January 09, 2012
Dimock Township Pennsylvania. If you've heard anything about the fracking debate, you must at least know the name: Dimock. This is fracking ground zero. Josh Fox's controversial documentary, "Gasland," highlighted the struggles of the people who live here; the people who can light their tap water on fire; the people who can't drink their own well water anymore.
Dimock's population during the 2000 census was 1,398. Their per capita income was a little over $15,000. And 13% of them lived below the poverty line. But that was all about to change after the census was taken. The frackers were coming. Money was coming. Things were going to get better. After all, fracking brings nothing but new jobs, higher incomes, better lives. Isn't that what the commercials and politicians tell us? But the folks in Dimock got something else too.
For a while, after their water wells began going bad, they were having potable water trucked in by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. They had vents built into their showers so the methane leaking from their shower heads didn't explode and kill them before they had the chance to spend all that new-found wealth. But now the free, clean water has stopped flowing. Cabot has decided that enough is enough, after regulators in Pennsylvania stopped requiring them to provide water to the affected families. Of course, the frackers say that it isn't their fault. Dimock's water must have always been that way. Even though the generations of people who lived here, pre-frack, claim that they didn't have these problems. They say their water was fine until our country started the fracking march to energy independence and a better world for all Americans.
Would it even matter if it was proven, beyond doubt, that the frackers ruined their water? These corporations are too busy making America better with jobs, money to stimulate local economies, and cheap natural gas for all to worry about quaint, antiquated ideas like the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Safe Drinking Water Acts. I've read that some families on the East Coast are now saving over $500 a year on their gas bills because of fracking. That's a new 32" flat screen television. Now they really can have more than one TV, and pause live action when they want a sandwich, only to play it again when they get into the kitchen. You know, like the Direct TV commercial. If that's not progress, what is?
There were three strange news stories in the last two weeks that returned Dimock to the forefront of the fracking debate. Please read each of them and try to imagine that you live in Dimock, because if fracking begins near your home, someday you might.
EPA: Dimock water supplies 'merit further investigation'
EPA could send water to Pa. town with bad wells
Federal Agency Cancels Water Delivery to Pa. Town
Am I the only one wondering why our tax dollars, through the EPA, need to be the engine for Dimock's clean water? Where are the gas companies who are really making all the money from this? If it seems like they've purchased political support to get off the hook, they certainly have not! They simply gave millions of dollars to political campaigns in the Marcellus Shale states out of their sense of patriotism. They are saving our country, one Dimock at a time.
One final thought: America has military troops stationed in 140 countries around the world, including Germany, Japan, South Korea, and most other places we've ever sent them. We are like that party guest who wants another drink at 3 a.m.; once we go to a place, we never leave. So for all the fracking supporters who believe that natural gas development will finally end our reliance on foreign oil, allowing us to leave the Middle East and all the problems that region creates for us, you are fooling yourselves. You are denying American history. We will always have a presence in the Middle East, whether our country is fracked or not fracked.
Some new information about Dimock in a times-tribune.com article today (1/10/12)
And more information about Dimock from Bloomberg Businessweek today (1/11/13)
More pollution and destruction from those American patriots at Cabot Oil & Gas Corp here:
I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that Cabot will decide that it didn't ruin these people's water either.