Fractured: Distrustful of frackers, abandoned by regulators

The Daily Climate: Fractured: Distrustful of frackers, abandoned by regulators. “I was a total cheerleader for this industry at the beginning. Now I just want to make sure no one else makes the same mistake I did. It has ruined my life.”

his is part 3 of our 4-part series, “Fractured,” an investigation of fracking chemicals in the air, water, and people of western Pennsylvania.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa.—For nearly a decade, Bryan Latkanich has been telling anyone who’d listen that allowing two fracking wells to be drilled on his farm is the worst mistake he’s ever made.

He’s a single father on disability who leased his land in 2010 at the height of the fracking boom, thrilled to have two wells 400 feet from his home in exchange for what he thought would be millions of dollars in royalties, only to run into problem after problem.

The drilling disturbed more land than had been agreed to or permitted, which he alleges damaged the foundation of his home. He caught workers illegally pumping water out of a pit into the woods behind his property. His well water became undrinkable and he and his son Ryan, who was 2 years-old when the wells went in, developed a rash of ongoing, mysterious health issues. The royalties were a pittance compared to what he expected.

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