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Long-Awaited EPA Study Finds Fracking Has Not Led to Widespread Water Contamination

Posted By Katie Brown, PhD, Energy In Depth, Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its long awaited, five-year study, which finds “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systematic impacts to drinking water resources.”

As many have noted, this is the most important study on hydraulic fracturing to come out over the past five years – a fact that EPA’s Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development pointed to in a press release,

“It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date, including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”

EPA today also released nine peer-reviewed scientific reports, which played a big role in contributing to EPA’s overall groundwater study.

EPA’s study actually builds upon a long list of studies that show the fracking process poses an exceedingly low risk of impacting underground sources of drinking water.  It corroborates a “landmark study” by the U.S. Department of Energy in which the researchers injected tracers into hydraulic fracturing fluid and found no groundwater contamination after twelve months of monitoring. It is also in line with reports by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Government Accountability Office, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Groundwater Protection Council, to name just a few.

The report contradicts the most prevalent claim from anti-fracking activists, which have made “water contamination” the very foundation of their campaign against hydraulic fracturing.  As EID reported in March, after heralding the report at its inception, anti-fracking organizations like the NRDC and InsideClimate News (ICN) later went into damage control, downplaying the forthcoming report, likely due to what it would conclude.

Hydraulic fracturing has brought cleaner air, significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, created millions of jobs, reduced energy prices, strengthened national security, and turned the American economy around.

With this new report, it couldn’t be clearer that shale development is occurring in conjunction with environmental protection — and the claims by anti-fracking activists have been thoroughly debunked.

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