If there were any questions about the national importance of the Range case, which this blog has covered since December 2010, the questions have been answered. On February 14, 2011, Senator Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) sent a letter to EPA’s Inspector General, requesting that he “obtain and secure, as soon as possible, all documents and records throughout the Agency related to the communications between EPA Region 6 and US EPA headquarters, both intra-Agency and with outside entities, in connection with activities” relating to the December 7 Emergency Order against Range. Senator Inhofe’s request comes in the middle of a heated fight between Range and EPA over both the basis for EPA’s decision to issue the Order and Range’s requests to depose certain EPA employees and obtain certain documents.
Senator Inhofe has been a vocal proponent of the oil and natural gas industry, telling Administrator Jackson earlier this year during EPW’s first committee hearing that he expects to be intimately involved in EPA’s ongoing fracking study and future Agency actions. It looks like the Senator is getting involved much sooner then he had anticipated. Expect similar Congressional pressure to continue as EPA grapples with this controversial issue.