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January 25, 2013
Fracking tops Vitter's agenda

Senator David Vitter (R-LA), the next ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has made it clear that he will carry the banner for hydraulic fracturing against what he perceives as EPA’s “fabrication of evidence” to discredit the practice. 

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The Obama administrative has voiced support for hydraulic fracturing that “does not come at the expense of public health and the environment.”  But Vitter is unconvinced.

USGS study

“The President and his administration have been trying to cripple hydraulic fracturing for years, even though domestic energy production has been one of the only bright spots in our economy, thanks in large part to the utilization of this technology,” Vitter recently said in a statement in response to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study.  The study examined the water quality of 127 shallow domestic wells in the Fayetteville Shale natural gas production area of Arkansas and found no groundwater contamination associated with gas production.

“It is certainly encouraging to see this positive result from a study using sound and transparent science to draw conclusions instead of ideology,” said Vitter.  “The EPA’s mishaps with fabricating evidence in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming caused an unnecessary attack on an effective, efficient, and safe method of developing domestic energy.”

Pavilion, Wyoming

Vitter has been particularly incensed by an EPA investigation that drew a link between hydraulic fracturing and contaminated drinking water wells in Pavilion, Wyoming.  The senator recently complained in a letter to departing EPA administrator Lisa Jackson that the Agency’s decision to extend the public comment period for the draft report by 8 months was the Agency’s way of conceding that its work was shoddy.   

Britain’s decision

Vitter also wrote to President Obama about a recent decision by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Energy Secretary Edward Davey to allow fracking on Britain’s lands.  “After a long period of central planning UK’s energy policy–policies that are projected to increase the cost of energy on citizens by as much as 60 percent over the next 10 years–the UK has found that their shale resources are far more vast than originally thought,” wrote Vitter. 

The senator also reported that John Hayes, the UK’s energy minister, has ordered a reanalysis of the country’s support of alternative energy, and particularly wind energy.  Furthermore, reported Vitter, Norway recently put a hold on development of the nation’s first planned offshore wind farm due to lack of political support. 

“If two advocates for offshore wind energy are re-evaluating their stance, then perhaps it is a sign to reconsider taxpayer funded initiatives for these types of projects,” wrote Vitter. 

The U.S. Congress recently extended tax breaks for a number of alternative energy sources, including wind energy projects.

Click here for EPA’s draft report on the Pavilion investigation.

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