News Feature | April 8, 2014

EPA Called To Investigate Link Between Fracking And Pollution

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

CSGReg

The EPA is studying how fracking may harm drinking water, but House Democrats are calling on the agency to take stronger steps to crack down on this industry.

According to the agency, the EPA is conducting a study at the request of Congress, considering such broad questions as: "What are the possible impacts of large volume water withdrawals from ground and surface waters on drinking water resources?"

Later this year, the agency says it will release a draft of its study, which will go up for public comment. The EPA recently held a series of technical roundtables on the issue, and released a text document and a PowerPoint summarizing those talks.

Concerns raised by water utilities were among the discussion topics at the talks. Water utilities want to know where fracking wastewater will eventually go, according to participants quoted in the EPA document. "Where will the wastes go and how will they impact water systems?" the summary document said. 

Some Democratic members of Congress want the EPA to do more about fracking, and they want the agency to act swiftly.

In a letter sent April 1 to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy with signatures of eight House Democrats, lawmakers pushed the agency "to investigate potential links between pollution and fracking in three states where groundwater has been mysteriously poisoned," according to Grist

"We are writing to urge you to take any and all steps within your power to help" communities where fracking may contaminate groundwater, the letter said. Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright published the letter on his website. 

Oil and gas companies contend that strict fracking regulations could endanger the energy supply and hurt the economy. 

The Obama administration’s effort to curb global warming is "an attack on the fracking industry, and could have profound consequences on America’s energy security," according to Steve Elwart, a conservative commentator, in WND.

For more oil and gas news, check out Water Online's Produced Water Solution Center

Image credit: "CSG site, near Casino, NSW, May 2011," © 2011 lockthegate, used under an Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

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