decades of effort and investment of local agencies and businesses who strategized in alignment with these local, county and state guided principles. So we're trading our community vision for what? A short-term contract from Epiphany with CAMA fronting thousands of taxpayers dollars to grade the land to Epiphany's specs. Since CAMA's doing the work, Epiphany can check all the boxes "NO" on its DEP permit asking whether their project involves displacement of land, etc... Although Epiphany's permit was denied, WHAT was CAMA and particularly CAMA solicitor, George Stenhach, thinking? If they're not serving the needs of the public, who are they serving? Corporate manipulate of government officials is becoming more blatant daily but so are agency efforts to correct this. A closer look needs to be taken at how business has been being done by CAMA officials.Area Municipal Authority

Name Term Expires AddressBorough Appointments: William Krog, Chairman 1/1/2021 23 Avenue CTodd Brown 1/1/2020 207 Ross GlennEdward Easton III 01/01/18 505 North Main StreetSweden Township Appointment: Tim Haskins 01/01/19 1277 East Second StEulalia Township Appointment: Paul Herzig 01/01/17 1115 East Second StreetGeorge Stenhach, Stenhach& Stenhach, Solicitor John Segursky, Uni-Tec Engineers, Engineer Beverly Morris, Manager

 

http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/pennsylvania/adorable-town-pa/

It all Began with a Proposal From JKLM...