“The absence of data does not prove anything,” says the self-proclaimed non-political Obama EPA appointee.
Environment and Energy Daily reports,
House Republicans yesterday took aim at the integrity of U.S. EPA’s science programs, including its controversial proposed study of hydraulic fracturing.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) asked pointed questions of EPA officials about the agency’s multi-year plan to study the “lifecycle” of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas — including the potential for water contamination. EPA also announced last month that it plans to regulate wastewater from fracturing under its Clean Water Act authority.
Bartlett emphasized that there have been 1.2 million instances of fracturing in the United States without any reported cases of water contamination.
“There has been no documented evidence of contamination,” Bartlett said. “I hope that’s the most urgent place to spend your money, but I doubt that it is.”
Bartlett’s remarks were directed at Paul Anastas, EPA’s assistant administrator for the office of research and development.
Anastas, appearing at a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, emphasized that the absence of contamination reports doesn’t indicate no contamination has occurred.
“You can’t find what you’re not looking for,” Anastas said. “The absence of data does not prove anything.”
Nevertheless, Anastas faced a barrage of questions from subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-Md.) and full committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas) about the fracturing study, which was unveiled earlier this month (Greenwire, Nov. 3).
Harris charged that EPA’s science programs were not properly insulated from political pressures.
“That’s the problem,” Harris said, “we’re blending politics with science.”
Anastas strongly defended himself against that charge.
“Politicizing science is antithetical to everything I am and everything I do,” Anastas said.
Not to let the fracking guys off the hook completely, read Steve Milloy’s PajamasMedia column, “Junk Science War: Fracking Quakes and ‘Dirty Faces’“.