Weatherford Democrat

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April 2, 2014

EPA asked to reopen probe into local water contamination

Eight Democratic congressman sign letter sent to EPA’s McCarthy

From Staff Reports

Congressman Matt Cartwright, of Pennsylvania, and seven other U.S. representatives have signed a letter asking the EPA and its administrator, Gina McCarthy, to reopen its investigations into water contamination issues that are possibly related to oil and gas drilling operations.

Cited in the letter are water contamination cases in Pavillion, Wyo., Dimock, Pa., and here in Parker County, which refers to water contamination reported by Steven Lipsky and others who live in the Silverado on the Brazos subdivision south of Weatherford, as well as neighboring residents of the subdivision.

Lipsky has been embroiled in a battle to prove that natural gas drilling has contaminated his well water to the point he has put on numerous demonstrations of him lighting his water on fire as it pours from a spigot.

Lipsky sued the original owner of nearby gas wells, Range Resources, but the case was dismissed by a Parker County judge. Meanwhile, Range Resources has a suit alleging defamation, among other things, pending against Lipsky.

Lipsky is hoping ongoing studies, including one by Duke University researchers who have been to his home, will vindicate his claims that gas drilling has contaminated not only his well water, but also area water wells.

Joining Cartwright, D-Pa., in the letter to the EPA are fellow Democratic congressmen Alan Lowenthal and Jared Huffman, both from California; Raul M. Grijalva, of Arizona; Keith Ellison, of Minnesota; David Scott, of Georgia; and Mark Pocan, of Wisconsin.

The letter states that while “technological developments have led to an oil and gas boom that has brought us closer to energy independence, created jobs, lowered fuel prices, and generated incredible profits for oil and gas companies, a patchwork of state regulations, exemptions from many of our federal environment laws and a lack of enforcement have forced communities living in and near to heavily drilled areas to pay the price for this boom.

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