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ENFORCEMENT:

Range proposed cooperation on EPA fracking study

Range Resources Corp. proposed cooperation with U.S. EPA's national hydraulic fracturing study last year as it negotiated a settlement of drilling pollution charges in Texas, according to emails between attorneys for the company and the agency. EPA dropped the case less than two months later, after the agency's top enforcement officials repeatedly conferred about "Range access conditions." Four days after the withdrawal, Range CEO Jeff Ventura publicly committed to cooperate with the study, although the company and the agency are still negotiating liability details.

FOIA Documents

After EPA officials withdrew their emergency order against Range Resources Corp. in Parker County, Texas, last year, E&E filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act to EPA Region 6 in Dallas and EPA Headquarters for records related to the case in order to look at how the case was handled.

Read&nbspFOIA Responses from EPA and Region 6

About this report

In December 2010, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz accused Range Resources Corp. of contaminating the water wells of two homes in Parker County, Texas, with its drilling operations. Less than a year and a half later, EPA officials in Washington sounded a full retreat and dropped the case. What happened in between has never been fully explained. But emails unearthed by E&E show behind-the-scenes lobbying, posturing by state officials and agency intrigue at the EPA.

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