Bloomberg News takes the low road through small-town Pennsylvania by siding with the plaintiffs in a natural gas lawsuit, making major factual errors and choosing sensation over substance at almost every turn.
Like a lot of small communities, the village of Franklin Forks in northeastern Pennsylvania can be pretty confusing to outsiders, especially if they’re just passing through. It can be hard enough to find your way back to the Interstate, so trying to understand the inner workings of a tight-knit community in just a few days is a pretty tall order – especially when there’s controversy involved.
Not according to Bloomberg News, however, who recently traveled from Washington, D.C. to Franklin Forks to cover the controversy there over a lawsuit filed against a natural gas developer. In the lawsuit, a local family alleges that their water well is contaminated with methane from a natural gas well over 4,000 feet away while ignoring the area’s 200-year recorded history of naturally occurring methane in groundwater, concluding that the gas industry must be responsible.
Wrong on “violations” at the DePue well:
Bloomberg: “The state forced the local deli, Heavenly Angels, to post a sign saying its water contained arsenic, and issued a series of violation notices against WPX for its drilling work. Among those violations was one for “failure to properly cement intermediate casing” in a well on the DePue property, according to a state report.”
WPX has not been given an official “Notice of Violation” (NOV) from DEP for well casings or methane migration related to DePue well in Franklin Township, Susquehanna County. The violations were only listed in an inspection report. – Colleen Connolly, Community Relations Coordinator
Wrong on methane levels in the Manning home:
Bloomberg: “When methane is present at high concentrations, it can displace oxygen in the air, causing nausea, according to a Pennsylvania state health fact sheet.”
Wrong on causes of methane:
Bloomberg: “Even if it isn’t Marcellus gas, shoddy well design or drilling practices can push shallower gas and related pollutants into the aquifer, activists say.”
“Numerous attempts were made by different entrepreneurs to develop the spring for commercial gain between 1795 and 1870. The brine obtained produced a high quality salt, but not enough could be coaxed out of the ground to yield a profit. The water was noted to be more sulphureous than salty. Bubbles would rise to the surface and when touched with fire would flash like black powder.” (Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources- Salt Springs State Park)
Wrong on arsenic:
Bloomberg: “The state forced the local deli, Heavenly Angels, to post a sign saying its water contained arsenic, and issued a series of violation notices against WPX for its drilling work.”
“Detectable concentrations of naturally occurring arsenic have been found in 18 of the 169 private water wells and springs sampled across northern Pennsylvania. Ten wells, or approximately six percent of those wells tested, contained water with arsenic concentrations greater than 10 parts per billion (ppb), the maximum amount allowable in public drinking water supplies, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced… This study included the counties of Bradford, Potter, Tioga, Susquehanna, Pike, Sullivan, Wayne, and Wyoming” (emphasis added)
Wrong on the basics:
Bloomberg: “When they moved into the house under a rent-to-own arrangement in 2011, the water posed no issue, they said. They signed a purchase agreement in June.”
Bloomberg: “On Dec. 6, I flushed the toilet and the water came in a dark gray, Tammy Manning said. They looked outside at their well, and the water was shooting out with force.”
Bloomberg: “The debate in Franklin Forks, just 10 miles (16.1 kilometers) from the New York line, is drawing interested visitors. Officials, citizens, scientists and lawyers from New York, which is considering ending a de facto moratorium on fracking, visit in droves. So have film crews and citizens from South Africa, Poland, France and Canada. They often take a bus tour across the region, including stops at the Manning home and outside DePue’s gate, with local activists Vera Scroggins or Rebecca Roter.”