Fracking's Real-Life Victims - Rolling Stone
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Fracking’s Real-Life Victims

Meet the Pennsylvania residents who say their lives have been changed by gas drilling


Lauren Petracca

Tammy and Matt Manning were excited to own a house for the first time when they moved to Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania in November 2010. Their two daughters, three grandchildren and Tammy's father also moved in with them. Shortly after the Mannings moved into their home, WPX Energy began drilling for natural gas in their area. One day, their water came out of their faucet grey, not even a year after they became homeowners. Their water was tested positive for high, unsafe levels of arsenic, barium, methane and other dangerous chemicals. Tammy and Matt are convinced this is a result of hydrofracking, a controversial process used to extract natural gas from deep in the ground.

The family could no longer drink or cook with the water and showering in it was a very high risk, although they had no other choice. Once a week Matt would drive across the New York State border to his mother's house to fill gallon jugs with her tap water, which the family depended on for safe water. High levels of methane filled the air in the house – so much so that they had to stop using their gas stove for risk of explosion and shower with the window open, even in the winter, so that they wouldn't pass out. They lived like this for months before WPX Energy began delivering water to them once a day. Although they still can't drink the water, it is safe to cook and shower with. WPX still doesn't admit to contaminating their water, but say they are just being good neighbors. Despite the family's situation, most of the community is in favor of fracking, due to the large amount of jobs and money the industry brings to the small community. The town holds public town meetings, where the Mannings are not welcome. They have been verbally harassed in public and tailgated to work by gas workers. The Mannings are currently fighting to end fracking nationwide and to get WPX Energy to take responsibility for the contamination of their water. Read on for heartbreaking images of their daily life.

By Lauren Petracca

In This Article: Environment, Fracking


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