Former DEP Head Defends Pennsylvania’s Environmental Regulations

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Is Marcellus Shale drilling poisoning our rivers and threatening our drinking water?

The headline in the New York Times reads: “Regulation Lax As Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers” and calls Pennsylvania ground zero.

But John Hanger, until recently the state’s top environmental official, says the Times never spoke to him and ignored the state’s monitoring and enforcement.

“This was a malicious attempt to mischaracterize how Pennsylvania regulates its industry,” he said.

At issue is what is done with so-called frac water – the water and chemical which are used to free the gas from the shale and then returned to the surface.

Hanger says the Times virtually ignored the fact that 70 percent of the water is now treated in plants and then recycled. He says the other 30 percent is subject to new treatment regulations put into effect in August.

“We are concerned that these containment are definitely getting in the river,” Myron Arnowitt with Clean Water Action said.

But environmentalists say some frac water is still not being treated or being under-treated and discharged into waterways. The Times is raising concern that much of it contains radioactive materials like radium and is ending up in the Monongahela River.

“This river is being used to dispose of waste water from the Marcellus Shale, there’s clearly radioactivity that’s getting into the river – we need to have a better idea of how much,” he said.

Hanger says all of his information is that the radium is being discharged at very safe levels, but he called for immediate testing to make sure.

“There should be no compromise about the safety of Pennsylvania’s drinking water and we just need to go test right away for the radium and find out what the numbers are, and if the numbers are below the safe water drinking act, I will count on the New York Times to prominently retract their story,” Hanger said.

The Mon is the primary water source for Pennsylvania American Water and their spokesperson told KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan they last checked their finished tap water for radioactivity in 2008 and it was “well within” federal and state standards.

“We will continue to follow the US EPA and PA DEP monitoring and sampling guidelines for radium at this time. Pennsylvania American Water’s plants on the Mon River continue to surpass all federal and state drinking water standards.”

RELATED LINKS
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
New York Times: Regulation Lax As Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

Comments

One Comment

  1. drinking fijis says:

    there’s no doubt this is eventually going to be an environmental disaster, but when there is the possibility of tons of fast money, which politician has the kanunes to stand up and fight for the future? none. these texans here doing the pumping don’t give a darn for us or our future, they will do anything the fastest and cheapest way they possibly can. after the last well explosion the rep said he was sorry for any “inconvenience.” how about sorry for almost cooking your a$$es? people, we are pumping RADIOACTIVE water into the ground water and rivers. i guess we can all buy little fijis and fill up the landfills with the plastic bottles. and we can toss them in there with the third arm we’ve grown from the side effects of the pollution. the government is weak, the mews media simply rah rah boosters.

  2. JOHN says:

    HOW BAD DO WE NEED TO DESTROY OUR LAND’S,WATER SUPPLY, AND OUR HEALTH FOR OUR CITIZENS. ONE DAY WE WILL WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT IT’S TO LATE, THERE WILL BE NOTHING LEFT. IF PEOPLE DON’T PROTECT WHAT WE HAVE IT WILL BE GONE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. LET’S NOT KILL THIS FOR OUR CHILDREN’S SAKE.

  3. Larry says:

    Its all about money, such a shame!.This like so many other things is a product of our sick society. WHEN WE FAIL TO LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES WE DOOM OURSELVES TO REPEAT THEM

  4. hejira says:

    It’s not just about money, it’s about our insatiable need for energy. On one hand we have everyone crying about our dependence on foreign oil. On the other we have the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome. You all are on the internet, which means you have computers. You use electricity for all your “devices”. You burn fossil fuels to run your vehicles to get to your jobs and your stores, which you expect to have automatic doors, lights, heat and AC. You use energy to heat, cool and light your homes. Yet you think this energy just comes from MAGIC. It doesn’t. We burn coal, natural gas and use nuclear. Radioactive elements occur naturally. There are hundreds of natually occuring radioactive elements and compounds. Sunlight, tree bark, bananas, granite, etc etc. are radioactive. Where do you think we get the uranium and plutonium we use. We don’t make it, we mine it. As for our children? Do you want them to live in a stone age? Or do you want them to go to college, buy a house and live better than you? We need energy people. Our only choices here are improving and increasing energy production, the stone age, or extinction. Which do you choose for your children? Stop whining, you are part of the problem, not the solution. It’s easy to get on here and whine about “the environment”. I hope it makes you feel better about yourself, but it solves NOTHING.

    1. sasquatch says:

      One lone voice of reason

    2. jim says:

      A voice obviously in tune with reality finally.

  5. JayZee says:

    Thank you hejira, thank you.

Comments are closed.

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