In a closely watched case of national importance, the Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) today voted unanimously to finalize a prior order finding Range Resources not responsible for the contamination of private drinking wells near two of its hydraulic fracturing operations in the Barnett Shale. After holding a hearing and receiving evidence from Range Resources, TRRC found that any contamination in the drinking wells was due to natural causes, likely from the separate and shallower Strawn formation, and was unrelated to Range’s drilling operations in the deeper Barnett formation.
In a strongly worded statement, Texas state Rep. Jim Keffer, Chairman of the Texas House Energy Resources Committee, said of TRRC's findings:
“[EPA] did this on hype . . .they thought they had a smoking gun and they didn’t. They overstepped . . .they overreached.
EPA countered that it stood by the order issued to Range Resources. "The decision by the Texas Railroad Commission is not supported by EPA’s independent, scientific investigation, which concluded that Range Resources Corporation and Range Production Company have contributed to the contamination of homeowners’ drinking water wells,” EPA's statement said.