Press Highlights: Rally and Press Conference for Clean Water in Dimock
Today’s early morning demonstration and press conference, held to greet EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and urge her to send clean water to gas drilling victims living in Dimock, PA, was a great success. Over 50 people from across the region gathered in front of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA and fought off wind and brisk temperatures in order to ensure their voices were heard. Below is a sampling of excerpts from today’s press coverage of this important event:
The Washington Post – Residents who Say Gas Drilling Contaminated Their Wells Don’t Get Quick Help from EPA – by Geoff Mulvihill (AP)
A handful of residents-turned-activists from Dimock joined about 50 environmental activists from neighboring communities and elsewhere to rally outside a conference at Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences on urban environmental issues, chanting, “Lisa Jackson, take some action!” Their hope was to find a kindred spirit in EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and to ask her directly to have fresh water delivered to them.
But they didn’t get the chance.
The moderator of the panel on which Jackson sat did not ask any of the Dimock-related questions that were submitted. And at the end of the session, Jackson did not respond when one activist shouted out a question. She also did not meet with any of the protesters who attempted to confront her afterward.
Craig Stevens, a resident of Silver Lake, near Dimock, said he called the EPA on Thursday and was told that Jackson would visit the town and would consider bringing water with her. Spokeswomen for the agency did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In a move that was partly symbolic and partly a practical goodwill gesture, several of protesters brought with them bottles and jugs of water for the Dimock residents to take home.
“It’s a ridiculous redefinition of life to have to get bottles of water and to have to live by the graciousness of others,” said Victoria Switzer, a Dimock resident who sold gas drilling rights under the 5 acres she owns.
State Impact – EPA Chief Says Krancer’s Letter Won’t Help Dimock Residents – by Susan Phillips
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson says she found it “puzzling” that Pennsylvania’s top regulator would write a letter critical of her Agency’s role in Dimock’s water problems. Last week Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer wrote to Jackson telling her the EPA’s knowledge of the situation is “rudimentary.” Krancer has expressed hostility toward the EPA’s actions several times since taking over as DEP Secretary last year.
At a press conference Friday at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, Jackson said federal regulators need more data on Dimock’s water.
“That’s what I’m committed to,” said Jackson. “It’s puzzling to me how writing letters will help the people in Dimock.”
CBS 3 – Upstate Pa. Residents Affected by Fracking Protest at EPA Head’s Visit to Philadelphia – by Mike DeNardo
Residents of Dimock (Susquehanna County), Pa. who claim their groundwater has been contaminated by natural gas drilling had for several years gotten fresh water trucked in by the Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation — until two months ago, when the state said the Cabot no longer had to.
Dimock resident Craig Sautner (right) says the federal EPA then did a flip-flop.
“They called us up last Friday and promised us water. They said, ‘We’re going to bring you guys water. We’re going to go do it.’ Saturday morning, we get a call and they said they’re not going to do it,” Sautner said today.
[Lisa Jackson] said that EPA field staffers are doing more tests.
“I think there was a miscommuncation,” Jackson told KYW Newsradio. “I’m not sure how it happened, but we’ve been really clear now that we are working to expedite their decision-making. It is their decision to make, but they’re going to have to justify that decision.”
She added that the EPA can’t provide water without scientific and legal justification.
Philadelphia Inquirer – Video Interview – by Sandy Bauers
Dimock resident Victoria Switzer at Academy. She says she’s been without water for 3 years.
The Inquirer also published Bauers’ article, “Protesters Ask EPA to Deliver Clean Water to Pa. Town”.