Quantcast

Groups Urge EPA to Resume Legal Action in Fracking Water Contamination Case

Energy

Earthworks

Conservation and citizen groups from Texas and around the country today sent a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 Administrator Ron Curry to resume legal action against Range Resources for polluting the drinking water of homeowners near its operations in Weatherford, Texas.

The letter also calls upon the EPA to require the company to immediately supply clean drinking water to homeowners whose wells were polluted during the company’s drilling, to publicly post all existing tests related to the matter and to resume testing to ensure that Range Resources acts to remedy the situation.

In 2010, EPA invoked its rarely used emergency authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, to require Range to provide drinking water to two families, install meters in their homes to measure for explosion risks and perform other actions. 

Watch this video showing how fracking turns a garden hose to a flamethrower in Parker County, Texas:

When EPA dropped its case last year, the drilling industry and others characterized the decision as proof that the agency had acted without scientific integrity and that Range had not polluted the families’ water. EPA did not explain its decision, which included withdrawal of the requirement that Range provide the families with drinking water.

Yet, as the Associated Press reported last month, EPA commissioned a report by an independent scientist in 2011 that strongly suggests that one of Range’s natural gas wells was the source of the water contamination. And Tuesday, EnergyWire reported that, on Range Resources’ behalf, former Pennsylvania Governor and Democratic National Committee chairman Ed Rendell had pressured EPA to withdraw its action, which the agency did, despite pleas from regional staff.

“Based on strong scientific evidence, multiple EPA staff called for immediate action to protect homeowners from Range Resources drilling pollution,” said Earthworks’ Energy Director Bruce Baizel. “To discover that EPA retreated from protecting the health and safety of homeowners because of political lobbying calls into question all public oversight of oil and gas development. If the federal government can’t withstand political pressure from the oil and gas industry, how can we expect state and local officials to do the job?”

“EPA told me Range Resources polluted our well with their drilling,” said Steven Lipsky, one of the affected landowners. “I was shocked when they withdrew. That’s the kind of behavior I expect from the Texas Railroad Commission, not the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

"If industry is so powerful that it can dictate to the EPA, then who is left to protect the people?," asked Alyssa Burgin of the Texas Drought Project. She continued, "The protection of our water supply should be at the fore of the agency's responsibilities, without outside influence, industry interference or regulatory capture."

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A dead sea lion on the beach at Border Field State Park, near the international border wall between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. Sherry Smith / iStock / Getty Images

While Trump's border wall has yet to be completed, the threat it poses to pollinators is already felt, according to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as reported by Transmission & Distribution World.

Read More Show Less
People crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on July 20, 2017 in New York City sought to shield themselves from the sun as the temperature reached 93 degrees. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

by Jordan Davidson

Taking action to stop the mercury from rising is a matter of life and death in the U.S., according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Salmon fry before being released just outside San Francisco Bay. Jim Wilson / The New York Times / Redux

By Alisa Opar

For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn't just strong — it's imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California's San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.

Read More Show Less
AnnaPustynnikova / iStock / Getty Images

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide.

Read More Show Less
Protesters hold a banner and a placard while blocking off the road during a protest against Air pollution in London. Ryan Ashcroft / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Dozens of students, parents, teachers and professionals joined a Friday protest organized by Extinction Rebellion that temporarily stalled morning rush-hour traffic in London's southeasten borough of Lewisham to push politicians to more boldly address dangerous air pollution across the city.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Moment / Getty Images

By Bridget Shirvell

On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn't just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they're also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.

Read More Show Less
Coal ash has contaminated the Vermilion River in Illinois. Eco-Justice Collaborative / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

Summers in the Midwest are great for outdoor activities like growing your garden or cooling off in one of the area's many lakes and streams. But some waters aren't as clean as they should be.

That's in part because coal companies have long buried toxic waste known as coal ash near many of the Midwest's iconic waterways, including Lake Michigan. Though coal ash dumps can leak harmful chemicals like arsenic and cadmium into nearby waters, regulators have done little to address these toxic sites. As a result, the Midwest is now littered with coal ash dumps, with Illinois containing the most leaking sites in the country.

Read More Show Less

picture-alliance / AP Photo / NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

The Group of 20 major economies agreed a deal to reduce marine pollution at a meeting of their environment ministers on Sunday in Karuizawa, Japan.

Read More Show Less