EPA Staff Report Contradicts Agency's Agnosticism on Fracking

July 31, 2013

Here's more evidence of why documents should be leaked to reporters: a Powerpoint obtained by Neela Banerjee of the Los Angeles Times' Washington bureau in which EPA's Region 3 staff argued for continuing its investigation of fracking pollution around Dimock, Pennsylvania. Staff said the investigation should continue because years of data likely showed methane from fracking was damaging water quality in local wells.

EPA announced July 25, 2012, that it was ending its study of Dimock wells and that "EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency."

That announcement was echoed June 20, 2013, when EPA announced that it was turning its Pavillion, Wyoming, fracking pollution investigation over to the state — who will do the work with funding from Encana, the company whose wells are being investigated.

Such announcements are a lot easier politically when agency press officers do not allow reporters to talk to EPA staff and scientists, but restrict them to talking points from political officials read by press officers.