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Petitioning Representative Matthew Cartwright and 14 others

Sign Petition to Call for a Federal Criminal Investigation on Fracking


Open a Federal Criminal Investigation of US EPA & PA DEP on Drinking Water Contamination Related to Fracking

On June 14th, 2016, the investigative news nonprofit Public Herald called for a federal criminal investigation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) during testimony before the US EPA Science Advisory Board regarding water contamination related to Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas, commonly called “fracking.”

We, the undersigned, echo Public Herald’s call for a federal investigation of US EPA and PA DEP for failing to act on drinking water contamination related to shale hydrocarbon development, a.k.a. fracking, and thereby placing public health at risk to exposure to toxins.

Due to the government’s failure to perform its duties under current laws and the industry-led weakening of public safety regulations, Americans have been and are still being exposed to toxins in their groundwater. The PA DEP and US EPA have failed to adequately or properly assess residential complaints, or ensure the full restoration of water supplies as required by Title 58, § 3218 of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act.

A federal investigation should include a hearing before the United States Congressional House Oversight and Government Reform Committee comparable to that held for lead contamination in Flint, Michigan’s water system. In Flint, residents’ complaints about drinking water problems in 2015 were grossly mishandled by state and federal officials. This failure to act in the public interest by state and federal agencies spurred hearings that led to criminal charges filed against members of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

A federal investigation of PA DEP and EPA should encompass all citizen complaints of water contamination and acknowledge the evidence released in a report by Public Herald in September 2015 that revealed nine ways DEP systematically keeps water contamination cases “off the books.” Public Herald’s investigation defines and corroborates other findings by Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, Harvard School of Law, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Center for Public Integrity.

These reports clearly show that after a decade of shale hydrocarbon development across Pennsylvania, DEP has allowed the full extent of water contamination related to fracking to remain dangerously obscure. As reported by Public Herald, in the Pennsylvania counties of Butler, Bradford, Susquehanna, Potter, Tioga, Washington, Beaver, Greene, Westmoreland, Fayette, Lycoming, McKean, and Warren, among others, government officials have tacitly and actively permitted a rapid expansion of drilling and fracking in affected areas while allowing disenfranchised Americans to live on donated bottled water for months or years.

EPA nationwide and PA DEP have left thousands of families across shale plays to deal with water contamination on their own, some forced to abandon their homes as “shale gas refugees.”

It is for these reasons that we, the undersigned, call for a federal criminal investigation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) for their mishandling of drinking water contamination complaints related to fracking development in a widespread and systemic cover up and conspiracy against the public.



Melissa Troutman, Executive Director, Public Herald

Joshua Pribanic, Editor-in-chief, Public Herald

Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate for President

Jenny Lisak, Co-director, Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air

Beverly Braverman, Executive Director of Mountain Watershed Association, home of the Youghiogheny Riverkeeper

**Read Press Release »

***Review complete list of original supporters »


This petition was delivered to:
  • Representative
    Matthew Cartwright
  • Representative
    Jason Chaffetz
  • Representative
    Elijah Cummings
  • Gina McCarthy Secretary of United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Shawn M. Garvin Administrator for EPA's Mid-Atlantic Region (Region 3)
  • Special Agent Clay M. Brown US EPA Office of Investigations
  • Thomas Carpenter Designated Federal Officer / Sr. Biologist US EPA Science Advisory Board
  • Pennsylvania Governor
  • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale
  • Robert H. Helverson MS Region 3 Representative CDC/ATSDR
  • EPA Criminal Investigation Unit
  • Loretta Lynch US Attorney
  • Kathleen Kane Pennsylvania Attorney General

Public Herald started this petition with a single signature, and now has 2,758 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.

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