The Environmental Protection Agency was caught off guard by the rise in oil and natural gas drilling in recent years and has limited information about the amount of pollutants entering the air, the agency’s internal inspectors say.
The EPA’s inspector general said in a report this week that the dearth of air emissions data is leading to assumptions about pollution that are “of questionable quality.” States rely on these assumptions when issuing permits or accusing someone of breaking a rule or law.
“The agency did not anticipate the tremendous growth of the sector and previously only allocated limited resources to the issue,” the report said.
The EPA agreed it needs to improve its data. An EPA spokeswoman said the agency “is working with states, industry and other key stakeholders to help ensure that, as we continue to expand production of this important domestic resource, it is done safely and responsibly.”