The Department of Agriculture quarantined 28 cows on a farm in Tioga county near a natural gas well in early May. Department officials report the cows are suspected of drinking fracking waste water that leaked from a nearby holding pit. The precautionary move has excited environmental advocates explaining how gas drilling could contaminate our entire venison food supply.
However, few are looking at the facts of the case. Eastern Resources (owner of the leaking pit) explained their soil and water tests in and around the affected pasture returned no levels of high chemicals dangerous to human consumption.
With regard to the imposition of a quarantine on the Johnson’s cattle by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, everything that East has seen from the results of soil and water sampling conducted at the request of the Department indicates no reason for any concern of adverse impacts to the Johnson’s cattle or to public health.
None of the soil samples contained concentrations of compounds of concern in excess of established PADEP Act 2 residential Statewide Health Standards.
Even more encouraging is the quick response of the company when the DEP notified East Resources of a possible leak. Within one day the pit was drained and a week later all affected soil was removed and the impoundment was closed.
The system is working – DEP is doing it’s job and companies like East Resources are taking responsibility and paying for their mistakes with timely clean-up operations.