When Government Regulations Fail

The EPA has been laughably ineffectual, and here’s the latest awful example of their incompetence. They backed off a fracking investigation at the behest of the gas company being investigated.

When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family’s drinking water had begun bubbling like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: A company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.

At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.

Now a confidential report obtained by the Associated Press and interviews with company representatives show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.

Residents of the suburb experienced the typical fracking side-effects — no one should be able to ignite their well water. I hope someone’s fired over this.

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  • eljefejeff

    Lisa Jackson? President Obama? Even though I assume they probably weren’t in on the decision here, ultimately they’re responsible

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      The executive always bear some responsibility. The Administration needs to get ahead of this and heads need to roll. Plus it’s a perfect time to reinforce the EPA’s ability to regulate (in whatever ways it can without having to go through Congress). Politically speaking, this should be used to bludgeon the Repubs too….they’ve been slowly stripping away the EPA’s ability to do any of it’s original mission. Where’s the 60 minute investigation of that?

  • Draxiar

    I can’t wait to witness big oils painful death. And shame on the EPA for allowing themselves to be bullied by an industry they’re suppoed to regulate.

  • roxsteady1

    Really, WTF is going on? I’m so sick of these greedy bastards. And this is just another example of just how much our press sucks! They’re more concerned about the President’s social calendar than actual reporting. It’s really sickening. The EPA should have released their report. Period! If these bastards refused to cooperate in the future, that would have been their problem. I hope that the residents will file a lawsuit against these cash whoring douchebags!

  • trgahan

    In the EPA’s defense, thirty plus years of “supply side, companies know best” economic policy coupled with “Drill Baby Drill” energy independence sloganeering has severely hamstrung all agencies charged with protecting the public and watch dogging energy industry.

    We can’t even remove subsidies to these massively profitable companies, how the do we expect an understaffed underfunded agency frequently lead by the industry insider appointees to stand up to such pressure?

    Changing such a reality is going to take much more than electing one president for two terms.