Hellenic News of America
MEDIA, PA - In light of recent Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) findings across the state, which have revealed harmful contamination of drinking and bathing water by oil and gas companies, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Congressman Joe Sestak is renewing his push for Congress to immediately pass the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, which he co-sponsored in the House of Representatives (HR 2766).
Drinking water throughout the state has been found to be contaminated in cases linked to gas drilling in at least seven counties. Pennsylvania oil and gas wells now produce nine million gallons of wastewater a day and will produce an estimated 19 million gallons per day by 2011 at the current pace, according to DEP estimates. Joe, who is among the 37 co-sponsors of the bill, sees this crisis in Pennsylvania as a wake up call for Congress to take action.This past summer, the DEP investigated drilling areas in Western Pennsylvanians along the Monongahela River, after seeing contamination levels rapidly rising. More recently in [Susquehanna] County, Dimock Township residents fell victim to contaminated drinking and bathing water at the hands of Texas-based Cabit Oil & Gas, which was found to have gas wells seeping combustible levels of methane into a local aquifer for almost a year, according to The Wayne Independent. Just this past week, the DEP issued a 23-page order for corrective actions to eliminate a "slew" of environmental violations in Dimock, fining the company $120,000, adding to a previous $56,000 fine just months earlier, for three toxic chemical spills.
"If Pennsylvanians can't trust their own drinking water, then they should at least be able to trust their representatives in Congress to hold these companies accountable to fix the problem," Joe said. "This problem isn't new, but what's getting old is how long it takes for our government to respond. The bill I am advocating will repeal the Bush-era measure, know as the 'Haliburton exemption,' which allows oil and gas companies to bypass restrictions and inject potentially dangerous chemicals into our drinking water. What we need now is more leadership for Pennsylvania in Congress."
Among the companies engaged in "hydro-fracking" is Halliburton, noteworthy for being awarded no-bid contracts by the Bush Administration for reconstruction efforts in Iraq amidst allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse. When asked about whether he was siding with oil companies like Halliburton, then Republican Senator Specter responded by saying, "he's studying it," adding that "there hasn't been an issue come before the Senate which calls for a vote." Then, he explained why he himself drinks only bottled water. "I don't trust drinking tap water," he said. Dimock Township residents now join Senator Specter in sticking to bottled water, only now because they couldn't trust their Senator to take action in time to keep their drinking water safe.
Senator Specter's comments were captured on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHj90ZqImGY.
Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey sponsored a companion bill (S. 1215), which has been sitting in the Senate without action for five months now. Still, Senator Specter has yet to become a co-sponsor. As far back as 1995, Senator Specter voted against providing Pennsylvanians full information on contominants in their drinking water.. And as recently as 2005, he voted on the side of oil and gas companies looking to expand their liquefied natural gas operations.
The bill that Joe co-sponsored will amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to limit hydraulic fracturing operations from dumping liquid waste near drinking water and require oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. As Senator, Joe will continue to lead in helping to pass this legislation and urges Senator Specter to follow his lead in the Senate. Pennsylvanians interested in joining Joe's call can contact Senator Specter's office to tell him themselves at 202-224-4254.
Gas company slapped with environmental violations - http://www.wayneindependent.com/news/x235897582/Gas-company-slapped-with-environmental-violations
With Natural Gas Drilling Boom, Pennsylvania Faces an Onslaught of Wastewater-
Read more HERE.