New State Report Further Proves EPA Falsely Tied Hydraulic Fracturing to Ground Water Impacts

EPA’s SAB Calls for Incorporating Outdated and Scientifically Discredited Failed Investigations into EPA Water Study Inappropriate and should be Ignored

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement today regarding the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) draft final report on domestic water wells in Pavillion, Wyoming. Wyoming DEQ’s December 14, 2015, report reaffirms the findings of federal and state officials discrediting the 2011 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) draft study on the same issue:

“This latest report from the Wyoming DEQ demonstrates that hydraulic fracturing does not cause the harm that radical environmentalists claim, and that states continue to be in the best position to oversee energy development on their lands. Years after retreating from their high-profile witch-hunts during which the agency aimed to ‘crucify’ American oil and gas developers in Pavillion, Wyoming; Dimock, Pennsylvania; and Parker County, Texas; this report brings confirmation of what was true all along.  The science EPA relied on to undermine hydraulic fracturing was unreliable at best and the process employed was clearly more focused on a politically driven regulatory agenda rather than protecting people and the environment.” 

“After years of continued attacks on hydraulic fracturing, EPA’s landmark water study has finally acknowledged what science – and even those within the agency, including former Administrator Lisa Jackson – have long known and testified before Congress: ‘hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources.’  Any demands by environmentalists, or EPA’s Science Advisory Board, to revise this key finding are politically motivated and contrary to scientific consensus from peer reviewed studies. It is inexplicable why the Science Advisory Board has encouraged EPA to incorporate their three discredited studies into the agency’s final water study.  It is irresponsible and purposeful interjection of bad science in order to distort the factual narrative.”


Background of EPW Committee’s oversight of EPA’s investigation of hydraulic fracturing conducted by Sens. Inhofe and David Vitter (R-La.) since 2009:

On June 4, 2015, Inhofe provided a statement after EPA released a report on hydraulic fracturing again confirming the extraction process has ‘not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.’

On March 20, 2015, Inhofe introduced S. 828, The Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act, which would recognize hydraulic fracturing as a commercial practice and keep regulations under state management.

On February 12, 2015, Inhofe introduced S. 490, the Federal Land Freedom Act of 2015, which would give states the authority to establish programs to lease, permit, and regulate the development of all forms of energy resources, including renewables, on federal lands within their border.

On October, 23, 2014, the Senate EPW Committee Minority Staff released a report, Setting the Record Straight: Hydraulic Fracturing and America’s Energy Revolution, which uncovers the truth behind the science and economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing.  The report also exposes the depth of the Obama administration’s war on oil and natural gas development.

On February 26, 2014, Republican Senators from EPA’s Region 6 sent a letter to Inspector General Arthur Elkins, Jr. of EPA’s office of the IG with concerns about the quality and integrity of the OIG report, which investigated EPA’s Region 6’s issuance and withdrawal of an emergency order aimed at Range Resources, an oil and gas company operating in Parker County, Texas.

In October 2014, the Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC), a nonprofit organization comprised of state regulatory agencies focused on the protection of water resources, released a comprehensive report highlighting the cutting edge oil and natural gas regulatory structures of states, including those concerning hydraulic fracturing. The review concludes that “In step with dramatic industry growth over the past five years, states have substantially improved groundwater protection laws and regulations governing oil and natural gas production.” The GWPC also runs a chemical disclosure registry on hydraulic fracturing, which can viewed by clicking here.  The GWPC also runs a disclosure registry of hydraulic fracturing chemicals.

On June 20, 2013, Inhofe and Vitter released the following statements after EPA ended its politicized investigation into a hydraulic fracturing project near Pavillion, Wyoming because its initial assessment lacked a basis in credible science.

On January 17, 2013, Inhofe and Vitter sent a letter to then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, questioning EPA’s procedural and scientific shortcomings in conducting the draft Pavillion report.  

On July 25, 2012, EPA declared that the well water in Dimock, Pennsylvania is safe to drink and requires no further testing.

On June 29, 2012, Inhofe released a statement following the Sierra Club’s announcement that former EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz was hired by the Sierra Club to be the Campaign Representative for the organization’s Beyond Coal campaign.  Inhofe predicted that Dr. Armendariz skipped his testimony in the House in June 2012 for a job interview at the Sierra Club.

On May 1, 2012, the New York Times reported that EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz resigned over a video circulated of a speech of which Armendariz declared that the agency should hit oil and gas producers with the Roman practice of crucifying enemies as a deterrent.

On June 19. 2012, Senate EPW Republicans sent a letter to the Inspector General’s office of the EPA requesting an investigation to determine if proper protocols and procedures were followed by EPA Headquarters and Region 6 surrounding their issuance and subsequent withdrawal of a December 2010 administrative order in Parker County, Texas.

On April 30, 2012, Inhofe released a statement on the resignation of EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz in the wake of the release of a video in which Armendariz is caught on tape admitting that EPA’s “general philosophy” to “crucify” and “make examples” out of oil and gas companies so that others are “really easy to manage.”

On April 26, 2012, Inhofe released a statement in response to then-EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz’s “general philosophy” to “crucify” and “make examples” out of oil and gas companies.

On April 25, 2012, Inhofe gave a speech on the Senate floor regarding President Obama’s war on domestic energy production in which EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz said, “crucify them.”

On March 30, 2012, EPA withdrew its 15-month-old emergency order against Range Resources in Parker County, Texas.  The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates drilling activity in the state, found in March 2011 that Range Resources’ Parker County gas wells did not contaminate groundwater.

On Jan. 20, 2012, Inhofe released a statement in response to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s letter provided in response to Inhofe’s Dec. 6, 2011 letter asking Jackson to explain the agency’s contradictory statements regarding its study on hydraulic fracturing and groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming. The letter expresses concern that EPA is coming to predetermined conclusions that lack transparency.

On May 24, 2011, Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform saying, “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water…”

On Jan. 20, 2011, Inhofe led nine Senators in a letter sent to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson requesting EPA to consider its investigation on hydraulic fracturing and groundwater near Pavillion, Wyoming.

On Sept. 23, 2010, Inhofe wrote a blog post, Why Limit A Safe, Effective Method?, in National Journal.

On Sept. 2, 2010, Inhofe sent a letter to EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, regarding EPA Region 8’s evaluation of groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming.  The letter expresses significant concern that EPA Region 8 staff have not been transparent about their testing results, including the science supporting them.

On July 27, 2009, Inhofe delivered a Senate floor speech highlighting the nations vast reserve of energy resources recoverable through hydraulic fracturing techniques.