So there it is, 9:15 Thursday night, and as soon as you are about to climb into your awesome racecar bed, you remember it. You have a science fair project due in the morning. We’ve all been that panicked 12 year-old at least once in our lives. We grab some construction paper, some markers, a potato (because every science fair needs one) and we slap something together in a hushed and hasty moment of anxiety.
The next day your teacher looks disappointedly at your abomination of a project. She scowls at your roughly torn paper, your sad, lonely potato and your “results” that make about as much sense as Polish Trigonometry.
Now imagine that you are not a disappointment of a 12 year-old being scowled at by an angry teacher. Imagine that you are a federally-funded government agency responsible for protecting the environment, like the EPA. Your hastily prepared, awkward science fair project: determining the safety and environmental impacts of fracking on inhabitants and surrounding areas. If you think this analogy seems far-fetched, I hate to break it to you … it’s accurate.
In the light of recent findings, the EPA recalled its fracking test results faster than Toyota recalled their runaway cars. In true bureaucratic fashion, The EPA is coming out and saying that they aren’t to blame for test results. Why not? Because they didn’t conduct them. The drilling companies did … Oh, so you mean the guys that stood to make millions of dollars based on the results of their testing said everything was okay? Huh, imagine that.
Well, EPA, we need to have a chat. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you were basically duped on the level of buying a 1984 Chrysler Bonneville from a sleazy used car salesman. Not just any Bonneville either, you got the one with 186 thousand miles, a sketchy car fax report and at an interest rate that would make Janet Yellen spit coffee over what I assume is an expensive desk. You have got to think every now and again, EPA. Wasn’t it a hint that something might be amiss when the head of the drilling company handed you the results and chuckled “it’s all good, no problems here?” Now I totally understand that the availability of a domestic answer to a dependency on foreign fossil fuels was a strong influence. I know that there was a lot of pressure to get these test results in and get the drilling and collection process started.
So, let me play the part of the angry-faced teacher and just say this:
“What I need for you to do in the future, EPA, will go against your natural instincts. What I need you to do is remove your head from the region of your body that rests in a chair in when you sit, and think. I know that, as a government agency, thinking isn’t high on your strengths list. Just ask the people across the country that can now light their tap water on fire. If you don’t hold the people doing the testing accountable, you’re going to be left squarely with the blame, just like you are right now. I thought you did a great job with the Pebble Mine situation up in Alaska, but I’m not going to be here to hold your hand forever, EPA. It’s time that you took responsibility for your actions and take responsibility for the very people that you are supposed to protect.”