Press Release: EPA Water Chief: States Doing “A Good Job Already” in Regulation of Key Energy Technology
Comments by EPA’s Steve Heare aligns with past statements from agency, directly contradicts arguments in support of FRAC Act
WASHINGTON – States are doing “a good job already” when it comes to regulating a 61-year-old energy technology known as hydraulic fracturing, a top EPA water official said yesterday – directly contradicting those who support re-writing the Safe Drinking Water Act to impose EPA regulation over the process for the first time in the agency’s (or Act’s) history. Following comments made yesterday from Steve Heare, EPA’s director of EPA’s drinking water protection office, Energy In Depth executive director Lee Fuller issued the following statement:
“These comments from a key EPA drinking water protection official underscore the tremendous work that state regulators have done for decades, and continue to do today, to ensure the proper balance between responsible energy exploration and the safeguarding of our land, air and water. They also align seamlessly with every single official pronouncement that EPA has ever made on hydraulic fracturing; namely, that fracturing technology is safe, it’s incredibly effective, and that it poses no risk to drinking water supplies as currently regulated.”
In particular, Fuller pointed to testimony offered in December by several EPA water and compliance officials to a committee of the U.S. Senate, a hearing in which EPA’s Peter Silva, Cynthia Giles and Matthew Larsen were asked if they were aware of a single instance of water contamination tied to hydraulic fracturing. None were able to identify a single such case, according to the hearing transcript – a reality confirmed by EPA itself in 2004 when it found “no evidence” of alleged contamination after conducting an exhaustive study of the issue over the course of nearly five years.
Fuller also noted that EPA’s latest comments on hydraulic fracturing present a direct challenge to those who support the so-called FRAC Act currently being considered in Congress – legislation that would fundamentally re-write the 36-year-old Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) with an eye on shoehorning hydraulic fracturing into a potentially unworkable federal regulatory regime. Sponsors of the FRAC Act premise their support for the bill on the assertion that states cannot effectively regulate the fracturing process as currently constituted – a notion that stands in direct contradiction to comments made by Mr. Heare yesterday.
“It seems we have a bit of a disagreement to resolve here,” Fuller added. “If supporters of the FRAC Act believe that EPA’s drinking water official is wrong, they should say so – and be ready to defend that assertion. Alternatively, if they think he may right, they ought to take a second look at the legislation they’re trying to pass, and perhaps do a bit more research into how their individual states are effectively handling this important responsibility. I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised by how aggressively this process is being managed by experts on the ground and in the community.”
- EPA Report on HF: “No credible evidence” that hydraulic fracturing endangers groundwater
- Senate Hearing: Top Brass from Obama Admin Tell Congress They’re “Not Aware” of Even “One Case” of HF-Related Contamination
- Fact Sheet: HF Opponents Say the Darndest Things
- Issue Alert: When Gummy Bears Attack
- Graphic: What’s In Frac Fluids?
- Browner Memo: Letter of Support for Hydraulic Fracturing from Carol Browner, Fmr. EPA Administrator