EPA Emails Suggest That Media Misrepresented Conclusions in Pavillion, Wyoming

From Energy in Depth:
Emails obtained from the EPA in a recent FOIA request show that the agency pushed back immediately against the claim that it had linked hydraulic fracturing to water contamination, suggesting that a narrative repeated to this day was actually manufactured by the news media and not reported by EPA.
In one email, EPA’s then-press secretary, Betsaida Alcantara, told Lisa Jackson that the agency was pushing back against the AP’s breaking story on the Pavillion report in December 2011, which ran under the headline: “EPA implicates hydraulic fracturing in groundwater pollution at Wyoming gas field.” Alcantara said the AP’s “headline and lead are unnecessarily inflammatory and irresponsible,” and that the AP would be updating the story “heavily” to emphasize the unconfirmed nature of the findings.
Notably, the headline was changed from “EPA implicates hydraulic fracturing” to “EPA theorizes fracking pollution link.” The original AP story also declared in the opening paragraph that EPA had “implicated fracking” for causing contamination, but the version corrected at EPA’s request was changed to say that fracking “may be to blame.”
The revelation undermines critics of hydraulic fracturing, who frequently claim that EPA’s findings in Pavillion “prove” that the practice contaminates drinking water. The NRDC said EPA’s findings represented “the first official evidence that fracking is a threat to drinking water,” while ProPublica ran a story about EPA’s report under the headline “Feds Link Water Contamination to Fracking for the First Time.”
But if the EPA pushed back so vehemently against that characterization in the press, what does that say about one of opponents’ favorite talking points — namely, that EPA’s findings in Pavillion support their thesis of contamination?
Read the whole article here.

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