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More Fracking Woes

Update 09/22/2009: Environmental agencies in Pennsylvania are scrambling to clean up 8,000 gallons of fracking fluid that spilled into Stevens Creek. A burst pipeline released the toxic carcinogen manufactured by Halliburton Corporation late last week. A fish kill in the creek was reported by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Earlier this month DEP began investigating a similar spill in another part of the state that decimated 30 miles of a pristine river.

Bugle readers will remember Louis Meeks. He’s the landowner near Pavillion, Wyoming who was double-screwed by Canadian oil and gas giant EnCana Corporation. First, they polluted his drinking water well with toxic fluids from their natural gas wells through the process or hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking“. Then, earilier this month, the company decided that they were no longer under any obligation to supply Mr. Meeks with drinking water after the EPA got involved in testing. They cut he and his neighbors off from water that EnCana had been supplying since the conflict arose. The company says it is concerned about the case and working with EPA. Not, sufficiently concerned however, to make sure that Louis Meeks has water to drink and to heat his home.

Now, the Colorado Independent brings up eerie similarities between the case of Mr. Meeks and cases in Colorado. In one case, EnCana was fined a record $370,000 by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Division for a faulty concrete job on one of its fracking wells that allowed methane and benzene to seep into Divide Creek. An attorney for Earthworks reported that “…recent state hearings revealed more than 300 instances of contaminated water in Colorado since 2003 and more than 700 instances in New Mexico“. Cases in Colorado had a direct bearing on the introduction of the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act by Representative Diana DeGette (D-Denver) this year in Congress.

The industry continues to maintain that fracking is perfectly safe and has never been linked to any pollution incidents. They assure the public that states have been doing an adequate job of regulating the process for 60 years. That’s not really good enough for Louis Meeks who maintained earlier this week, “EnCana ruined my well and now that they can’t fix it, they’ve walked away. That’s why we need federal oversight.”

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