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Fracking Does Cause 'Widespread, Systemic' Contamination of American's Drinking Water

Energy

In a draft report five years in the making, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that fracking does indeed contaminate drinking water, a fact the oil and gas industry has vehemently denied.

But instead of dismantling the industry's "not one single case of groundwater contamination caused by fracking" refrain, the EPA decided to go with the misleading headline "there is no evidence fracking has led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources."

It's a puzzling conclusion since their study was conspicuously narrow (they did no new case studies, dropped three marquee cases that proved water contamination and dropped all air quality studies from the report).

Our Map of the Week shows 313 cases where families reported water contamination due to drilling in just six counties in North Eastern, Pennsylvania. Seems pretty widespread to me for a fracking and drilling campaign that's still in its infancy. So far there's been around 9,000 wells drilled in Pennsylvania. One report showed the potential for 200,000 - 600,000 fracked wells in the state.

Our Map of the Week confirms widespread, systemic contamination of U.S. regulatory bodies by the oil and gas industry (and that water contamination due to fracking is widespread too!) Map credit: BH/NY Friends of Clean Air and Water CC-BY-NC, All other rights reserved

If the EPA is looking for proof of "widespread" contamination before declaring fracking unsafe, they may not have to wait long. The industry's own data shows that 5 percent of fracking wells leak upon drilling and that number only grows over time.

What the EPA presented to the public yesterday was PR, not science and proof of the widespread, systemic contamination of our regulatory bodies by the oil and gas industry.

This isn't the first time the EPA has released a report burying the science with a misleading headline that supports the Obama Administration's pro-fracking policies rather than reveal the true dangers of fracking. It's a disturbing trend we reported on extensively in GASLAND Part II with cases in Dimock, Pennsylvania; Parker County, Texas; and Pavilion, Wyoming.

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In Dimock, Parker Country and Pavilion the EPA suddenly dropped water contamination cases when the science proved that fracking was the cause, going as far as slapping a press release claiming Dimock's water was safe on a report that proved fracking had contaminated the water.

The EPA did this, conveniently, around the same time that President Obama was touting fracking as part of his All-of-the-Above energy policy on the campaign trail.

And President Obama has not backed off in his support for natural gas despite mounting evidence that fracking is a climate change disaster. His administration is opening up huge swaths of BLM land for drilling and has even gone so far as to allow fracking offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

He's not the only one. As Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton sold fracking to the rest of the world and has said nothing to indicate she will do any differently as President, despite claiming that addressing climate change is a pillar of her campaign.

If President Obama and Hilary Clinton want to know what a fracking legacy looks like they should take a look at the pictures coming from Little Rock, Arkansas where a fracked-gas pipeline ruptured in the Arkansas River within view of Bill Clinton's Presidential Library.

Millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates ground water and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.

It's clear there is no action coming from our politicians to protect our public health and safety from fracking. They will stick with the industry till all our water is contaminated, our air polluted and climate change has made our planet unlivable.

It's up to us to get the truth out.

If you want to educate your community on the dangers of fracking and the incredible influence of the industry on our government, email us to host a screening of GASLAND Part II.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.

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