Hydraulic Fracturing/Fracking

Environmental Protection Agency

Fracking backers, foes find validation in EPA drinking water report

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.


EPA: No 'systemic impacts' to groundwater from fracking, but some 'vulnerabilities'

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 restarts in Denton, activists arrested


Drilling resumed in Denton Monday under a new Texas law that blocks local fracking bans, despite protests that saw three activists arrested, FuelFix reports.

Fracking protests picking up in Denton

Denton Record-Chronicle

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.

Pennsylvania aiming for quieter fracking wells

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is proposing new standards requiring drillers take steps to cut well pad noise, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Judge temporarily halts fracking approvals in North Carolina

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.

New Texas law bans cities from banning fracking, drilling

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.

NY releases fracking environmental review

Times Union

In a significant step on the way to making its ban on hydraulic fracturing legally binding, New York has released its 2,040 page environmental review of the drilling practice, the Times Union reports.

Texas Legislature acts to stop cities from limiting drilling

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.

USGS Graphic.

Newsmaker: Geologist says unpredictability, data complicate study of fracking-linked quakes

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.


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