The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Drew Hudson, Environmental Action, 802-272-9763,

Ryanne Waters, Food and Water Watch, 202-683-4925,

Fracking-Harmed Residents Demand EPA Administrator McCarthy Drink Pennsylvania Frack Water from Their Homes After Telling Them Its Safe to Drink

Affected Residents Issue McCarthy #FrackWaterChallenge and Ask EPA to Reopen Investigation of Contamination of Drinking Water By Fracking


Affected community members from Dimock, Pennsylvania, along with advocacy organizations, rallied outside of EPA Headquarters to demand that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy either re-open investigations into fracking's impact on people and the environment, or drink frack water from Pennsylvania that her agency has told residents is safe.

The action came after a year of gathering over 250,000 petitions, thousands of calls, and dozens of events asking McCarthy to meet with them, following the Los Angeles Times story that revealed the Obama Administration had shut down the EPA fracking investigation that found their drinking water contamination linked to drilling and fracking operations.

"My water is brown and smells so bad it will make you nauseous, yet EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy tells me and my neighbors that this poison is safe to drink," said Ray Kemble, a resident from Dimock, PA who was part of the EPA's fracking-related water investigation in 2012. "To make matters worse, Gina McCarthy is promoting more and more fracking across the country, meaning my story will be shared by millions of Americans. This has to stop."

In July 2013, an investigative report in the Los Angeles Times revealed that EPA officials in Washington, D.C. chose to close an investigation of Dimock drinking water despite evidence gathered from EPA investigators based in Philadelphia that found "significant damage to the water quality" likely caused by drilling and fracking operations. The EPA PowerPoint Presentation was released on DeSmog blog by investigative journalist Steve Horn. EPA fracking investigations were similarly shut down in Pavillion, Wyoming and Parker County, Texas at the same time that the Obama Administration embraced fracked gas as part of their "All of the Above" Energy Policy during the 2012 Presidential election cycle. After the LA Times story broke, hundreds of thousands of Americans have demanded that EPA Administrator McCarthy meet with impacted residents and reopen these investigations.

"The timing of the shutdown of these fracking water contamination investigations and the Obama Administration's push to cheerlead fracking for oil and gas appear to be no coincidence," said Emily Wurth from Food and Water Watch. "The EPA abdicated its responsibility to protect public health and the environment by dropping these three key fracking investigations and by failing to provide safe drinking water residents who are still living with contaminated water today."

An overwhelming body of scientific studies, and quickly emerging data, show that drilling and fracking are inherently dangerous and contaminate water, pollute the air and make people sick. Recently, health professionals in New York released a compilation of scientific studies on fracking, showing the breadth of studies showing harms.

"Fracking is known to be harmful to people's health and dangerous for the environment. That's why National Nurses United is deeply concerned about the fracking frenzy going on in our country," said Deborah Burger, an RN and co-president of National Nurses United. "The EPA should not put oil and gas corporation interests over our health and our communities."

The participating groups are members of the coalition the Americans Against Fracking, a national coalition calling for a ban on fracking and the Stop the Frack Attack Network, a national network of grassroots and national non-profits working on the impacts of fracking. The "fracked water challenge" is one of the events happening across the country as part of the Global Frackdown, an international day of action to call attention to the dangers associated with fracking.

"Secrecy is fracking's original sin," said Drew Hudson, Director of Environmental Action. "Without the Halliburton loophole and the EPA's subsequent cover-up of important research, everyone would know exactly how dirty, dangerous and polluting fracking is to our water."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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