EPA's Own Advisory Board Demands Revision of Deeply Flawed Fracking Report

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board, a panel of independent scientists, is calling on the agency to revise last year’s much-maligned report that declared fracking to have “no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.”

“The EPA’s own analysis shows that dirty oil and gas fracking contaminates drinking water, confirming what millions of Americans already know.”
—Lena Moffitt, Sierra Club

As the Washington Post reports:

Environmentalists lauded the advisory panel’s comments [pdf]. Lena Moffitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels Initiative, responded in a press statement:

Lauren Pagel, policy director of the sustainability advocacy group Earthworks, responded to the board’s comments with a call to end fracking. “The science is in. EPA knows that fracking pollutes drinking water. Now is the time for us to move away from this dirty fossil fuel and replace it with clean energy that does not harm public health,” Pagel said in a statement.

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And Hugh MacMillan, senior researcher at Food & Water Watch, told InsideClimate News: “The EPA failed the public with its misleading and controversial line, dismissing fracking’s impacts on drinking water and sacrificing public health and welfare along the way. We are calling on the EPA to act quickly on the recommendations from the EPA [Science Advisory Board] and be clear about fracking’s impacts on drinking water resources.”

“The EPA failed the public with its misleading and controversial line, dismissing fracking’s impacts on drinking water and sacrificing public health and welfare along the way.”
—Hugh MacMillan, Food & Water Watch

InsideClimate News delved into the advisory panel’s rationale:

Agency spokeswoman Melissa Harrison responded to the advisors’ comments in an email to InsideClimate News: “EPA will use the [science advisory board’s] final comments and suggestions, along with relevant literature published since the release of the draft assessment, and public comments received by the agency, to revise and finalize the assessment.”

The scientists’ recommendation follows a whistleblower’s charge earlier this year that questioned the EPA’s conclusions regarding toxic methane emissions from fracking.

As Moffitt argued: “Instead of blindly allowing destructive fracking to continue in our communities, we should extend statewide fracking bans and moratoriums that will keep dirty, climate-polluting fossil fuels like fracked gas in the ground and invest in truly clean, renewable sources of energy that don’t come with the threat of poisoned drinking water and climate disaster.”

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