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Bush administration distorts science to help Halliburton pollute
14 Oct. 2004

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- A thirty-year engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the Bush administration ignored scientific evidence to help Halliburton obtain favorable environmental regulation for a controversial drilling technique, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

In a letter sent to members of Congress, the engineer -- Weston Wilson -- denounced the agency's approval of exempting hydraulic fracturing from environmental regulations. Halliburton is the industry leader in hydraulic fracturing, a technique used for drilling oil and gas.

According to Wilson, hydraulic fracturing can contaminate drinking water supplies with carcinogens and should be regulated by the EPA. In addition, activists have documented incidents where drinking water supplies have been contaminated from the drilling technique.

The extra oil and gas produced each year from hydraulic fracturing boosts Halliburton's revenues by $1.5 billion, which represents 20 percent of the company's energy-related revenue. The technique involves pumping chemicals into the ground to breakup rock formations so that oil and gas can more easily be produced. Halliburton says the chemicals used are benign, but critics say hazardous chemicals have also been used, including benzene, toluene, naphthalene, trimethylnapthalene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

The EPA's approval of hydraulic fracturing was written into Vice President Dick Cheney's notoriously-secret Energy Task Force report after the agency initially complained that it can be dangerous to public health. Congressman Henry Waxman and Mr. Wilson both accuse the EPA of initially concluding that the technique can be dangerous to public health, but then deleting this conclusion after Cheney's office demanded it. Waxman said Cheney's energy task force report "was altered to delete language critical of hydraulic fracturing."

The federal Energy Bill, which contains many of the recommendations of Cheney's energy task force, contains a provision that exempts hydraulic fracturing from regulation. The bill remains stalled in Congress with no chance of passage anytime soon.

If the Energy Bill becomes law, it would overturn a 1997 federal appeals court ruling in Alabama that directed the EPA to regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Ever since the court's ruling, Halliburton has lobbied Congress and the president to overturn the decision.

More Information:

Los Angeles Times: Halliburton's Interests Assisted by White House

Rep. Henry Waxman's letter to EPA administrator

Omega News: Driller vs. Community Conflicts Rising As Bush Opens Rocky Mountain Lands

Weston Wilson's letter to members of Congress

HalliburtonWatch: Energy Bill & Hydraulic Fracturing

Members of Congress demand investigation of Halliburton drilling