EPA’s Study Presents an Incomplete Picture of Fracking and Drinking Water Impacts

It was already disappointing that EPA didn’t include any of its own on-the-ground science in its draft study of the risks that fracking poses to drinking water supplies.  But a closer look at the draft study, which is mainly a review of science conducted by others, shows that the agency didn’t assess risks to drinking water from the underground injection of billions of gallons of fracking wastewater.  The agency also excluded thousands of spills of fluid from its analysis that may be relevant to assessing fracking’s risks. These gaps in the draft study, and others, raise even more questions about why EPA would make its widely-quoted statement on the mechanisms involved in fracking:  “we did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”  It’s hard to find evidence that you don’t look for and even harder to find evidence that doesn’t exist, a situation that EPA found repeatedly in its draft study.  The analysis includes some valuable information including significant risks associated with fracking, but there is room for great improvement.

Read PFPI’s comments here.

Partnership for Policy Integrity