Groups push for more Pennsylvania water testing data
By Timothy Puko
Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
More than 20 environmental groups are calling on the state to release more data from its water contamination tests, according to a letter the groups released Wednesday.
In light of recent lawsuit depositions that raised questions about the state's testing policy, 26 groups criticized the Department of Environmental Protection in the letter. Limiting the information the agency sends to landowners shows a disregard for potential impacts from gas drilling and a lack of public transparency in its work, the groups said.
“What is unreported in these tests is not relevant to our investigation and thus not quality controlled for accuracy. Data that is not quality controlled is not considered valid and, as a matter of practice, is not reported,” agency spokeswoman Kevin Sunday said in response to the letter. “DEP's testing is similar to other states and provides for sound and fact-based determinations, which we stand behind.”
State officials have no plans to change the policy, Sunday said.
The conflict started over how the agency handled test results for the Washington County families who are suing over alleged drinking water contamination. State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, has publicly levied fraud accusations against the DEP for its practices and asked several agencies to investigate.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for Western Pennsylvania is still reviewing the request, its spokeswoman in Pittsburgh said.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which accredits Pennsylvania's lab for the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, will not investigate, its spokesman said Wednesday.
The state Attorney General's spokesman declined to comment. A regional spokesman at the Environmental Protection Agency could not be reached.
“The bottom line is that people have a right to know what DEP is testing for and what they're finding in their water, whether good or bad,” said Steve Hvozdovich, Marcellus Shale Policy Associate in Pittsburgh who signed the letter for Clean Water Action. “If you're going to test for 24 contaminants, there's no good justification for not releasing all the results of those contaminants, good bad or otherwise.”
Some of the groups plan to protest the policy when department Secretary Michael Krancer speaks at an industry conference Downtown on Thursday, said Diane Sipe of Marcellus Outreach Butler.
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- MLB notebook: Dodgers ace Kershaw pitches simulated game
- Penguins notebook: Gibbons day-to-day after Game 2 injury
- Cole’s strong outing wasted in 14-inning loss
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Chicago defenseman Seabrook suspended for hit on St. Louis captain Backes
- Pirates notebook: No rush to judgment by Hurdle
- Egg decorating turns to fight, charges in Brookline, police say
- Abdullah widens lead in Afghan vote tally
- Three ejected after Pirates, Brewers brawl
- Fix the 2nd Amendment with 5 words