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Senators Ask Administrator Jackson to hold Pavillion Study to Highest Scientific Standards

Link to Letter

Washington D.C. - Today ten Senators, including Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), John Boozman (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting that EPA consider its investigation on hydraulic fracturing and groundwater near Pavillion, Wyoming a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA), which means that it would be held to the highest scientific standards as well as the most rigorous peer review process.

Senator Inhofe: "I am pleased to have my colleagues join me in requesting that Administrator Jackson consider EPA's Pavillion investigation a highly influential scientific assessment (HISA), therefore ensuring that it is held to the highest scientific standards and undergoes the most rigorous peer review process.  On December 8, I spoke with Administrator Jackson on the phone to ask if she would proceed with the Pavillion study under the requirements of a HISA - I have yet to receive her answer.  This request is crucial because in September, the EPA Office of the Inspector General found that EPA cut corners and short circuited the required peer review process for its endangerment finding - the foundation of its plan to regulate greenhouse gases - because it did not consider its study a HISA. I hope that after receiving this letter, Administrator Jackson will agree to our reasonable request.  If she does not, the Pavillion study can have no credibility."

Senator Murkowski: "The EPA appears to have jumped to the conclusion that fracking is to blame for contaminating groundwater based solely on preliminary data that has not been fully vetted. Given the significance and potential impacts this could have on our nation's energy supplies, it's crucial that the agency makes sure it has all of the facts before drawing any formal conclusions or making any policy decisions."

Senator Roberts: "Given the importance of natural gas development to my state, and the country as a whole, it is critical that the EPA address all outstanding concerns and questions raised by state officials and industry experts calling into question the veracity of the draft report. Any findings by the EPA that could have a potentially chilling effect on gas development in my state should be objective and fully open for independent review."

Senator Johanns: "Our country's need for more domestic energy is undeniable, and natural gas development offers an opportunity to meet some of that need. We must ensure any study concerning the future of natural gas development is done in a thorough, objective manner. Considering how our natural gas supply is essential to keeping electricity, home heating and fertilizer prices from skyrocketing, I encourage Administrator Jackson to give this review the attention and scrutiny it deserves."

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