The EPA Just Released A Long-Awaited Study On Whether Fracking Causes Water Pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft assessment of its long-awaited study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — on drinking water resources in the United States. The report found that although fracking has, to date, been carried out in a way that has not led to widespread and systematic impacts on the country’s drinking water, the process creates several key vulnerabilities that could potentially undermine the health of drinking water in the United States.

“From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources,” the report’s executive summary reads. “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

In a statement to the press, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development Thomas Burke called the study “the most complete compilation of scientific data to date,” noting that over 950 sources of information from published papers, technical reports, and data from various interest groups were included in the assessment.

Industry groups were quick to tout the report as proof of fracking’s safety, while environmental groups claimed that the report was hampered by a lack of available information and watered-down by oil and gas interests.

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