Inspector General called to investigate scientific fraud that wasted crucial years in slowing climate crisis while risking safety of workers, communities
NC WARN filed a complaint with EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins on June 8, 2016, charging that a high-ranking EPA official connected to the fossil fuel industry committed scientific fraud in a case with sweeping ramifications for global climate change and the safety of workers and neighbors of natural gas sites across much of the United States. We are calling for an expedited investigation due to the urgent climate and safety implications of the EPA’s failure to curb widespread methane emissions.
Leading researchers now consider the natural gas industry to be the foremost greenhouse gas problem in the US, largely due to methane emissions. The alleged fraud wasted crucial years in slowing the climate crisis while putting at risk gas workers and those living near gas facilities.
On July 20, 2016, Inspector General Elkins sent us a letter indicating that no investigation would be launched. We replied, reiterating the urgent necessity for an investigation.
The IG’s office later decided to take up the complaint again and issued their final report on March 16, 2018, to which we responded with a letter on May 8. In short, our whistleblower was right, and the cover-up continues. See links below for complete documentation.
Read our news release about the complaint, June 8th, 2016
Original complaint, June 8, 2016
Support letter to Inspector General signed by 130 organizations, June 23, 2016
Supplemental filing, June 24, 2016
Response from the Inspector General, July 20, 2016
Our reply, August 4, 2016
News release, August 4, 2016
Inspector General opens process for evaluating EPA methane emissions estimates, June 21, 2017
EPA Response to NC WARN Complaint, March 16, 2018
EPA Cover-up, Whistleblower on Methane Emissions, May 8, 2018
LA Times, 6/8/16: “Key government reports were wrong about methane leaks’ severity, environmental group alleges”
IndyWeek, 6/8/16: “Durham-Based Environmental Group: Government Reports Understate Severity of Methane Emissions Across the U.S., Globally”
Washington Post, 6/9/16: “Methane emissions are extremely harmful, and the government might not know how much there is”
Inside Climate News, 6/9/16: “Environmental Group Alleges Scientific Fraud in Disputed Methane Studies”
Common Dreams, 6/9/16: “Whistleblower: EPA Officials Covered Up Toxic Fracking Emissions for Years”
Facing South, 6/10/16: “Institute Index: Whistleblower complaint charges EPA with methane leak cover-up”
Drill or Drop, 6/11/16: “UK link to alleged under-reporting of fracking methane emissions”
Nation of Change, 6/12/16: “Whistleblower Says EPA Officials Covered Up Toxic Fracking Methane Emissions for Years”
ClimateWire, 6/13/16: “Erratic gizmo helps ignite methane controversy”
News & Observer, 6/13/16: “NC WARN alleges criminal fraud in methane studies at fracking sites”
Austin Sentinel, 6/13/16: “University of Texas professor accused of committing scientific fraud, accepting money from oil & gas industry to conceal fracking harms”
DeSmogBlog, 6/28/16: “High-Level EPA Adviser Accused of Scientific Fraud in Methane Leak Research”
Chemical & Engineering News, 7/11/16: “Pivotal study on methane leaks from U.S. oil and natural gas wells under fire”
Letter from NC WARN to EPA’s Inspector General. The whistleblower was right, and the cover-up continues. This scandal goes to the core of the vast expansion of fracked gas by Duke Energy and other utilities. SEE ALL Whistleblower Complaint to EPA POSTS
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General will investigate how the agency estimates methane emissions from the oil and gas sector after an environmental group alleged that its emission estimates and regulations are based, in part, on faulty studies. SEE ALL Whistleblower Complaint to EPA POSTS