Rendell Downplays Role in Range Contamination Case
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell says gas driller Range Resources never authorized him to speak on their behalf to the EPA about a Texas contamination case. On Tuesday, EnergyWire published a piece quoting email exchanges between EPA officials that would suggest Rendell went to bat for Range over a high-profile methane migration case in Parker County, Texas.
Rendell tells StateImpact that he did speak to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about the case, but downplayed his role.
“I visited EPA in 2011 to discuss a number of issues with Administrator Lisa Jackson and her staff,” wrote Rendell in an email. “I was made aware of the EPA’s enforcement action against Range Resources prior to my meeting and suggested to EPA staff that a settlement could lead to increased cooperation between EPA regulators and the industry. I was not authorized by Range Resources to make a settlement proposal, nor did I offer one.”
The EPA had just begun a study into the impacts of fracking on drinking water supplies, and needed industry cooperation. Rendell intervened on behalf of Range at a time when he publicly chastised industry representatives for ignoring environmentalists’ concerns.
The Texas-based Range Resources drilled the first Marcellus Shale well in Pennsylvania and with almost 900 currently drilled wells, it’s one of the most active drillers in the state.