House Dems ask EPA to investigate nat gas drilling’s connection to water contamination

Eight Democrats in the House have asked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reopen its investigations into water contamination incidents in Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Texas that they say may have been connected to natural gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

EPA investigated all three cases, but stopped two of investigations before reaching conclusions, leaving further research to the states, the members said. The third case was closed, but EPA’s inspector general recommended more research, according to the Associated Press.

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“While we appreciate that states act as the major source of regulation for unconventional drilling operations, we believe the Environmental Protection Agency has a key role to play in oil and gas development,” the Democrats wrote.

“We are writing to urge you to take any and all steps within your power to help these communities,” the said.

Each of the EPA investigations was highly controversial, with both the gas industry and environmentalists disagreeing at times with the agency. Drillers in each case used fracking, a process in which drillers force water and other chemicals at a high pressure into the ground to release gas.

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