House Republicans want to force changes in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing study of the effects of fracking on drinking water sources.
On Thursday, the House Science Committee will address legislation requiring the EPA’s years-long study to include “objective estimates of the probability, uncertainty and consequence of each identified impact [from fracking], taking into account the risk management practices of states and industry,” The Hill reports.
The bill was proposed by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who last week accused the EPA of trying to “undercut gas production enabled by fracking.” Also known as HB 2850, its goal is to “require ‘certain procedures’ in the conduct by the Environmental Protection Agency of its study of the ‘potential impacts’ of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.”
Not only is the bill worded in such a way as to ignore existing negative impacts fracking has had on drinking water supplies, it is an attempt to prevent the EPA from accurately reporting such impacts through their study.
Last week a senior EPA official defended the study. “We are pursuing this work with the best available science and the highest level of transparency,” said Fred Hauchman, director of the EPA’s Office of Science Policy.
Republicans have generally accused the EPA of “overzealous” attempts to link fracking to water pollution. Recently, the EPA has dropped other fracking investigations after concerted efforts by Republicans and industry representatives to make their investigations as difficult as possible.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times released a report based on an EPA PowerPoint, which states that EPA employees in Pennsylvania attempted to warn supervisors and officials that there was concern for water safety due to fracking in Dimock, PA. Despite internal disagreement, the EPA’s results on the Dimock study stated that most of the water sampled was safe to drink and did not “present a health concern.”
After the EPA dropped three recent investigations, Rep. Smith (R-TX) taunted that the EPA was “forced to retract their statements after further scrutiny proved them to be unfounded.”