Casey Demands Public Disclosure on Toxic Gas in Versailles

WASHINGTON, DC - After learning that the U.S. Department of Energy failed to disclose the potential danger of hydrogen sulfide to the residents of Versailles, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today wrote to Samuel Bodman, Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE),  demanding the Department hold public meetings to inform the residents of the Department’s findings.  Casey also requested to be briefed on the coordination between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the DOE on the tests results.

“I am deeply alarmed to learn that people living in Versailles, Pennsylvania have not been properly notified that hydrogen sulfide, a potentially toxic gas, could be present on their properties and in their homes,” wrote Casey.

Casey went on to write, “I urge you to immediately schedule public meetings to explain the testing that the Department has done over the past two years and its findings.”

In the letter, Senator Casey also acknowledged the work of Congressman Mike Doyle in securing the funding to pay for the Department’s testing.

Full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Bodman:

I am deeply alarmed to learn that people living in Versailles, Pennsylvania have not been properly notified that hydrogen sulfide, a potentially toxic gas, could be present on their properties and in their homes.  Regardless of whether or not local officials were present during testing, the people affected should have been notified immediately of any potential danger to their health and well-being.

I urge you to immediately schedule public meetings to explain the testing that the Department has done over the past two years and its findings.  These meetings should be coordinated with representatives of local and state government to ensure that the community understands what problems it is facing so appropriate steps can be taken to protect residents.

I would also like to be updated on whether the Department has coordinated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the test results so that appropriate actions to protect public health can be implemented.

I hope that you will pay personal attention to this matter to ensure that residents and local officials in Versailles have the information they require.  For my part, I will work closely with the town to ensure that my constituents are not in immediate danger and that the federal government provides any assistance possible to prevent a potential public health hazard.  I will also continue to work with my colleague, Congressman Mike Doyle, who secured the funding to pay for the Department’s testing.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

 

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