The enviro war against fracking enters a new phase.
U.S. EPA is expected to announce later today that hydraulic fracturing and other gas drilling practices played a role in contaminating drinking water in a Wyoming community, contradicting an industry talking point used repeatedly in efforts to prevent increased federal regulation of oil and gas production.
The draft report is expected to say testing in Pavillion, Wyo., “indicates groundwater in the aquifer contains compounds likely associated with gas production practices including hydraulic fracturing,” according to a portion of the report read to Greenwire.
The draft will stress that the findings are preliminary and still must go through peer review. The agency is also expected to say that it should not be used as an example to say that fracturing could contaminate groundwater elsewhere.
But the report is already drawing criticism from backers of the oil and gas industry. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) went straight from a phone conversation with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to the microphone at a Senate hearing today to open fire on the findings.
“This announcement is part of President Obama’s war on fossil fuels and his determination to shut down natural gas production,” Inhofe said. “It is irresponsible for EPA to release such an explosive announcement without objective peer review.”
Inhofe said Jackson committed that EPA would release all the data, methodologies and protocols used in the Pavillion investigation. But she would not commit to deeming it a “Highly Influential Scientific Study (HISA),” which would require it to undergo heightened peer review. Instead, Inhofe said Jackson told him she would get back to him.
Inhofe and others have criticized EPA for not using that level of peer review for the endangerment finding that forms the basis for proposed regulation of greenhouse gas emissions…
A spokesman for Encana said,
This really isn’t a conclusion, it’s a probability. They talk about likelihood, but they don’t have a definitive conclusion.