Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tests Show Texas Well Water Polluted by Fracking, Despite EPA Assurances

Steve Lipsky demonstrates how his well water ignites when he puts a flame to the flowing well spigot outside his family's home in rural Parker County near Weatherford, Texas, in this file photo (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo) Click to enlarge.
Less than a month after the EPA's inspector general’s report was published, Bloomberg has a disturbing new update:
"When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared that a group of Texas homes near a gas-drilling operation didn’t have dangerous levels of methane in their water, it relied on tests conducted by the driller itself.

Now, independent tests from Duke University researchers have found combustible levels of methane in some of the wells, and homeowners want the EPA to re-open the case.

The previously undisclosed Duke testing illustrates the complaints of critics who say the agency is reluctant to sanction a booming industry that has pushed down energy prices for consumers, created thousands of jobs, and buoyed the economy."
The U.S. Geological Survey says water containing more than 10 milligrams per liter of methane is unsafe.  Again from Bloomberg:
"Range’s consultants found 4.2 milligrams per liter of methane in [one resident's] water in a test taken in mid 2012, and 20 milligrams in November 2012. Duke’s tests a month later found a value of 54.7."
The newly disclosed findings have the Natural Resources Defense Council calling, again, on the EPA to properly investigate the contamination of water supplies and protect water from frackers.  From a blog post by the NRDC’s Amy Mall:
"EPA should reopen its investigation and follow up on all of the IG’s recommendations with haste.  Unfortunately, this case in Texas is part of a larger, troubling trend we’re seeing at EPA; the agency also dropped high-profile fracking investigations in Pavillion, Wyoming and Dimock, Pennsylvania.  EPA needs to re-open these cases also."
Tests Show Texas Well Water Polluted by Fracking, Despite EPA Assurances

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