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 Environmental Protection Agency has told a federal appeals court that it has reversed its approval for Dow Chemical’s Enlist Duo while it reviews information from the company that the pesticide may be more toxic to plants than previously thought, The Hill reports.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked a deposition scheduled for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in a lawsuit brought by coal company Murray Energy challenging EPA’s regulatory agenda, The Hill reports.
A Senate vote on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change back in 1992 may hold the key to Obama administration hopes for getting any Paris climate deal to hold up in the face of GOP opposition, National Journal reports.
Nine major corporations -- including Proctor & Gamble, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola -- have pledged up to $10 million apiece to the Closed Loop Fund, which provides low- or no-interest loans to cities and companies seeking to improve recycling infrastructure, The New York Times reports.
Oil prices were rising early Monday despite continuing concerns about oversupply and little expectation that OPEC members would be willing to change their production policy. U.S. benchmark crude jumped 32 cents to $42.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent gained 48 cents to $45.34, Reuters reports.
States, Native American tribes, the Treasury and conservation funds will see a cut this year in the royalty payments they receive from drilling on federal lands, with only $9.8 billion being disbursed, a decline of $3.5 billion compared to 2014, FuelFix reports.
Most of the electricity generated by rooftop solar panels isn’t counted toward renewable energy targets set in California’s new energy law signed by the governor in October, an omission that has financial consequences for panel owners and utility customers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In a move already approved by a bankruptcy court, Energy Future Holdings Corp. subsidiary Luminant is purchasing two natural gas-fired plants from NextEra Energy’s La Frontera Ventures unit for $1.59 billion, FuelFix reports.
Global leaders have waited so long to agree on action to cut greenhouse gas emissions that moves to limit the world’s temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius may no longer be feasible, The Washington Post reports, citing scientists.
Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates told the Wall Street Journal that more than two dozen private investors are joining to put up more than $1 billion for an initiative intended to boost businesses looking to commercialize concepts generated by energy research, even as 20 governments have pledged to double their research support.