Edited by Melissa Troutman
Joey Bacon, 13, stands ready under the Lance Corporal Abram Howard Memorial bridge in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with his fishing pole cast into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Joey spends a lot of time around the River swimming, fishing, and cannon-balling from the bridges that crisscross the water. He hasn’t caught anything in the hour he’s been out today, but one time he caught a catfish as long as his arm, and he’s hoping that will happen again.
Water that travels ninety-one miles downstream from Joey ends up at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence on the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg. On any given day, Governor Tom Wolf could look out from his window to wildlife on the River and people recreating in the waters rushing by.
But what Wolf can’t see, is that his own Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has allowed radioactive material from fracking waste to be discharged into that River through sewage facilities upstream.
Note: Youghiogheny Riverkeeper Eric Harder works for the Mountain Watershed Association who has acted as a fiscal sponsor for Public Herald reports in the past. This report, however, is entirely publicly funded without the help from foundations or grants.