TERRY GREENWOOD’S FIGHT CONTINUES

greenwood-NYTerry and Kathy Greenwood did not own the gas rights on their farm in Daisytown, Washington County PA.

The mineral rights were sold in 1921. At an unknown date Dominion Exploration and Production Inc. had ownership.

This is known as a split estate where the surface is owned by one person, but everything below is owned by someone else.

In October 2007, Dominion received a permit to drill a vertical well, and not in the Marcellus Shale. Drilling began in December of that year.

The natural gas wells were located atop a hill, just above an area where the Greenwood’s cattle grazed, and a pond.

greenwood-water-bottleIn January 2008, Kathy was preparing a spaghetti dinner.   When she filled a pot with water, she noticed it was cloudy.   Terry reported it to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the next day.

Gas drilling wastewater was found to have spilled into the pond used by his cattle.

A DEP inspector was sent to the farm and found higher than normal levels of iron and manganese in their drinking water.   DEP ordered Dominion to drill a new drinking water well and restore the water supply for farm operations in March 27, 2008.

Dan Donovan, a spokesman for Dominion, said the Greenwoods did not have a water quality issue, but one of quantity. In addition to drilling the couple a new drinking well, Dominion has submitted a plan to the DEP to provide a water trough for cattle, he said. Currently, the company is paying to have a 2,000-gallon water buffalo on the property filled every four days to provide the farm’s 35 head of cattle with water.

The Greenwoods had four separate water sources on their property: a well and spring for the house and a spring and pond for cattle. While water for human consumption is tested prior to drilling, other sources are not, leaving Greenwood to wonder whether hydraulic fracturing chemicals leached into a farm pond where his cows drank.

The Greenwoods lost 10 cows that year, including the four born blind and one born with a cleft palate.

Blaming pre-existing conditions and DEP not forthcoming with information became the status quo for water contamination complaints for natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

greenwood-wellsAlthough the wells on the Greenwood farm were vertical wells and not in the Marcellus Shale, leaks, spills and other problems are can be harmful since the drilling muds, chemicals, flowback (wastewater) and gas processing facilities contain toxic constituents which move through water and air and harm plants, animals, and humans.

DEAD CALVES-STERILE BULL
Spring is a time of renewal, for farmers with livestock it usually means new additions being born.

For the Greenwoods, the spring of 2008 revealed deep problems.   10 out of 18 calves were still-born that spring.

By 2011 things were worse, not a single one of the Greenwoods’ thirteen remaining cows gave birth to a live calf. And his favorite bull was found to be sterile.

In one interview, Greenwood said he believes the lack of any calves born that year on his farm may be due to his bull becoming sterile after being exposed to gas drilling chemicals. He said, “I talked to Tara Meixsell, author of Collateral Damage: A Chronicle of Lives Devastated by Gas and Oil Development and she said bulls went sterile” due to contaminants from heavy gas drilling in Garfield County, Colorado.

CORRECTION 1/30/2016: It is unknown if the question of Terry’s bull’s sterility was due to exposure to the fracking waste fluids per communications with Michelle Bamberger.

According to a 2012 report, Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health, prepared by Robert E. Oswald, a biochemist and Professor of Molecular Medicine at Cornell University, and Michelle Bamberger, a veterinarian with a master’s degree in pharmacology:

“Animals can nevertheless serve as sentinels for human health impacts. Animals, particularly livestock, remain in a confined area and, in some cases, are continually exposed to an environmental threat.”

“Cattle that have been exposed to wastewater (flowback and/or produced water) or affected well or pond water may have trouble breeding,” veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Cornell Professor Robert Oswalt wrote “Of the seven cattle farms studied in the most detail, 50 percent of the herd, on average, was affected by death and failure of survivors to breed.”

Terry sold the bull. “It hurt me to see him go, but I couldn’t keep him around as a pet,” he said. The 1800 – pound bull, who was “only nine years old, in good shape, normal‐looking,” went to auction a few months ago. “I got another bull from a place with no [gas drilling] well sites anywhere nearby,” he said.

DEP had told Terry the cattle shouldn’t be drinking from the pond, and it was “farmer’s luck” referring to the still-born calves and later dead cattle.   greenwood-pondTerry remained skeptical,
“I said, ‘Them cows have been drinking out of that pond for 18 years and I never had this problem before.’”

TELL MY STORY
Terry was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in 2014. Terry died on Sunday, June 9, 2014.  In his last days, as family and friends asked what they could do, Terry simply said “Tell my story.”

Terry’s friends remember him and tell his story.    His motto was, “Water is more important than gas.”

Surviving are his wife of 43 years, Kathryn Yanachik Greenwood and their children, Terenceremembering terryGreenwood of Daisytown, Todd (Amy) Greenwood of Charleroi and Tracy Greenwood of Bentleyville; his son, Jeffrey (Tina) Greenwood of Cincinnati, Ohio; two grandchildren, Cassidy and Eric Greenwood; two brothers, Dennis (Cindi) Greenwood of Ruffsdale and Randy (Jo) Greenwood of Rostraver Township; two nieces; a dear cousin, Gaylen Spinnenweber; and his best friend, Barry “Sunday” Nartowicz.Deceased, in addition to his parents, are two nephews, Tim Greenwood and Allan Greenwood.

Josh Fox, Producer and Director of the Gasland Documentaries, interviewed Terry in 2009 or 2010. This interview was released in June 2014.

TERRY’S STORY CONTINUES
tell my storyAlthough Dominion was ordered to restore water supplies by the DEP in 2008, they did not.

In 2009 Dominion completed operations and told Terry “We’re done with you.”

Terry described a standoff in 2009 when Dominion told him to sign a release form, threatening to take the water buffalo away if he did not.  Greenwood says he told them, “You know what you can do with that piece of paper,” and called Channel 11 News and the newspaper.  He said Dominion then backed down.

The next year on March 15, 2010, CONSOL announced the purchase of Dominion’s Exploration & Production business for $3.475 billion. The sale included 193 employees working for Dominion. The transaction includes 1.46 million acres for oil and gas drilling with over 9,000 already-producing wells. This transaction includes 491,000acres of land in the Marcellus shale formation of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and almost triples the amount of land rights CONSOL owns in the Marcellus area. According to CONSOL’s press release, this purchase will make the company the largest producer of natural gas in the Appalachian basin and give CONSOL “a leading position” in the Marcellus area. Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Stifel, Nicolaus & Company were financial advisors for CONSOL, while Barclays Capital Inc. advised Dominion. Legal counsel for CONSOL came from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Field LLP.Baker Botts LLP served as Dominion’s legal adviser.

Many may have thought the fight for clean water ended with Terry’s death, but Kathy Greenwood and her son continue to live with the water contamination.

On December 30, 2015 the Greenwoods filed a lawsuit against CNX Gas Company and Consol Energy, Inc in the Court Of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division.

Among the complaints in the lawsuit:

The lawsuit states “Plaintiffs have and continue to have to suffer the following which further lawsuitimpairs and continues to impair their use and enjoyment of property:

a. Plaintiffs must fill 4 large tubs manually with water from the water buffalo provided by Consol;

b. The water in the large tubs often freezes, which often requires the use of heaters;

c. The water often becomes stagnant and the cows refuse to drink from the tubs, such that Plaintiffs have to routinely clean them;

d. When applicable, Plaintiffs must keep their 2/10 of a mile-long driveway clear of snow and ice for water deliveries necessitated by Defendants’ actions;

e. Plaintiffs must continually purchase drinking and cooking water;

f. The truck bringing the water deliveries continually produces ruts in Plaintiffs’ driveway, which necessitates frequent repair and maintenance by Plaintiffs;

g. Defendants do not maintain the water buffalo to standards Plaintiffs’ livestock will endure, such that algae often forms during warm weather and the cows will not drink the water;

h. Plaintiffs must frequently clean and maintain the water buffalo;

1. In cold weather, the hoses from the water buffalo must be brought inside daily to prevent freezing;

J. Plaintiffs had to purchase a heat gun specifically to thaw the water buffalo valve in cold weather;

k. Plaintiffs had to purchase a Gator and five 20 gallon containers to haul the water from the water buffalo to the livestock;

I. Prior to the purchase of the Gator, Plaintiffs had to haul this water by hand;

m. The frequent deliveries of water have caused problems with Plaintiffs’ neighbors, inasmuch as the driveway is a “shared private lane” and Defendants’ trucks sometimes get stuck in inclement weather, tear up the driveway, and Plaintiffs have to constantly maintain the road to make sure it is passable;

n. Plaintiffs have to continually purchase and unload tons of stone at a time to keep their ditch open and draining properly;

p. Plaintiffs must constantly manually maintain the continued growth of weeds on the side of the driveway and ditch, without the use of a mower;

q. Plaintiffs must check daily the three gates installed by Defendants to make sure no livestock has escaped, as the Defendants’ well tenders sometimes do not close the gates;

r. Plaintiffs’ hay production has been impacted due to poor contouring by
Defendants;

s. The back edge of Plaintiffs’ field must be mowed manually with a weedeater because poor contouring makes it unsafe to use a riding mower;

t. Plaintiff have to replace water tubs more frequently due to rust;

u. Plaintiffs are no longer able to sell any of their hay because of the loss of significant hay producing areas;

v. Thistle is starting to take over the lower field because it cannot be mowed properly, and the livestock will not eat the thistle;

w. Plaintiffs must continually load 5-gallon water bottles into a dispenser inside their home; and

x. Other problems.

Terry and his family’s story continues. It will not be forgotten and will be told.

© 2016 by Dory Hippauf

 

 

Advertisements

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s