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Sen. Murkowski Questions EPA’s Expansion of Fracking Study

Senator Lisa Murkowski today questioned EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the agency’s expansion of a study of hydraulic fracturing beyond what was authorized by Congress.

Murkowski asked Administrator Jackson if the agency was prejudging the findings of the study. The question was prompted in part by a previous case in which EPA seemed to blame the process of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas production for water contamination.

“The purpose of the study was to determine whether there is any relationship between hydraulic fracturing and contaminated water. Yet part of the study now includes collecting data on the ‘environmental justice’ impacts on disadvantaged communities. That seems to presume that there is an impact,” Murkowski said. “Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look for such impacts only if you discover that there is a link between fracking and contaminated water first?” 

Murkowski cautioned Administrator Jackson that the agency would be well served by submitting any study on hydraulic fracturing to peer review before releasing it.

“I want the EPA to do its job in the ‘regular order’ of things,” Murkowski said. “That is, you have the responsibility to protect the public health, and I support and respect that. But it must be done in a way that the public believes is fair and based on objective science, not anyone’s particular ideology or hidden agenda.”

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