To say that Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama has, and continues to, use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a political weapon is well documented. The EPA as long abused its powers when it comes to fracking. For example, consider what the EPA did in Wyoming.
In 2011, the EPA said its draft findings “indicates that ground water in the aquifer contains compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing,” and that “… the presence of certain chemicals in drinking water wells was ‘consistent with migration from areas of gas production’.” The EPA also said that it “… does not plan to … seek peer review of its draft Pavillion groundwater report released in December, 2011.”
That announcement was made AFTER it shut down fracking operations in Pavillion, WY. Steve Everley, a spokesman for the industry group Energy In Depth, said EPA’s decision “says pretty clearly that the agency is finally acknowledging the severity of the report’s flaws, …[.]”
The US Geological Survey (USGS) found significantly lower concentrations of other materials identified by the EPA which might not have resulted from the fracking at all.
Now a report from Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist at the University of Texas’ Bureau of Economic Geology says that “The bottom line is that hydraulic fracturing, by boosting natural gas production and moving the state from water-intensive coal technologies, makes our electric power system more drought resilient.” The report also says, “researchers estimate that water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is 25 to 50 times as great as the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing to extract the natural gas.”
In fact, fracking has been safely utilized since 1947. And this statement from Obama appointee Lisa Jackson, former Administrator of the EPA: “I am not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”
And EPA studies in Texas and Pennsylvania did NOT say that fracking caused well water pollution. In Pennsylvania, the EPA released a brief statement saying that the first 11 samples to come back from the lab “did not show levels of contamination that could present a health concern.” The EPA examined drinking water, not the fracking process.
The EPA began investigating possible methane-contaminated water in Weatherford, Texas in late 2010. The EPA, Using an emergency order, ordered Range Resource to clean its nearby water wells and provide safe drinking water for at least two households. “Despite having added proof from an independent analysis that gas in drinking water likely came from Range Resources’ operation, the EPA dropped its emergency order in March 2012.” Notice, again, that the EPA was not studying the fracking process. (Note: try as it may, RT.com cannot demonstrate fracking to be the cause of well water contamination.)
Remember, correlation does not indicate or prove causation. That is something the EPA is loath to learn or admit. Brian Fontenot, a University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) graduate with a doctorate in quantitative biology and lead author of a UTA study says, “This study alone can’t conclusively identify the exact causes of elevated levels of contaminants in areas near natural gas drilling …[.]”
EPA consistently caves in to ecological groups and the public. For example, it is unclear whether contaminants used in drilling or fracking have any connection to drilling or fracking activities near Dimock, PA. Yet the EPA goes forward. And, in Bokoshe, OK, population 500, the EPA, in 2009, halted disposal of the fracking wastewater because Bokoshe citizens said the wastewater had reached their drinking water and negatively impacted their health. And in a January 10, 2014, letter from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to the Natural Resources Defense Council, McCarthy says that the EPA will take steps on several fronts to boost the environmental safety of fracking.
So, where are we? A report, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Assault on State Sovereignty,” outlines what we can expect: sue and settle, regulatory disapprovals, and takeover of state plans using Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs).
Sue and settle is a legal strategy where the EPA effectively replaces state participation in environmental protection with that of environmental groups. It has, since 2009, imposed more than $13 billion in annual regulatory costs, and has drastically increased the power of the EPA at the expense of the states. The EPA had 48 sue and settle agreements during Obama’s first term, representing a 380 percent increase from the average sue and settle rate during the previous three four-year presidential terms.
The EPA issues regulatory disapprovals. During Obama’s first term, the EPA issued 95 regulatory disapprovals, representing more than a 190 percent increase from the average of the previous three four-year presidential terms.
The EPA invalidates state regulatory programs by issuing FIPs, the complete usurpation of a state’s regulatory authority. From 1997 through 2009, the EPA imposed only two FIPs. Since 2009, the EPA has imposed 19 FIPs, representing a 2,750 percent increase in FIPs when compared to the past three presidential terms.
Can we expect more EPA intervention concerning fracking? Bet on it, especially with Obama appointees at the helm.
Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer, my personal, very conservative web site!