Back in 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a startling announcement, shaking up the battle over fracking in one of the nation's highest-profile cases where drillers were suspected to have caused water contamination.
Water testing results were in for homeowners along Carter Road in Dimock, PA, where for years, homeowners reported their water had turned brown, became flammable, or started clogging their well with “black greasy feeling sediment” after Cabot Oil and Gas began drilling in the area. The EPA seemed to conclude the water wasn't so bad after all.
“The sampling and an evaluation of the particular circumstances at each home did not indicate levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action,” EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin said in a press release.
The drilling industry crowed. “The data released today once again confirms the EPA's and DEP's findings that levels of contaminants found do not possess a threat to human health and the environment,” Cabot said in a statement.
“It’s obviously very good news for the folks who actually live there, and pretty squarely in line with what we’ve known up there for a while now,” Energy in Depth told POLITICOPro. “It’s not very good news for the out-of-state folks who have sought to use Dimock as a talking point in their efforts to prevent development elsewhere, but I’m sure they’ll be working hard over the weekend to spin it differently, notwithstanding the pretty clear statement made by EPA today.”
Now, a newly published report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), puts EPA's testing results into an entirely new light.