EPA Plans Life Cycle Study of Hydraulic Fracturing

by Nicole Good on February 11, 2011

EPA officials announced a draft plan on Tuesday, February 8 to study hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas drilling from a “life cycle” approach, following the water from acquisition to the post-fracturing stage, including flow-back and disposal.

Requested by Congressional Democrats, this call for science is a reaction to hydraulic fracturing’s exemption from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Congressional Republicans and industry have opposed the plan,  insisting that the process poses no threat to drinking water.

The results from this study would be very valuable to have today, as West Virginia Senators and Delegates debate whether there is comprehensive science demonstrating the need for strict protections of the state’s ground water and streams.  However,  the study won’t be completed until next year, with a follow-up in 2014.  The draft plan suggests that other risks, such as air quality, occupational risks, and ecosystem effects also be comprehensively examined in the future.  Click here to download a copy of the plan…

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