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Why It is Appropriate that Dr. Al Armendariz Resigned

In a recent blog post, radical environmentalist Texas Sharon (Sharon Wilson) wrote:

We lost a battle. But remember this is a war, as the industry declared, and we will not lose the war. There will be casualties but we will win in the end because they will continue to follow the recipe. It’s the only way they know.

Concerning “the recipe” imbedded in the link above, it reads like this:

Yesterday, I told you that fracking insurgents are not born they are created. Here is one recipe to create fracking insurgents.

  1. One professional liar.
  2. One heaping scoop of campaign money.
  3. Mix well then sprinkle liberally with stinky, rotten backroom dealings and leave on counter to fester.
  4. Retrieve professional liar from festering mixture and spread thickly about neighborhood. The neighborhood should be thoroughly divided before moving to step five.
  5. Flatten any remaining groups and neighbors and plop festering goo in backyards. (Professional liar can now be moved to new area as starter for next batch of fracking insurgents)
  6. Frack with toxic cocktail
  7. Operate poorly even on Sunday, (see video) aided by inept and conflicted regulatory agencies.

Bake in the hot Texas sun.

Thank you Sharon, for your class.

Dr. Al Armendariz’s comments drew fire as he likened his enforcement philosophy to Roman crucifixion in 2010.

Although the comments have only recently surfaced, critics of Armendariz noted a correlation between his explicit “enforcement philosophy” and the EPA’s actions against Range Resources in Texas.

They’ve argued that his stated philosophy is reflective of his action and that he has indeed attempted to “crucify” Range for the purpose of making an example. They argue that he has sought to force compliance through excessive regulation of innocent parties.

Those who support Armendariz have said that his intention was to make violators the subject of his “crucifixion”; as a motivator to those not in compliance to fall in line. Were that true, EPA Region 6 and Armendariz would have never gone after Range Resources. (The company who TXSharon, Sharon Wilson:extremist environmentalist is still attacking).

Their arguments related to the exoneration of Armendariz are irrelevant as Armendariz’s actions did not support their argument. He did  “go after the first five guys” he saw in a witch hunt fashion. He did act questionably in celebrating his actions against Range Resources by emailing TXSharon and company with advice to “Tivo Channel 8” as a celebration of the “news” they were about to make.

This brings me to the point: It is appropriate that Dr. Al Armendariz resign because he was incapable of performing his duties objectively. Not only did Armendariz flippantly make statements likening his regulatory policies to Roman crucifixion, he went about acting like the Romans in seeking out innocent companies so that he could make and example of or “crucify” them. (as he would say) The EPA or anyone else acting as if this situation is not precisely what it is: namely, a radical environmentalist was appointed to a director level position in a government agency and acted as such. The shame is that there is a refusal to admit the obvious: he should have never been appointed to that post nor should any environmentalist be appointed to such a post.

This, married to the fact that radical environmentalists considered him a friend represents an uncomfortable truth related to the alignment of the EPA as a whole. I say this because the EPA did not call for his resignation. Armendariz did that of his own accord. The EPA was comfortable with allowing him to continue to regulate.

The entire situation was absurd because Dr. Al Armendariz is himself an extremist environmentalist and EPA does not see this as a conflict of interests. That is because the EPA is cut from the same cloth.

The bottom line is that it is very good that Armendariz resigned. It shows that the public wants some level of accountability and that there is a level of checks and balances in place for someone who acts ridiculously.

Hopefully, this will be the trend in the future or the EPA will cease to exist.

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“The Entire Story of Shale Has Been to Hell With Facts.”

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

That’s right, Mr. Grealy.

The entire story concerning the needlessly volatile “Fracking” controversy is not about facts. This has been by design due to some careful editing and outright refusal to disclose, through national media, a complete and thorough representation of the practice of Hydraulic Fracturing. The reasons behind the outright objections to the practice are very clearly non-factual. Antis refuse to concede a point before scurrying onto their next objection so that none of those facts can land on them with their full weight.

This strategy is their only option. By bouncing around like a pinball, they have created a scenario similar to boxer conditioning: the Oil and Gas Industry is running around trying to catch a chicken. It has been effective.

I recently watched an interview with Josh Fox, the Oscar nominated Director of the Yellow Journalist film “GasLand” on “The Ed Show” in which Josh Fox sounded off on congressional Republicans for limiting his First Amendment Rights unconstitutionally by expelling him from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Meeting “Examining EPA’s Approach to Ground Water Research: the Pavilion Analysis”.

He was booted from the meeting because he was not a credentialed member of the press according to rule 9. The reason for his ejection was read aloud before the meeting commenced. Basically, Josh Fox did not think it necessary to go through the proper means that would have allowed him to be present at “a very crucial hearing”. He did not not take care of business on his end. One would think that if Josh Fox found that meeting to be so crucial, that he would have done everything required to enable him to be present. He attempted to circumvent the process and was ejected according to the rules.

Mr. Fox has again become the face of the Fractivist Movement and been portrayed as a victim.

Laurel Whitney, of Desmogblog.com reported

“As Fox was led out of the room, Democratic Representative, Brad Miller (D-NC), attempted to suspend the committee rules to let the crews film the hearing but was blocked by the Republican Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD).”

This is a misrepresentation of the truth. Representative Miller moved that an exception be made. When Rep. Andy Harris saw that a quorum was not present, he called a recess so that one could be present to vote on the exception. When the meeting re-convened, the move for the exception was voted down seven to six. Rep. Miller called for a recess of “no less than one week” so that Fox and ABC news could apply for the permits to attend. This move was again voted down seven to six.

This is democracy, majority ruled.

When Fox appeared on “The Ed Show”, he went on a tirade blaming Republicans for obstructing his ability, as a member of the press, to cover the meeting. Again, it was Fox’s fault that he was not allowed to attend that meeting. He could have applied and then been granted press credentials to attend. He simply did not have the credentials necessary to film.

Josh Fox’s statement reads like this:

“We were there covering, uh, a very crucial hearing about a case of, uh, groundwater contamination in Pavilion, Wyoming; a three and a half year investigation by Region 8 EPA which shows subjects from the first film ‘GasLand’ from Pavilion, Wyoming with groundwater contamination resulting in fifty times the level of benzene in groundwater, um, and EPA has pointed in this case at hydraulic fracturing as the likely cause and what’s happening on The Hill today is Republicans in the Science, and, uh, Space, Technology Committee hearing to challenge science. Their panel was made up of gas industry lobbyists and we were there to expose what I believe is an actually rather ugly and brazen attack on science itself, uh, on what’s happening across the country with hydraulic fracturing water contamination. So, we were there actually doing our jobs as journalists. I was not interested in disrupting that meeting, was not charged with disrupting the hearing, I was simply interested in capturing on film, in broadcast quality, uh, camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right there putting the EPA and the citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the nation who, who’s complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on trial. I wanted to make sure that people knew what was happening…Since the Republicans have taken over, we have had obstruction after obstruction getting into congress…it’s ironic that all of these strands have come together and they’re kicking science out of the House of Representatives. They’re kicking science and journalism out of the Science and Technology committee and it is a, really a brazen attack on American Civil Liberties, um, and uh, frankly, on our ability to investigate the truth.”

This is another “to hell with the facts” moment.

In Mr. Fox’s words, “I was simply interested in capturing on film, in broadcast quality, uh, camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right there putting the EPA and the citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the nation who, who’s complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on trial. I wanted to make sure that people knew what was happening.”

He wanted to capture, on film, what the Republicans were doing by reviewing the EPA’s findings in Pavilion, WY. He wanted to make sure that people knew what was happening.

To answer Mr. Fox, I will quote Rep. Andy Harris.

“Every word, every phrase, no editing and it will be available on the same site in its entirety following the hearing; therefore, every piece of information, from this hearing is fully available to every member of the public.”

The committee’s website has the full meeting available for viewing here and the full meeting is available on YouTube, here.

In other words, anyone so inclined, with a computer and fingers, and the ability to type and click a mouse, can view the entire meeting online. The committee itself wanted to make sure that “people knew what was happening”.

This makes Fox’s entire argument baseless.

Fox was arrested for “Unlawful Entry” because he did not follow the law. His fault. He could have gotten a pass if he had wanted to but he did not. It wasn’t important enough to him to apply for the credentials necessary to attend the meeting.

The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

Mr. Fox needs a definition of “abridge”. I will provide one for him.

abridge
1
a archaic : deprive b : to reduce in scope : diminish <attempts to abridge the right of free speech>
2
: to shorten in duration or extent <modern transportation that abridges distance>
3
: to shorten by omission of words without sacrifice of sense : condense

By providing the entire meeting for public review via recording, that meeting did not infringe on Mr. Fox’s or any other citizen’s civil liberties. The only ironic part is how Mr. Fox decided to interpret the First Amendment by forgetting that “abridge” was the exact word utilized by the Founding Fathers. I doubt that he would include the entire meeting in his documentary. He would have included part of it, to support the thesis of his film, thereby, abridging the content.

Mr. Fox said, in “The Ed Show” interview,

“I’m going in there because this the First Amendment, this is the Freedom of Speech, the Amendment is ‘Congress shall make no law which infringes upon the freedom of the press, that’s an abridged part of it. But that means Congress can’t pass a law or a rule or a regulation in a sub-committee hearing, um, to obstruct journalists from coming in and exposing to the American people what they’re doing.”

Was that an abridging of the First Amendment and recognizing that he abridged it?

Yep.

The First Amendment that he cited isn’t long. An actual memorization would have been more fitting. Actually Josh, this shows that you have a problem understanding what you read, and remembering what you’ve read. Words have meanings.

I will draw as an example, an observation by C.S. Lewis on the abuse of the English language in this mode:

“The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone “a gentleman” you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not “a gentleman” you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there now is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A. But then there came people who said – so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully – “Ah but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?” They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man “a gentleman” in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is “a gentleman” becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker’s attitude to that object. (A ‘nice’ meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualised and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes. As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose.”

Mr. Fox offered an “abridged” version of the First Amendment that says ‘Congress shall make no law which infringes upon the freedom of the press, that’s an abridged part of it. But that means Congress can’t pass a law or a rule or a regulation in a sub-committee hearing, um, to obstruct journalists from coming in…” rather than the First Amendment that guarantees that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Ironic, no?

They didn’t abridge the freedom of speech or of the press. They did not omit anything. They did not alter the content and bend the meaning. They freely offer the entire meeting publicly and voluntarily and comprehensively. This means the meeting was not subjected to Mr. Fox’s editing table.

The First Amendment means that Congress cannot pass a law that allows the voice of the people or the press to be abridged. It means the government cannot control what one says or diminish the essence of what was said nor can they dictate to the public or the press how they should say what they say. It does not guarantee him the right to record a meeting that is being recorded comprehensively already.

Because of the public airing of that meeting, there is no obstruction to journalism or the press in obstructing journalists from “coming in and exposing to American people what they’re doing.” Especially when that journalist ignores protocol. This is something the EPA and Mr. Fox have in common: they both ignore protocol.

Congress did not hiding anything so the subject of the review was in no way altered or edited and anyone with nearly two hours of free time can see that.

Josh Fox claims to be a documentary film maker and a champion of the First Amendment but he would have a congressional sub-committee forgo the review of government agency’s findings.

Fox said,

“I was simply interested in capturing on film, in broadcast quality, uh, camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right there putting the EPA and the citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the nation who, who’s complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on trial.”

Of course they are putting the EPA on trial, of course they are putting the claims of people in Pavilion and across the US on trial. This is entirely normal in the science world. It is called the “Peer Review Process”. They need to see that the reports and claims are factual. The EPA released their preliminary findings without one. Then they promptly got shelled and extended the public comment period. I wrote a blog about how unwise their release was.

The Pavilion, WY study needs review.

Mr. Fox believes that “…it’s ironic that all of these strands have come together and they’re kicking science out of the House of Representatives. They’re kicking science and journalism out of the Science and Technology committee and it is a, really a brazen attack on American Civil Liberties, um, and uh, frankly, on our ability to investigate the truth.”

Excuse me Mr. Fox, you are defeating your own argument based on the premise of your values. You want an “investigation of the truth” but you don’t agree that the results of a 3 1/2 year study by the EPA in Pavilion, WY deserves to be reviewed for accuracy before Congress. You are the one seeking to undermine a completely typical peer review process because “preliminary” findings (not reviewed findings) pointed to contamination.

Do you support the abandonment of the Peer Review Process? Do you believe the EPA’s findings to be unquestionable or perfect? By their own admission, they abandoned their own mandated protocol. This is why there is a congressional review. In this case, you are the one attempting to remove science from the process and by painting a picture with a very specific bent, removing journalism as well. The process is a review of the scientific accuracy behind EPA’s conclusion.

I can guarantee that Mr. Fox will not represent all of the questions and controversy revolving around the legitimacy of Area 8 EPA’s methods nor will that be included in “GasLand 2”.

Mr. Fox finds Congress to be worthy of investigation because they are reviewing a study wherein the preliminary findings suggest that Hydraulic Fracturing may have contaminated groundwater in Pavilion but Mr. Fox does not find it necessary to investigate that data and subject it to a completely normal review process.

Hmmm…

Mr. Fox is conflicted. I don’t know how talk show hosts don’t call him out on his blatant inconsistency.

So why do I use Mr. Fox, in a post called “The Entire Story of Shale Has Been to Hell with the Facts”?

Because he is the most egregiously public offender and most notorious representative of this situtation. Nohotair.co.uk presents this bent of the press.

If he were interested in the facts, then he would support the review of the EPA study to guarantee accuracy. He would desire that it be entirely accurate and as passionately as he opposes Hydraulic Fracturing, call them to task for ditching protocol on the grounds that it makes the EPA look like a joke. He would support fact finding. He would include the studies that conclude that Hydraulic Fracturing does not contaminate groundwater. He would recognize and account for specific geologic formations, water tables, etc.

He doesn’t.

He is all about himself and a forgone conclusion. This is why I think he is a “to hell with the facts” man.

I have quoted him before and I will quote him again.

Sherlock Holmes said “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.” and It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

I think Mr. Fox would be well served to read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because he is a glaring example of the conclusions of both of these quotes.

What seems irrational is that one could guess that studies concluding that Hydraulic Fracturing does not cause groundwater contamination would be celebrated. Uncontaminated water supplies is the end game, isn’t it?

If the practice functions without contaminating water supplies, then what is really the problem? These reports are very public and well circulated.

Why isn’t Fox happy? I would conclude that such a result would put Fox out of a job and stop all of the benefits and wine tastings he attends. What is this man’s motivation for continuing a debunked crusade while disregarding the same facts he alleges he is trying to present?

The only thing I could conclude would be that Mr. Fox is not interested in presenting what the public should know. He is abridging the truth. He refuses to acknowledge a base of information and undermine the way our country works. That is his problem.

This is the only way that he can continue is to turn a blind eye to the truth and report accordingly. He is, in essence, saying “To hell with fact.” in favor of an agenda rooted in fear.

The EPA is Destroying Their Credibility

December 28, 2011 1 comment

On December 14th, I wrote a piece titled What the Release of the EPA Study in Pavillion, WY Does Prove: It Isn’t that Fracturing Contaminates Groundwater.

I suggested that the EPA be either dismantled or overhauled because of what I felt was an irresponsible release of a “Draft Report” wherein the EPA outlined that their findings linked Hydraulic Fracturing to groundwater contamination. I believe my reasons in calling for their end are growing more and more founded.

Their report was the “feather in the cap” for the majority of Fractivists who then supported the EPA report with a loud and collective “We have been saying this all along! Hydraulic Fracturing contaminates groundwater! People are in danger!”

This Fractivist response was entirely predictable and for me, as a Hydraulic Fracturing advocate and former chemist, their response was nothing out of the ordinary, it was par for the course. It was also very representative of their ignorance to the importance of and need for adherence to Standard Operating Procedures.  The EPA did a horrible job of providing context (which O&G advocates and companies were forced to do) and for being transparent about their findings.

You see, our battle is not with Fractivists.

Our battleground burns in the court of public opinion and ultimately with those who create the policies that govern O&G production, you know, the people who rely on the EPA to present them with accurate data.

The public is only now becoming as aware of Hydraulic Fracturing as we have been for years and they need accurate information to make an informed decision.

I need to preface what I am about to write by gaining some credibility in your eyes. I was a chemist, so I know all about the importance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), laboratory protocols, and the importance of accurate results that can be reproduced and thereby verified. The lab I worked at was/is ISO 9000/9001 certified and registered. Lab rats will know what that means (it means the lab was legit by the way…our mounds of paperwork proved that).

What I do know is that the majority of the public is not so informed. I know this may be a bit lengthy but I would like for any who read this to gain an understanding about how laboratories work rather than imagining them as the landing pad for mad hatters and nerds.

The EPA’s release is a little too disconcerting for comfort.

I want to emphasize this. Their draft report on Pavillion, WY might as well be about the existence of unicorns because it most certainly is not scientifically credible.

Before I continue, I will attempt to explain what an SOP is and why they are important in non-technical terms.

In the world of laboratories, there are SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for EVERYTHING. SOPs are the procedures that exist for the sole purpose of rendering accurate results consistently. They tell the scientist what he/she needs to do in order to discover data.

An example that has served me well in the past is ubiquitous and generally well received. Think about the food labels on everything you eat or drink.

They have percentages on those labels don’t they?

I am looking at a Coke can right now that tells me this Coke has 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 45 mg of sodium, 39 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein per 12 fl oz.  The FDA mandates that food products must list their ingredients so that the public can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to consume 39 grams of sugar per 12 fl oz of Coke.

It is important that these percentages be accurate. In the last several years, many American consumers have steered away from full flavored soft drinks because of the amount of sugar present in the original formulas. Instead of regular Coke, people ingest Diet Coke or Coke Zero as an alternative because we know that regular Coke has 39 grams of sugar per 12 fl oz.

The FDA not only mandates that food companies have to divulge what ingredients are present in their foods but they also have to divulge what percentages of those foodstuffs are present in the final product by serving size. We are going to use our 12 fl oz can of Coke as our example.

This is where SOPs come in. Imagine with me now.

I receive samples (Batch A, B, and C) from the FDA who informs me that they would like for me to quantify, by percentage, the amount of sugar, sodium, protein and fat present in 12 fl oz of Coke. They send me ten, 12 fl oz cans representative of each batch.

Another lab also gets samples (Batch A, B, and C) from the FDA that asks for the same results. The FDA has sent them all of the same volumes.

So, there I am standing in the lab, with my approved nitrile gloves, in my approved lab coat, with my approved safety goggles. What will I do?

I will go the manual where the SOPs for discovering sugar/sodium/fat/protein from a liquid are present. I will look for exceptions to standard tests to see if there are any special notes I need to consider (high acidity for instance) that would render my results inaccurate.

Before I ever get around to testing, I have a lot of equipment to grab from the stock room. Each test will require different equipment that will either have to be sterilized after testing or discarded. I look in the SOP manual to see what equipment will be needed for my protein test because I can’t do all of the tests at the same time.

But, before I get around to the stock room, I need to calibrate all of the equipment I will be using for this series of protein tests and then I have to sign off on it. This way, if my scales or precision equipment are out of spec, I can either service the equipment (if I am certified by the manufacturer to do so) or have it serviced so that it is fit for work.

I calibrate the scales, I calibrate the ovens, I calibrate the analyzers and record any and everything that I just did.

Let’s say, the for the sake of illustration, I have a machine that will take the entire can of Coke and analyze the protein content.

(This machine does not exist by the way, the moisture from the Coke would have to be removed, recorded, and accounted for accurately because H20 constitutes a large portion of the volume but water has no nutritional <protein> value and I can’t just pour a Coke into my $500,000.00 machine; so, I would have to accurately determine, using my freshly calibrated ovens, which of my ovens, using the SOP for moisture removal, is appropriate for removing moisture content without chemically altering the rest of the Coke’s content thereby rendering my protein results useless. So, I find that for this test I will be using the 105 F oven and for how long. I zero my scale to include the sterile <so I don’t contaminate the sample> dehydration pan into which I will pour the Coke. I pour the Coke, with a sterile dropper <so I don’t contaminate the sample> to the SOP dictated volume needed and place it in my oven for the SOP determined amount of time. I must also check the desiccant in the desiccator to make sure that it is has not been compromised by moisture so that when I remove my dehydrated Coke from the oven for protein testing, I do not reintroduce moisture thereby rendering my calculations and previously recorded weights/volumes useless.)

That little aside is more what the process looks like but for this illustration, I will again use the non-existent, test-a-whole-can-of-Coke machine.

Even this fake machine needs to be calibrated.

So what I do is take four different samples (my controls) whose protein content has been verified a million times by control labs. I inspect my machine and all of the gas feeds to make sure that the machine has been properly maintained.

I then look to the SOP on machine maintenance and see that I need 12 fl oz of each sample to run through the machine.

I again, weigh each sample to the appropriate weight, and prepare each for process taking care that I do not contaminate the samples.

The four controls are Water, Milk, Tea, and Orange Juice.

I will have to run each of the controls at least three times to ensure the machine’s accuracy AND my results will all have to register within half a percent of each other AND half a percent of what my standard book tells me my controls should show.

So, once I have run 12 samples just to ensure the accuracy of my machine, I can put the can of Coke in for testing. I must now run Batch A of Coke multiple times with my standards (controls) run intermittently in order to prove that my machine is still running in spec. I must also do this for each batch to ensure Coke is up to snuff on their consistency and quality control.

So, if all of my equipment is calibrated and if all of my controls run within the allowable range of fluctuation, if I follow my SOPs and can reproduce my results given the same samples and equipment, AND I have a long trail of paper work that documents every step I took, all volumes, weights, calibrations, calculations, if my testing matches the results of the other lab, then it could be conclusive that my data are accurate. But if I miss anything in the lab setting, if I contaminate the Coke with something, weigh something incorrectly, my equipment isn’t calibrated, then the constants I needed present to ensure my work was accurate were off and my data can be skewed.

This is an example of one test. I would still have to test for sugar, sodium, and fat, each with their own SOP and equipment.

If my lab can’t produce quality data, then why should the FDA use me?

The FDA won’t use a lab that produces inaccurate data. Two lab’s findings were responsible for nailing a Georgia peanut plant for shipping products after testing positive for Salmonella.

The FDA relied on independent results. Maybe the EPA needs to follow suit instead of assuming culpability for their apparent agenda.

I may say that Coke only has 19 grams of sugar per can. Folks may drink it thinking “Hey, Coke only has half of the sugar it used to.” but that won’t alter the inaccuracy of my findings. Coke still has 39 grams of sugar per 12 fl oz.

All of industry is responsible and accountable to the EPA. The EPA has the right to penalize, fine, shut down (if necessary), pull permits etc. all in the name of protecting the environment just like the FDA does should food companies falsify their findings.

Independent analysis removes this problem.

This begs a question.

They are a government agency and we should be able to trust our government agencies like the EPA. To whom is the EPA accountable? Are they accountable like the Fed is accountable?

If that is the case, then they are not accountable at all.

As a government agency, they are responsible to the people to be for the people, right?

I thought that was the deal. We trust them, they look out for us based on accurate results. They guarantee accuracy.

The Star-Tribune‘s energy reporter, Jeremy Fugleberg reports that the EPA abandoned their own mandated protocol. It was comforting to know that they immediately recognized the problem and retested everything to guarantee accuracy…oh, wait, no they didn’t. They stood by the results after admitting their deviations. They deviated from the SOPs and have the audacity to stand by their conclusions. That is ludicrous.

EPA used outdated samples when a “Maintenance of the Laboratory Floor” delayed testing at the Golden, Colorado lab.

“The EPA also found contamination in pure water control samples, didn’t purge the test wells properly before gathering samples and didn’t mention in its report whether it tested water carried by a truck used in well drilling, say officials with the Wyoming Water Development Commission who, because of their expertise on water wells, reviewed the EPA’s publicly available information. ‘They didn’t follow their own protocol they would’ve required of other people doing this same type of work,’ said Mike Purcell, director of the water development commission staff, which does water planning and infrastructure development in the state.”

I wonder what would have happened if no other organization had checked out the validity of the EPA’s findings. Would they have just let them ride? Yep, they are still attempting to let them do just that.

“EPA officials don’t dispute the samples went past due for testing, but they stand by the report’s overall conclusions, which suggest hydraulic fracturing might be responsible for Pavillion’s tainted water.”

What?

“That flawed analysis contributed to half of the EPA’s testing of its deep monitoring wells. While the private drinking water wells got additional testing, the deep wells that provided critical data for the EPA’s conclusions were only tested twice, in October 2010 and April 2011.

Usually such reports are based on many more samples, Clarey said.

“Statistically you need to have 8-10 data points at a minimum,” Clarey said. “To only have those two — it’s not really a scientifically valid study.”

To properly test such water wells, they must be first purged three times to make sure fresh water from the surrounding formation flows in for testing, Clarey said.

“We ‘re not sure they produced out all the water that may have seeped out of the formation during the drilling process or well development,” Clarey said. “So we’re not even sure they’re getting an accurate formation sample.”

The EPA data indicates the agency only flushed the wells one-quarter of the amount needed, he said.

“Which is a no-no,” Clarey said. “That can invalidate the results and force someone from a regulatory agency to go back” to re-test.

Clarey also pointed out a photo in the draft report that shows a water truck that provided water for drilling the well. The report doesn’t indicate if the truck was tested for any contaminants before its water was used.

Also, several samples of distilled water placed with the well water samples showed some contamination — contamination that shouldn’t be in the samples and could indicate the well samples are marred, Clarey said.”

Wait, what?

I haven’t even mentioned that there are four pages of questions that Wyoming officials have asked that the EPA has not answered.

Jokes swirl about the hypocrisy of the government. On more than one occasion we’ve heard “If the government were held to the same standard as the population, they’d all be in prison.”

If a referee lab published the same results that the EPA released, and the EPA determined that the standard operating procedure including notable deviations from mandated practices, then the EPA would undoubtedly throw the findings out. The lab could potentially lose its certifications. What if the lab is an EPA lab?

In the land of laboratories, credibility is all a lab has. That is why so many of them strive to gain ISO 9000/9001 certifications. It means that all they do is documented and that SOPs are followed which in turn ensures the accuracy of their data. The EPA’s sort of irresponsibility is why labs do not gain this certification.

It boils down to a simple problem. They can’t admit a mistake that should embarrass them. They deserve to be embarrassed if they can’t produce or reproduce accurate scientific data based on extensive testing.

It almost appears that the EPA attempted to downplay their own irresponsibility. They still stand by their conclusions although the premises on which they’ve founded their conclusions are faulty.

Herein lies the problem. The EPA isn’t acting like they are neutrally gathering the best information available. They seem to be intentionally accepting data that is technically impermissible. Let me simplify.

Their study isn’t scientific but they released it publicly anyway?

Why?

Do they intend to destroy their own credibility?

If the Oil and Gas Industry stepped out and published haphazard results based on samples typically impermissible for testing, the EPA would have a field day.

We would be condemned for altering data to satisfy our own wants.

We don’t get to have a field day when the EPA publishes spurious findings. Why? Is it because they are incapable of making serious errors? Is it because they are the environmental arm of the government?

To whom are they accountable?

There are SOPs for a reason. If they choose to circumvent the practice, then why perform a study or publish a report at all? Deviating from standard operating procedure is simply unacceptable. I don’t intend that to mean that in the way your father or mother would comment on bad behavior.

I mean, the scientific community literally can not accept it. It was no study at all.

Given the reaction of various news outlets, there is a reason for concern that the EPA already “drank the Fractivist Kool-Aid” and jumped right in with environmentalist causes.

Their controls could have been contaminated. If the baseline is altered then how than their be accurate comparisons to determine contamination percentages?

Who works at the EPA? I want that job. Please pay me to do everything incorrectly rendering all of my work useless with zero accountability. The concept is mental.

I was a chemist for several years. If I had decided to deviate from the SOP to render results, I would have probably been chewed up and spit out before being told to do the test over again multiple times, with controls in an acceptable range, to ensure the accuracy of my results.
The EPA doesn’t want to because it may prove bad practice so they don’t and meanwhile, we tax payers are forced to kick up so that they can exist.
Dismantle the EPA. I am tired, upon penalty of law, of being forced to fund an organization that is so broken that they no longer adhere to their own mandates.
Natural Gas is a “bright spot” in our weak economy. We need to get this right by allowing the science to dictate our reaction. The EPA currently seems unwilling to allow for this to happen because the science may prove conclusively that Hydraulic Fracturing isn’t a threat to drinking water.
As of now, they appear to hope that Frac’ing is a problem when the science doesn’t agree.
No more limping along the road on a flat tire. Change the tire so we can scoot with LNG in the tank, to a prosperous future.