Thursday, April 3, 2014

Will you know if a fracker next door polluted your well?

fracking rig and farm

So you're farming a bucolic little site in Pennsylvania, assuming that the well water you use to grow your crops and nourish your livestock has not been tainted by the operations of the nearby natural gas drilling site.

After all, it there was a problem, the state Department of Environmental Protection would notify you, right?  Wrong.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today that:

“Even when pollution discharges from shale gas well pads and impoundments contaminate private water supplies, those violations often go unrecorded or publicly reported by state environmental regulators, according to documents filed in the Pennsylvania Superior Court case challenging the constitutionality of the state's oil and gas law, Act 13.

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“According to a 40-page brief, filed with the court in Harrisburg, it is the "practice" of state Department of Environmental Protection regulators not to issue a violation notice, fines or formal determinations of contamination where shale gas development companies reach private settlements with water well owners.

“That DEP "practice," which began during the Rendell administration and continues to the present day, makes it impossible, according to the brief, for the public to know where and when groundwater, wells and springs are contaminated, because there is no publicly accessible record.”

Related environmental news stories:
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State Senator Vincent Hughes Announces Legislation to Tax Natural
Natural gas industry buoyed by advancing technology 
Shale gas drilling could be boost to Allegheny County parks
Citi: Natural Gas Prices Don't Reflect Risks - Wall Street Journal (blog) 
Pa. Farm Bureau takes on natural gas drilling companies in royalty disputes

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