Target: Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: Raise a public information campaign on the dangers of hydraulic fracking operations
In recent weeks, West Virginia communities were told not to drink their tap water and to avoid using it in general by their water utility company. This is because a hydraulic fracking operation in the area had contaminated the water supply with a dangerous chemical used to wash coal. Unfortunately, the situation grew worse when residents were told that the water was once again safe to drink; it wasn’t, and hospital admissions doubled overnight with people sick from the contaminated water.
A big part of the problem was the conflicting information residents were given about the safety of their water. The warning not to drink the tap water was officially lifted days before it was announced, but much more worryingly, the warning was reinstated soon after it was announced that the water was safe to drink again. Residents were no doubt confused, and sadly some of those who thought it was safe to drink the water became very sick as a result. The warning, as it stands now, says that pregnant women should not drink the water and that all residents should avoid it if they can.
The deeper problem is that these communities, living very close to hydraulic fracking operations, are not informed about the real dangers that come with the industry. Furthermore, the industry officials have not been forthcoming about exactly what chemicals they use in their operation, which in turn led to the misinformed decision about the safety of the drinking water. We need the EPA to set rigorous public information standards, so that all residents and concerned parties are aware of the risks caused by fracking.
Dear Ms. McCarthy,
Communities in West Virginia have been experiencing a serious threat to public health, due almost entirely to nearby hydraulic fracking operations. Part of the fracking process led to the contamination of residential water supplies with dangerous chemicals, and because the fracking industry officials failed to report all of the chemicals they use in this process, West Virginia residents were told their drinking water was safe to drink when in fact it was still quite dangerous.
Misinformation is the real problem. Some of the blame could be placed on the water utility companies that claimed the water was safe. However, it is the fracking companies that are guilty of misrepresenting their actual process, which led to the false claim of safety, which in turn led to nearby residents becoming poisoned and requiring medical attention. Please hold these fossil fuel companies to higher standards of honesty and force them to inform relevant populations of the true risks posed by their operations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bosc d’Anjou via Flickr