Cabot Oil & Gas President & CEO Dan Dinges sent a letter yesterday to federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson about the EPA’s sudden change of plans concerning the situation in Dimock, PA (the full letter is embedded below). The upshot of the letter? You need to rethink your recent decision to interfere in Dimock.
Just last month the EPA told Dimock residents their water was fine. But last week, the EPA announced they would conduct their own widespread testing of water wells in the Dimock area. That decision has created something of a “Who’s on First” situation with regard to who actually has the authority to regulate and investigate drilling in Pennsylvania.
Dinges points out that Cabot and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have already tested over 2,000 water wells in the area, complete with over 10,000 pages of data, and yet the EPA says it needs more data. Huh? Dinges also points out that the PA DEP has declared water wells in the Dimock area meet federal standards for safe drinking water, the implied question to the EPA being, “Why don’t you believe the state DEP?” He also says, in so many words, that the DEP knows the geology of that area better than you do, EPA.
Dinges closes his letter by saying Cabot is willing to work with the EPA to “further review existing data and to establish a firmer basis for Agency decision making.” Translation: Your decision to conduct a full scale project to re-test water wells in Dimock is a waste of time and EPA resources when we already have tons of data and test results.
MDN’s view: Either the EPA does not trust Cabot and the PA DEP, or it’s using Dimock as a political tool (like they are Pavillion, WY) to achieve what they have wanted all along—the right to trample states’ rights and take over the regulation of oil and gas drilling in this country. Or perhaps both.