For Immediate Release
Renewed Calls to Address Fracking as EPA Administrator Touts Environmental Legacy
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
WASHINGTON - “Today, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is appearing at the National Press Club to tout the Obama administration’s ‘environmental and public health legacy’. But there is one area of this legacy she probably won’t highlight: the EPA’s complicity in dismissing the concerns of fracking-affected communities, especially with respect to drinking water contamination.
“President Obama and Administrator McCarthy have both refused to meet with people who have had their lives upended by fracking contamination. An untold number of contamination cases have been settled by the industry’s lawyers, with plaintiffs under gag orders not to discuss their cases. The least the administration can do is meet with those who have not been silenced.
“The White House and EPA whitewashed fracking’s impacts on drinking water in June 2015, in a draft study that pronounced that at least the impacts are not ‘widespread, systemic,’ as if that should be the measure. The study was toothless, relying on voluntary cooperation of the industry, and hamstrung by overall lack of access to data, including data in sealed court settlements. Because of the glaring disconnect between that dismissive top line and the body of the study, an independent Science Advisory Board asked the EPA in August to either remove its controversial language or provide a ‘quantitative analysis’ to support it. Over 200 public interest and environmental groups and more than 50 members of Congress have also asked the EPA to justify its controversial dismissal of fracking’s impacts on drinking water.
“We are calling on Administrator McCarthy to finalize the study rapidly, before the President leaves office, and heed our recommendations. We are also asking the administration, once again, to meet with fracking-affected communities and hear about how fracking has contaminated their water, despoiled their land, and upended their lives.”
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.