Report: Fracker accuses EPA of playing politics in Dimock

“In our view, what is needed is an objective approach to dealing with community concerns — something missing in recent EPA actions.”

Politico reports,

Cabot Oil and Gas says that a recent EPA decision to retest water in Dimock, Pa., is a political ploy, veiled beneath the guise of public safety.

“While taking water samples is certainly something EPA does from time to time, Cabot is concerned that this recent action may be more of an attempt to advance a political agenda hostile to shale gas development rather than a principled effort to address environmental concerns in the area,” Cabot spokesman George Stark said in a statement Wednesday.

The action is political, the company says, because there is “no credible evidence” that would lead EPA to believe additional testing is necessary. The agency collected data from eight wells in the area and found other hazardous substances and pollutants such as glycols and barium.

In a memo released as it announced additional testing, the EPA noted that excessive levels of sodium, manganese and arsenic were found in four homes, including one where two small children live.

Cabot also takes umbrage with EPA’s flip flopping — in December, the agency told Cabot that the water in Dimock was clean and that residents would not require further water shipments from the company.

“The so-called new information EPA has advanced deals with materials not used in the fracking process at Dimock and more closely associated with naturally-occurring sources or other industrial uses,” Stark said.

Many of the substances noted at concerning levels by EPA, including arsenic, barium and manganese, are naturally occurring substances, but can also be found in drilling fluids. Other substances found in the Dimock water, such as DEHP, is a manufactured chemical used in plastic construction and are also associated with drilling activities.

“In our view, what is needed is an objective approach to dealing with community concerns — something missing in recent EPA actions,” Stark said. “EPA’s changing posture on sampling in Dimock is indicative of a broader problem of inconsistency with scientific process and a lack of cooperation with state and private sector parties. Despite this, Cabot hopes that we can work with EPA to further review existing data and to establish a firmer basis for agency decision-making”…

Click here for more on the Dimock controversy in Steve Milloy’s November 2010 Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA) op-ed, “DEP’s plan for Shale pipeline just a conduit for green activists.”

Click here for Cabot’s statement.

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