There has been a lot of news coverage lately about a family in
Colorado whose home is surrounded by natural gas wells. Natural
gas has migrated into their water source and contaminated their
The media are loving this story because they can show?film footage
of water from the kitchen sink being lit on fire and bursting into
flames, due to the presence of natural gas in the water.? Steve Doocy
on FOX & Friends said "...this is nuts." David Shuster on MSNBC's 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' said "It's a terrible situation...."
This family can't drink their water, can't sell what was once their
dream home, and hasn't gotten any answers from the well operators or
the state regulators. They report that no one is even requiring that
the companies provide them with clean water.
What is even more tragic is that this one example is just the tip of
a giant iceberg that is affecting communities across the country. Oil
and gas is being pumped out of the ground in 33 states. Reports of
drinking water contamination related to some of these operations have
come from families in Arkansas, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio,
Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming, in addition to?Colorado.
mentioned some of these stories in previous blog posts. Some families
walk away from their homes and are financially devastated, some have
suffered severe health impacts, and one house in Ohio exploded last year; fortunately the residents were not injured.
And where natural gas has migrated into underground sources
of drinking water, other contaminants may also migrate along with it,
such as chemical additives used by the industry or naturally occuring
substances like benzene, a known carcinogen.
Industry has the technical ability and the financial resources to
clean up its act. What could be more precious than safe drinking
water? Both FOX and MSNBC got it right - this is a terrible situation
that needs to be corrected with government oversight at the federal,
state and local level to protect human health and the environment.
Congress should start by closing the Halliburton loophole in the Safe
Drinking Water Act.
-- by Amy Mall
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