EPA Rolls [over]

There’s one thing about electing a progressive president, well there are many, actually. But one is that, even though media narratives coalesce around ‘a political savior’ or whatever, no one actually thinks that. It’s just a great relief not have a C-plus Augustus at the helm for a while. Otherwise, all other caveats about agitation, feet and fire hold true. You keep your expectations high, no matter what. Obama can disappoint, as can his agencies; that doesn’t mean I don’t like him or what he’s said he stands for or that his progressive stance was all a ploy all along. But some things may make you wonder.

Residents of Pavillion, Wyoming, had been complaining for years that their well water started smelling and looking foul after the oil and gas company EnCana began drilling in a previously drilled field near their homes. Some contracted weird health problems, including neurological disorders and rashes, after drinking or bathing in the stuff.

After their concerns were essentially passed over by both EnCana and the state of Wyoming, the EPA stepped in to conduct its own tests in 2008. As ProPublica and High Country News reported, the agency found suspicious quantities of hydrocarbons and trace contaminants in residents’ wells that could be linked to gas development. Then, after drilling two 1,000-foot-deep monitoring wells, the agency found high levels of benzene and other carcinogens in the deep groundwater underlying Pavillion. An EPA report released late in 2011, concluded that:

(P)ollution from 33 abandoned oil and gas waste pits – which are the subject of a separate cleanup program – (was) indeed responsible for some degree of shallow groundwater pollution in the area. Those pits may be the source of contamination affecting at least 42 private water wells in Pavillion. But the (deep) contamination, the agency concluded, had to have been caused by fracking.


On June 20, though, after vigorous complaints from industry and Wyoming that the agency flubbed its study, as well as years of delays, the EPA announced that it is abandoning the project completely.

I remember JamesWatt. And if you don’t look him up. THAT was a travesty. But this is serious. We can do better. We have to.

Via LGM.