As investigations continue into Halliburton’s role in the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico last April, the company is now facing subpoenas from the Environmental Protection Agency over natural gas extraction methods and their potentially adverse effects on drinking water and public health.
The extraction method, called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” would be used to develop shale gas fields in several states, and has already been used in the west. The EPA is seeking information on the chemical ingredients in the fluids used in the extraction process. During the fracking process crews inject vast quantities of water, sand and chemicals underground to force open channels in sand and rock formations so oil and natural gas will flow.
News reports recently claimed the fluids seep into drinking water, and demonstrated how tap water can be literally set on fire from a household faucet. The fracking process is also the subject of the documentary “Gasland.”
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a subpoena to compel Halliburton Co., the nation’s largest oil field services company, to provide complete information on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method the company pioneered to extract natural gas by injecting fluids into tight rock formations deep underground.
Halliburton remained the only company of nine that did not fully comply with a September request to provide the information voluntarily, according to EPA. The others either complied or “made unconditional commitments” to provide the information expeditiously, the EPA said.
“As a result, and as part of the agency’s effort to move forward as quickly as possible, today EPA issued a subpoena to the company requiring submission of the requested information that has yet to be provided,” a statement from the agency said…..
….A Halliburton spokeswoman said the company had already turned over 5,000 pages to the EPA and was “disappointed” with the EPA’s decision, but was working with the agency to narrow the scope of its request….
….Halliburton has attracted ample scrutiny over the years over hydraulic fracturing and contracts in Iraq, particularly during the tenure of Vice President Dick Cheney, who led the company from 1995 to 2000, and had a leading role in formulating the Bush administration’s energy policy.
A Times investigation revealed that as vice president, Cheney’s office helped back hydraulic fracturingas part of the Bush Administration’s energy policy. An EPA report that concluded there was no danger to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing in coal-bed methane deposits in Wyoming was criticized as flawed by agency staffers, prompting an ongoing investigation by the EPA inspector general’s office. The Bush administration worked to keep the practice from being regulated under the federal Clean Water Act.
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