EPA & Pavillion – Errant Political Agenda or Legitimate Public Concern
- Pavillion Wyoming
On December 8, 2011 a report was released by Region 8 of the Environmental Protection Agency, under the direction of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. This report is a 121 page document that according to media sources around the world (literally) link local water contamination in Pavillion Wyoming with oil and natural gas operations in the area. At first blush the science behind the report appears to support the belief that that the process of ‘Hydraulic Fracturing’ is a risky proposition that may be detrimental to the environment. After all the EPA is a Government Agency in charge of reducing environmental threats to public safety and imposing justice on those who violate this public trust. I do not say this with any sort of disdain because the history of the agency has been one of legitimate concern for public well being. Much of what the EPA has accomplished since their inception during the Nixon Administration of the early seventies has truly benefited mankind. Thanks to their diligence great strides have been made to limit the degradation of the environment in this nation and indirectly around the world. But recently the methods and practices of this organization have been tainted by the sway of political opinion. As a result, the findings of this agency must be legitimately questioned as they pertain to issues that have at their core the semblance of political significance.
It is our policy at the station to present material from the perspective of seeking truth in the form of verifiable information, and it is in that light that this blog is researched and written. I am not an expert in the field of environmental protection or geology however; I am a doctoral student who is well accustomed to presenting material for verification, authentication, and peer review analysis. When I read reports of any type of study these days it is with a mind that asks where did the information come from, can it be verified, how was it gathered, what research methods were used if any and is the presentation in agreement with the findings. When I first heard of this EPA report my inclination was, in the words of President Ronald Reagan, “to trust but verify”. I so I began to research not only the report its self but the process of drilling as it related to contaminated ground water and even the types of chemicals discovered in the EPA report. In other words I researched this topic from many different angles in order to better understand what it was that was really going on in Pavillion Wyoming. I was not content with the report but wanted to understand both the science and methodology used in the study from which the report was prepared. I quickly realized that this report had become news even in places like Europe. After several hours of research one interesting fact presented itself again and again; the EPA links hydraulic fracturing to contaminated aquifer that supplies the town of Pavillion Wyoming. After several hours of research one could conclude that this statement and the report and study behind it were gospel truth.
In the back of my mind however I could not dismiss one lingering question. Where was all this information I was uncovering coming from? As I went back through what by this time was a copious list of sources I found a single commonality. Every single source was somehow connected to an environmental group, cause and or funding source. For some sources it had been obvious all along but with other accounts that was not the case. In all fairness, not every site that had a pro-environment agenda presented one sided discussions. In fact many of the sites toned down the report a bit by recognizing that the EPA had requested and was waiting on a peer-review evaluation. One site admirably took an approach that was so balanced in presentation that the conclusion even for a reasonable and questioning individual seemed to be that the EPA report was sound in it methods and its findings. Despite this approach I was determined to look at as many angles as I could in order to understand from a 360 perspective what was really going not only in the Draft Report, December 8, 2011, but also on the ground so to speak.
What I found over the next couple days was interesting and clearly needs to become a major element of the public discourse on the topic. According to Matt Mead the current Governor of Wyoming, “The Environmental Protection Agency’s draft study on Pavillion wells is scientifically questionable and more testing is needed. We believe that the draft study could have a critical impact on the energy industry and on the country so it is imperative that we not make conclusions based on only four data points,” Governor Mead said. “Those familiar with the scientific method recognize that it would not be appropriate to make a judgment without verifying all of the testing that has been done.”
Thus, over the next several blogs I will present additional information about this subject that is not making national news. I am not talking about some conspiracy theory or political subterfuge but rather scientifically verifiable evidence that the EPA report on Pavillion Wyoming drill site is not all that it is ‘fracked’ up to be. Until then you may want to withhold judgment on the situation. Remember we welcome your comments.