For Immediate Release: Aug. 12, 2013
Residents Harmed by Gas Drilling to Call for New Investigation of Poisoned Drinking Water with 50,000+ Petitions at EPA Office
Action Comes on Heels of Report Showing EPA Officials Ignored Evidence from Local EPA Office that Found Pollution in Dimock Drinking Water
Philadelphia, PA – Dimock-area residents and activists personally harmed by the hazards of fracking will gather on Monday at the EPA Region 3 office in Philadelphia to call for the reopening of the investigation into drinking water contamination in Dimock, after recent reports indicated that the EPA covered up evidence of contaminated water caused by the controversial drilling method. The resident-activists will conduct a press conference before heading to EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., where they will deliver about 50,000 petitions calling on the EPA to reopen investigations in Dimock and other locations, and provide safe drinking water to residents while these investigations recommence.
A recent report in the Los Angeles Times revealed that EPA officials in Washington chose to close an investigation of Dimock drinking water despite evidence gathered from agency investigators based in Philadelphia that found “significant damage to the water quality,” from poisonous contamination likely caused by fracking, including the initial vertical drilling phase, the fracturing phase and long-term as well as acute water quality damage. Evidence of drinking water contamination due to fracking was similarly ignored by the EPA in Pavillion, Wyoming and Weatherford, Texas.
What: Press Conference with Dimock area residents demanding reopening of EPA fracking investigation following story of EPA cover up of water contamination
When: Today, Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, 2 pm
Where: EPA Region 3 Offices, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Visuals: Box of petitions, gallons of dirty Dimock drinking water, graphics depicting whistleblower info from EPA Region 3 employees.
Who: Affected resident/activists, including:
Ray Kemble – Dimock, PA resident and former gas industry employee-turned whistleblower. He has been living with contaminated water for more than four years. EPA tested his water as part of their investigation and told him that his cloudy, dirty, noxious smelling water is safe to drink. He now drives a makeshift water delivery truck to supply clean water to neighbors whom the EPA has ignored, supported by volunteer donations.
- Craig Stevens – Silver Lake Township, PA resident and victim of repeated fracking-related contamination on his property. Instigated an EPA Region 3 investigation of his property after 100,000 gallons of toxic liquids were dumped there. Organized the movement to alert local EPA officials to toxic contamination in the Dimock region that led to the EPA investigation and subsequent cover-up.
As the LA Times revealed, an internal EPA presentation on just 9 impacted wells from Dimock showed that over half — five water wells — had Marcellus Shale gas in them, which is not naturally occurring. Four had “long-term disruption” and damage to water quality with elevated methane, manganese, and arsenic. Yet EPA walked away from their study of Dimock in July 2012, despite the EPA itself saying further study is needed.
EPA abandoned its Parker County, TX study in March 2012, yet Steve Lipsky in TX is still paying $1000/month for his gas-saturated drinking water to be replaced. EPA also backed off from its Pavillion, WY study in July 2012 despite benzene in drinking water there at 50 times the safe level for drinking water.
The 50,000 petitions now being delivered are from Food and Water Watch, Environment America, and other organizations.
Protecting Our Waters Demands:
EPA must resume these studies and provide clean drinking water to impacted people. Fracking isn’t safe, but the suppression of science makes it even more dangerous.
Impacted people in Pennsylvania are told by environmental regulators, “you’re the only one,” when their water turns black with manganese spikes after the drilling and fracking phases of shale gas production; or when elevated arsenic levels arise after drilling; or when their water well bubbles with methane and puts their home at risk for explosion. We should be helping impacted people, not isolating and blaming them!
We need a fracking moratorium to prevent further impacts. We need to support whistle-blowers. We need to provide clean safe drinking water for impacted people. And we need these studies to be re-opened.