Here are my cut and paste highlights from The State Impact Pennsylvania news release over Thanksgiving holiday (when readership is down?) …….
“Concerns about the study (on fracking of coal bed methane) emerged from the outset, including a 2004 whistleblower complaint that called it “scientifically unsound.” Now, InsideClimate News has learned that the scientists who wrote the report disagreed with the conclusion imposed by the Bush EPA, saying there was not enough evidence to support it. The authors, who worked for a government contractor, went so far as to have their company’s name and their own removed from the final document……
The EPA and industry long maintained that fracking did not need federal oversight under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The EPA used the law to protect groundwater from other industrial activities, such as disposal of oilfield wastewater as part its Underground Injection Control (UIC) program…..
Against common scientific practice, the EPA urged Cadmus to include an oil industry study that had not been peer-reviewed. When Cadmus staff resisted, the EPA manager asked a Cadmus scientist, “‘Can’t you say something positive about it?’” the scientist recalled….
A March 3, 2004, EPA agenda entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing Project Status” listed among the tasks “Soften conclusions and ES [executive summary].”….
The final version of the report omits mention of public health except in the discussion of methodology and in paraphrasing public comments deep into the 463-page study.
EPA documents show Cadmus recommended revisions to reflect complaints by some Virginia residents about possible contamination of their water from fracking. The contractor raised the question of an investigation to see if the complaints were warranted. The final version did not include the changes Cadmus recommended, and EPA did not launch an inquiry into the complaints…..
The EPA decided the study’s conclusion should be that fracking did not pose a threat to groundwater and therefore did not require further study or federal oversight.
The Cadmus scientists came to believe that abiding by the EPA’s conclusion violated their standards of integrity. “If you say there is no risk associated with hydraulic fracturing, and we see risk, you either didn’t do a good job or you’re lying,” Sham said. “The data and analyses tell us there is risk associated with it, and we were asked to report there is no risk, and we can’t say that.”……
“We had no power over the final report. The only power we had was to take our names off it,” said a Cadmus team scientist who declined to be identified because of concerns about job security.”