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EPA Inspector General Continues Review of Fracking Rules Over Objections from Senate

The Inspector General (IG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Arthur Elkins, has vowed to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of state and federal regulations of hydraulic fracturing. The IG recently responded by letter to early October correspondence from Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who claimed that the IG does not have the proper authority to review federal and state hydraulic fracturing regulations.  In February 2014, the IG announced its preliminary review of EPA and the states’ existing regulations concerning the management and responsiveness of potential threats to water resources, with the purpose of identifying preventive and response measures and improving coordination among relevant agencies.  In May 2014, five Republican Senators, including Inhofe, sent a letter to the IG questioning his authority for such a review, stating that the mission of the EPA Inspector General is to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse within the EPA, and not “to investigate either the states themselves or the efficacy of their regulatory programs.”