Last August, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a draft of their long-awaited study of water pollution from fracking. Readers of the 1000+ page voluminous report were treated to a parade of horribles describing numerous incidents of water contamination from across the country.
In Wyoming, fracking is taking place all over the state. Oil and gas development is one of main sources of revenue for state and local governments, and one of the biggest sources of employment for communities. Although many are unwilling to speak up against the industry, others are doing what is right, and fighting to protect their health, their communities, and their environment.
During our trip to the area, we had a chance to meet with Deb Thomas, a current activist living in Clark County, Wyoming. In 1994, Deb and her husband, Dick, purchased land in this little piece of heaven. Surrounded by snowy peaks, Deb and her family made this area their home. A few years later, Windsor energy began development, and placed several well pads within view of Deb’s home. A blowout at a well near her home in 2006 forced the evacuation of several homes, and Deb and her family were not allowed to return to her home for several days. In order to protect her family, Deb began organizing, and managed to get several concessions from Windsor and the state to protect water sources.
As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, he must explain why his administration’s policies on clean energy, climate and environmental goals have not lived up to his own standards. The President declares it is his policy to:
“Build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change, and protect our environment.”
But his actions speak otherwise. In doing so, he is ignoring his own administration’s best available science on energy and the environment.
Washington, D.C. –Today, residents personally harmed by gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” held a press conference in front of the White House and then delivered 250,000 petition signatures from concerned citizens across the United States to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at EPA headquarters. The residents - including Ray Kemble from Pennsylvania, Steve Lipsky and Shelly Perdue from Texas and John Fenton from Wyoming - were all part of the EPA fracking investigations in their respective states that EPA abandoned despite evidence of water contamination. The petitions were collected by Stop the Frack Attack and Americans Against Fracking and its advisory committee member, actor Mark Ruffalo. The petitions demand that the EPA reopen investigations into fracking-related drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming and provide residents with safe drinking water in the interim.
Back in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the extraordinary step of issuing an Emergency Administrative Order under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) against Range Resources after the Lipsky family of Parker County, TX reported they could light their water on fire. The EPA immediately began an investigation. They commissioned a well-respected scientist, Dr. Geoffrey Thyne, to conduct an independent analysis of the water to determine whether Range’s wells might have been the source of the methane contaminating the Lipsky’s water supply. The Thyne report revealed that Range could indeed have caused the methane.
Dear Governor Mead,
It was unfortunate you were unable to attend your meeting in Riverton on June 20th; we hope your condition has improved.
After reviewing the State’s plan for addressing the contamination impacts in our community, Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens (PACC) has the following initial comments and questions.
Pavillion, WY & Washington, D.C. -- Pavillion-area citizens, landowners and environmental groups today condemned Wyoming Governor Mead’s announcement that the state is assuming control from the EPA of the investigation into groundwater contamination by fracking-enabled oil and gas development near Pavillion, WY.
In the announcement, the Governor congratulated EPA and Encana – the company operating in the Pavillion area – for working with him to “chart a positive course” for the investigation.