Sunday, November 3, 2013

It does not exist if you cannot see it????

Despite not burning in the open but being hidden in a empty oil tank - the Witt Farm flare is real and much larger than it was in the beginning when only one well was hooked up. Flares are known to contain poisonous and cancerous VOCs in addition to natural gas. In contrary to the Michigan DEQ's promises to force oil companies to capture and market the natural gas, Savoy Energy is still burning it off - more than 8 months after starting doing so on Witt Farm. This is not only wasteful but irresponsible. As the local and state authorities are obviously not doing their job, I am currently in the process to organize a citizen-run air monitoring near the site.

Hidden Flare 2/24/2013 fed by a single well on Witt Farm

Youtube Video of that Flare

Flare on 5/26/2013 fed by 3 wells 

Flare on 8/1/2013 fed by 4-5 wells

And as of today probably by as many as 6-8 wells. Due to the increased perimeter of the "no trespassing" zone around Witt Farm, I cannot post new pictures of the surely much increased flare.

The increased flares will add up to a substantial load of unhealthy chemicals at least in a radius of up to 1 mile. Below are some links to related publications that might be of interest. The majority of materials are from "fracking" operations. Please note that the major difference is that in "fracking" operations much more water is pumped down - and more chemical additives are used, which increases the real danger of water pollution. The risk potential for air pollution, in contrary, as well as escaping gases and volatiles, and pollutants in flares from unconventional oil extraction are comparable to those reported from "fracking operations".

  • Aviva L, Aimee C, Shmuel A, Nicholas B, Constantine S. 2013. Estimation of regional air-quality damages from Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania. Environmental Research Letters 8(1):014017. PDF
  • Bamberger M, Oswald RE. 2012. Impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health. New solutions : a journal of environmental and occupational health policy : NS 22(1):51-77. PDF 
  • Colborn T, Kwiatkowski C, Schultz K, Bachran M. 2011. Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal 17(5):1039-1056. PDF
  • Colborn T, Schultz K, Herrick L, Kwiatkowski C. 2012. An Exploratory Study of Air Quality Near Natural Gas Operations. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal 20(1):86-105. Link to the article and other information
  • Katzenstein AS, Doezema LA, Simpson IJ, Blake DR, Rowland FS. 2003. Extensive regional atmospheric hydrocarbon pollution in the southwestern United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100(21):11975-11979. PDF
  • Larson D, Breech R, Hendricks J, Chernaik M, Mall A, Smith F, Joswick J, Eisenfeld M. GASSED! Citizen Investigation of Toxic Air Pollution from Natural Gas Development [Internet]. El Cerrito, CA 94530: Global Community Monitor. Available from:
  • Leahey DM, Preston K, Strosher M. 2001. Theoretical and observational assessments of flare efficiencies. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995) 51(12):1610-6. PDF
  • May J. Refinery Flaring in the Neighborhood [Internet]. Oakland, CA 94612: Communities for a Better Environment (CBE). Available from:
  • McKenzie LM, Witter RZ, Newman LS, Adgate JL. 2012. Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources. Science of The Total Environment 424(0):79-87. PDF
  • Perry SL. 2012. ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND CASE STUDIES: Addressing the Societal Costs of Unconventional Oil and Gas Exploration and Production: A Framework for Evaluating Short-Term, Future, and Cumulative Risks and Uncertainties of Hydrofracking. Environmental Practice 14(04):352-365. PDF 
  • Strosher MT. 2000. Characterization of emissions from diffusion flare systems. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995) 50(10):1723-33. PDF
  • Subra W, Steinzor N. Odor and Symptom Log [Internet]. Available from:

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