Target: Patrick McDonnell, Acting Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Goal: Investigate potential link between water contamination complaints and hydraulic fracking.
Hydraulic fracking has been acknowledged by the Environmental Protection Agency as having the potential to contaminate drinking water in surrounding communities. This danger was realized in Wyoming, where chemicals associated with fracking, including the carcinogen benzene, migrated into the primary source of water for the nearby town of Pavilion. A similar scenario may be looming in Pennsylvania where thousands of water contamination complaints have been filed by residents across the state in recent years.
The Department of Environmental Protection is tasked with responding to water contamination complaints in Pennsylvania. A three-year investigation conducted by the journalism site, Public Herald, found that over 9,000 complaints had been initially marked as confidential and suppressed from public release. Furthermore, their review found that while complaints related to water contamination were inspected on a case-by-case basis, the overall pattern of complaints in areas surrounding fracking sites was never formally acknowledged or investigated by the department.
One culprit listed as the responsible party in many complaints is XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon, and major operator of fracking equipment in the state. The firm was included on 176 separate contamination grievances which detailed water discoloration, a petroleum-like odor and physical maladies such as skin irritation. In one case, XTO itself had informed a resident that their water contained a high level of methane.
Residents of Pennsylvania should be able to count on the Department of Environmental Protection to thorough, comprehensive action on their behalf to protect their water quality. Please sign the below petition requesting that the department open an investigation into an overall connection between fracking and water contamination.
Dear Secretary McDonnell,
I am writing to request that the Department of Environmental Protection investigate whether there is a connection between hydraulic fracking and water contamination in Pennsylvania. Over 4,000 complaints related to water quality have been filed by state residents since 2004, with a substantial number from areas near hydraulic fracking operations.
As the Environmental Protection Agency, has acknowledged the potential for chemicals related to fracking activity to contaminate drinking water sources, it is critically important that the concerns of those you serve not be ignored.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gary Dincher