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.