Nigel Lawson deception: fracking contaminated water at 120 sites in Pennyslyania

Senior politicians claim there is no evidence to link fracking and water contamination. This is not true, as data from the US DEP shows

Senior politicians claim there is no evidence to link fracking and water contamination. This is not true, as data from the US DEP shows

Fracking apologist Nigel Lawson recently made some rash claims on BBC’s Radio 4’s Any Questions. Lawson claimed “there is not a single authenticated case of fracking causing water contamination in the US.”

When opponents claimed that US wells had leaked gas and chemicals into groundwater, Lawson invited his opponents to “name them”.

So we thought we’d enlighten the esteemed Lord with a few things he’s evidently short of – facts.

Nine months ago the Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection (DEP) cited the fracking company PA General Energy Company for breaking its regulation that “Operator(s) shall prevent gas and other fluids from lower formations from entering fresh groundwater.” Not just once, but at 6 wells. If you’re listening Mr Lawson, these are the wells:

FISK HOLLOW PLEASANT VALLEY, rig numbers 105-21705, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. See them on a map here or search the DEP database of violations using data from this year, entering search criteria for Pleasant Valley county and the above company name.

The same source reveals that in Cameron County four months earlier wells drilled by Seneca Resources (well names SRC WT 2342 33V 50875 and 50875 rig numbers 023-20144 and 6) were cited for the same thing – fracking pollution leaking from underground into water sources. map here.

In October Talisman Energy’s Schucker well 03 006 03 A 3H (map) rig API 015-20567 was cited for – you guessed it – fluids flowing from underground formations into groundwater. County: Bradford  Municipality: Columbia.

We could go on. Indeed, 14 other wells were cited for the same violation – releasing chemicals and gas from underground into sources of drinking water.

These are not the only evidence of fracking causing water contamination that Mr Lawson conveniently denies.Further data from the DEP reveals that 142 wells were cited for “discharge of pollutional material to waters of the commonwealth“. See an excellent interactive map here for the guilty parties.

Also see below for an interactive map of suspected water pollution incidents across the US:

In the small town of Dimock, notorious wells on Carter Road (the Gesford 3, 4 and 8H wells, Mr Lawson: rig numbers 115-20019, 115-20224 and 115-20367) discharged fluids from lower formations into the groundwater. The DEP notified Cabot of this in a letter.

A few months later the DEP issued a legal summons on Cabot for violations at Gesford 3: ” discharging natural gas… to the waters of the commonwealth, and for failing to prevent gas from entering fresh groundwater.”

Perhaps Mr Lawson – as well as Minister of State for Energy Micheal Fallon who has also recently said much the same thing – would like to enlighten us on this US government evidence. Or perhaps he’s just rather continuing to peddle blatant untruths?

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