EPA study: fracking doesn’t contaminate ground water.

Illustration shows the concept but distorts the proportion. Water is usually 500 or 1500 feet down. Drilling is usually 10,000 or more feet underground. That leaves somewhere around 8,000 or 10,000 feet of solid rock separation. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Illustration shows the fracking concept but severely distorts the proportions. Water is usually 500 or 1500 feet down. Drilling is usually 10,000 or more feet underground. That leaves somewhere around 9,000 feet or more of solid rock separation. Distance between oil and water is about 9 times the distance between the water and the surface. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The EPA spent millions of dollars and five years looking for some evidence that fracking causes contamination of ground water. They only found isolated indications of contamination, nothing widespread, and nothing systematic. Yet their report suggests otherwise.

12/13 – The Daily Caller News Foundation – EPA Says There’s No Evidence Fracking Contaminates Groundwater – The EPA spent five years, working with environmental groups, trying to find evidence that fracking causes contamination of groundwater. Even with five years of effort they could not find any evidence or indication of serious risk, only a few isolated incidents.

In spite of that, EPA withdrew a comment from the previous report that there’s no evidence that fracking causes contamination. The reason they withdrew their comment in spite of not been able to find any evidence? They can’t prove the negative that it doesn’t cause contamination.

So let’s see if I get this straight – they can’t find any evidence, in spite of having looked for five years, that fracking causes groundwater contamination, so they withdrew their conclusion that fracking doesn’t cause groundwater contamination.

12/18 – Wall Street Journal – The EPA’s Science Deniers – Editorial explains the double-think that drives the EPA report. The draft report said fracking hasn’t

…led to widespread, systemic impact on drinking water resources in the United States.

Without any change in any data, the final report now provides the hypothetical possibility that fracking

…can impact drinking water resources under some circumstances

And depending on the specific circumstances

…impacts can range in frequency and severity

To illustrate the potential for impact, the editorial cites a monitoring well that the EPA drilled, the EPA, that caused contamination. So, yeah, I suppose the report might be partially right – that the EPA actually contaminated water shows it is possible to contaminate water.

While looking for evidence that fracking causes contamination, the EPA could only find a few examples amongst what the editorial says is a million wells across the country.

The study does acknowledge that subsurface geology is complex, like the naturally occurring methane that has been known to be leaking into water in Susquehanna county in Pennsylvania for over 200 years. Yeah, that contamination must have been caused by fracking 200 years later.

Previously discussed the draft report on June 5 of last year: Fracking doesn’t contaminate groundwater. Back then I quoted a senior researcher at EPA who said:

“Hydraulic fracturing activities in the U.S. are carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systematic impact on drinking water resources … In fact, the number of documented impacts to drinking water is relatively low when compared to the number of fractured wells.”

Even though the research supports the above statement and the draft report, the science has apparently been denied by the EPA in order to conclude that maybe, possibly, there might be some sort of link somehow, somewhere between fracking and ground water contamination. Other than at their own drill sites, the EPA can’t prove it but that apparently didn’t stop them from changing the headline conclusion.

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