Pennsylvania Makes Public 243 Cases of Fracking Contaminated Water
The state of Pennsylvania has released redacted details of 243 cases of water contamination caused by fracking and related activities by the natural gas industry. Claims made by the fracking industry that they have not contaminated water are utter rubbish. These 243 cases which took place in Pennsylvania between 2008 and 2014 involve a wide range of contamination problems including the contamination of multiple water supply wells by one fracking operation. State officials did not indicate how many more cases of contamination may have occurred since 2008 that are not included in this list.
The 243 cases, from 2008 to 2014, include some where a single drilling operation impacted multiple water wells. The problems listed in the documents include methane gas contamination, spills of wastewater and other pollutants, and wells that went dry or were otherwise undrinkable. Some of the problems were temporary, but the names of landowners were redacted, so it wasn't clear if the problems were resolved to their satisfaction. Other complaints are still being investigated
It is clear that fracking has been causing wide ranging water problems but the industry has pressed hard to keep them from being made public. Pennsylvania's inspector general has admitted the problems with fracking have overwhelmed state regulators.
The release of contamination information also comes about a month after a report from the state’s Inspector General that found that the rapid growth of the state’s gas industry “caught the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unprepared to effectively administer laws and regulations to protect drinking water and unable to efficiently respond to citizen complaints.”
They repeatedly lied to us in North Carolina in public meetings which I attended that there were no documented cases of fracking contamination of water supplies. North Carolina Republicans were given dog and poly show tours of Pennsylvania gas wells. They came back with glowing reports selling fracking to North Carolinians.
State Sen. Bob Rucho returned from a taxpayer-funded trip to Pennsylvania's shale gas drilling region talking about green pastures and cows - not drinking water contamination or health concerns.
"I was impressed with the best industry practices they've established," he said, dismissing complaints about shale gas extraction as erroneous or exaggerated. "What we saw was green grass and cows grazing."
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The fracking industry was lying to North Carolina's state representatives and citizens.
Those lies have now been exposed.
A permanent moratorium on expanding fracking to new areas needs to be declared now to stop more water from being contaminated and to remedy deficiencies in regulation that are alllowing water to be contaminated in violation of federal water quality laws.