Dimock, Pennsylvania (AP) — Employees of the Pennsylvania Attorney’s Office meet a man whose well water has been contaminated for years and accept a treatment system from a gas excavator charged with contaminating the aquifer. Asked if you would like to consider.
Not a chance, Lakemble told them.
“Are you going to drink it and take a bath?” Kemble asked the prosecutor and her colleague, a special agent, according to a record of the conversation obtained by the Associated Press. “Would you like to come here with two people, live in this house for a month with the system, and use the water?”
One of the most famous pollution cases to date from the U.S. drilling and hydraulic fracturing boom has entered a difficult new phase as prosecutors file criminal charges against the state’s most prolific gas drillers. I did. Homeowner rather than convicted.
However, recently discussed optional prosecutors are at odds with some residents who reject individual water treatment systems as inappropriate and infeasible. These inhabitants want to be absorbed in public water. In itself a controversial idea in rural areas, the state’s environmental authorities discussed it over a decade ago, but were eventually abandoned under legal threat from drillers and local authorities. I did.
Residents’ opposition to the treatment system shows the delicacy of the Attorney General’s mission at Dimock, a place synonymous with the discussion of hydraulic fracturing.
About 150 miles (240 km) north of Philadelphia, the first public attention to patchwork for previously anonymous homes and farms was the exploding well.Around that time, the residents began to report on themselves. Well water made them sick Symptoms include vomiting, dizziness, and rash.
Anti-drill celebrity When Documentary filmmaker It has descended and cited Dimock as an example of fraudulent activity in the natural gas industry in the country’s second largest gas producing country. Meanwhile, industry proponents advertise the economic benefits of cheap gas, threatening the Green Group, even if state regulators conclude that Texas-based Cabot Oil & Gas has polluted Dimock’s groundwater. Was accused of being greatly exaggerated.
Houpla died before long, but Dimock’s water remained contaminated. Cases of new pollution were recently reported in December.
The state’s criminal proceedings against the excavator date back to 2020, with Attorney General Josh Shapiro — a Democrat currently running for governor — Indicted Cabot for violating the law By allowing methane from the company’s defective gas wells to escape to the drinking water aquifers of Dimock and neighboring communities.
Shapiro spokesman Jacklin Rhoads did not answer the question about “the existence or substance of the discussion” with the company regarding the settlement.
But she said the state’s Criminal Environmental Law provides “limited tools” to hold polluters accountable. Penalties for convictions under the State Clean Stream Act are up to $ 50,000 for each violation.
“Reconciliation can bring more benefits to victims than penalties for convictions, but our goal is to maximize the restoration and protection of clean water for residents through trials or reconciliation. Is to solve, “Rhodes said.
A spokesperson for a company declined to comment on the grounds of “aggressive legal issues.”The company has been for a long time Defended the record He denied responsibility for Dimock’s groundwater pollution.
It’s not clear if treatment systems continue to be considered, given the backlash from the population, but there are skeptical reasons for Kemble.
In 2010, state environmental authorities signed a settlement with the company after abandoning plans to connect residents to public water. Cabot proposed installing a separate water filtration system and a prize equivalent to twice the tax on each resident’s home.
The agreement, which was reached without the opinion and consent of the residents, infuriated those who revealed that they did not trust Cabot in their water. But many inhabitants have taken money — and the treatment system.
According to Joe Narry, who installed and maintained dozens of systems for Cabot and other drilling companies, some worked well and some were prone to failure, all requiring costly maintenance. ..
“It was absolutely a maintenance issue for them,” said Narry, who left the industry many years ago.
The system cabots installed in Tim and Debmei’s house are currently in a hut outside the house and are no longer in use.
Handwritten logs show that the contractor has visited hundreds of times due to an elaborate setup of tanks, filters and control panels failing to remove leaks and bacteria.
Ultimately, DEP allowed Cabot to delegate financial responsibility for repairs and maintenance to Maze. The couple said they never agreed. The system never worked properly, they said.
Maze currently uses untreated well water for bathing and washing toilets, and bottled water for everything else.
“This was supposed to be our eternal home,” said Fat May, who moved to Dimock with his family to escape the hustle and bustle of the outskirts of Philadelphia. “And DEP and the gas company ruined it.”
Scott Perry was Deputy Secretary of the DEP and long-time head of the oil and gas sector of the government agency until he left employment in the state on February 11. In an interview in late January, he admitted that the treatment system “did not work perfectly just outside the gate.” But he said they were “absolutely working” and added that some residents were happy.
“All homeowners are offered twice the value of their homes and are able to meet their drinking water needs with the issues they consider most appropriate. And some of them. Choosed not to maintain their system, and that’s a shame, “Perry said.
He said the waterline, once advertised as a permanent solution, could not be built given the political, logistic and legal realities of the time, and Kotera was banned from some drilling. Even as it is, Dimock’s aquifer claimed to be healing Township.
“We do not allow the oil and gas industry to leave a legacy of contaminated groundwater,” he said.