On December 14, 2012, The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an update to its Study on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. The study, and subsequent outreach program, is described as one of the most aggressive programs in EPA history. The report seeks to bring a better understanding to the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, but has critics concerned over the lack of conclusions drawn within the report surrounding the effects and frequency of contamination on water resources.
The Study has been gaining praise through environmental and industrial groups, but is not due to be released in its finality until 2014. The EPA has already confirmed that it will not address the frequency of drinking water contamination in its final report. Earthworks, an environmental group has stated that “In [the EPA’s] inability to find a single company willing to test water quality before and after drilling and fracking, the EPA is being thwarted in perhaps the most important part of its study of fracking’s impacts.” Although Earthworks and many others are concerned at the lack of research into the frequency of drinking water contamination, most groups regard the progress report as a positive step towards the continued research of fracking.
As the study progresses, our understanding of fracking, and its effects on our water resources, will become clearer. Although the EPA is not researching the frequency of contamination, further understanding into the process of fracking and its residual effects is a positive step towards proper and safe use of the technique. The EPA is projecting further public releases of information related to the fracking study throughout the upcoming months.