"EPA Says Gas Driller Contaminated Texas Aquifer"

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order against a gas driller in Texas on Tuesday, accusing the company of contaminating an aquifer and giving it 48 hours to provide clean drinking water to affected residents and begin taking steps to resolve the problem.

The order is unprecedented in Texas, partly because in issuing it the federal body overstepped the state agency responsible for overseeing gas and oil drilling in Texas. The EPA's move could ratchet up a bitter fight between Texas and the EPA that has evolved in the past year from a dispute over environmental issues into a pitched battle over states rights.

EPA regional director Al Armendariz said he issued the order against Range Resources of Fort Worth, Texas because he felt the Texas Railroad Commission was not responding quickly enough to contamination found in two water wells belonging to Parker County residents in North Texas. The Railroad Commission had said it would be 'premature' to issue an emergency order regarding the contamination, Armendariz said, and asked for more time to evaluate the data."

Ramit Plushnick-Masti reports for the Associated Press December 7, 2010.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010