Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s Coverup of Fracking Water Contamination


Here’s the latest shocking evidence that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is more concerned with promoting fracking than protecting Pennsylvanians.

The DEP intentionally withheld evidence of fracking-related water contamination from three Pennsylvania families.1

According to sworn court testimony from DEP officials, the DEP sent only partial lab test results to the families,2 leaving them in the dark about the fracking-related contaminants in their water, even as they suffered from a slew of health problems.3

The DEP’s actions are reprehensible. At best, they are dangerous. At worst, as State Representative Jesse White has suggested, they are potentially criminal. And they call into question the DEP’s independence from the fracking industry. The people of Pennsylvania deserve a thorough investigation by independent federal authorities to determine the full extent of the DEP’s coverup of fracking water contamination and whether it broke the law.

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s coverup of fracking water contamination.

In court, DEP officials revealed that it is standard procedure at the agency to release only partial lab results to families who complain that their water has been contaminated by fracking. But instead of acknowledging the seriousness of these accusations, the DEP denied that hiding evidence of water contamination is wrong and even brazenly denounced Representative White as ideologically motivated when he called for an investigation.

The DEP claims that the contaminants it found were in concentrations below safe limits. But any evidence of fracking-related contamination is a cause for concern. In Pennsylvania, fracking companies are allowed to keep secret the chemicals they use, which means that any evidence of fracking-related water contamination raises the possibility that there are dangerous chemicals in the water that aren’t even being tested for.5

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s coverup of fracking water contamination.

Pennsylvania’s fracking boom is a national disgrace. While Pennsylvania’s government bends over backward for the gas industry, communities in the state’s gasland have experienced severe problems: explosions, flammable tap water, huge ponds filled with radioactive wastewater, and massive chemical spills. Some residents have even found fracking chemicals and heavy metals in their blood.5

Accusations that Pennsylvania officials intentionally withheld evidence of water contamination from families impacted by fracking are the last straw.We don’t know if the DEP broke the law, but we do know that it failed to notify three families that their water had been contaminated by fracking. Pennsylvanians deserve a transparent investigation into the DEP’s water-testing procedures and a full explanation of why the DEP covered up evidence of fracking water contamination from impacted families.

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Pennsylvania’s coverup of fracking water contamination.

1. Don Hopey, “Lawmaker challenges Pennsylvania DEP’s reporting of gas well water safety,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 2, 2012
2. Jon Hurdle, “Pennsylvania Report Left Out Data on Poisons in Water Near Gas Site,”New York Times, November 2, 2012
3. Don Hopey, “Washington County families sue over fracking, water testing,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 26, 2012
4. Rachel Morgan, “Heavy metals: Study links water contamination to fracking,” Times Online, November 3, 2012
5. Mike Soraghan, “Two-thirds of frack disclosures omit ‘secrets,'” EnergyWire, September 26, 2012
6. Eliza Griswold, “The Fracturing of Pennsylvania,” New York Times, November 2011

Advertisements