The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has spent the past four months testing water wells used by families in the rural community of Dimock, Pennsylvania, where residents and environmental activists have accused a gas drilling company of contaminating water supplies while drilling for natural gas in the area. As the debate over the gas drilling technique known as fracking rages across the country, the Dimock debacle has made national headlines; pitted neighbor against neighbor; and attracted the attention of activists, industry groups and even a movie star. The EPA study is nearly complete and both sides of the fracking debate are eager for answers, but for many onlookers, the truth about the drinking water in Dimock has remained as murky as the water that its outspoken residents pull from their wells.
The EPA found pollutants in Dimock well water such as methane, arsenic, manganese, lead and barium. In some cases, the level of contamination exceeded federal health standards, but the agency has consistently stated the contamination levels do not pose a health concern or require immediate action from regulators.
This apparent inconsistency has led to some serious media spin. As the EPA released test results throughout the study, mainstream media outlets and industry groups were quick to declare that the water in Dimock was safe to drink and EPA did not link any contaminants to fracking. Meanwhile, environmentalists and the anti-fracking group Water Defense questioned the agency's accuracy and pointed to the presence of methane and other pollutants in several wells as evidence that the water is not safe to use.
Read the rest of the article here. Do you think the EPA is being forthright by stating that there is no reason for immediate concern here?
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