Hydraulic fracturing does not inherently contaminate groundwater supplies, according to a draft Environmental Protection Agency report released Thursday, but opponents of the process found enough evidence to cite the report as proof that fracking can't be considered safe.
The 998-page draft assessment finds that, even though fracking and related activities have had “no systemic, widespread impact” on drinking water, there has been a limited number of instances in which fracking-related activities such as well integrity and wastewater disposal have been linked to drinking water impacts, including well contamination.
A draft report released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency says hydraulic fracturing has not led to “widespread, systemic” effects on drinking water, but there are some potential "vulnerabilities" stemming from poor practices.
While the study found some specific cases where the process affected drinking water, including some well contamination, “they were small compared to the large number of hydraulically fractured wells across the country.” Those cases stemmed from inadequate well integrity and poor wastewater management.
Other potential for risks include withdrawing water from low-resource areas and fracking directly into reserves containing groundwater.
The study analyzed the flow of water throughout the drilling process, from acquisition of water to chemical mixing, well injection, and wastewater collection and disposal.
The agency will finalize the study following a public comment period and a Science Advisory Board review.
Fracking ban supporters continue to look into possible legal challenges to a new state law blocking Denton, Texas from interfering with drilling, while protesters have been picketing a well site, the Denton Record-Chronicle reports.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A judge has halted the approval of fracking operations in North Carolina until a higher court weighs in on the legality of the appointment of several boards that manage state resources and the environment.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens' decision earlier this month prevents the Mining and Energy Commission from approving drilling units for hydraulic fracturing until the state Supreme Court decides a separate case regarding how the state panels are formed. No drilling units had been approved before the judge issued his order.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a prohibition on cities and towns imposing local ordinances preventing fracking and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas activities.
The much-watched measure sailed through the GOP-controlled Legislature after voters in Denton, a university town near Dallas, banned hydraulic fracturing locally in November.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas moved Monday to ban its own cities from imposing prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas drilling activities within their boundaries — a major victory for industry groups and top conservatives who have decried rampant local "overregulation."
Lawmakers in America's largest oil-producing state scrambled to limit local energy exploration prohibitions after Denton, a university town near Dallas, passed an ordinance in November against hydraulic fracturing or fracking, attempting to keep encroaching drilling bonanzas outside their community.
The U.S. Geological Survey is preparing to map the proximity of man-made earthquakes to wastewater injection wells from oil and gas drilling, and a top researcher says access to seismic and hydraulic fracturing data and the unpredictability of induced quakes will prove the agency’s biggest challenges.
USGS Research Geophysicist Justin Rubinstein, who contributed to a recent report forecasting the risks of earthshaking near regions with heightened seismicity, told EnergyGuardian that the nature of man-made quakes makes them far more difficult to project.
The Obama administration may be backing away from its insistence that future coal-burning power plants use carbon capture technology, settling instead on a requirement for ultra-supercritical technology in the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, E&E reports.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers argued that the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Rule lacks a sound scientific basis in memos made public by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, The Hill reports.
The Department of Energy has agreed to rework its proposed efficiency standards for walk-in freezers and coolers, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, which says it has reached a settlement with the DOE over the issue, The Hill reports.
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. says some other Democrats may be willing to go along with him and Sen. Angus King, I-Me., in a willingness to support legislation lifting the ban on U.S. crude exports if it also backs renewable energy such as wind and solar, E&E reports.
Despite data from the Energy Information Administration showing that U.S. crude production peaked at almost 9.7 million barrels a day in March, news of an increase in oil rig count this week piled more pressure on prices. U.S. benchmark crude slumped $1.40, or 2.9 percent, to settle at $47.12 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London, Brent dropped $1.10 to $52.26, its lowest settlement since January, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Chevron is getting nearly a third more oil and gas from its wells in the Permian Basin, and is paying less for oilfield services as well—but even so, its second quarter profits dove 90 percent on lower crude prices, FuelFix reports.
Hess has increased its production forecast for its Bakken Shale operations to up to 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, despite the company dropping the number of rigs it’s operating in the play, Platts reports.
Many witnesses testifying at the first Interior Department hearing on the future of the federal coal program—which was attended by Secretary Sally Jewell—said they wanted to see higher royalty rates to raise more money for U.S. taxpayers, High Country News reports.
Senior creditors for Alpha Natural Resources Inc. will loan money to the beleaguered Virginia-based coal company to help it get through bankruptcy, a filing for which could come as early as Monday, Bloomberg reports.
Although Thursday’s peak demand of 67,624 megawatts didn’t break the all-time record as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas had feared, it's been a huge week for demand, and the grid operator expects high usage throughout the summer, FuelFix reports.