Docs, links, background on EPA order in Parker Co., TX

Statement from Range Resources [link]:

  • “Based on our findings to date, it’s very clear that our activities have not had any impact on the water aquifer in southern Parker County or the subject water wells.”
  • “Range’s wells are completed in the Barnett Shale formation which is over a mile below the water zone. The investigation has revealed that methane in the water aquifer existed long before our activity and likely is naturally occurring migration from several shallow gas zones immediately below the water aquifer.”
  • Range VP Mike Middlebrook: “While the research indicates our activity did not cause any methane in any water well, we’re committed to doing the right thing and to continue to work with regulators to determine the cause and assist landowners. This is our home, too, and no one wants to make sure this is done right more than we do.”

Statement from Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) [link]:

  • “The RRC began its investigation into this complaint on Aug. 6, 2010 after receiving the initial complaint. The RRC continues to actively investigate the area and the complaint … Throughout its investigation, the Commission staff has shared data cooperatively with EPA staff.”
  • RRC chairman Victor Carrillo: “As I repeatedly emphasized to EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz last Friday, EPA’s actions are premature as the Railroad Commission continues to actively investigate this issue and has not yet determined the cause of the gas. This EPA action is unprecedented in Texas, and commissioners will consider all options as we move forward.”
  • RRC commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones: “I disagree with EPA’s premature actions.  The Commission bases its decisions on sound science and fact.  If this is another EPA action designed to reach pre-determined conclusions and to generate headlines rather than conduct a successful environmental investigation, then the public is poorly served.”
  • RRC commissioner Michael Williams: “The Railroad Commission has been on top of this issue from Day 1. We will continue to take all necessary action to protect Texas lakes, rivers and aquifers.  Texans have no interest in Washington doing for Texas what it did for Louisiana fishermen.”
  • Event timeline:

o    Dec. 1: RRC meeting to discuss initial test findings with EPA postponed — by EPA itself;

o    Dec. 3: RRC receives letter from Range; company notifies RRC of its plan to voluntarily conduct soil tests

o    Dec. 7: Less than one week after postponing meeting with RRC, EPA issues “emergency” order based on claim that RRC “has not acted to protect” health of its constituents

Letter to RRC from Range Resources, Dec. 3, 2010 [link]:

  • “[R]esearch shows the presence of multiple shallow formations which are gas bearing. Based on all of the test results available to Range (all which we have voluntarily made available to Mr. Lipsky through his counsel), we have yet to see any information that would indicate that the gas present in the Lipsky water well was cause by or contributed by any operations by Range or any other oil and gas operator in the area.”
  • “In particular, while the gas in the Lipsky water well is thermogenic, its constituent analysis is far different than either the gas produced at the Butler #1-H and the gas analysis of the gas that was observed on the bradenhead.”
  • “We are also aware anecdotally from multiple sources that gas was present in water wells in the area of the Lipsky property long before the drilling and completion of any Range well or any other well in the Newark East field, and that water wells in the area often show the presence of gas.”

Background on EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz:

  • Paid by Environmental Defense Fund to produce study on shale-related air emissions in Dallas-Fort Worth, which was subsequently debunked:

o    BSEEC: “If [Armendariz’s] study’s conclusions were correct, then the Dallas-Fort Worth region would have seen a dramatic rise in ozone levels over the past several years during the time that the number of gas wells has grown … [This chart], using ozone data from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, shows that the opposite is true.”

  • Starred in Josh Fox’s anti-gas polemic “GasLand,” which just this week was called a “piece of propaganda” by a New York Post columnist – reversing course from an earlier position in support of the film he took when it was first released. (see video here, 5:45)
  • Served as “technical advisor” to several anti-energy organizations; remarkably, lists the following groups as “references” on his curriculum vitae:

o    Environmental Defense Fund

o    Sierra Club

o    WildEarth Guardians

o    Public Citizen

o    Downwinders at Risk

  • Soon after taking job as Region 6 administrator, was fêted with a “grassroots celebration” hosted by Downwinders at Risk and the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project, an event at which he showed up to speak.

1 Comment

Post A Comment