Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, commented on EPA's response today to his December 6, 2011 letter which asks Administrator Lisa Jackson to explain the agency's contradictory statements regarding its study on hydraulic fracturing and groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming, and expresses concern that EPA is coming to predetermined conclusions that lack transparency.
"While I appreciate EPA's response, the letter I received today still does not adequately address the concerns I raised on December 6, which include EPA's contradictory statements regarding its Pavillion study and its apparent effort to reach a predetermined conclusion that hydraulic fracturing affects groundwater," Senator Inhofe said. "On November 9, 2011, EPA told my staff that the agency's most recent test results yielded no significantly different data, and, as a result, EPA could not make any conclusions at that time. Yet, only two weeks later, Administrator Jackson insinuated that the report would show a link between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination. EPA is clearly jumping to conclusions.
"My concerns were echoed by ten other senators, who joined me today to send a letter to Administrator Jackson asking that EPA's investigation be considered a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment and undergo the most rigorous and transparent process possible. This study is no small matter. Its conclusions, if made in an irresponsible way, could have devastating effects on natural gas development as well as our economy. One study has shown that in 2010 the shale gas industry supported more than 600,000 jobs, and this number will grow to 1.6 million jobs by 2035. EPA's reckless process could put these jobs at risk.
"EPA has gotten off to a dubious start and going forward, its investigation can have no credibility if it is not held to the highest standards."