Sometimes MDN thinks the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is more of a public relations press release-generating agency rather than an agency to protect the environment. They issue a multitude of press releases—every day. But when they find that another 20 wells in Dimock, PA are fine and have not been (never were) chemically contaminated by hydraulic fracturing, not a single public press release on it. Oh it gets reported, but the EPA slips a short message to the government’s “other” PR agency, the Associated Press. And the good ole AP will warp and spin it in just the right way to please the government overlords.
It’s frustrating that MDN can’t bring you an original EPA statement on this: we’ll just have to make do with the “official” AP version. MDN has stripped out the standard AP anti-drilling messages so you don’t have to suffer through it:
Testing at 20 more water wells in a northeastern Pennsylvania community at the center of a debate over the safety of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale shows no dangerous levels of contamination, according to a report issued on Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
A Cabot spokesman said in a statement Friday that the “data confirms the earlier EPA finding that levels of contaminants found do not possess a threat to human health and the environment.
“Importantly, the EPA again did not indicate that those contaminants that were detected bore any relationship to oil and gas development in the Dimock area, particularly given the fact that any contaminants are more likely indicative of naturally occurring background levels or other unrelated activities,” the statement said.*
Previously the EPA tested 11 Dimock wells—those of the families along the Carter Road area who are suing Cabot Oil & Gas and have refused all help from Cabot as ordered by the PA Department of Environmental Protection, which includes installing methane filtration systems and paying landowners twice the value of their property. Testing from those 11 wells showed they were fracking chemical-free too (see this MDN story). So we now have 32 of 60 wells the EPA has tested and found no chemical contamination from fracking. Hmm, doesn’t quite line up with the “truth” we saw in the movie Gasland, does it?
Oh, and still no recent Dimock sightings of “truth-telling” documentarian and HBO celebrity Josh Fox, or of movie star Mark Ruffalo and his spotless mind. Seems Dimock as become an inconvenient truth for some.
*Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/AP (Apr 7, 2012) – EPA report finds little contamination in Dimock wells