Nice to finally have some confirmation that it wasn’t all imagined (as some have insisted to me and others many times):
For the first time, Pennsylvania has made public 243 cases of contamination of private drinking wells from oil and gas drilling operations.
As the AP reports, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection posted details about the contamination cases online on Thursday. The cases occurred in 22 counties, with Susquehanna, Tioga, Lycoming, and Bradford counties having the most incidences of contamination.
In some cases, one drilling operation contaminated the water of multiple wells, with water issues resulting from methane gas contamination, wastewater spills, and wells that simply went dry or undrinkable. The move to release the contamination information comes after years of the AP and other news outlets filing lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests from the DEP on water issues related to oil and gas drilling and fracking.
One wonders if there will be any consequences, though, given that the industry has spent massively on the campaigns of favorable state reps and state senators in Pennsylvania to open the way to fracking operations all over the state.
The industry lobby’s response to the disclosure, as reported by the AP/Wall Street Journal, was to fault Pennsylvania rocks for being difficult to work with and to blame the state government for lax regulation on drilling well construction and design (a statement which takes a lot of chutzpah).