EPA Chief Says Fracking Not Proven to Harm Water

posted by Jake Richardson May 27, 2011 2:03 pm

A recent article on the news site, The Oklahoman, reported that EPA Chief Lisa Jackson said she did not know of any proven case where hydraulic fracking had affected drinking water. She must have missed the news two weeks ago that a research study conducted by Duke University scientists found methane contamination of drinking water wells in areas where shale drilling is taking place. The peer-reviewed study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They tested water from 68 drinking water wells in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York state. The researchers said, “Our results show evidence for methane contamination of shallow drinking water systems in at least three areas of the region and suggest important environmental risks accompanying shale gas exploration worldwide.” (Source: Huffington Post)

Congressman Maurice Hinchey, D-NY said, “This study provides eye-opening scientific evidence about methane contamination and the risks that irresponsible natural gas drilling poses for drinking water supplies.” (Source: Huffington Post)

Potentially as bad, or even worse, were the results of a Congressional investigation that revealed 32 million gallons of diesel fuel or hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel had been injected into wells in 19 states from 2005 to 2009. Diesel fuel contains toxins such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. Benzene is known to cause cancer.

A news article from the San Antonio Express-News stated that water has been affected by the fracking process, “Surface spills of the fracking fluids have killed livestock and fouled waterways.” Also, a US energy company is facing a lawsuit for allegedly turning a drinking water well into a gas well due to their fracking, “The water well next door to their house began to spew methane. So much  so that they ended up putting a flare in the person’s backyard,” said the lead lawyer on the case. (Source: CBC.ca)

Fracking fluids are used during the process of drilling and extracting natural gas. They are exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act due to the Halliburton loophole. Some of the chemicals used in fracking could be cancer-causing.

Lisa Jackson is an Obama appointee, along with Ken Salazaar, who has disappointed many environmentalists and progressives. You have to wonder if the Chief of the EPA actually is that unaware of such an important research study and how it relates to the fracking controversy, or if she simply was dodging the issue of how dangerous fracking can be, due to the pressure of the oil and gas industry and the current administration. The EPA is currently conducting its own study of fracking, with a report due sometime in 2012.


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