EPA Finds No Widespread Drinking Water Pollution From Fracking
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A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency is actually being hailed by the oil and gas industry. The EPA says hydraulic fracturing has not caused widespread pollution in drinking water. And it concludes that given how widespread fracking has become, there are relatively few documented problems when it comes to the impact on water resources. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.
JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Fracking is all about water. It takes huge amounts of it pumped underground with chemicals to force oil and gas out of dense rocks. And many worry fracking puts nearby clean water at risk. EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator Tom Burke says this report has valuable knowledge.
TOM BURKE: It is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the scientific information available on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on our drinking water resources.
BRADY: At Stanford University, environmental scientist Rob Jackson says this is a helpful compilation mostly of work that's already out there. He wishes the EPA would have done more fieldwork, especially in locations like Dimmock, Pa., where there are known problems.
ROB JACKSON: They had proposed to do studies that looked at hydraulic fracturing before, during and after. None of that work was done. I think that's a missed opportunity.
BRADY: Jackson says this report does contain surprises. He didn't know more than 1,000 wells around the country had been hydraulically fractured directly into drinking water. That's one area of vulnerability the EPA highlighted. This is just a draft report. It won't be final until other scientists and the public get a chance to review and comment on it. Jeff Brady, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.