You’ll find this quote from former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in pretty much every pro-drilling article ever written:
“I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”
If you’ve followed the EPA’s mishandling of the investigation of water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming and their retreat from political attack on the matter, you’ll understand her unwillingness to comment. And, if you watch the video, you’ll note that she qualifies her remarks and limits them to “the fracking process itself,” not spills and pit lining leakage and the failure of concrete casings and all the other ways water gets contaminated at well sites.
But it’s good enough for defenders of oil drilling to say that oil drilling is absolutely safe.
If you Google that comment, you’ll see that the quote is the basis of dozens of articles saying drilling doesn’t cause water contamination.
When someone says this to you, look him or her in the eye and say, without fear of contradiction, “This is not true.”
Today we provide conclusive easy-to-use evidence that you can point to. Bookmark this, download it to your hard drive, print it out and keep it handy.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has just released a list of 243 cases of documented water contamination due to conventional and unconventional oil and gas drilling in that state. According to the document:
The following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities. The oil and gas activities referenced in the list below include operations associated with both conventional and unconventional drilling activities that either resulted in a water diminution event or an increase in constituents above background conditions.
Folks, that means contamination.
For each of the 243 items on the list, there is a clickable link to the DEP order that defines the nature of the contamination, and how or whether the contamination has been addressed by the oil/gas operator (here’s an example).
You should be reminded also that the Pennsylvania DEP keeps a database on the compliance violations of each operator in the state. If you’ve followed this site, you know that Energy Corporation of America, the company that has promised to “bring the Bakken to the Beartooths,” has been charged with 66 inspections with violations, 90 separate violations, 55 enforcement actions and paid fines of over $80,000 in Pennsylvania alone, and has been cited for 70 more violations in West Virginia. You can see the Pennsylvania report for yourself by clicking here. In the report you’ll see specifically the kinds of violations that lead to water contamination: rips in pit linings, failure to cap wells, failure of cement casings.
Let’s put this all together:
- There is plenty of proof that oil and gas drilling causes water contamination.
- ECA, the company that is bringing the Bakken to the Beartooths, has a long history of the kinds of violations that cause contamination.
- Montana has very lax regulations about water testing.
- The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, which has primary responsibility for permitting oil wells, has shown in the permitting of the Belfry well that it is unwilling to require that ECA observe highest and best management practices in drilling along the Beartooth Front.
Do these facts scare you? They should.
There is something we can do about it if we act together as a community. Follow this site to find out more.