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Pennsylvania Being "Transparent" Enough on Water Contamination from Oil and Gas Operations?

1 min. read

According to this story by the New York Times, about the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's "cancellation of a meeting on the state’s testing of water from water wells near natural-gas drilling sites," the state appears to be more concerned with protecting the polluters than the people of Pennsylvania.

A meeting of 25 environmentally themed groups, the department’s oil and gas division and the state Department of Health’s Bureau of Laboratories had been set for Jan. 24 after the disclosure last November that department scientists had omitted data on some toxic metals found in water taken from a site in southwestern Pennsylvania.

On Jan. 22, the department informed the groups that the meeting was being deferred until an unspecified date, according to Iris Marie Bloom, director of Protecting Our Waters, a group based in Philadelphia that had planned to take part.

On Tuesday, the environmental groups issued a statement urging the Department of Environmental Protection to be more transparent about its testing procedures. “The D.E.P. seems more interested in protecting its own information than protecting the environment,” Nadia Steinzor of theEarthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, one of the groups that was due to meet DEP officials, was quoted as saying.

The bottom line is that "fracking" and other fossil fuel activities in this country need to be closely monitored so as to safeguard public health, water supplies, aquifers, etc.  It should go without saying that full transparency by fossil fuel companies - in the case of fracking, exactly which chemicals are being pumped into the ground, what is leaking out, what the risks are, etc. - should be mandatory as part of the government oversight process. And no, cancelling meetings because government officials can't take a bit of criticism isn't what we're talking about.