1 –Barry Pally, Chair, opened the meeting and greeted everyone. He noted that 23 House of Delegates members signed a letter calling for a moratorium of new Marcellus Gas drilling permits. Pallay said there were serious issues with outstanding permits; including explosions at wells, public health issues, damage to roads, flood plains issues, and roads built in streams, lack of cured cement in drill holes to separate drilling from drinking water aquifers.

Pallay mentioned that UMRA has facilitated meetings with drilling companies. He also mentioned that DEP will have new 5 steps for drilling inspections in Harrison County

2 - Martin Niverth, of Green County, PA., reported it was too soon to report on the effect of the new 2011 PA. regulations regarding drilling on new sites and compressor sites. Water quality, treatment of and removal of waste continues to be of concern, he said. There was a lack of governmental oversight of activities. There needs to be a “catch-up.” He added that concerns continue regarding land owners rights – surface (erosion and sediment pollution) – good management practices not followed. Subcontractors don’t know and don’t follow regulations. He also has a big concerned about public health. There was a lot of misting – water and what else – at drilling, storage and compression sites.

3 – Stacey Haney, of Washington County, PA., Registered Nurse and Mom of two teen age children shared her family’s experiences living nearby to a Marcellus Gas drilling site and a seven acre impoundment pool. The family had leased their land to Range, after being promised there would be no problems. But problems soon became apparent. Stacey’s dog and the neighbor’s dog both died. Their goat, with two young also died. An autopsy reveled arsenic in the neighbor’s dog. The assumption was the animals were sickened by arsenic contaminated waste water from Range’s drilling activities. Stacey’s horse became sick. Stacey and her children also became sick. Her son was twice hospitalized with stomach (liver and kidney) pain, nausea, fatigue and mouth ulcers, forcing him to remain out of school for a year and a half. Stacey and her daughter experienced similar symptoms. Both were tested for arsenic poisoning. Stacey suffered high levels and her daughter lower levels of arsenic poisoning. The water smelled bad Stacey said, and later, after the family started using bottled water, their symptoms receded.  After being contacted by Stacey the PADEP found Ethel glycol and arsenic in water samples. She said DEP was not helpful.

Barry Pallay said he has told Gas companies that public health and safety is a game changer. He asked everyone to share their reality, just as Stacey has done. He added, we must roll up or sleeves and do something.

4 - Bill Hughes, of Whetzel County, WV, showed videos of gas vapors emanating from Chesapeake’s Victory Field operations. Hugh’s said the DEP does not regulate air quality and it’s hard to prove the pollution. We can see it and smell it, but we can’t get close enough to measure it, it dissipates into the air, he said.

5 – WV House of Delegates members, Fleischauer, Mannypenny, and Manchin briefly reported on the 2011 WV Legislative session. No law regulating Marcellus Shale Gas drilling, etc. was passed, although strong amendments were added to a Bill under consideration in the House Judiciary Committee by Delegates Mannypenny and Fleischauer. A letter calling for a moratorium of the issuance of new drilling permits was signed by 23 Delegates and sent to Acting Governor Tomblin. Del. Manchin thanked everyone for their information and involvement. Del. Manchin did not sign the moratorium letter.

Barry Pally said the Watershed Compact endorsed the call for a moratorium of new drilling permits. He thanked the WV Delegates who signed the letter. A motion was made to that effect and was passed by attendees.

6 & 7 - Jessica Greenhouse, USA EPA, gave a report of CONSOL’s settlement regarding the Dunkard Creek Discharges. Questions were raised as to the adequacy of the consent agreement. Representatives of the WVDEP & WVDNR essentially said the consent agreement was final.

8 – Sarah Veselka, Friends of Deckers Creek, gave an update of the “Watershed Bill of Rights” Project Proposal. She said the Project seeks to educate the public using the media, web sites, social networks and symposiums regarding issues and to empower citizens to do water testing. The Project is applying for EPA grants.

Martin Niverth said he supported the Project Proposal’s efforts.

9 - Jim Butler, Greene County, presented an update on the Isaac Walton League Citizens Watershed Monitoring Program. Jim said they have had one water monitoring group working in the field for the last three weeks testing TDS pollution at two sites; one on White Day Creek. Obtained results are shared with the appropriate agencies. Jim is building a data base system to keep track of results from TDS and PH monitoring. He said it costs $300 to train a volunteer. A Hydrologist trains the volunteers

10 – The Monongalia River Watershed Summit will take place on May 18, 2011 at the Waterfront Hotel, Morgantown, WV.  For more information see www.MonRiverSummit.org.