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Questioning Obama


For Immediate Release


June 24, 2013


PHYSICIANS, SCIENTISTS, AND ENGINEERS QUESTION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S DECISION TO HAND CONTROL OF THEIR PAVILLION, WY, GROUNDWATER STUDY OVER TO THE STATE OF WYOMING WITH FUNDING FROM ENCANA OIL AND GAS, INC.



June 24, 2013



The United States Environmental Protection Agency


Washington, D.C.



President Barak Obama


The White House



Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) believes the Obama Administration’s decision to hand control of their Pavillion, WY, groundwater study over to the state of Wyoming with funding from the O&G industry will result in a study that lacks credibility and will promote public distrust.  This development aims to ignore the EPA 2011 findings that evidence of fluids associated with shale gas development was found in a groundwater aquifer.



Instead of the EPA continuing to conduct sound independent science that is resistant to political criticism, the study was given to Wyoming state officials to complete the investigation, with $1.5 million from Encana Oil and Gas, Inc. – the drilling operator under investigation in this study for groundwater contamination in Pavillion, WY.



As scientists, we find this deeply disturbing.  Peer reviewed independent science is the only process through which these types of questions can be answered in a manner that is free of conflicts of interest.  Wyoming officials and Encana Oil and Gas, Inc. have a clear and blatant conflict of interest of huge proportions and are not fit to conduct this study.



This is the latest example – of many across the country in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Texas – of the EPA being politically pressured to discontinue its independent science on the public health and environmental dimensions of shale oil and gas development and hydraulic fracturing.  For instance after lobbying by former Governor Ed Rendell, the EPA prematurely dropped its legal action against Range Resources in a groundwater contamination case in Texas with no scientific basis, ignoring reports by an independent scientist that the contamination may have been caused by shale gas drilling.



Governor Cuomo of New York has continued the rational path of allowing the science and not politics drive decision making on the safety of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing.



The public deserves truly independent science to investigate risks in their own backyards. We urge the EPA and the Obama Administration to reconsider the implications of the oil and gas industry investigating themselves as opposed to engaging in independent science.



Seth B. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH


Executive Director


Physicians, Scientists, & Engineers for Healthy Energy


Researcher


University of California, Berkeley



Anthony Ingraffea, PhD, PE


Professor of Engineering


Cornell University



Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP


Professor of Pediatrics and of Environmental & Occupational Health


George Washington University


Medical Director for National & Global Affairs


Director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health & the Environment



Adam Law, MD


Endocrinologist


Cayuga Medical Center


Weill Medical College



David Hughes, MSc


Geologist



Madelon Finkel, PhD


Professor of Clinical Public Health


Weill Cornell Medical College



David R, Brown, Sc.D.


Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project


Former Chief of Environmental Epidemiology and Occupational Health, Connecticut

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