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Intro: "In yet another case of drinking water contamination in areas where energy companies have engaged in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supplying clean water to some residents of Dimock Township, Pennsylvania, at taxpayer expense."

Combustible water is part of the mounting environmental fallout of oil and gas fracking. (photo: D.L. Anderson/IndyWeek)
Combustible water is part of the mounting environmental fallout of oil and gas fracking. (photo: D.L. Anderson/IndyWeek)



EPA Supplies Drinking Water to Fracking Victims

By Matt Bewig, AllGov

28 January 12

 

n yet another case of drinking water contamination in areas where energy companies have engaged in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supplying clean water to some residents of Dimock Township, Pennsylvania (pop.: 1,398), at taxpayer expense.

Apparently concerned that the contamination may be more widespread, EPA will soon begin more extensive testing of the local water supply. In fracking, energy companies use powerful pumps to force pressurized fluid into deep layers of rock, causing fractures, which allow the extraction of otherwise unavailable natural gas or oil. In the case of Dimock, Cabot Oil and Gas began fracking operations in the area in 2006, and by January 2009, some locals were reporting methane bubbling out of their faucets and tap water actually catching fire, meaning that natural gas had contaminated the water. Although the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined Cabot $120,000 for numerous violations and Cabot supplied drinkable water to local residents for a few months, the water has since become even more contaminated, not only with methane but also with dangerous levels of cancer-causing arsenic, as well as glycols and barium in at least four wells.

As AllGov reported last September, groundwater toxicity because of fracking is a growing problem, with EPA ordering residents of Pavillion, Wyoming (pop.: 165) to avoid the water because it had dangerous levels of benzene, lead, phthalate, nitrate, 2-butoxyethanol phosphate, petroleum hydrocarbons, methane and sodium. Similar incidents of fracking-induced water contamination have occurred across the country, even as energy companies insist that fracking is safe.

 

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+20 # Majikman 2012-01-28 10:09
To see where this leads take a look at Nigeria where the impoverished population has become the victim of Big Oil that has wreaked devastation on the land.
"American exceptionalism" has come to mean exceptionally stupid as we permit these Int'l. conglomerates to pillage at will our resources, destroying our water, food and air.
 
 
+22 # MizKatz 2012-01-28 10:11
I certainly want the residents of Dimock and other afflicted townships to have clean water, but I also want the offending oil and gas companies to supply it at their expense...not ours. Once again, WE didn't make this mess, so why must WE clean it up??? I also want the EPA to seriously look past the oil & gas lobby and their spin doctors to the greater good of our populace and environment. With the seemingly endless millions of dollars the O&G industry has to spend on refuting the obvious, surely they can afford to clean up their monumental MESS and provide water to those whose ground water and wells they've destroyed.
 
 
+2 # Futilitarian 2012-01-29 17:00
WE must pay to clean it up AND supply water because the offending companies are EXEMPT from the clean water act thanks to Cheney and Bush admin.
 
 
+14 # Lolanne 2012-01-28 13:21
I am furious to learn that, once more, WE are screwed financially because THEY (the O&G industry) made a mess! Isn't it interesting that the EPA has kept this quiet for who knows how long? Obviously they knew that informing the public of the dangers of fracking AND letting us found out that we are paying in more ways than one would cause an even greater outcry against fracking. Here's a good target for OWS action!
 
 
+1 # Educator 2012-01-28 20:33
When O & G companies pay to supply clean water to affected communities it is an admission that they caused the problem. To have done so out of corporate largesse would be an even more difficult argument for them to make.

It's also difficult for EPA to sell a cause and effect relationship for things that happen out of sight and underground. Common sense can sometimes be trumped by law in the courts. And one doesn't have to look far to see why. Money and responsible politics don't mix. Like oil and water.

The money paid by O & G companies to landowners who are ill-prepared to understand the risks seems like a boon to them and those residents who feel the risk is too great can be drowned out by the O & G lawyers and lobbyists and the less circumspect citizens who support them. Money always talks and most often wins.
 
 
+4 # MainStreetMentor 2012-01-28 20:48
I suggest what needs be done: Supply the "frack-ed" water to the water coolers within the offices of the corporations who are engaged in hydraulic fracturing. I'm glad the EPA is supplying drinking water to the affected families - but if your REALLY want to bring the point home of how bad that water is being polluted - take it to the peole who cause it.
 
 
+3 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-01-28 21:44
We have the Cheney Loophole to thank for this criminal mess. The EPA can only test for those chemicals it knows about. Cheney made sure that the chemicals that were to be used by these O&G gangs were exempt from EPA oversight. Basically the formulas were to be considered secret formulas, owned by the companies, and kept secret in the same way that Coca Cola doesn't reveal its recipe, or the KFC recipe of spices are kept in a vault!

Sounds strange, but that is why the EPA had its hands tied, along with the fact that an agency like the EPA, if it did its job as mandated, was not in the 'master plan' of the GOP to 'free up' the 'industry' to really screw the land and the people. The rape was to continue and please, no prophylactics allowed...it would reduce the pleasure of the driller.
 
 
+1 # futhark 2012-01-29 06:26
More socialism for the rich...
 

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