Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is again ramping up pressure on North Texas energy companies by ignoring its own settlement and seeking new, tougher requirements on gas drilling operations there.
After a yearlong probe, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General has issued a new report saying that the agency was “justified” in barring residents from using local water it claimed was contaminated by drilling operations and for forcing the company to make several costly changes to its operations.
The matter was supposed to have been settled with the drilling company last year.
Despite the fact that the EPA says that residents “are not presently at risk,” and despite the supposed settlement, the agency now wants to put more restrictions on gas drilling in the area. “We believe that the EPA needs to implement cost-effective steps to better gauge the risk and document and disseminate its findings to affected residents,” the report says.
The whole situation started in 2010 when a local resident complained to the Texas Railroad Commission that his drinking water seemed to be contaminated with something.
Even as the Texas agency began its investigation, the EPA swooped in claiming that state authority wasn’t moving fast enough to make its determinations.
The EPA decided that the contamination was coming from nearby hydraulic fracturing–some call it fracking–being done by a company named Range Resources.
For its part the Railroad Commission disagreed and state authorities charged the EPA with interfering in a state matter and for attempting to shut down drilling operations for no legitimate reasons.
But this new report investigating the EPA and written by the EPA unsurprisingly says that the EPA’s actions were correct all along.
This is all eerily reminiscent of the harsh air regulations that the EPA imposed on Texas in 2011.
The tough regulations, called CSPAR (Cross-state Air Pollution Regulations), were opposed in Texas by a wide range of groups, including power companies, city and state governments, and even labor unions because the rules were considered to be a jobs killer.
So, here again we see the Obama administration working to put a hamper on the burgeoning Texas economy with harsh regulations that squelch energy production and kill jobs.