Another day, another toxic cover-up. A whistleblower has revealed that the EPA covered up toxic fracking emissions data for years. Why? The watchdog group says that an EPA researcher may have accepted money from the oil and gas industry in exchange for the cover-up of data.
"In an incendiary federal complaint (pdf) filed on Wednesday with the EPA's Inspector General, the 28-year-old North Carolina-based group NC WARN wrote that "there has been a persistent and deliberate cover-up that has prevented the agency from requiring the natural gas industry to make widespread, urgently needed and achievable reductions in methane venting and leakage ('emissions') across the nation’s expanding natural gas infrastructure."
"Studies relied upon by EPA to develop policy and regulations were scientifically invalid," the organization charged.
Specifically, wrote NC WARN in a press statement, "Dr. David Allen, then-head of EPA's Science Advisory Board, has led an ongoing, three-year effort to cover up underreporting of the primary device, the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, and a second device used to measure gas releases from equipment across the natural gas industry. Allen is also on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been funded by the oil and gas industries for years."
"The EPA's failure to order feasible reductions of methane leaks and venting has robbed humanity of crucial years to slow the climate crisis," said Jim Warren, director of NC WARN. "The cover-up by Allen's team has allowed the industry to dig in for years of delay in cutting emissions—at the worst possible time."
The cover-up was discovered by NC WARN, the group wrote in its complaint, when it became aware that the very inventor of the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, an engineer named Touché Howard, had been attempting to blow the whistle for years on the crucial instrument's malfunctioning. The critical failure causes the instrument to under-report methane emissions "up to 100-fold," the organization wrote.
Studies have shown the EPA underestimating methane leaks from fracked gas production for years, and Howard's own research found that the agency has been "hugely underestimating" methane emissions specifically as a result of the faulty instrument, asCommon Dreams reported." (Commondreams.org).
Read more about this story at Commondreams.org.