A Weatherford, Texas, community has been left without a clean supply of drinking water after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its original stance that fracking was to blame for the contamination. Within a year of issuing an emergency order related to a well contaminated by hydraulic fracturing, the EPA changed its mind with no explanation.
A recent report by the Associated Press revealed that the EPA may have been swayed by threats from Range Resources. The drilling company had suggested that it would not cooperate with a national study on fracking and shortly thereafter, the EPA deemed that the methane-filled, champagne-bubbly-like drinking well was not the result of Range Resources drilling actions.
Surprisingly or not, this is not the first time that the EPA has backed off what appeared to be a hardline consumer safety stance after being pressured by the oil & gas company involved. The EPA had said that groundwater in Wyoming had been contaminated by the fracking process, but backed off and said more testing was required after oil & gas stakeholders protested.
In the meantime, homeowner Steve Lipsky is wondering whether the federal agencies inaction will force him to leave his dream home in a Fort Worth suburb. He says that the water coming from his garden hose is extremely flammable because it contains such a high concentration of methane. He attributes the contamination to the same source as the EPA did originally – nearby fracking activity.
Source: Fuel Fix, “EPA changed course after oil company protested,” January 16, 2012