Speaking of concerns, in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County and Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, the same story is being played out: gas companies (in the latter case, Rex Energy) and the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection are saying that contaminated water is safe to drink and homeowners are saying otherwise.
Much has been written about having “court-ready” water tests costing thousands of dollars in hand before doing legal battle with the gas industry over contaminated water. But I suggest a simpler, cheaper solution: test the safety of the water upon the bodies of those who declare it safe.
With media cameras rolling, let state regulators and gas company representatives converge on neighborhoods with allegedly contaminated water. And then, let them drink up! Not just a little sip, but a nice big glass full of the brown frothy stuff. Let the cameras capture every grimace as this refreshing beverage flows down the hatch (except when the clumps interrupt the flow). The cameras won't lie. The cameras will show whether this liquid is the “pure water” guaranteed to every Pennsylvania citizen by the state's constitution.
It is to be hoped that industry cheerleader-in-chief Tom Corbett would be present for this special media event. Perhaps some of the more prominent pro-drilling politicians as well. Brian Ellis? Mary Jo White? Come on! Drink up! You know it's safe – the DEP says so! Let's not forget to invite Mike Kelly and Jason Altmire as well! Perhaps they could serve this special Pennsylvania vintage at their next campaign fundraiser! And just for fun, they can set it ablaze at the end of the evening.
Maybe some local drilling proponents who have leased their land would be willing to drink the water from Woodlands Road in Connoquenessing Township on camera as well. Perhaps their Penn State-induced delusions of safety would protect them from all ill effects. Or it could be like the morning DJ who decided to be water-boarded just for kicks: a rude awakening.
Our elected officials, state regulators, those who are drilling our state's land and those who are leasing that land need to be willing to drink what they say is safe for other Pennsylvania citizens to drink. Or, as the lawsuit launched by Dimock residents against Cabot Oil and Gas suggests, are the state's residents merely “lab rats” for the oil and gas industry?
To borrow another metaphor from the animal kingdom, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.