EPA: Fracking Has No 'Widespread' Impact on Drinking Water
But environmentalists says the report raises plenty of red flags, too
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2015 12:37 PM CDT
In this 2012 photo, a crew works on a gas drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
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(Newser) – The EPA issued a major report today about whether fracking poses a risk to drinking water, and the main conclusion "hands a victory to the oil and gas industry," writes Politico. That's because the five-year study found no evidence that the practice has a "widespread, systemic impact on drinking water," reports the Wall Street Journal. The report, however, spells out "potential vulnerabilities" to water supplies caused by fracking, the result being that both sides are claiming victory. An industry exec, for example, says the report confirms that "hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices."

But the executive director of the Sierra Club has an opposing take: “The EPA's water quality study confirms what millions of Americans already know—that dirty oil and gas fracking contaminates drinking water," says Michael Brune. A blog post at Earthworks, meanwhile, calls the EPA's acknowledgement of risks a "watershed moment." In particular, the EPA says drinking water is endangered "when the fracking goes directly into formations that hold drinking water resources, wells are not adequately constructed, or wastewater is not treated appropriately before being discharged into areas where drinking water is drawn," reports the Hill. The EPA says its study will give governments, the industry, and local communities "a critical resource to identify how best to protect public health and their drinking water resources."
 

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