"EPA: Chemicals Found in Wyo. Drinking Water Might Be From Fracking"

"Federal environment officials investigating drinking water contamination near the ranching town of Pavillion, Wyo., have found that at least three water wells contain a chemical used in the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing. Scientists also found traces of other contaminants, including oil, gas or metals, in 11 of 39 wells tested there since March.

The study, which is being conducted under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, is the first time the EPA has undertaken its own water analysis in response to complaints of contamination in drilling areas, and it could be pivotal in the national debate over the role of natural gas in America’s energy policy.

Abundant gas reserves are being aggressively developed in 31 states, including New York and Pennsylvania. Congress is mulling a bill that aims to protect those water resources from hydraulic fracturing, the process in which fluids and sand are injected under high pressure to break up rock and release gas. But the industry says environmental regulation is unnecessary because it is impossible for fracturing fluids to reach underground water supplies and no such case has ever been proven."

Abrahm Lustgarten reports for ProPublica August 25, 2009.

Thursday, August 27, 2009