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Senators Question OIG Investigation into EPA’s Failed Attempt to Shutdown Hydraulic Fracturing in Texas
Following release of delayed and deficient report from EPA Office of Inspector General, Sen. Inhofe and others state concerns with quality and integrity of investigation
February 26, 2014

Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), former Ranking Member of the EPW Committee, lead a group of Senators in sending a letter to Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG). The letter outlines the Senators' concerns with the quality and integrity of the OIG report, which investigated the EPA Region VI's issuance and withdrawal of an emergency order aimed at Range Resources, an oil and gas company operating in Parker County, Texas.

"When the EPA Office of Inspector General finally issued the report after numerous and significant delays, it was clear to us that they disregarded an abundance of evidence showing that facts were manipulated, conclusions were unjustified, science was ignored, and EPA colluded with radical environmental groups," the Senators wrote. "The lack of specificity and detail in this report is both disappointing and troubling."

In 2010, EPA's Region VI issued an Emergency Administrative Order (EAO), which publicized the Agency's unsubstantiated findings where they unequivocally "determined" that the drilling for natural gas by Range Resources "caused or contributed" to the contamination of at least two residential water wells. EPA then utilized the unsupported claims to justify further burdensome regulations over hydraulic fracturing. At the time, Region VI was led by Regional Administrator Al Armendariz who infamously resigned after the public learned of his controversial statement that the "general philosophy" of EPA's enforcement policy should be to "crucify" oil and natural-gas companies.

In March 2012, the order was subsequently withdrawn following overwhelming criticism from state officials, members of Congress, and stakeholders.

Signing today's letter are Sens. Vitter, Inhofe, John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), all Republican Senators from EPA's Region VI.

Click here to read today's letter.

 

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February 2014 Press Releases

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