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EPA Abandoned Fracking Investigation, and Will Do it Again

Environmentalists are seeing an agency that is systematically disengaging from any research that could be perceived as questioning the safety of fracking or oil drilling.

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That leaves the EPA’s highly anticipated  national study on hydraulic fracturing.

When the EPA announced it was ending its research in Pavillion, it pointed to this study as a “major research program.”

“The agency will look to the results of this program as the basis for its scientific conclusions and recommendations on hydraulic fracturing," it said in a statement issued in partnership with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.

That national  study will concentrate on five case studies in Pennsylvania, Texas, North Dakota and Colorado.

It will not, however, focus on Pavillion or Parker County or Dimock.

Nor will it devote much attention to places like Sublette County, Wy., where state and federal agencies have found both aquifer contamination and that drilling has caused dangerous levels of emissions and ozone pollution.

It will be a long time before the EPA’s national study can inform the debate over fracking. While the agency has promised a draft by late 2014, it warned last month that no one should expect to read the final version before sometime in 2016, the last full year of President Obama’s term.

 
Abrahm Lustgarten is a former staff writer and contributor for Fortune, and has written for Salon, Esquire, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
 
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