Keystone Progress: Eric Holder Should Investigate PA DEP

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Our friends at Keystone Progress have a SignOn petition with close to 15,000 signatures calling on US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for misconduct and fraud related to withholding information about drilling contaminants in our water.

The petition can be found by clicking here.

And here is the petition background from Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress:

“The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection produces incomplete lab reports and uses them to dismiss complaints that Marcellus Shale gas development operations have contaminated residential water supplies and made people sick, according to court documents.”

When I read this opening sentence in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette I almost fell out of my chair. This seemed like something from a bad movie from the 1980’s about how the big bad corporate lobbyists have influenced government watchdogs by contributing millions to the state’s governor.

But it’s not a movie. It’s happening now.

Gov. Corbett received $1.3 million from drilling interests in his campaign for governor. He also received another $6 million from organizations affiliated with the drillers.

And in return the drillers received a Department of Environmental Protection that may be routinely falsifying reports to homeowners who ask for their water to be tested.

When homeowners suspect that their water has been contaminated by drilling in their area, they can ask the DEP to check for metals, organic material and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Depositions of two DEP employees allege that the DEP tests for all contaminants, but omits some of the most dangerous contaminants in their reports to the homeowners.

According to the Post-Gazette,
“The omissions include heavy metals, including lithium, cobalt, chromium, boron and titanium,
some of which are human carcinogens or toxics, as well as volatile organic compounds that are associated with hydraulic fracturing fluids.”

If it is true, then it is criminal. Everyone involved should go to jail for putting Pennsylvania’s families at risk.

State Representative Jesse White (D, Allegheny, Beaver, Washington) has called for an investigation for “alleged misconduct and fraud.”

We agree. PA’s enforcement agencies are too tightly controlled by Tom Corbett to conduct an independent investigation. So we’re calling on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether these allegations are true, and if so, to find out who ordered reports that mislead the public and put us all at risk of cancer by hiding the contamination of our water and air.

 

About Jake Sternberger

Jake Sternberger is a recovering/relapsing political professional who has been a contributor to Keystone Politics since 2011. Sternberger covers campaigns and elections for KP, drawing from his experience working on local, county, congressional, and statewide PA races doing field, oppo, comms, and as CM. He is currently a law student. Email: jakes@keystonepolitics.com Twitter: @JakeSternberger
This entry was posted in Environment.

One Response to Keystone Progress: Eric Holder Should Investigate PA DEP

  1. Is Corbett still a member of the PA bar?