A state representative from Western Pennsylvania has attacked the Pennsylvania DEP in a story reported in the New York Times and elsewhere with some fanfare, but readers need to know the background of the accusers, the real causes underlying their complaints and the facts about what belongs and doesn’t belong in a testing report. State Rep. Jesse White of Washington County has attacked the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the word of a junkyard plaintiff, leaving out essential background on the circumstances of the complaint as well as the plaintiff and offering no discussion of how Pennsylvania’s procedures line up with other states. This has generated some misleading headlines and excited natural gas opponents – buta closer look at the facts reveals a tale quite different from the one being reported in The New York Times. The first thing you need to know is that lawsuit in question involves a Washington Co., Pa. junkyard owner named Loren Kiskadden against Range Resources for what are alleged to be health issues related to a natural gas wellsite nearby. Kiskadden claims, according to the Times, to have nausea, bone pain, breathing difficulties and severe headaches he says are consistent with exposure to “hazardous chemicals and gases through air and water.” The Times also then picks up on the theme of Mr. Kiskadden’s attorney, who, with the help of Rep. White, asserts that DEP had somehow kept testing data from them all. DEP very effectively countered the last part of the story with the facts and EID has offered further perspective here. But there’s still more to the story – a lot more – and it relates directly to the allegations being made. A discerning reader will want to know the rest.


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