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EPA Assessment Finds Hydraulic Fracturing to Cause No Impact on Drinking Water

Energy & Resources

By Jason Droske

EPA assessment finds "no evidence of hydraulic fracturing activities causing widespread, systemic impact on drinking water resources in the United States"

On Friday June 5, 2015, the EPA released its Draft Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.

What is in the EPA Report Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing?

The report serves to bolster supporters of hydraulic fracking.  The report is expected to renew calls for an end to the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York State.  A statement released by Rep. Chris Collins, R- N.Y. said, “I fully expect Governor Cuomo to reverse his previous decision to ban fracking which was based upon controversial scientific studies and made to appease far left environmentalists.  Hardworking New Yorkers deserve the job opportunities and economic growth fracking has clearly produced in other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania.”

Fracking involves pumping large volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground, which splits open rocks allowing the oil and gas to flow.  The EPA assessment tracked water used during the fracking process lifecycle - from acquiring the water, to mixing chemicals at the well site, to injecting the mixture into the wells, to collection of the wastewater or “flowback fluid,” to eventual wastewater treatment and disposal.

The agency did say that the debated drilling technique could affect drinking water if proper safeguards are not maintained.  The EPA cited specific instances where poorly constructed drilling wells and improper wastewater management affected drinking water resources.  However, the report concludes that the agency “did not find evidence” that any process has “led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water in the United States.”

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