We just got this statement from EPA Region 6:
I wanted to let you know EPA has withdrawn its administrative order to Range Resources regarding the company’s energy extraction activities in Parker County, Texas.
Resolving the lawsuits with Range allows EPA to shift the agency’s focus in this particular case away from litigation and toward a joint effort on the science and safety of energy extraction. EPA and Range will share scientific data and conduct further well monitoring in the area, and Range will also provide useful information and access to EPA in support of EPA’s scientific inquiry into the potential impacts of energy extraction on drinking water.
I confirmed the announcement with an agency spokeswoman who said additional details are forthcoming in a letter that will outline the arrangement Range and the EPA have made to work together.
UPDATED 1:45 PM. Here is the letter, which details the sampling Range will perform for the EPA and its study of hydraulic fracturing.
An ongoing, private lawsuit related to the case has brought a spate of subpoenas from Range Resources to local media outlets, including one to our sister station, WFAA television.
UPDATED 2:07 PM.
Here is the statement we received from Range Resources.
In January a judge ruled that the Parker County couple who first alleged water contamination lacked legal jurisdiction to sue Range first reported in Fort-Worth Star-Telegram. The judge determined that the proper venue for challenging a March 22 Railroad Commission decision is state district court, but the couple failed to do so. At that time the Railroad Commission found “that Range Resources’ natural gas wells be allowed to continue to produce as the wells are not causing or contributing to contamination of any Parker County domestic water wells.” In February, according to the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram “A judge has concluded that a Parker County resident, owner of a methane-contaminated water well, created a “deceptive video” that was “calculated to alarm the public into believing the water was burning.”
Range’s official statement on the matter is as follow: “Range is very pleased to see that the EPA’s order in Parker County has been withdrawn. It’s important for people to know that their environment, health and safety is protected and hopefully this provides them with that comfort.”
The US EPA issued the following statement as I’ve read: “Resolving the lawsuits with Range allows EPA to shift the Agency’s focus in this particular case away from litigation and towards a joint effort on the science and safety of energy extraction. EPA and Range will share scientific data and conduct further well monitoring in the area, and Range will also provide useful information and access to EPA in support of EPA’s scientific inquiry into the potential impacts of energy extraction on drinking water.”
The Texas Railroad Commission issued a statement today indicating: “Today the EPA finally made a decision based on science and fact versus playing politics with the Texas economy. The EPA’s withdraw of the emergency order against Range Resources upholds the Railroad Commission’s original finding that Range is not responsible for any water contamination in Parker County.”
The Texas Oil and Gas Association issued a statement today indicating: “The Environmental Protection Agency today dismissed its order against Range Resources in a case regarding contamination of two water wells in Parker County, Texas. The EPA’s decision to dismiss the order is appropriate given that multiple investigations into the claims showed no link between Range Resources’ operations and water contamination. As part of this case, the RRC conducted an investigation more than a year ago and concluded that Range Resources did not contaminate the water wells. TXOGA is encouraged that science appears to have prevailed in this instance at the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s dismissal of this order against Range Resources also validates the Texas Railroad Commission’s nearly 100-year legacy of effective regulation of the oil and gas industry.”
Range Resources Corporation
Director, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
3000 Town Center Blvd.,
Canonsburg, PA 15317
NYSE – RRC
The statement included two attachments. Here they are.