Fracking Contaminates Water, DEP Finds
The potential for local water supplies to be contaminated by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas is among Pennsylvania residents’ top environmental concerns. Oil and gas companies claim this never happens. In 2011 testimony before Congress, Pennsylvania’s then- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary, Michael Krancer said he knew of no cases of contamination.
Clean Water Action has been helping a statewide coalition determine how many water contamination cases DEP is aware of. The groups want to know what the state has done to help affected families and what actions are being taken to prevent future contamination. Under pressure from Clean Water Action, environmental allies, legislators and the public, Krancer finally wrote a lengthy April 2013 response, stating that DEP was aware of twenty-five water contamination cases from Marcellus Shale gas wells. Krancer resigned as DEP secretary two days later.
In the Pittsburgh region, whenever it rains — even just a little bit — the sewer system is overwhelmed with stormwater. When this happens, ALCOSAN, the region’s sewer authority, cannot handle the huge volume of water and millions of gallons of raw untreated sewage pour into Pittsburgh’s rivers. ALCOSAN has been told by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fix this problem, soon.
The money to solve this sewage overflow problem, the biggest public works project ever in this region, will come from ALCOSAN rate payers. Rate payers need to be involved in the process so they can get the most value for the money they will be spending.
The beautiful and powerful Susquehanna River stretches 400 miles, provides drinking water to millions of people, supports wildlife and unique environments, and is the largest river feeding the Chesapeake Bay. Natural gas development is expanding throughout the watershed at a rapid rate. Governments responsible for protecting the watershed do not yet have much understanding of how fracking affects the watershed, let alone how to protect human or aquatic life from the negative impacts of fracking.
Clean Water Action’s “Greener Communities” report, released in January, evaluates green stormwater management by 25 municipalities in Chester County’s Brandywine Creek watershed. The report’s focus is “low-impact development” (LID), an approach that uses less pavement and more natural systems and green spaces to reduce environmental impacts.
Clean Water Action continued the highly successful campaign to stop the dumping of toxic gas drilling wastewater into rivers and streams. Clean Water Action reached a legal settlement with the McKeesport municipal sewage plant (south of Pittsburgh), getting an agreement to stop accepting all oil and gas wastewater at the plant. This is the third agreement reached with sewage plants in southwest Pennsylvania. At this point, sewage plants in Pennsylvania have stopped taking drilling wastewater. However, there are several industrial plants that appear to still be discharging wastewater from oil and gas operations. Clean Water Action will continue organizing in 2013 to stop all oil and gas wastewater from being dumped into Pennsylvania’s rivers.
Download the letter here.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
The Honorable Don Young
House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
RE: OPPOSE H.R. 524
Dear Representative Young:
On behalf of our millions of members, we write to express our opposition to H.R. 524 and urge
that you oppose this legislation. H.R. 524 eliminates an important safeguard under the Clean
Water Act, which ensures that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can carry out its
oversight and enforcement responsibilities to protect our nation’s water sources.
One Step Closer to Restoring Protections for All Water
New policies proposed in March 2014 by the Obama Administration would finally restore protection for all streams and wetlands. The long-anticipated move follows more than a decade of campaigning by Clean Water Action and allies, and seeing this restoration of Clean Water Act protections through to completion is a priority.
When Congress first passed the 1972 Clean Water Act, it was with the understanding that all streams and wetlands can impact the biological, physical and chemical integrity of larger downstream waters. But starting in 2001, polluter-friendly court decisions and agency actions that followed stripped away longstanding Clean Water Act protections, leaving critical resources vulnerable to pollution and destruction. Read more
$1 million for Clean Water. That’s how much has been raised so far by hundreds of thousands of supporters using the simple online-shopping app from We-Care.com. Here, Clean Water Action’s CEO, Bob Wendelgass receives the “big check” from We-Care.com’s Dylan Nord, Gina Navani and Bryan Cockerham. Join us, and make your online purchases count for clean water.
March 4, 2014
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Re: EPA’s Coal Ash Rule Must Ensure Public Safety and Establish Federal Enforcement Authority
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
Testimony for the Record (Download the PDF)