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EPA Hydrofracking Inquiry Receives Near-Unanimous Cooperation

Eight out of nine major national and regional hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) service providers have agreed to submit "timely and complete information" to help the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conduct its study on hydrofracking and its impact on drinking water quality, the EPA said Tuesday. Halliburton, after failing to comply with the agency's voluntary requests for information, has been subpoenaed.

The eight companies agreeing to cooperate are BJ Services, Complete Production Services, Key Energy Services, Patterson-UTI, PRC Inc., Schlumberger, Superior Well Services and Weatherford. "Except for Halliburton, the companies have either fully complied with the Sept. 9 request or made unconditional commitments to provide all the information on an expeditious schedule," the EPA said.

In response, Halliburton said the company has been trying to comply with the EPA's September request for information. "We are disappointed by the EPA's decision today," Teresa Wong, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said in a statement. "Halliburton welcomes any federal court's examination of our good faith efforts with the EPA to date."

EPA's congressionally mandated hydrofracking study will look at the potential adverse impact of the practice on drinking water and public health. The agency said it is under a tight deadline to provide initial results by the end of 2012 and the thoroughness of the study depends on timely access to detailed information about the methods used for fracturing. EPA announced in March that it would conduct this study and solicit input from the public through a series of public meetings in major oil and gas production regions (see Daily GPI, March 19).

"The agency has completed the public meetings and thousands of Americans from across the country shared their views on the study and expressed full support for this effort," EPA said.

At the time the hydrofracking service provider requests were made (see Daily GPI, Sept. 10), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said it was important to gather information about the hydrofracking process because citizens in "numerous U.S. communities where fracturing is under way" were "voicing serious concerns."

Jackson said EPA is seeking information on several topics, including chemical composition of fluids used in hydrofracking, the impacts of the chemical fluids on human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at hydrofracking sites, and the sites where hydrofracking has been conducted.

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