Washington, D.C. & Weatherford, TX – The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on February 5th entitled “Examining the Science of EPA Overreach: A Case Study in Texas.” On the agenda: Region 6’s intervention to protect Parker County residents whose drinking water was polluted by fracking-enabled methane gas development.
In 2012 Senator James Inhofe asked the Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General to investigate Region 6’s intervention. Although the IG released its findings late last year, they were not invited to testify. The IG’s report concluded Region 6 was fully justified in acting to protect area residents from pollution linked to Range Resources’ gas drilling.
“If the Science Committee majority wants to know if EPA overreached in Texas, why don’t they ask the people who investigated the matter,” asked Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel. She continued, “Whether it’s climate change or fracking, this committee ignores the science they don’t like when it undermines the conclusions they’ve already reached.”
Region 6 was legally allowed to intervene only after Texas regulators refused to act to protect affected residents.
“The House Science Committee is doing the American public a huge disservice,” said Steve Lipsky of Weatherford, Texas, whose polluted water prompted EPA to act, and who was also not invited to testify. He continued, “Anyone who thinks EPA is overreaching should have to drink my and some of my neighbors' water, or sleep at night knowing your house could explode from dangerous methane.”
The Obama administration also stands accused of ignoring science indicating that fracking-enabled oil and gas production has harmed drinking water. The same day as the hearing, affected citizens are calling for President Obama to reopen investigations in Parker County, Texas, Pavillion, Wyoming, and Dimock, Texas.
“President Obama and Congress need to let the facts speak for themselves,” said Steve Lipsky. He continued, “Our health and safety depend on it. The more they pretend oil and gas pollution isn’t a problem, the more opposition grows. It’s happening across the country, and now here in Texas.”