A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed what many fracking critics have argued for years: hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas can contaminate groundwater.
The study’s release comes as a major class action lawsuit filed in the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 2009 winds its way to a jury trial later this year. The lawsuit over fracking groundwater contamination pits plaintiffs based in Dimock, PA against Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation.
For the study, researchers examined groundwater contamination incidents at three homes in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale basin in Bradford County. As The New York Times explained, the water samples showed “traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids.”
It’s not the first time fracking has been linked to groundwater contamination in northeastern Pennsylvania. And that brings us back to Dimock, , located in neighboring Susquehanna County.
As DeSmogBlog revealed in August 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had in its possession an unpublished PowerPoint presentation summarizing an Agency-contracted study that linked fracking to groundwater contamination in Dimock, a study the Agency later abandoned and censored.
That presentation was subsequently leaked and published here for the first time.
Image Credit: DeSmogBlog
In its official July 2012 Dimock desk statement, EPA said “there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.” As Greenpeace USA researcher Jesse Coleman recently pointed out, EPA has done thebidding of the oil and gas industry on multiple instances during high profile fracking studies.
That PowerPoint presentation and the new Bradford County study could both potentially serve as key pieces of evidence in the U.S. District Court case.
Ely v. Cabot
Initially, the U.S. District Court complaint filed in November 2009 featured many more plaintiffs.
The story of how fracking forever changed Dimock played a prominent role in the documentary films “Gasland” and “Gasland: Part II.” Dimock’s saga also received national and international media coverage by “60 Minutes” and the BBC.