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January 20th, 2012

EPA Will Provide Water to Victims of Water Contamination in Dimock

By Rich Bindell

When we last checked in with our friends in Dimock, Pennsylvania, some unlikely heroes were delivering a truck full of drinking water. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) had determined that Cabot Oil and Gas was no longer responsible to provide water to families affected by contamination. In so doing, PA DEP seemed to send the message that they were protecting Cabot more than the environment or local citizens. Thankfully, the EPA stepped in to investigate, and they determined that the well water of four of the eleven families contained dangerous contaminants. Now the EPA is in the water delivery business. Welcome to Frackville.

The fact that the EPA felt obligated to provide drinking water to four Dimock families was a victory for residents who have been without safe drinking water since November 30, 2011. Since that time, the families have relied upon environmental organizations and sympathetic mayors to provide them with safe water for drinking, bathing and other household uses. A federal agency made the right call, even if the state agency in pro-fracking Pennsylvania couldn’t take responsibility for the contamination.

While Cabot Oil and Gas continues to deny that their operations are the cause of the contamination, the facts might reveal a different story in due time. Cabot has been drilling in Dimock, near to the victim’s properties, and while the contaminants found in their water are certainly not natural to the area, they are often associated with fracking.

And this certainly isn’t limited to Dimock. Some residents in Butler, Pennsylvania could be next on the EPA’s delivery route. If fracking is allowed to continue, will the EPA become a bottled water delivery service?

If the EPA hadn’t stepped in and taken the time to conduct a proper investigation, this story could have ended differently. Meanwhile, every week reveals new information about fracking’s negative impacts. We’re learning the hard way. If we had put research and study before rapid industrial expansion, fracking might not be the cause of so many harmful events.

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