February 22, 2018

PA DEP Whitewashes Franklin Forks Water Contamination

A number of us heard the news release from the Binghamton NPR station earlier tonight that the PA DEP has decided that the gas in Matt and Tammy Manning’s Franklin Forks water well is NOT from any gas well drilled by WPX but is instead from biogenic sources.

Interesting that NPR managed to announce that the industry is innocent but never managed to announce back in 2011 that the Manning’s water well was suddenly gassed only two days after a Hollenbeck gas well was drilled 4,000 feet away and a Depue well was fracked 7,000 feet away. Of the 10 wells that were drilled on DePue’s property 4 casings failed and one had to be plugged. And of the 6 wells that were drilled on the Hollenbeck’s, 2 failed. The Manning’s neighbor’s water well just down the road was also gassed at the same time.

Tammy talked to the DEP earlier today and they told her that their investigation would not be published because it might contain some private and confidential memoranda that should not be released. So since it won’t be published it will not be subject to FOIA requests. That should give everyone complete confidence in the DEP conclusions.

Meanwhile their press release and letter to the Mannings comes out at the same time as a number of NYS Senators have visited the Mannings and other PA pollution victims.

So the DEP message seems to be, don’t worry, New York State Senators, PA drilling is alright!

This DEP announcement also relieves WPX of any further responsibility to deliver water to the Mannings.

Tammy was telling media people today that she doesn’t care where their contamination comes from, she just wants to know why it came on so suddenly, with such force and at such explosive levels. The DEP has not bothered to do a follow up test on their well in 13 months.

Their letter to the Mannings acknowledges dangerous levels at their well, can’t explain why it came suddenly but confidently states that it couldn’t come from gas drilling.

“Further, the Department did not document any naturally occurring phenomenon that could have caused the surging of water from the well or the claim of air (sic) in the water lines. At this time, the Department’s investigation does not indicate that gas well drilling has impacted your water supply.”

The DEP press release says that the heavy metal chemistry of the private water wells is similar to the water at Salt Springs State Park but fails to mention that the park is just across the road from DePue’s 10 gas wells.

The timing of the DEP’s announcement closely follows Commissioner Michael Krancer leaving the DEP on April 15 to go to work for the energy industry and Gov Corbett’s staff person Chris Abruzzo taking over.

“Krancer will become chair of Blank Rome’s Energy, Petrochemical and Natural Resources Practice, where he will be, “enhancing the firm’s existing energy and public policy talent and advising US and global energy clients,” according to a Blank Rome press release.”

“Governor Corbett’s deputy chief of staff, Christopher Abruzzo, will serve as acting DEP secretary until a replacement is named.”

Well, the EPA says that Dimock is OK and now the DEP says that Franklin Forks gas wells are OK.

Bogus government science in the service of the industry has spoken!

Peter Hudiburg, Plymouth Friends of Clean Water