Over the past few weeks incredible reports have emerged from the United States.
I say incredible because these reports are like saying the Exxon Valdez never contaminated Alaskan shores. Or that the water in Love Canal was never polluted. Or Chernobyl released only harmless gases.
The EPA reported not once, not twice but three times that water in Dimock, Pennsylvania is not contaminated. It’s normal. It’s drinkable. It’s not contaminated.
Dimock is the Fukushima of shale gas. It’s the worst disaster of our industry. Thirteen local artesian wells were reportedly contaminated. There is no worse example. There is no other claim real or imagined of a more wide spread contamination by shale gas development. Thirteen families’ devastated by a heartless oil and gas company and a complicit state government.
Quebecers organized not one, but two tours to Pennsylvania to report contamination so bad even the cows have birth defects.
Josh Fox exposed for the whole world the worst disaster of our industry in Dimock, by showing their taps lighting on fire.
One small problem – it didn’t happen. It’s another myth imported from America.
I used Dimock as an example of how our industry needs to be more transparent about the real risks of drilling. I also used it as an example of how opponents try to blame fracing when really the contamination at Dimock, Pennsylvania was from conventional drilling.
Except there is no contamination? The water is normal. The water is drinkable.
I am ashamed that even I believed the media reports. Worse, I did what I accused others of – I repeated and perpetuated a myth imported from America. As the person who told you the media ‘can’t count’ it’s more than a bit embarrassing to have to admit this.
So I have a challenge for any reporter, blogger, environmentalist, politician or activist who like me reported on water contamination in Pennsylvania.
Have the guts to admit you were wrong. Like me, tell your audience you made a mistake. Do what you expect of us in industry to do.
Don’t deny. Don’t waffle. Don’t equivocate.