Another Dimock ATSDR Study? You’ve Got to be Kidding!

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


It’s back! There is another Dimock ATSDR study underway, proving how easy it is for fractivists to manipulate government into the ridiculous and the corrupt.

How many times will they get away with it? There’s now yet another Dimock ATSDR study of water wells taking place at the request of fractivists. Readers of this blog will recall this follows another Dimock ATSDR study conducted in 2012, when the EPA came to town to test wells and had the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) analyze the results.

That study was instigated by Josh Fox and now forgotten people such as Craig Sautner who bombarded the EPA with complaints until they relented and did a study proving just how ridiculous the fractivist claims really were, at which point Sautner went apoplectic, turned on the agency and self-destructed in an epic blazing flameout. (Must watch video here.)

Now, it’s “déjà vu all over again.”

Mike Rubinkam of AP cover the latest here. The EPA isn’t coming back, but there is, incredibly enough, another Dimock ATSDR study underway at the apparent behest of junkyard plaintiff Ray Kemble. Here’s a little reminder of where Ray lives:

Dimock ATSDR

Bing Maps birds-eye view of Ray Kemble’s home and junkyard

Here’s what we learned from the previous Dimock ATSDR study found, courtesy of Energy In Depth:

This week, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a part of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), released its findings on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) data from water testing in Dimock, Pennsylvania over a six-month period in 2012. Although the owners of the 64 wells tested were given reports and met with officials from ATSDR and EPA back in 2012, the data has only been released to the public this week…[and] at no point does the agency link these findings to oil and gas development in the region…

In fact, it is very clear that it did not consider the sources of the contamination as part of its evaluation. From the report;

“For this public health evaluation, ATSDR conservatively assumed ingestion of residential well water with the maximum detected chemical concentration(s) and included all detected contaminants in the evaluation regardless of the source of the contaminant in the residential well (e.g., naturally occurring or otherwise). Per ATSDR’s health assessment process, ATSDR made conservative assumptions about exposures to the chemicals detected in the residential well water at this site, and made recommendations based on this information.”

Why is the ATSDR back? Well, Jim Willis has it about right, I’d say, in this Marcellus Drilling News piece: no time did any of government or private agencies testing find any fracking chemicals in any of the wells. Methane migration can be mitigated. It can be fixed. You don’t die from drinking water with methane in it. Most people in Susquehanna County (where Dimock is located) drink water with methane in it every day and have been for over 200 years!

…The wells of 14 families along the Carter Road area in Dimock have been repeatedly tested–with no fracking chemicals found. Yet the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is a federal public health agency part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says they are coming to Dimock to test both water AND air at 25 homes around Dimock. The poster boy for their testing is Ray Kemble, who keeps junk cars on his property and carries a little brown jug around with him to anti-fracking rallies. Kemble has been trying to shake down Cabot for big money for years, with no success, claiming after they began drilling his water well became polluted…

Kemble, whose property has multiple junk cars on it, claims after Cabot began drilling (in 2008) his water well began producing black water. He blamed Cabot–even though junkyards are notorious for leaking nasty chemicals. Years ago Kemble, who has been seen at just about every anti-fracking rally from here to Timbuktu carrying a little brown jug of supposedly tainted well water (that he refuses to let anyone test), settled with Cabot. But a couple of Kemble’s neighbors did not settle. They sued and, in a sham trial, won a jury award of $4.2 million. However, a federal court later threw out the verdict and the $4.2 million judgment. The judge said the Dimock lawsuit would have be re-tried.

News of a potential new lawsuit and the OJ-like jury’s initial award of $4.2 million must have got old Ray a thinkin’… What if? So Kemble recently launched his own lawsuit against Cabot, which appears to be litigation over something he previously settled with Cabot (see New Lawsuit in Dimock for Old Claim by Known Anti – Ray Kemble). What if ATSDR finds Rays junk cars are polluting his water well? Will he sue himself?

Meanwhile, we’re once again treated to “Dimock” stories in mainstream fake news, which conveniently refuses to provide any context, preferring to repeat long-ago, debunked claims. Welcome to Groundhog Day.

It would all be hysterical but for that last part; that this is another excuse to badmouth Dimock, generate free fractivist publicity, lay the quicksand foundation for another baseless lawsuit and deprive Dimock landowners within the arbitrary “box” created by DEP of the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of natural gas development. Those people are the true forgotten men and women in this story; the people cheated by Ray Kemble’s antics and governments’ attempt to appease them.

Even worse is what the latest Dimock ATSDR study proposes to study. Their “fact sheet” is extremely revealing and reads like an invitation to build a case against Cabot Oil & Gas but here’s the part that especially offends:

Dimock ATSDR

Iron? Sodium? All five of these elements have been ubiquitous in the Dimock area since the dawn of civilization there. Iron, of course, what Ray Kemble depends upon to get his jug of brown water. He only uses his well to fill the jug, thus guaranteeing the iron sedimentation will be there to color the water appropriately. It’s what happens when you’re in an area with a lot of iron and don’t pump your well regularly. And, the sodium, which Ray has pretended is a dangerous chemical at various times, also comes from natural sources (and items such as water softener). Methane has been there since Native Americans discovered Salt Springs and its flaming water.

The reader will get the picture. This is a bogus investigation undoubtedly produced from Ray and friends making voluminous complaints so he can continue a schtick that gives him tons of publicity and apparently enough money to fly all over the country finessing his persona and developing his lawsuit. How easy it is to manipulate a government agency in this way. And, so, the Dimock saga continues with still more nonsense at public expense so a guy whose water well is surrounded by junk vehicles in an area where all five elements are common naturally, can continue his charade. It’s a wonder we survive as a nation when this is how we act.



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9 thoughts on “Another Dimock ATSDR Study? You’ve Got to be Kidding!

  1. here are the facts and assessment of the Dimock water that Tom left out:

    lastest study in 2016 by the ATSDR

    and Ray carries around other folks water besides his own.

    Check out all the special filtration sheds paid for and provided by Cabot for folks with water issues besides methane issues…heavy metals and chemicals found in the water higher than EPA standards…
    drive along Meshoppen Creek Rd. and Carter Rd. and Stare Route 3023 and Dimock to Brooklyn Rd. and Greenwood Rd. and others in the 9 sq. mile moratorium area and beyond…
    DEP still has a 9 sq. mile area forbidden to further fracking and drilling since 2010 and still prevailing in Dimock and we have cases verified by the DEP throughout my county and other Pa. counties that show private water impacted by gas drilling…

    • You really skirted the facts here, Vera. I encourage people to read the 2016 report, which doesn’t indicates a link to gas drilling or fracking. Also, if you’re referring to arsenic that is both natural and again has nothing to do with gas. Just more BS interpretations of the facts to fit your scam.

      • Tom, I am still waiting for Vera to move into her animal skin yurt and using her own poop as a fuel and fertilizer. Otherwise it is just, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahdity, blah…

        • ” I am still waiting for Vera to move into her animal skin yurt and using her own poop as a fuel and fertilizer.”

          Embarrassing bologna .. I mean .. if you are a grown up.

  2. There’s pictures of Ray holding a green jug along with his brown jug that can be found on Google. There is also a video of him claiming his water contains weapons grade uranium just like the Sautner’s did. He claims that the uranium comes from the perforation guns used to perforate the well casing before fracking occurs. Somehow this uranium apparently traveled thousands of feet up into his well while no fracking chemicals did. This uranium used on the guns is spent uranium in the form of bullets that puncture holes in the steel casing and there is hardly enough charge to sent them thousands of feet through solid rock. Also there’s a big difference between spent uranium and weapons grade. I wonder if the green water is colored to appear it is radioactive and if it is I don’t think it would be safe for him to carry it around and stick it in people’s faces to look at.

    Since he has already agreed to a settlement the court should throw it out and make him pay it back since he refiled his lawsuit and maybe this time he’ll end up with nothing.

  3. Please see my article discussing Peer Review Science Evaluation of Hydraulid Fracturing Effect Upon Water Resources – Richard W Goodwin West Palm Beach FL 8/5/17

    A review [analysis and evaluation] of regulatory and governmental scientific peer reviews shows that Hydraulic Fracturing [HF[ does not pose an environmental and/or health threat – when practiced according to sound engineering principles.

    Goodwin, R.W. “COMMENTARY: EPA and Peer Review Science – Environmental Evaluation Hydraulic Fracturing [Part II]”; Energy Central September 13, 2016

  4. Curious – Tom – you know the Sautner’s property was bought by Cabot, the house dozed, the water well locked off and the land sold for pittance ($4K, I think) with the agreement no house be built there. You know Kim and Ken, two houses up from Ray admit their water turned after DEP allowed gas wells already drilled to be fracked in (+/-) 2012. You know Cabot settled the class action lawsuit and state lawsuits and DEP found that Cabot’s drilling/fracking did pollute the neighborhood water wells. 1. Do you disagree with any of those points? Also, ATSDR’s 2016 report showed “Levels in 27 private water wells were high enough to affect health. Chemicals detected above health-based comparison levels include arsenic, cadmium, copper, iron, lead, lithium, manganese, potassium, and sodium. 4-chlorophenyl-phenyl ether ” 2. Which house’s drinking water had “4-chlorophenyl-phenyl ether ” ??

  5. I noticed the ATSDR teams in the Dimock area and found ATSDR at several pro-gas homes . ATSDR is testing homes and their water which reported problems and the homes are owned by pro-gas folks like Ron Teel, Matt Neenan, two Dimock Supervisors, and also at Esther Rayias’ home who testified in the “Frack Nation ” movie and poo-poohed any real water problems and defamed her neighbors who complained of water issues and others
    like the Conrads on Meshoppen Creek Rd. and others who have kept quiet all these years and hide their water issues.

    ATSDR tested 25 homes…Most are quiet about their water problems..
    And while ATSDR was testing, Moody Water Testing Company, working for Cabot was in this area of Dimock,
    the 9 sq. mile moratorium area and was testing various homes.
    I spoke to some of the residents and they revealed they are tested by Cabot’s Moody every two weeks and quarterly for a more substantial testing.
    If there were no problems, then why is Cabot still testing every month for years now and why are not the results of this testing revealed to the public.
    And I passed several homes with Cabot-installed filtration sheds that Cabot is maintaining and provided expensive filtration systems in sheds next to several homes in this area of Dimock…
    If no problems, let Cabot show the testing results ; the full results over several years…

    And if no problems, reveal the results of the folks I mentioned who are being tested by ATSDR and were tested by EPA and ATSDR chose homes with issues to be retested…

    We shall see what the results show….in the coming months.

    And government agencies are not easily led by someone’s supposed allegations..
    They are led by testing results and the need now to see if the water in the area is similar to 2012 testing, has improved or gotten worse.

  6. Pingback: Pigs to Rigs Lawyers and Dimock Junkyard Plaintiff Sued by CabotNatural Gas Now

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