It’s too bad the Bradford County, PA Commissioner’s fact finding trip turned into fluff finding or McKlinko would have known about Big Oil’s MANY exemptions from our federal environmental laws.
In light of the exemption that has been granted to the hydraulic fracturing process, “what have you commissioners done to ensure that we, the people, under your watch, have safe drinking water, and what recourses do we have to rectify the negative consequences — and there are going to be negative consequences, and there already have been — to our health, property values, and publicly shared environment?” Hemingson asked.
Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko began to respond to Hemingson by saying that damage to roads and the preservation of safe drinking water are two of the biggest issues related gas drilling.
But Hemingson interrupted McLinko, saying: “We have no recourse legally (under the Safe Drinking Water Act, if a problem should develop), because they are exempted.”
“I am not aware of that (exemption),” McLinko then told Hemingson.
“Yeah, they are exempt,” Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith said.
“Oh boy, you should be aware of it, that there is no legal recourse,” Hemingson told McLinko.
“I know there has been trouble in Susquehanna County, but has there been trouble locally?” McLinko asked Hemingson.
“There has been trouble across the country,” Hemingson replied.
McLinko later told Hemingson: “I understand there is a big concern for drinking water. I think we should look at the way our water wells are constructed. The way water wells are put in the ground today, they can more easily become contaminated from a septic field or something, than from gas wells. [NOTE: this is the line given by industry and McKlinko learned it when he came here and got his complimentary hard hat.] Because there are many, many instances where the double-lined and double-grouted gas wells are sealed way down below the aquifers.”
I’ve written about the exemptions many times. The Domestic Drilling Agenda: How We Can Protect Ourselves From the Environmental Devastation
Oil and gas enjoys broad exemptions from our environmental laws.
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
- Safe Drinking Water Act
- Clean Water Act
- Clean Air Act
- National Environmental Policy Act
- Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
There is plenty county commissioners can do to protect citizens from oil & gas. One thing our commissioners could have done before they allowed Wise County to have the most injection wells of any other county, is adopt a resolution to protest every injection well permit like Hood County, TX commissioners did. They can also place load limits on roads so the trucks can’t pass. There are many different ways commissioners can take better measures to protect their citizens. If nothing else and at the VERY LEAST they can be responsible enough to educate themselves on the issues! They are RESPONSIBLE for making good decisions for their constituents!
Right now they could adopt a resolution to repeal the SWDA exemption as I have requested of Wise County, TX commissioners <-crickets chirping->. Municipalities, counties, communities, groundwater districts and many other organizations all across the country are adopting resolutions. If you want a copy of such a resolution, contact me.
All I can say is: I feel your pain Bradford residents. Our commissioners don’t know about the SWDA either.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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As usual, Sharon, you are shining light on the dark places of government where elected officials sit twiddling their thumbs, or whatever they do when they should be on the Internet or in the library educating themselves. It really doesn’t take a lot of smarts to find out the facts. I am sure the Bradford County commissioners can read. McKlinko’s remarks took my breath away. It was unbelievable. I don’t know what hope there is for Bradford County unless its citizens band together and visit the offices of all three commissioners right away.
I want to thank Donna Hemingson for her courage and resolve to question the county commissioners and to challenge the answers she got. At least Mark Smith knew she was right.
I thought the suggestions here of what the commissioners can do are excellent. Why did these ideas not come to their minds during commissioner meetings? They seem obvious.
"There is plenty county commissioners can do to protect citizens from oil & gas. One thing our commissioners could have done before they allowed Wise County to have the most injection wells of any other county, is adopt a resolution to protest every injection well permit like Hood County, TX commissioners did. They can also place load limits on roads so the trucks can't pass. There are many different ways commissioners can take better measures to protect their citizens. If nothing else and at the VERY LEAST they can be responsible enough to educate themselves on the issues! They are RESPONSIBLE for making good decisions for their constituents!"
I don’t think the commissioners can be expected to know everything about drilling. It’s a complicated issue. But they can be expected to be open to learning the TRUTH from multiple sources, not be arrogant about taking information and for the love of God don’t repeat the industry propaganda.
I was at a meeting recently where Mr. McLinko stated that there was a lot of “mis-information” out there as it relates to the oil and gas industry. It is apparent from Mr. McLinko’s statements that he doesn’t understand the issues and ignores the facts. He is squarely in the hip pocket of the gas industry.
It is hard to understand why things are the way they are. Air, water, and soil are needed by all of us. I guess power and money can look better than life itself sometimes. Is that it? I’m old enough. I should already have learned this.
When big O&G moves into an area, their #1 job is to "take over" the local government/s–buy them out–make BBO's out of them! This case is a classic situation of how it's done–and what the results of such action will be!
Please remember that Big Oil is very seductive and they can convince people who are normally reasonable to agree to unreasonable things. Maybe you should approach McKlinko and see if he is more willing to educate himself.
Yeah, it’s strange. Sometimes a promise of a cattle guard and a white-rock road goes a long way–officials start nodding and signing their names!
those cattle guards and roads won’t be worth much if we have no water. It’s so short-sighted and reckless
Part of what keeps people like McLinko ignorant is their ignorance. You have to be able to see past it to understand there’s more there.
What do you mean, there’s more there? My confidence in such county government has long ebbing.