EPA Used Flawed Methods Investigating Hydraulic Fracturing, Study Finds

Published May 16, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency used improper procedures and analytical methods in its report on hydraulic fracturing and water quality near Pavillion, Wyoming, concludes an independent scientific assessment announced yesterday.

EPA asserts hydraulic fracturing may have polluted groundwater in the Pavillion region. If EPA ultimately concludes hydraulic fracturing indeed polluted groundwater in the region, it would mark the first time the agency has ever found a link between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater pollution.

The independent assessment, conducted by S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc. (SSPA), reports that EPA presented flawed scientific justification in its suspicion that hydraulic fracturing caused polluting groundwater near Pavillion.

SSPA found, among other shortcomings, that EPA failed to compile and evaluate appropriate background data, made serious errors in sampling water in the region, utilized unapproved methods and procedures for collecting and evaluating water samples, and did not consider alternative possible causes of the asserted groundwater pollution.

“[T]he data and analysis does not support the EPA’s conclusions, including the agency’s primary claim of contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing activity,” the SSPA assessment concluded.