Former EPA Chief Al Armendariz Said Frackers Lit a Well on Fire, So the Frackers Lawyered Up by Brantley Hargrove, October 30, 2012, Dallas Observer
Range Resources, a company that fracks shale formations across America, wants controversial former EPA regional chief Al Armendariz to shut up about what happened in Parker County. The company’s lawyer sent him a letter recently insisting that “(he) cease from making further false and disparaging comments against Range.”
Armendariz spoke at a recent Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Lubbock. He told attendees he had not seen any evidence to contradict an EPA finding that Range’s fracking activities contaminated a nearby water well — a claim that’s at the center of a lengthy fight between the EPA, Range, the Texas Railroad Commission and a man whose well turned to fire. If you’ll recall, a Parker County man’s well began drawing huge amounts of gas, so much that he could light a hose attached to the head space of the well and ignite a guttering tongue of fire. Armendariz’s EPA investigators conducted testing and discovered levels of benzene, a known carcinogen, above drinking-water standards. Gas wells owned by Range Resources were determined to be the source. The Railroad Commission of Texas, when contacted by the EPA, said more testing was needed.
The agency moved forward with an endangerment order against Range — the first of its kind in the history of Texas oil and gas. The Railroad Commission, at a hearing where only Range experts testified, later exonerated the company, which is currently suing the Parker County man.