Political Theater at Congressional Hearing on EPA's "Overreach" in Texas

Categories: Politics

flamingwater.png
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Steve Lipsky's flaming water, which should have been Exhibit A at this hearing.
The fact that the EPA wasn't invited to testify at a hearing titled "Examining the Science of EPA Overreach: A Case Study in Texas" tells you just about everything you need to know. It served no discernible purpose apart from allowing GOP legislators to get their licks in and accuse the agency of killing jobs in a state that seems to have no trouble creating jobs -- at least low-wage service and retail jobs, anyway.

Among those who were actually invited to testify was Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter, who characterized EPA's investigation of a Parker County man's suddenly flammable water as a pointless and ill-founded "witch hunt." The commission exonerated gas producer Range Resources of any responsibility for explosively high levels of natural gas and potentially dangerous levels of benzene in homeowner Steve Lipsky's water.

Distressingly, Porter made these comments as his agency is performing a second investigation of the causes of Lipsky's contamination. The conclusion already sounds foregone.

What's more, no mention was made at this hearing of the EPA inspector general's report -- conducted at the behest of Oklahoma GOP Senator James Inhofe -- which found EPA was entirely justified when it issued an endangerment order against Range, finding its well was the likely source of contamination.

Nor was any mention made of the testing performed by a Duke University researcher, funded by the National Science Foundation, who has identified levels of natural gas in Lipsky's water at up to 10 times the federal limit.

Not that anyone expected for Lipsky to have allies at this hearing, but it underlies the extent to which he has been abandoned by the regulators who are supposed to protect the health and safety of his family. The saga here is a weird and complicated one that ended with EPA backing off its lawsuit against Range to pursue a compromise. It has since said that the danger to Lipsky has passed -- although if it has, it's only because he's trucking water in at his own expense, and forgoing the use of the flaming water well.


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45 comments
rusknative
rusknative

environmentalists, whatever that is, seem to think that american citizens should not be allowed to walk with anything other than rounded point scissors and not be allowed rubber cement in school to prevent huffing fumes.


good grief, you control freaks....get a life.

Gangy
Gangy

Meanwhile, many folks in the Lipsky's community and the community next door have who get their water from the Trinity Aquifer have water with not only methane but other toxic chemicals, too.  Maybe the ranking Democrat on that committee should visit the Lipsky's home and neighbors and see for herself.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

Remember here in Texas its Profits before People!

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Need to serve Lipsky's water to the panels at these idiot fests.

Voot
Voot

Be honest: is that a picture of Steve Lipsky's flaming water or the rift in the space-time continuum Dr. Who was finally able to fix?

Catbird
Catbird

The EPA is on a mission to shut down the electrical grid and turn the US into a large version of North Korea. If you think that's the right thing to do well then you should be very happy.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

Let's just abolish that pesky ole EPA. All they do is hurt business round these here parts. Drill, baby, drill! Let's get back to the good ole days of letting businesses dump toxic chemicals and waste wherever is least expensive, be it air, land or water. Jesus is comin' in our lifetimes, anyway -- Rapture's gonna be any day now. Why bother with trying to keep the environment, on which we depend for our very lives, from becoming a complete cesspool for our grandkids. Think I'm way off that evangelical politicians think this way? Think again. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/03/chair-climate-change-subcommittee-jury-still-out-climate-change

schermbeck
schermbeck

This WAS theater. But thanks so much for keeping up with this issue, especially because you're the only mainstream Dallas journalist doing so besides Mr. Shipp. A lot of us hope you'll still be following it when you make your move to D.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

The gopers are just ensuring future job creation for the bottled water and water filtration systems industries.

We'll have door-to-door water delivery just like they do now for propane. 

Thing is, the propane industry might suffer because people can hook their heaters and stoves up to the water pipe.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The EPA should be invited right after the hearings listen to the millions who suffer from its abusive abolitionist approach to the environment.

It is finally time to hear from the abused mainstream for a few seconds instead of the constant drumbeat by a tiny minority that comprises the radical environmentalist movement.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

@holmantx Remember that radical Richard Nixon and his cronies came up with that overreaching Clean Water and Clean Air Act back in the 1970's. Also, the "Don't Be Litter Bug" Hooty the Owl commercials ran as frequent as promos for The Bachelor and Housewives of....

Hargrove
Hargrove

@holmantx  EPA has pulled out of water contamination investigations in Texas, Wyoming and Pennsylvania. And it's looking more and more like they're doing this not because they were wrong, but because they're being directed to do so by the Obama administration. I'd say that's hardly an abolitionist approach to fossil fuels, which, by the way, are being produced in record volumes.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

"tiny minority that comprises the radical environmentalist movement"

yeah, because clean air and clean water are SOOOO overrated. I mean, who really needs or wants those around? just that "tiny minority" of citizens....

good grief.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Hargrove @holmantx  on private lands.  The EPA has blocked exploration on public lands.

And the EPA wasn't pulled out.  They got ran out of water for lack of evidence and making law.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog @holmantx  

Good Lord man, we are all environmentalists.  There are 7 Billion people on the planet.  Rational minds favor a utilitarian as opposed to abolitionist approach to hazardous substances used or created by technology. It is irrational to foment hysterical fears of environmental poisons, disproportionate to the threat and dismissive of their associated benefits . . . and without reasonable, workable alternative sources of energy.

This pie-eyed refrain that anyone who doesn't agree with the abolitionist approach wants to drown our children in a lake of fire is silly talk.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

just like your assertions that the EPA is "abusive", Richard Windsor was fictional. He never existed. Neither does this alleged abuse....

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog @holmantx  Yes, the President brags that “we produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years.” Indeed, domestic production rose from 5.6 million barrels per day in 2011 to 6.4 million bopd in 2012. However, production from federal onshore and offshore areas has fallen significantly under his watch – and 96% of the production increase was on state and private lands.

And it has been a team effort, actually.  The President could order the EPA, Interior Department, Forest Service and other federal agencies to unlock the lands and resources that are now off-limits.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

"The EPA has blocked exploration on public lands."

bull.

first, exploration on public owned land is managed by Interior, not the EPA. Producers on private and public land follow the same EPA guidelines.

second, there is about 8% MORE oil being produced on public land today than when Obama took office.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@mavdog @holmantx 

Appeals to authority are pretty weak sauce when it comes to science.  Look at the data.

I do not know your tech background, but I would suggest you gawk at the source code and embedded comments that were released.   They are _utterly_ damning.  I feel for the coder who came behind and tried to extend & maintain it.  His frustration is palpable.  My sympathies are limited, however, since he helped code a hoax of a simulation that produced what they wanted whatever you dumped into it.  My sympathies are also limited because the simulation is such a hack job and all involved have abused their positions to keep it all under wraps.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog @holmantx  

the hearings on the EPA have merely adjourned for the day.  Neither your science nor the EPA's culpability is settled law, no matter your insistence that it is.


CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@holmantx @CogitoErgoSum  Play semantics all you want. "Climate change-deniers" also denotes those who dispute human influence. You don't need a TV to read your news on FoxNews.com. I'm sure it's bookmarked in your browser.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

translation of holman's last post: I really can't show anything to refute your points, so I'll just do a little sidestep dance and claim victory.

well done!

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog @holmantx  

seems like when it's cold outside, why you've got the month of May (ha!).

you've already lost the argument on this one, and are now just slurping up the crow.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum  The climate has always changed, that nobody can deny.

except jerks like you who cling to the charge to avoid the argument.

and I don't own a TV, pal.

EPA itself admitted that it was unable to quantify any direct health benefits from its costly utility “air toxics” MACT rule – and a January 2014 analysis demonstrates that the health and societal benefits of using oil, natural gas and coal outweigh any alleged “social costs of carbon” by at least 50 and as much as 500 to one.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

Prove it. That's a pretty piss poor smoking gun you think you've got there, Fox News fan. Those e-mails were taken out of context and manipulated by climate-change deniers.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@schermbeck @holmantx @mavdog  

Science no longer tells you anything.  You tell your science.  

You abandoned the scientific method and politicized it.  That's what East Anglia was all about.  You were caught phonying up the data.  

The data the EPA still to this day quotes.

The damage you inflicted to your cause still reverberates, and no change of names (Warming to Change) will undo what you have done.

Because that is what this is really all about.  You lost your street cred due to overzealous advocacy tampering with scientific evidence.

That'

s what these hearings are all about.  And why they exist.

you lied.

schermbeck
schermbeck

@holmantx @mavdogWhen science tells you repeatedly there is no "safe" level of human exposure for those hazardous substances, then truly the utilitarian approach is to abandon them and their costly multi-generational messes and replace them with their green chemistry equivalents  that provide the same goods and services without the unnecessary toxicity.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@dingo @Montemalone @holmantx @mavdog  

Watch out.  A permutation of Godwin's Law will be invoked whereby you will eventually be smeared with racism.

For you see, this is a place where journalistic objectivity equals bigotry.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

"abolitionist approach"?

yes, we should abolish the presence of hazardous substances that can affect innocent people. Our society must prevent the careless disposal of hazardous substances. That is the purpose of the EPA. it is critical they are around.

If anyone believes business or individuals will police themselves and not pollute they are the dreamers, they are the ones putting out "silly talk".

Those that demonize the EPA are wrong. Our environment is healthier, people have less risk of exposure to hazardous elements because of the EPA.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@holmantx @mavdog 

No, more like a few people making scads of money while willfully ignoring the problems they're creating because it doesn't affect them directly.

If HP's water started flaming, there'd be EPA helicopters circling overhead.

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