The EPA’s War on Energy Producer Range Resources

Even before America slit its wrists by electing him, Barack Hussein Obama gave us a preview of his energy policy by promising to use deliberately excessive regulation to bankrupt coal plants. The objective in destroying the energy sector is twofold: 1) devastate our still quasi-capitalist economy, creating enough hardship to pave the way for true socialism; and 2) pander to gullible morons in the Democrat base who actually believe that using energy makes it be too hot out for the polar bears. For the most part, this malignant agenda is carried out by what is emerging as the most pernicious and the most powerful agency in the entire federal behemoth: the EPA. Its war on Range Resources offers a typical example of how it operates:

Range Resources, fighting claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it “caused or contributed” to the contamination of two Parker County, Texas, water wells, says in court filings that the EPA’s conclusions are “sheer guesswork” based on “threadbare-thin” reasoning. …

The EPA pinpointed two Range natural gas wells, drilled more than a mile deep into the Barnett Shale, as the likely sources of methane contamination in the residential water wells in far south Parker County that are approximately 200 to 220 feet deep. Methane is the chief component of natural gas.

Range said “there is 5,500 feet of the earth’s strata separating the bottom of the private water wells from the subsurface horizontal sections” of its gas wells, and that the EPA order “does not even set forth a theory how gas could migrate from Range’s wells to the aquifer.”

Range says the EPA’s order imposed costly and excessive requirements far beyond the scope required to ensure protection of the drinking-water supplies of the two contaminated wells, which served nine people.

The purpose is not to prevent the imaginary effect of the natural gas drilling on nine people’s water, but to bleed energy companies until they can’t afford to do business anymore.

David Poole, senior vice president and general counsel for Range, estimated that the company already has spent $1.5 million to $1.75 million defending itself against the EPA order.

Typically, once people start smelling a rat, the government is stonewalling…

The EPA continues to oppose Range’s request to take sworn depositions of [Chris] Lister [an “environmental engineer” who was told by an agency chemist that there was no conclusive evidence backing the EPA’s charges] and another EPA official, Jerry Saunders, who were involved in the contamination investigation.

…and hedging:

While the EPA says Range “caused or contributed” to the contamination, Range repeatedly has noted that John Blevins, the EPA official who signed the order, later retreated somewhat, saying in a Jan. 25 sworn deposition that Range “may” have caused or contributed to it.

As for what really caused the well contamination:

The Texas Railroad Commission found March 29 that the Range gas wells did not contaminate the water wells. The commission agreed with staff examiners and Range consultants that the gas in the water wells likely came from the shallow Strawn geological formation, which is only a few hundred feet deep and into which some gas wells were drilled in the early 1980s.

It will get much worse before it gets better. Next year the EPA will tighten its regulatory fist around power plants and oil refineries in the name of the disintegrating global warming hoax. Maybe Sped Begley had the right idea with his bicycle-powered toaster — so long as the EPA doesn’t find out about it.

On a tip from Zappatrust. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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