What’s That Smell?

Hickory and Mt. Pleasant Township were ground zero when Marcellus Shale fracking began in Pennsylvania back in 2004. As with many communities, gas development became an extremely divisive issue among neighbors.

Today’s story by Mike Jones in the Observer-Reporter, DEP investigating mysterious odor emitted from Mt. Pleasant well site adds to the deja vu of decades past, since his story covers a frontline family in the Marcellus Shale saga. The Lauff family has literally ‘seen it all’… a well pad and soccer field size wastewater impoundment were constructed close to their home, as well as pipelines and a pig launcher, where pipelines are vented for cleaning. And that’s just the beginning of their epic story.

Mike Jones reports:
Chris Lauff was standing outside his Mt. Pleasant Township house Monday morning when he said he was nearly overcome by the “most intense emissions” that he believes came wafting from a nearby natural gas well site. “This was the worst of all the issues we’ve dealt with,” he said.

Today’s newspaper story brought to mind that classic song by Lynyrd Skynrd…

Oo-oo that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Oo-oo that smell
The smell of death’s around you

Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘That Smell’

The newspaper story provided a few additional details:
Lauff blamed the mysterious odor on the Cowden 3-6 well site operated by Range Resources. “Range informed DEP that it also received a call from a nearby landowner on Monday, responded, and replaced a valve,” DEP spokeswoman Lauren Fraley said in an emailed statement.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane with images:
Travelling further down memory lane we see the Carter Impoundment (aka Mt. Pleasant Twp. 17) in this Consent Order and Agreement from 17 September 2014:
Looking further at the scope (map from 2015) and potential health implications:
Meantime, Pennsylvanians are guaranteed ‘clean air and pure water’ in the state Constitution. So where’s the major disconnect?

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Pennsylvania Environmental News Headlines

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