Documented Problems in WV & PA:
Chemicals coming out with wastewater from wells in Pennsylvania and West Virginia were found to include 4-nitroquinoline N-oxide, used to induce tumors in laboratory animals, and benzene, a known carcinogen.
Targeting poor communities
Much of this area is in the impoverished northern Appalachia region, dotted by isolated small towns and farms that are no longer productive, and are communities with high rates of unemployment. The poverty and relative isolation of the region have made residents prime targets of corporate salespeople, who have pushed them into leasing land for oil wells.
Problems stemming from fracking are surfacing in communities throughout the Marcellus Shale region. In Dimrock, considered “ground zero” for drilling, several drinking-water wells have exploded.
In Dimock, Pa., one out of seven residents was out of work and people were facing foreclosure of their homes. When Cabot offered $25 an acre for the right to drill for five years, plus royalties when gas started flowing, it sounded like a good deal to people who owned vacant fields but little else.
In September, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials charged Cabot with five violations after nearly 8,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids spilled in two separate incidents near Dimock. It took a third spill for Cabot to voluntarily halt the fracking. According to Halliburton the substance spilled was a lubricating gel that poses “a substantial threat to human health” and was a “potential carcinogen” that has caused skin cancer in animals.
Workers at U.S. Steel and Allegheny Energy near McKeesport found that water used to power their plant contained so much salty sediment it was corroding their machinery. An estimated 10,000 fish died on a 33-mile stretch of Dunkard Creek in this area.
Dec. 3 marked the 25th anniversary of the widespread and continued contamination resulting from the Union Carbide chemical leak in Bhopal, India, that claimed tens of thousands of lives. Without any serious regulation of hydraulic fracturing practices, is the U.S. facing a disaster of that magnitude?