U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement after the release of a joint University of Texas and Environmental Defense Fund study showing that methane leakage from shale gas development is not releasing nearly as much methane as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had predicted. EPA's grossly exaggerated estimates have been widely used by critics and far-left environmentalists to discredit the benefits of hydraulic fracturing.

"The EPA has been on a witch hunt to shut down hydraulic fracturing, and yet again the evidence doesn't back up their excessive claims," Vitter said. "All too often we see the Agency using flawed science for political purposes, but this report - partially funded by environmental activists no less - shows EPA's emissions estimates from hydraulic fracturing are way off. There's been such positive progress with this technology - clearly the brightest spot in our otherwise slumping economy - that I hope this study's results will knock some sense into the EPA."

The study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted on 190 drilling sites by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and measured actual emissions at wells during the completion phase, and found that actual emissions are about 50 times lower than EPA's flawed estimates. Click here to read a copy of the report.

The Obama Administration has launched high profile "investigations" in three parts of the country in an effort to justify federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing in an effort to stop the practice. All three investigations: Pavillion, Wyoming; Parker County, Texas; and Dimock, Pennsylvania have been abandoned because the EPA could not justify their claims against hydraulic fracturing. In addition, just last week EPA asked for advice on how to overcome critical data limitations within its highly criticized study on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.