We reported earlier on a video of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staffers falling victim to a temper tantrum from Craig and Julie Sautner, the well-known litigants from Dimock. The EPA visited the Sautners to explain the findings of their water test results last week. The meeting did not go well. Vera Scroggins, who was there, posted a 14 second video snippet of the interaction. Like most rational individuals, we realized pretty quickly there was more to the story and asked why the remaining footage was not shared. This week, another activist who was also in attendance, Lisa Barr of New York, released all 38 minutes and 29 seconds of the footage, complete with her own dubious interpretations of what occurred. It makes for quite a story – one of anger, confusion, frustration and ignorance. We call it SautnerGate.
Scroggins Video Leaves Viewers with Questions
Vera Scroggins’ video, the first one released, reduced 20 minutes or so of heated discussion down to mere seconds to yield a very misleading–as you will see in the complete footage–picture of the EPA discussing water quality while refusing to try it themselves. The intention was, obviously, to place doubt in the viewers mind as to why the officials would be telling the family the water is safe to drink, in one breath, while refusing to do so themselves in the next. It might have been an effective strategy if; 1) the unseen footage hadn’t been questioned, and 2) Barr hadn’t released her video. But, both did happen and Vera’s video can go down as one more failed attempt at manipulating the Dimock story.
Barr Fills In the Blanks
We cannot share Lisa Barr’s video with you here on our page, as she refuses for some reason to allow others to embed the video. We have quite a few suspicions as to why, but we’ll leave the assuming to Barr. You will see in the video she produced in her assumptions she manages to get just about everything wrong in her interpretation of what happened. It’s hard to imagine anyone could take a failed Sautner stunt and make it worse, but she’s managed to do it, so kudos to her!
Before you head over there, here’s some key episodes we thought were worth highlighting so you can watch for them. Be sure to come back when you’re done to read some more information about this video. Also, while you’re there, see if you can count how many times words were apparently cut from the video.
Were these cases of deleted expletives? No one can be sure, of course, but it looks that way, especially when the Sautner’s point toward their neighbors’ home. Perhaps an “expletives deleted” counting contest is in order.
4:58 Trish Taylor (EPA): Discusses letter from EPA’s toxicologist stating the data from the most recent water tests shows no potential health issues.
7:07 Trish Taylor (EPA): “This is a memo from [our toxicologist] saying that she didn’t see any health risks.”
7:15 Craig Sautner: “So, in other words, I’m allowed to drink this water and it’s not going to cause me any harm?” Trish (EPA): “Right.”
7:45 Craig Sautner: Craig gets upset – Take 1.
8:35 Rich (EPA): “I’ve looked at your historical data–all the way back to 2008–and other than some bacteria that seemed to be somewhat persistent early on we didn’t see anything in there that raised any alarms in our eyes.”
8:50 Rich (EPA): “I’ve seen your water. I’ve tasted your water actually and it didn’t taste unusual. Actually compared to the water I was drinking at the hotel it didn’t have all the chlorine.
9:02 Craig Sautner: Craig gets upset – Take 2. He brings up a year or more ago when he claims his kids were getting rashes and sick reportedly from the water.
9:22 Rich (EPA): He responds he doesn’t know what it was like a year ago and Julie Sautner interjects to say this is not what they’re [EPA] is disputing. Craig’s response to Julie (9:32): “I don’t care what now means.”
17:07 Craig Sautner: He asks if benzo(a)pyrene is naturally occurring in a well. EPA responds no.
17:18 Rich (EPA): “It may not have been in the well. It might have been in the water when we collected the sample. This is a car exhaust. This could be from car exhaust. Let’s assume it came from your well…it’s still almost four times below the drinking water standard…Even if this were here, it wouldn’t effect anything we do because it’s well below the permissible drinking water standard. It’s not a health risk…It’s not a health risk based on 30 years of drinking 2 liters a day.”
*Note: Barr was concerned (based on her added texts at 17:31) as to how benzo(a)pyrene would have gotten into the well, so we did a little research. An EPA explanation can be found at this link.
They are not produced or used commercially but are very commonly found since they are formed as a result of incomplete combustion of organic materials.
The major source of benzo(a)pyrene in drinking water is leaching from linings of water storage tanks and distribution lines.
19:00 ATSDR Toxicologist: “It says none of the constituents were detected at levels of concern. That’s different than saying nothing was detected. Anything that was detected was not at a level of concern.”
19:42 ATSDR Toxicologist: Explains sodium levels and the Sautner’s data is below trigger levels. “The [trigger level] for sodium is based on people with a sodium restricted diet. And, if you’re on a sodium restricted diet you can basically consume 1500 mg and this is…100 times below what you can consume.” Craig Sautner acknowledges no one in the household is on a sodium restricted diet.
21:45 Julie Sautner: “Why is the water fluctuating so much?” Rich (EPA) responds, “This is the natural system. You’re not going to pull water out of the ground and not find iron and all these different minerals.”
21:58 Craig Sautner gets upset Take 3. “It wasn’t here before.”
22:39 Julie Sautner: “This is Cabot’s very own pre-drill test. Right here it tells you what meter was used for the methane. There was none.” Rich (EPA) responds, “They didn’t test for the methane. What they tested for…” Notice how Barr cuts the explanation off. Is there no end to the manipulation? Isn’t it about time we saw the entire unedited video, expletives deleted and all?
23:00-24:19 Julie/Craig Sautner: Craig (and Julie) get upset Take 4. Julie begins talking about non-litigants and calling her neighbors names. Barr edits the clip for language 5 times. Craig and Julie both get up. Julie tells Barr she won’t sit down, “I’m done with this s—” and walks out. Craig remains and starts spouting off about Cabot. Rich (EPA) tries to calm him down.
24:30-25:33 Craig Sautner: Craig Sautner gets upset Take 5. This episode is the subject of Scroggins clip and then some. Craig starts piling up jugs on the table. Rich (EPA) tells Craig to get a glass and they can go downstairs to get a drink from the water. Vera left this part out. The EPA did not want to drink from the jugs; Rich did not refuse to drink the water altogether.
25:45 Rich (EPA): Rich discusses the cloudiness in some of the jugs comes from pumping the well too much. “The last time I was here, when I looked at your cloudy water, your wife told me that the day before you had…[Craig Sautner interrupts]…You’re wife told me you ran it dry the day before.”
26:15 Craig Sautner: Craig Sautner gets upset Take 6. “You’re not listening to anything we say. You’re saying our water’s fine and we can drink it!”
27:25-28:25 Craig Sautner: He goes off about president Obama and Lisa Jackson. Rich (EPA) explains there were no contaminents and they will be collecting additional samples. EPA begins to make a move to leave because it is no longer a rational conversation.
28:35 Craig Sautner: He brings a jug in to light on fire–nothing happens.
28:52 Rich (EPA): “Methane is not a health concern.”
29:00-29:58 Craig Sautner. Craig Sautner gets upset Take 7.
32:35 Craig and Julie Sautner: The famous couple follows EPA out to their cars. They question whether anyone with water problems is a litigant. Julie threatens, “This is going to go international.”
33:20-34:02 Craig/Julie Sautner: Craig Sautner gets upset Take 8. They issue more conspiracy theories about their water tests and derogatory remarks about their neighbors.
34:11-34:50 Craig/Julie Sautner: Craig Sautner gets upset Take 9. “They’re all a bunch of liars.”
34:47 Craig Sautner: “I probably shouldn’t have even called [EPA] to come in here.” The video concludes with Craig pulling the test plug on his methane vent cap, filling a jug with methane and lighting it. Barr then asks the Sautner’s some questions.
36:55 Julie Sautner: Julie says, in reference to EPA telling other litigants about their water results, “Everybody freaked out on them. They got the same. I think we were probably worse.”
Barr Demands You See It Her Way or Not at All
Now that you’ve seen the film in its entirety, let’s talk about some of those assumptions Barr makes. She packaged her video in a way she thought would ensure viewers saw it her way. She even resorted to threatening Dimock Proud for removing her editorial comments. Dimock Proud wanted share the video without all of the distractions and produced a clean version to allow viewers to come to their conclusions, but Barr went ballistic.
The COMPLETE video is HERE–within a link in this article: http://www.hegemonicseam.blogspot.com/2012/05/epa-to-frack-victims-drop-dead.html. But on the video posting on vimeo, It CLEARLY stated fair use BY PERMISSION ONLY. You did NOT have permission from me to use this video. Nor did you have my permission to create a derivative product. You are violating my copyright license. You are also greatly distorting what happened. CEASE and DESIST all use of my work product.
As the video explains, the EPA RAISED ITS DETECT LEVELS for the contaminants in question. They SAY they raised the detect levels to give the water the ‘all clear’ because of “LAB CONTAMINANTS: and/or ‘CONTAMINATED FIELD SAMPLES’—YOU HAVE LIBELED THE SAUNTERS AND VIOLATED MY COPYRIGHT. CEASE AND DESIST. You are also mean. Lisa Barr
She also then put this on her website beneath the video.
This is NOT Creative Commons–no one may edit this or use it even fair use WITHOUT prior approval. Dimock Proud has stolen this video and edited it in a distorted manner. I am trying to track down who is DimockProud.com –hosted by wildwestdomains. Please call them and complain. 757-416-6575. The man in the green is a PA Toxicologist whose presence was NOT mentioned to Dimock residents prior to his arrival WITH the EPA. He downplayed the presence of petrochemicals and other carcinogens that are used or created in the ‘fracking’ process. EPA officials explained strange procedures used in order to say the water there is safe. These included RAISING the detect levels for certain chemicals. They raised them when they found ‘laboratory contaminants in the samples, or when there was ‘suspected’ field sample contamination. All three of these are pretty amazing admissions of either incompetency or a premeditated plot to confuse the residents. At any rate–it’s despicable behavior. This is NOT the EPA I have seen in action. It’s shameful. 202-564-4700. Tell them to give the Sautners and everyone the ORIGINAL data BEFORE the detect levels were ‘RAISED’ due to ‘suspected contamination’==tell them it’s a ruse and we will not let any citizen’s water be polluted with cover by ‘captured’ regulatory agencies.
The title of the post, “Dimock Family Member Says EPA Reps Are A Bunch Of Liars!” (which, by the way, Craig Sautner clearly says at 34:16) is the only reference Dimock Proud makes to the Sautner’s. For this, and the distribution of a video made by her and posted for the world to see and download, Barr claims Dimock Proud is being libelous. Is she kidding? We suggest Barr, like Scroggins, look in the mirror if she’s looking for someone to blame for revealing what the Sautner’s case is all about.
A title repeating what Craig says, combined with video of actual events, is hardly an unjust attack or libelous in any way.
Assumptions to Direct the Storyline
Further, if removing the comments from the raw footage distorts the reality of what took place–a preposterous assertion if there ever was one–let’s talk about the distortions resulting from inserting them into the raw video. You can be the judge as to why it’s so crucial to Barr these items remain in the video.
2:07 The guy in the green is a PA toxicologist.
Actually the guy in green (Charles) is from ATSDR, as Trish Taylor (EPA) states at 3:28. ATSDR, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, is a federal agency under the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which:
…serves the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances.
ATSDR is not a state agency. And, that’s only the first claim Barr makes–something easily researched. She’s batting 0 for 1.
Barr tells Dimock Proud, “You are also greatly distorting what happened.” That’s interesting, considering this next added piece from Barr at 6:04.
The “no” she is referring to occurs at 6:18. Barr then follows this with another screen offering a running tally of things she finds disrespectful from the EPA and, then, yet another screen alluding to the attitudes or character of the EPA representatives.
Lisa is trying to direct the viewer’s perception a wee bit, wouldn’t you say? You might even say she is greatly distorting things! When your movie star throws a temper tantrum, I guess you have to rationalize it somehow. But, I digress.
Next, Barr attempts to ridicule the EPA’s expertise. She seems to suggest no one is an expert unless they come from the SUNY (State University of New York), as Ron Bishop, a well-known natural gas opponent, does. She even resorts to some hog-calling by telling viewers how to pronounce “soon-ee.” SUNY may be a good school but suggesting an activist member of the faculty from the Oneonta campus, who is a favorite expert for the Dimock litigants, is an objective observer takes a things a bit too far.
Barr goes on to interject more comments such as calling the EPA “patronizing” and giving her own renditions of what occurred. We’re curious as to why she would think the audience would need such prodding to see things her way, if that is in fact what the video showed. But, of course, what she she wants everyone to see is not what the video shows and that’s her issue with having it removed. She makes a number of of thoroughly ridiculous assertions that we need not rebut them here.
All one has to do is watch the video for themselves and hear the EPA’s explanations. We hold no admiration for the EPA. Their mission in Dimock was ill-conceived to say the least. That doesn’t, however, mean the staff wasn’t honest in reporting the results. They only confirmed what Cabot and DEP observed earlier, which is hardly a surprise. The litigants wanted a change and didn’t get it. They see a lawsuit being eviscerated by their actions–their decision to invite in the EPA, among other things.
There was no point at which the EPA officials did not patiently answer the Sautners’ questions to the best of their ability. Their answers just weren’t what the Sautners wanted to hear, and now anti-natural gas activists are attempting to demonize the agency to keep Dimock in the spotlight.
One is compelled to ask shouldn’t knowing their water is not a health risk be considered good news? When will the activists holding signs demanding clean water for Dimock celebrate the fact it’s gotten a clean bill of health?
These questions shouldn’t even need to be asked. Cabot’s test showed the water was fine. DEP’s tests showed the water is safe. EPA’s tests showed the water is safe. Unfortunately for the litigants, it seems they have run out of government agencies and respectable institutions to harass in their search of the answers they want to hear. The reason, the answers they want to hear simply do not exist.