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January 29, 2014

EPA asked to reopen probe

200 groups call for reopening investigations into Parker County fracking, water contamination

(NEWSROOM AMERICA) – A coalition of concerned organizations has called on President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to reopen investigations into the connection between drilling and fracking for oil and gas and contaminated groundwater in Parker County and to ensure residents there have access to safe drinking water.

Initiated by Americans Against Fracking and signed by more than 200 groups, the letter also asked the administration to meet with residents whose water has been contaminated, just as the administration has met with representatives from the oil and gas industry.

“President Obama is in danger of leaving a toxic legacy if his administration doesn’t get its facts straight on fracking,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The EPA needs to take responsibility for the mess caused by fracking, and once and for all, assess the risks of fracking to the public.”

The development comes on the heels of the EPA Inspector General’s report on the agency’s investigation in Parker County that confirmed that the regional EPA office was justified in intervening on behalf of local residents.

The report found that the EPA pulled out of litigation with oil and gas companies as part of an agreement with Range Resources that assured the company would participate in a national agency study on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water contamination.

The report also found that EPA agreed to let Range Resources take over testing the wells in Parker County, even though the agency lacks quality assurance information on the testing.

Range Resources reported finding no concerning widespread methane contamination in the families’ wells. However, just this month, Bloomberg reported that independent tests conducted by Duke University found high levels of combustible methane in the wells, contradicting Range Resources’s findings.

John Armstrong, of Frack Action said, “The Inspector General’s report and Duke University’s water tests show that affected residents’ water and health have been left at risk. President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy must act swiftly to ensure residents’ safety and to reopen the investigation into water contamination from fracking.”

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