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Physicians, Scientists & Engineers Question the Obama Administration's Decision to Hand Control of EPA Pavillion, WY Groundwater Study Over to the State of Wyoming with Funding From Encana Corp

24 June 2013

Contact: Dr. Seth B. Shonkoff, (510) 899-9706, sshonkoff@psehealthyenergy.org

 

PHYSICIANS, SCIENTISTS, AND ENGINEERS QUESTION THE OBAMA
ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO HAND CONTROL OF THEIR PAVILLION, WY
GROUNDWATER STUDY OVER TO THE STATE OF WYOMING WITH FUNDING
FROM ENCANA OIL AND GAS, INC.

 

Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) believes the Obama
Administration's decision to hand control of their Pavillion, WY groundwater study over to the
state of Wyoming with funding from the O&G industry will result in an investigation that lacks
credibility and will promote public distrust. This development aims to ignore the EPA 2011
findings that evidence of fluids associated with gas development was found in a groundwater
aquifer.

 

Instead of the EPA continuing to conduct sound independent science that is resistant to political
criticism, the study was given to Wyoming state officials to complete the investigation, with $1.5
million from Encana Oil and Gas, Inc. – the drilling operator under investigation in this study for
groundwater contamination in Pavillion, WY.

 

As scientists, we find this deeply disturbing. Peer reviewed independent science is the only
process through which these types of questions can be answered in a manner that is free of
conflicts of interest. Wyoming officials and Encana Oil and Gas, Inc. have a clear and blatant
conflict of interest of huge proportions and are not fit to conduct this study.

 

This is the latest example – of many across the country in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Texas –
of the EPA being politically pressured to discontinue its independent science on the public health
and environmental dimensions of shale tight oil and gas development and hydraulic
fracturing. For instance after lobbying by former Governor Ed Rendell, the EPA prematurely
dropped its legal action against Range Resources in a groundwater contamination case in Texas with no scientific basis, ignoring reports by an independent scientist that the contamination may have been caused by shale gas drilling.

 

Governor Cuomo of New York has continued the rational path of allowing the science and not
politics drive decision making on the safety of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing.

 

The public deserves truly independent science to investigate risks in their own backyards. We urge
the EPA and the Obama Administration to reconsider the implications of the oil and gas industry
investigating themselves as opposed to engaging in independent science.

 

Seth B. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH
Executive Director
Physicians, Scientists, & Engineers for Healthy Energy

 

Anthony Ingraffea, PhD, PE
Professor of Engineering
Cornell University

 

Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP
Professor of Pediatrics and of Environmental & Occupational Health
George Washington University
Medical Director for National & Global Affairs
Director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health & the Environment

 

Adam Law, MD
Cayuga Medical Center

 

J. David Hughes, MSc
President, Global Sustainability Research Inc.
Research Manager, Geological Survey of Canada, retired

 

Madelon Finkel, PhD
Professor of Clinical Public Health
Weill Cornell Medical College

 

David R, Brown, Sc.D.
Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project
Former Chief of Environmental Epidemiology and Occupational Health, Connecticut

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