Come to the PCEC Rendezvous 2012!

PCEC inaugurates new web site design

Welcome to the new PCEC website design (same URL, of course). There is more room for growth, better highlighting of important posts, and lots of other opportunities to provide information for our friends and members. However, this is still a work in progress – don’t we wish we had an army of web-minded writers! As time allows, we’ll work our way through the many pages and update them or add to them; so please bear with us when you hit a blank or something obviously out of date! Thanks!

Yellowstone River Cleanup for 2012

The annual clean-up day for the Yellowstone River between Livingston and Gardiner is scheduled for April 14, 2012. The clean-up is organized at the Livingston Civic Center at 8:00AM. For all participants a free lunch will be served at the Civic Center when you return from the river. This is a wonderful family event that regularly removes tons of debris from our great river.

For more information contact or call 579-7734.



Wilsall showing of Split Estate: January 26, 2012

The movie Split Estate was filmed in the Rocky Mountain states and presents both the history and the impact of natural gas extraction on communities and their people.


Letter-to-the-Editor: Board of Oil and Gas Presentation

Dear Editor

As people are learning, natural gas extraction is most likely coming to the Shields Valley. Estimates for it happening are around five years, sooner or later depending on the price of natural gas. As an indicator, this past Tuesday (Nov. 29) a presentation by the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation and the Montana Petroleum Association at the City-County Complex provided the industry perspective concerning the history and status of the oil and gas industry in Montana.

From the perspective of the Park County Natural Gas Committee, I’d like to make a couple of representative points:

The majority of the presentation was about the hydraulic fracturing process (“fracking”) with the intent of not only explaining how it is used but to indicate that it is environmentally safe. The industry continually refers to fracking as a process developed 60 years ago, implying that it is tried and true.  Here in Park County the process that will be used is actually “horizontal fracturing”, where fracking is performed horizontally for thousands of feet in layers of shale. This process was introduced in the late 1990’s and is still under development. Most of that development involves not one well but a “pad” of up to 32 wells with horizontal fracturing in all directions. The interactions with the underlying geology are obviously complex, especially when there are hundreds of pads in one area. This is new technology and it is not yet proven ‘safe’ for groundwater. This leads to the second point. Read the rest of this entry »

Gas extraction: Good advice from Texas

Comment: Thanks for the interview on fracking in the Livingston paper.  A friend shared it with me. So glad to link up with others concerned about this latest and unashamed assault on our planet.  Energy, yes; responsibility and accountability, yes; destruction, no.  Below is a copy of the comment posted to that article/interview, with all due appreciation and thanks.

“Glad someone is on watch in Montana. I live in South Central Texas in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale activity, a frantic rush for gas and oil money, where production is a mixture of oil and very toxic gas (wet gas). People are receiving hundreds of thousands and millions, no doubt. Tax money is pouring into county coffers. But at what price?

The mix is stored in batteries of tanks and separators. Toxic gases are vented and burned off (flared) until the required closed loop system can be put in place.  Some people have been hospitalized with toxins in their blood and told to move out of their homes away from the vapors given off or be dead in a year.  Oil is stored and trucked out until enough pipelines can be laid–a spiderweb across the county.  When gas prices are down, none is sold. In hard NE winters, gas prices soar, and gas is sold again. Meanwhile, “dry” (i.e. no mix with oil) gas wells are shut down.  As I understand the current activity, shale formations differ, so methods of production differ. Shale is basically rock; oil and gas are “stored” in it by nature in microscopic form under very high pressure at depths before considered unreachable.

Toxic chemicals and high-pressure pulses called “fracking” release the microscopic content, forcing sand into the rock fractures to hold them open so the chemicals can do their work.  Explosion is not quite the process; “pockets of gas” is not quite the correct description–at least down here. Drilling pipelines and both their concrete and steel casings have been known to rupture anywhere between the surface and the destination levels of shale, spilling regular drilling fluids and the very toxic and “proprietary” or still “trade secret” chemicals into the geology at that point-which can include aquifers and people’s water well sources.  Some are being made public; but a Supreme Court decision still protects those the industry labels “proprietary” and you and I will never know what has entered our water, air or soil until some doctor has to be told what he is expected to diagnose and treat.

The time to test your water is BEFORE company reps show up any testing takes place.  If there is a knock on your door by a landman, test your water before you even answer the door.  It may already be contaminated if testing and/or drilling has taken place. This contaminated state then becomes your “baseline” and in court the oil and gas companies can claim that your water was already contaminated before they got to it.  Because if you did not have it tested before they set foot on yours or your neighbor’s land, you have no argument.  This is like the “thief in the night” about which the Gospel warns. These money-bearing lease signers from the land of “black gold” or “invisible gold” can be like wolves in sheep’s clothing if one is not prepared to recognize the dangers involved.  Some companies may be honest and have a conscience. Some may not. Learn to know the difference.    Cf. Bluedaze Blog by Sharon Wilson in the Barnett Shale around Ft. Worth-Arlington, TX for some things to watch for.

From Sister Elizabeth Riebshlaeger

New PCEC Membership Program