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March 11, 2011

Fracking Up the Drinking Water

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Rachel Maddow interviewed Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica last night. The interview starts about three minutes into the clip. Lustgarten's latest article on the insidious problem of natural-gas drilling and hydraulic fracking in Pennsylvania focuses on the politics side of things. Health impacts from rampant fracking in the Keystone State are not being addressed:

Private water wells have been contaminated with methane gas and other pollutants across the state, and in many cases the DEP has found that hasty or insufficient gas well construction was to blame. Several drilling site accidents have led to spills where wastewater, including from hydraulic fracturing, contaminated streams.

A 2009 ProPublica investigation revealed that Pennsylvania's sewage treatment plants were accepting millions of gallons of drilling wastewater, but lacked the technology to remove or treat many of the chemicals and pollutants the water contained. In 2008 people along one stretch of the Monongahela River were advised to drink bottled water because the level of dissolved minerals and salts in the river was almost twice as high as the DEP considers safe.

-- Brian Foley

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