U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a joint letter (PDF) to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson March 7, 2011, reiterating concerns about the potential implications hydraulic fracturing poses to the environment and public health in New York State. Citing the New York Times’s recent three part fracking series the letter requests that EPA investigate potential fracking-related watershed contamination issues in New York State.
The letter also asks Administrator Jackson to look into whether the EPA deleted mention of a planned moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the New York City Watershed from a letter the Agency sent to New York State prior to publicly releasing that letter. Indeed, New York Times reporter Ian Urbina revealed a document that he claims shows that mention of the moratorium plans was removed by EPA solely for unnamed political reasons.
The March 7 letter is another in a series that New York Members of Congress have sent in the wake of the New York Times piece to EPA (PDF) and to the Congressional committees (PDF) with jurisdiction over natural gas extraction. In their March 3 letter, Reps. Maloney, Hinchey, and Nadler asked for responses to a number of serious questions raised by Urbina’s reporting related to the scope of EPA’s study of hydraulic fracturing and the treatment of hydraulic fracturing wastewater in particular. The Representatives asked for a response to those questions from Administrator Jackson by March 25, 2011.
Representatives Maloney, Hinchey, and Nadler are among a host of federal legislators who are focusing their attention on the federal regulation of and potential risks posed by hydraulic fracturing. While many members—particularly those representing states and districts within the Marcellus Shale play—will continue to raise alarms on fracking, look for other policymakers to resist Congressional and administrative efforts to impose new burdens on extraction, urging Washington to focus instead on the role fracking may serve in job creation, economic recovery, and energy independence.