Economics, Energy and the Environment

EPA exonerates fracking in Pennsylvania

Photo Credit: Bennet V (flickr)

Photo Credit: Bennet V (flickr)

The Environmental Protection Agency today shattered the environmental narrative that hydraulic fracturing in Dimock, PA caused groundwater contamination so severe that residents had to survive on bottled water. Dimock has been the poster-child of the anti-fracking movement, and was featured in the anti-fracking documentary Gasland. It was in Dimock, supposedly, where you could ignite your well water due to high levels of natural gas caused by hydraulic fracturing nearby.

In a press release today, EPA said:

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has completed its sampling of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated the potential for elevated levels of water contaminants in wells, and following requests by residents EPA took steps to sample water in the area to ensure there were not elevated levels of contaminants. Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.

The press release concludes:

Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap. EPA has provided the residents with all of their sampling results and has no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.

Data mavens can find the sampling data here (warning, big file).

In a sane world, this should end the crusade against hydraulic fracturing, and end the federal government’s pursuit of regulatory oversight of fracking as well. However, a world in which the Sierra Club (which, a few years ago took $26 million dollars from a natural gas business in order to wage war on coal) declares war on a fuel that only a few years ago, they were badgering cities to use in powerplants, buses, and truck fleets, sanity seems in short supply.

11 thoughts on “EPA exonerates fracking in Pennsylvania

  1. Well there you are . I remeber a news show some DECADES where a reporter ignited some trace methane
    at a residents faucet. It worked . very impressive tiny little bluish yellow flame caught on tape . To my mind flammable well water is nothing new .It occurs all across the north american continent . I was a little despondent when recent controversies on fracking hysterically threw down the concept of gas “leaking” into wells as a direct result of Hydraulic fracturing.
    I always Knew it was a natural and wholly unavoidable occurence in SOME wells.

    Another example of a Hot and dramatic freakout
    by envirostatists attempting to reign in our ability to acheive Total energy indenpendence.

    I didnt Know about the Natural Gas entity donating funds to the Sierra club to put the kibosh on our coal resources ..Thats really rich. Envirohypocrites Now


    • Envirohypocrites and eco-socialists. Always. No exceptions. See my response to George above.

      If we lose this war against the eco-socialists, we’ll be like Europe, who’s already lost.

      Meanwhile, remember where the most deplorable environmental conditions on the planet are: the most impoverished countries and those under Statism and Totalitarianism.

      Google “environmental kuznet’s curve” and understand it. This is what we must continue in the U.S., and thwart every effort at eco-socialism.

      Stand up, America!

  2. The Sierra Club supported relatively clean natural gas until the energy industry figured out how to increase the supply and lower the price. Expensive natural gas is good as backup energy for wind, solar, etc. Cheap natural gas that totally craters the “green” energy market is bad.

    The ignorance of environmentalists is very frustrating. The hydraulic fracturing process and the fluid pumped into a well isn’t likely to cause water pollution. The problem is simple leaks and spills of the salty polluted water that’s pumped out of the well. A sane set of regulations would focus on waste water transportation, reprocessing, and disposal. Worry about the tanker trucks, not the drilling and hydraulic fracturing process.

    • Good post, George. But w’re dealing with ideologues, for whom facts, risk-based science, cost/beneft, and other elements of logic, reason, and prioritization do not apply.

      We are fighting a political war against an element that’s using one made-up eco-crisis after another (fracking, global warming, biodiversity (the latest), deforestation, overpopulation, resource scarcity, etc.) as the means to establish Socialism, under the auspices of saving the planet and humanity from things for which the planet is in no danger and that are no threat to humanity.

      The moment you understand this, you understand how to fight it.

  3. The gratuitous attack on the Sierra Club as part of this report only serves to call into question the accurracy of the entire report. The American Enterprise Institute once again reveals itself as nothing more than a flack for industry seeking free reign to impose it’s financial will – and damn the public good. Worse, is that I was willing to believe the report about the EPA exoneration of the fracking, until I read that unwarranted bit of closing propaganda. Now I’m inclined to discount anything this organization has to say.
    There is a big difference between an industry funded organization whose reason to be is to present a one sided view slanted toward client interests, the the positions taken by a long established 501c3 non profit organziation whose mission is to act upon best available scientific information in protecting our planet. The AEI’s position and statements may or may not be true. But please consider the source and see if you can confirm what they claim by reading more independent scientific reports.

    • Yet another ignorant fool who, when shown the facts of what is actually going on in the world, figuratively plugs there ears and starts shouting at the top of their lungs so as to avoid the facts that are right in front of them. The fact that they pointed out the positions held by a prominent environmental group suddenly makes all the facts invalid? Get a grip on reality and ignore the propaganda being spewed by the people who truly benefit from this, the environmentalists who are constantly being shut down for their views. You talk about scientific information, learn to look for it yourself before you start with your venomous vitriol.

    • S Schneider – squeal all you want about a FACT (Sierra accepting nat gas money), but it’s a fact.

      And on the issue of calling into question the entire report, I offer you this:

      Do you really think that the Obamao administration – without doubt the biggest hater of fossil fuels of any administration in US history – would miss any opportunity to burn a fossil fuel company into ash and expose – and fear monger to no end – contamination that it caused if the DATA showed actual contamination?


      Nice subterfuge trying to distract from the real issue. No sale. Lib.

  4. American Enterprise Institute appears to be now shilling for a carbon tax. If this is the case, one has to wonder whether this article and that allegation don’t make AEI hypocritical.

    I beseech AEI to come clean on this. If you are advocating for a carbon tax – explicitly or in a clandestine manner – then you are no friend of affordable, reliable energy or free market capitalism. A carbon tax will NOT change the climate, period.

    If you are not advocating for a carbon tax, please tell us that. If you are, please explain yourselves.

  5. you already know ridge and corbett have been paid big time to allow epa and state dep to thwart the truth of methane and other poisons in the water wells. see “the sky is pink” for the truth if you dont believe me. cuomo wants money not healthy water too.

  6. The Dimock, PA. water is not the EPA end on issue of water pollution/ contamination. Waters used in Fracking itself, cannot be purified in the billions of gallons for re-use in public drinking water. No Answers. Hazardous waste sites,
    paid by the tax payer’s Super Fund, has little room while oil companies take shortcuts by pumping the waste back into the ground. This
    is like the Nuclear Wastes with no answers, other than storage. Land take-over by Eminent domain has the smell of a communistic backdrop. What ever happened to the “Land of the Free” that I shed my blood for.

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