Dangerous Fracking Related Water Contamination: Parker County Texas
Dr. Zachariah Hildenbrand takes us in real time through rigorous testing showing explosive levels of water contamination and explains why Range Resources testing of this water well has produced likely false readings.In December 2010 the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order in Parker County Texas to address the explosive and dangerous case of water contamination in the Lipsky family’s water well. The EPA found: “EPA testing has confirmed that extremely high levels of methane in their water pose an imminent and substantial risk of explosion or fire. EPA has also found other contaminants including benzene, which can cause cancer, in their drinking water. EPA has determined that natural gas drilling near the homes by Range Resources in Parker County, Texas, has caused or contributed to the contamination of at least two residential drinking water wells.”EPA’s isotopic testing matched the gas in the Lipksy water well to production gas from Range Resources nearby gas wells.The Lipskys had been using the water well for 5 years and never had an issue with ANY noticeable methane. Their water driller testified to this under oath. After drilling and fracking occurred nearby, their water well pump seized up with methane gas and became in-operable.The day after the EPA released their Emergency Order, the Texas Railroad Commission – the main regulator of oil and gas in Texas – called a hearing giving the Lipsky family just 10 days to prepare to face Range Resources slew of highly paid and experienced lawyers. Of course, Range Resources claimed it had nothing to do with the sudden appearance of gas in the water well and that the gas had been there all along, calling it naturally occurring. The EPA and The Lipsky family did not attend the Railroad Commission hearing believing they had no chance of prevailing in a state where regulators have covered up gas and oil extraction related water contamination for years. Range’s lawyers had been preparing their defense for months and Railroad Commission employees told Steve Lipsky that the gas was naturally occurring from the beginning of the Commission’s investigation into the source of the explosive gas.In March 2011, the Railroad Commission found Range was not responsible in any way for the contamination. And though Steve had not been a party to the hearing because he’d not been given time to prepare a case, the Railroad Commission’s ruling rendered the Lipsky family unable to sue Range Resources for damages. Instead Range Resources sued Steve for defamation for believing the EPA’s isotopic testing and talking about it with the press. The $3 million dollar lawsuit is still hanging over the families head, although the Texas Supreme court over-ruled much of Range’s case in April of 2015.In 2013 the EPA’s Office of Inspector General found that the EPA was correct to issue the Emergency Order and upheld the findings of the isotopic testing.Still, after 5 years the Lipksy’s are left with a four ft flame from their water well, no water source for their home and a $3 million dollar lawsuit from the company that EPA says contaminated their water well hanging over their head.