Say it out loud, EPA! Reopen investigation into fracking
I was honored to help host anti-fracking heroes Craig Richards and Ray Kemble from the Dimock, PA area, when they stopped in Philly on their way to Washington DC. They had come via Scranton to deliver 50,000 signatures, including more than 15,000 from Environmental Action members, calling on the EPA to come clean about fracking science.
Thirty of us gathered on the spur of the moment outside the Philly EPA office because that's where the EPA whistleblowers work every day. Thanks to their efforts, now we know that EPA had damning evidence that Dimock, and other towns' water was contaminated, but chose to ignore it and cover up the science in order to protect frackers and their allies.
Members of the media came as well, drawn by a good story and a righteous cause.
Even the business media covered it, a tacit acknowledgment of how bad this could be for gas companies bottom line.
Ray Kemble is a strapping rural PA fellow, and has no problem saying what he thinks – he's the one in the baseball cap with the jug of brown water. When I joked with him before the event that eventually people would say he wasn't "really" from Dimock. He said "they already have, but I tell them to kiss my hairy *#$@#." Craig Stevens is a similarly straightforward rural fellow – he's the one dressed all in black like a Johnny Cash hero.
When you hear Craig and Ray speak and see their jug of tainted Dimock water, you see why the frackers have gone to such lengths both to silence them and the EPA investigations. Craig and Ray are heroes not only for speaking out, but because they provided a water truck of safe water to the families of Dimock who can no longer drink or bathe safely. But that shouldn't be their job. That's why we have an Environmental Protection Agency, to raise the alarm about environmental harms and protect the planet and all of who live on it from pollution.
But if we can't have an EPA that does it's job, I'm glad we have the heroic Dimock duo and the whistleblowers of the EPA. Even Craig, who's staunchly conservative, completely agreed researching water pollution and cracking down on frackers was an appropriate role for the EPA.
To illustrate how the EPA reps talk off the record, Craig lifts the the back of his hand to his mouth, like a football coach trying to conceal his plays from lip readers. Something about this visual told me how wrong the situation is. You shouldn't have to hide your research and leak documents to the press if your job is to protect the planet. It says so right in the middle name of the EPA – PROTECTION, not "polluters."
After the event in Philly, Craig and Ray continued on to DC, and the fight continues for Dimock, PA and for all of us who live downstream, literally and figuratively. The struggle will go on until fracking is banned everywhere permanently, as it temporarily is here in Philly.
Support Craig and Ray in their fight to get the truth out about fracking contamination in our water.