Tag Archive: EPA


Hydro-Fracking aka Hydraulic fracturing is an industry-wide process in which large volumes of unknown chemicals, water and sand are injected at extremly high pressure to extract natural gas from underground rock formations. Basically, the process creates fractures in bed-rock formations such as shale, allowing the natural gas to escape into a well for recovery. Once, thought of as a method of last resort, hydraulic fracturing is now the primary method used to extract natural gas and its use is literally exploding across the country.

Pa. Environmental Agency Butts Heads With Gas Drilling Company Over Towns Water Woes

by Marian Wang | ProPublica, 44 minutes ago

Residents of Dimock, Pa., whose water woes have been widely chronicled as a prime example of the hidden costs of natural gas drilling,  will get a safe and permanent water supply to replace their methane-contaminated wells, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday.

For about two years, Cabot Oil & Gas, a natural gas drilling company, has supplied drinking water to some Dimock residents after several private drinking wells were found to be contaminated with methane, the main component of natural gas. A few wells have exploded. The Pennsylvania DEP has said that Cabot is responsible for the problems and announced intentions to bill the company for the cost of an $11.8 million plan to construct a new public water line to serve these residents.

“We have had people here in Pennsylvania without safe drinking water for nearly two years,” said John Hanger, head of Pennsylvania’s DEP. “That is totally unacceptable. It is reprehensible. We have given Cabot every opportunity to resolve this matter.”

But Cabot has pushed back against the agency, taking out a full-page ad this week in several local newspapers and calling plans to construct the water system “unreasonable, unprecedented … and unfair.”

The company also issued the following statement:

Despite the fact that the company has presented overwhelming scientific evidence and historical documentation to the Pennsylvania DEP proving it is not responsible for methane gas migration to local water wells, the Pennsylvania DEP has chosen to ignore such evidence, preferring instead to base unprecedented and costly mandates on biased and unscientific opinions and accounts.

Pennsylvania’s DEP chief said earlier this week that the agency and the company would likely end up in court on this issue.

As we’ve reported, the agency fined Cabot $120,000 last fall after determining that water supplies were contaminated by methane gas leaked through Cabot’s faulty well casings. It was fined again in April for failure to address the problem of methane contamination. This time the fine was heftier 2014 a $240,000 penalty, plus $30,000 each month until the department determines that the problem has been properly addressed. It also ordered the company to permanently shut down some of its wells.

As we’ve noted, methane in drinking water itself isn’t necessarily harmful or dangerous, but it can be when it evaporates from the water and into people’s homes. If the gas becomes concentrated enough, it can ignite, even in water.

A private lab that tested water in Dimock found that water supplies in the areas affected by methane contamination were also contaminated by toxic industrial solvents including toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported earlier this month.

A group of Dimock residents 2014 among them, a former Cabot employee and several residents whose wells had caught fire 2014 filed a lawsuit last year against the company for the contamination and the health risks it could pose to them.

Cabot mentioned the lawsuit in its ad this week, adding that it “does not believe it caused these conditions and intends to fight these allegations through its scientific findings.”

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I just ran across this story by Maya Rodriguez  of  WWL4 – Eyewitness News  in Louisiana, that peaked my curiosity.

Did you catch the response from the chemist, who is a local environmental consultant?

Wilma Subra, a chemist who heads up a lab and environmental consulting firm in New Iberia, said the numbers she’s been analyzing give her pause.

“They’re there at a little over the levels that you would expect to start getting those health impacts,” Subra said. “So, that is of concern, that the people understand what is there and understand if they start getting the health impacts, they should take precautions to move out of the area.”

Those who should pay particular attention are the young, the elderly or those who already have underlying breathing problems. Experts said anyone experiencing symptoms of exposure to those chemicals, should see their doctor.

After watching the video, I decided to see if any Mainstream News Media had picked up the story. Guess what I found? The usual tone-deaf  blah, blah and more blah.

So for the record here’s what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say on the subject:

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Image: Martha Cooper - AP  | Three Mile Island

Source: Eco Factory News

WASHINGTON, DC, October 29, 2009 (ENS) –  Public employees have filed a lawsuit demanding documents related to the U.S. EPA’s plans made “in secrecy” to allow public exposure to increased levels of radioactivity following nuclear accidents or attacks.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility under the Freedom of Information Act claims that the agency “wrongfully withheld” comments submitted by EPA and other federal and state agency officials and by representatives of private corporations or trade associations to the EPA Office of Radiation and Indoor Air as it prepared its updated Protective Action Guides.

The radiation guides are protocols for responding to incidents ranging from nuclear power plant accidents to transportation spills to dirty bombs.

“The new draft standards have been promulgated in secrecy despite sharp controversy about allowing public exposure to radiation levels vastly higher than those EPA had previously deemed unacceptably dangerous,” claims PEER, a national nonprofit alliance of resource professionals employed by government agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

“EPA has bypassed open dialogue on how much radiation the public will be allowed to receive in the event of a release, and is now suppressing evidence of internal dissent on these controversial proposals,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

PEER said in a statement Wednesday that it has received “verbal reports that both internal and external reviewers registered grave concerns about the radical relaxation of radiation exposure limits being proposed.”

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