U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), former Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Committee, made the following statements after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended its politicized investigation into a hydraulic fracturing project near Pavillion, Wyoming, because its initial assessment lacked a basis in credible science.
"EPA has long been searching for a problem to justify its 'solution' of hydraulic fracturing regulations, which would deal a fatal blow to our dream of U.S. energy independence," said Inhofe. "EPA thought it had a rock solid case linking groundwater contamination to hydraulic fracturing in Pavillion, WY, but we knew all along that the science was not there. It is about time that EPA officials admit this is true. Fracking is well regulated by the states, and there is no need for federal intervention."
"The EPA has been on a witch hunt to shut down hydraulic fracturing, but yet again the evidence has determined it is safe," Vitter said. "All too often we see the Agency using flawed science for political purposes, but this is EPA's third strike on hydraulic fracturing. There has been such positive progress with hydraulic fracturing -- clearly the brightest spot in our otherwise slumping economy - and I'm certainly pleased the EPA is stepping aside and allowing the state to once again take the lead."
In January, Inhofe and Vitter sent the EPA a letter highlighting a number of the missteps and setbacks with the EPA's draft report of hydraulic fracturing near Pavillion, and demanded an explanation before the report was used to inform any future actions or potential regulations. Inhofe and Vitter also suggested the EPA's draft report was fundamentally flawed and not to be considered credible. The letter also cast serious doubt on the potential validity of EPA's ongoing study into the impacts on hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The Agency recently announced a two year delay of the general water study, bolstering comparisons to EPA's scientifically flawed investigations in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming, which have all been conducted simultaneously.
Pavillion was one of the three places across the country where the Obama Administration had launched high profile "investigations" in an effort to justify federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing that could potentially lead to shutting down the practice. The other two were Parker County, Texas and Dimock, Pennsylvania.
In each case, the EPA attempted to definitively link hydraulic fracturing to local water contamination, despite effective state and local oversight.
In December 2011, EPA released a premature draft report on Pavillion, without a peer review, stating "the data indicates likely impact to ground water that can be explained by hydraulic fracturing." They did not cite any credible scientific evidence. State officials, members of Congress, and two other federal agencies in the Obama Administration -- the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management -- strongly criticized the draft report.