A Public Herald investigation on the impacts of fracking and how they are being handled by regulators and the industry.

“Fracking could literally kill me” @GovernorTomWolf #help

Dorene Dougherty holds a ceramic mask to help her breathe during respiratory attacks trigured by her rare medical condition, encephalopathy. She tells Public Herald that if fracking is constructed near her home it could be fatal. © jbpribanic

Public Herald has made nearly a dozen attempts to talk to Pennsylvania’s new Governor, Tom Wolf, to share our investigations and talk about how Wolf plans to handle the problems from fracking inherited by previous administrations. Some of […]

Grandmother Charged with Harassment After Trying to Speak About Fracking at Public Meeting

Carolyn Knapp explains her conversations with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to Public Herald in a report about water quality complaints. © jbpribanic

UPDATE: Judge Wilcox dropped the harassment charges filed by Smithfield Twp. supervisors against Carolyn Knapp on the account that the charges we reported privately by public officials, without a vote or discussion during a public meeting. Rose Marie […]

Permit Allows Fracking Waste Storage in Backyards, Community Fights Back

Dick Stedge puts the East Township supervisors on the spot for not disclosing a certified letter from Chesapeake Energy regarding a waste permit application. photo: jbpribanic

Correction: DEP’s record office originally informed Public Herald and our sources that only 28 WMGR123 permits were issued for the entire state. But upon further questioning our #fileroom File Team confirmed that this permit file is handled differently […]

DEP Manipulates Law On Complaint, Leaves Family Without Water

Christine Pepper's sons watch as dirty water drips from the faucet.  photo: jbpribanic

It’s day one and Christine Pepper’s family has no water. There’s no water for the family to drink, to shower, or wash their clothes so they’re making calls to inlaws and saving single gallon plastic jugs. It’s day one, and the Pepper family has 45 days until they know what’s happened. It started when Christine splashed water on her face from the kitchen faucet and a burning sensation shot through her skin. “It felt like my face was on fire for 20 minutes,” she said. Later red bumps developed. Not shortly after there was no water at all. The Pepper's spring-fed well, which had produced water for more than 50 years, went completely dry. “I’m not saying we’ve never had low water," explains Christine’s husband Corey, "but it always comes right back, but it’s stayed dry for two weeks. And... I’ve never seen it! I’m 42, I’ve lived here 42 years, and my Dad was 18 when he bought this house.”

New Aerial Video of Alabama Oil Spill Exposes Cleanup Problems


Every year, we hear about the latest oil spills, pipeline explosions and pollution…but we rarely see how people and environment are impacted over time. Public Herald is embarking on a new series “American Albatross” to investigate the environmental […]

A Hill of Beans: DEP Approves Permit for #Fracking on Unleased Property

Private Property Posted No Trespassing. photo: Creative Commons

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a permit to Talisman Energy to drill a natural gas well under unleased property in Susquehanna County, according to landowners Steve and Joyce Libal and state documents provided to […]

Ohio Penalizes $350,000 for Illegall Discharges of #Fracking Waste

Pennsylvania conventional farmer suffers crop yield losses, which he believes is due to runoff from the Marcellus well pad bordering his crops. © jbpribanic

Ohio Department of Natural Resources settles with two companies over Utica shale violations by Bob Downing for Akron Beacon Journal Gulfport Energy Corp. will pay a $250,000 fine, after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources discovered leaking brine […]

Triple Divide: Split Estate


Our Land by Laurel Dammann for Public Herald The following is a look at terms from Public Herald’s feature length documentary Triple Divide that focusses on hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania.  Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of extracting […]

Triple Divide: The Judys

Judy standing with contaminated water drawn from her well. © J.B.Pribanic

A Look at Drill Waste Pits and Groundwater by Melissa Troutman, Laurel Dammann, and Joshua Pribanic “It was 2007, and my water well was fine. I mean, I didn’t have any problem with it. I was cooking, drinking, […]

A Dairy Farmer Shares Her Story About Fracking: “What Have We Done?”

Carol French stands on her dairy farm in Bradford County, Pa., with heirloom tomatoes harvested from her garden. Once a supporter for fracking with a lease, she turned against it after her neighbors began to experience problems and her water became undrinkable.

In the early spring of 2006, a nice man was in the area, promoting a chance to dream of better times for Bradford County and its farmers. There was promise of jobs for everyone and the farmer would generate money from signing a lease, and if a gas well was drilled on the farmer’s property he would become rich. Two years passed with little activity. By now, the older leases were about to expire, gas companies were beginning to drill, and excitement was in the air. Here, the majority of farmers signed early, receiving $5- $85/per acre. There was this belief that the person with the gas well would become the next “shaleionaires.” We later found out small acre properties started signing leases at $2,500/ per acre. By the spring of 2009, there was uneasiness among some of the farmers who had a gas well drilled on their property. The local newspaper was reporting contamination found in water wells, death occurring on a gas pad and the farmer was facing the fact that he could lose his farm due to a lawsuit based on the gas companies operation. For myself, I was thinking that our lucky neighbor was going to become the next Millionaire, because they had the gas well drilled on them. Soon my mind changed. Those farmers were facing penalties lodged against them, due to their land becoming industrial use instead of agricultural use.