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Upstate Pa. Residents Affected by Fracking Protest at EPA Head's Visit to Philadelphia

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Opponents of natural gas drilling in Northeastern Pennsylvania came to Philadelphia today, demanding that the EPA administrator order fresh water deliveries to their town.

Residents of Dimock (Susquehanna County), Pa. who claim their groundwater has been contaminated by natural gas drilling had for several years gotten fresh water trucked in by the Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation -- until two months ago, when the state said the Cabot no longer had to.

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(Dimock, Pa. resident Craig Sautner. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Dimock resident Craig Sautner (right) says the federal EPA then did a flip-flop.

"They called us up last Friday and promised us water.  They said, 'We're going to bring you guys water.  We're going to go do it.'  Saturday morning, we get a call and they said they're not going to do it," Sautner said today.

Dimock residents rallied outside the Academy of Natural Sciences, on Logan Circle, where EPA administrator Lisa Jackson was attending a sustainability conference.

She said that EPA field staffers are doing more tests.

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(EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, right, is accompanied by Mayor Michael Nutter at today's sustainability conference in center city Philadelphia. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

"I think there was a miscommuncation," Jackson told KYW Newsradio.   "I'm not sure how it happened, but we've been really clear now that we are working to expedite their decision-making.   It is their decision to make, but they're going to have to justify that decision."

She added that the EPA can't provide water without scientific and legal justification.

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