Is the federal agency ignoring ground water contamination from fracking in Texas?
New articles are widely circulating about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) strange handling of natural gas contamination of drinking water supplies in a suburb West of Fort Worth, Texas.
According to Texan Steve Lipsky, his well water started bubbling like champagne after a natural gas hydraulic fracturing operation (a process nicknamed “Fracking) started near his home in Parker County near Weatherford, Texas. Now, there is so much gas in Lipsky’s water that it ignites when he puts a flame to it (see amazing picture of that in the linked article above).
When this was initially reported to the EPA, the Dallas Morning News says, “the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.”
News reports indicate it may have been a cave-in to drilling interests.
Furthermore, don’t forget that the EPA seems to be on a holy crusade to shut down the coal industry, and the agency knows there really isn’t a viable energy replacement for coal in the near future except natural gas. So, the EPA’s anti-coal plans could be seriously impacted if it turns out there are some embarrassing environmental issues with what is being pushed as a supposedly more environmentally friendly replacement for coal.
Never mind that scientists indicated the natural gas in Lipsky’s water might indeed be from the nearby fracking operation. The news article says there are other ‘neat’ things in that well water like cancer-causing benzene, as well.
This situation kind of makes you wonder what other potential problems from fracking might be getting kept secret by the EPA, too.
Some of those problems might include:
o Air contamination from the new cracks in the earth generated by fracking that could involve such contamination as methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs),
o Surface contamination from hydraulic drilling byproducts, which can include such things as diesel fuel and
o Maybe even increased earth instability. Could all this sub-surface rock cracking lead to things like sink holes and earthquakes?
In any event, even the EPA’s web site admits that more research is needed on fracking and the agency is engaged in that work, but events in Texas do raise questions about whether the results of that research will be transparently available to the public.
And, I’ll wager Steve Lipsky would laugh loud and hard at the supposed nobility of the EPA.