During House Committee Fracking Hearing, Members Grill Scientists, Eject News Crew

EPA report linking fracking to groundwater contamination attacked by industry-friendly politicians


Jessica Ennis, Earthjustice, (202) 295-7619 (cell)

At a hearing held by the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, oil and gas industry friendly Committee members grilled officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the agency’s investigation into the cause of drinking water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming.

Pavillion, Wyoming. "Produced" water is brought back to the surface after fracking takes place. Here, the water and fracking fluid is placed into evaporation ponds. (Ecoflight)

In December, the EPA released draft study results (PDF) linking the controversial form of gas development known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to contaminated groundwater in Pavillion.

At the urging of Pavillion, WY residents, the agency began investigating water quality concerns in private drinking water wells four years ago. The EPA’s draft report indicated that ground water in the aquifer contains compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including fracking.

Fracking is when oil and gas companies blast millions of gallons of water treated with chemicals into the ground to force oil and gas from hard-to-reach places deep inside the earth. Along with a fracking-fueled gas rush have come troubling reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, and sick families.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Policy Associate Jessica Ennis:

“The simple fact remains that the aquifer supplying drinking water to the people Pavillion, Wyoming has been poisoned. There is little doubt that the likely source is nearby oil and gas development using the controversial fracking technique. Instead of attacking the diligent efforts of scientists to uncover the source of this contamination and prevent problems in other gasfield communities, politicians should stay out of the way and let scientists do their job.

“For far too long, the oil and gas industry has operated under a shroud of secrecy, refusing to disclose the full list of chemicals used in fracking. Industry-beholden politicians now seem determined to extend that secrecy to committee activities, refusing to allow a television news crew and the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Josh Fox to film today’s hearing. The public has a right to know what chemicals oil and gas companies are pumping into the ground. And they also deserve to know which politicians are trying to protect these same companies at the expense of the people of Pavillion, Wyoming.”

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