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There’s a new report out from the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) chronicling the changes the EPA has made to its webpage on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Check out the changes side by side using snapshots from the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine.
In January this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revamped its webpage on fracking. The page now promotes the interests of the fossil fuel industry at the expense of scientific knowledge and public transparency.
These edits were documented by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, a coalition that has tracked changes made to federal environmental websites during the Trump administration. The president has vowed to ease restrictions on fracking as part of his fossil fuel-heavy economic plan…
Some of the most significant changes to the page emphasize the economic benefits of fracking while obscuring its known risks, such as air pollution and drinking water contamination—findings the EPA’s own scientists stressed in the months preceding President Trump’s inauguration.
“[This is] one among many instances wherein the administration has deemphasized or questioned the importance or credibility of scientific knowledge and scientists,” Arnold said, noting President Trump’s “scientists on both sides” refrain regarding climate change and other environmental issues…
Some paragraphs were wholesale removed, such as one that said the EPA is working to improve our scientific understanding of fracking, and another that underscored the need to carefully manage natural gas development in tandem with its rapid development.
EPA’s changes fracking report (at least) twice, downplaying then emphasizing risk of drinking water pollution
Wow, this *should* be bombshell news. According to joint reporting from APMreports and MarketPlace, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made 11th hour changes to a fracking study to downplay the risk of drinking water pollution (november 30 story). Then just a couple of days ago, EPA reversed course *again*, saying there *is* a connection between hydraulic fracturing and contamination in drinking water. Stay tuned for more industry-led waffling by EPA and worse as anti-EPA nihilists take the reins of the agency.
In a reversal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of a six-year, $29 million study today, highlighting the conclusion that hydraulic fracturing has caused some contamination to drinking water resources across the country.
The federal agency dropped a controversial phrase from an earlier draft of the study that said the oil and gas drilling process known as fracking has not led to “widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water resources.
The shift suggests there is even more uncertainty among government officials about the safety of fracking after the intensive study by the nation’s leading environmental agency. It also puts the EPA at odds with the oil and gas industry and an incoming Trump Administration that has vowed to further deregulate fracking.