A natural gas drilling rig operated by Carrizo Oil and Gas from Texas in Washington Township, PA has spilled thousands of gallons of fracking waste-fluid in the surrounding environment. If you're experiencing any deja vu right now, it may be because the very same company was responsible for a fracking spill in the very same municipality in March. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection had the company stop all fracking operations following the March spill, but then allowed them to resume less than a month later essentially "just because." It turns out - surprise, surprise - giving a fracking company that prioritizes profit over the environment the benefit of the doubt regardless of the environmental threat they present wasn't such a bright idea after all. This marks a monumental failure for PA DEP.
Fracking is the the commonly used term for hydraulic fracturing, which is a process used to extract natural gas that involves drilling as far as 10,000 feet underground and injecting millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals to pressure rock into cracking and releasing the gas.
Before the month ended, on April 30, a hose on a tank of another natural gas drilling rig run by Carrizo Oil and Gas in Washington Township flew off and sprayed a total of over 9,000 gallons of dangerously chemical-laden fracking waste-fluid into the surrounding environment. The waste-fluid flowed across a street, soaking the property of a miniature horse farm, the farmhouse basement, and the garage. A second nearby home is also said to have been significantly damaged by the spill. Now they're digging trenches and using industrial vacuums to suck up what they can of the spilled fracking waste-fluid. Unlike the March spill, no reporting I can find indicates that PA DEP has told Carrizo they have to stop fracking this time. Like last time, Carrizo is doing everything they can to stay on the good side of the locals, including providing bottled drinking water and testing water for contamination. Unfortunately, it seems to at least be working on some people. Fred Kuntz, a farm hand at the miniature horse farm, said of the company's response to the spill, “They’re doing a dynamite job here. I give them my hat’s off to them.”
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.We shouldn't be relying on the company to test water for contamination, we should have a government agency whose priority is environmental protection and not corporate profits doing that testing. Instead, the PA DEP is actively allowing this stuff to happen. If they hadn't allowed Carrizo to start drilling again before their investigation of the first spill was complete and the company proved it could do a better job, which seems like a pretty basic bar to me, this wouldn't have happened. Instead, this company is getting to run roughshod over this township with hardly any resistance from PA DEP at all. So much for environmental protection. This is one more example showing that we need a moratorium on fracking now, before this is allowed to happen to even more families across Pennsylvania.
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