EPA says fracking causes groundwater pollution

Dec 8 2011 - 3:23pm

Images

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2009 photo, Louis Meeks holds a jar filled with water from a contaminated well on his property near in Pavillion, Wyo. The ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is asking the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more information about an EPA investigation into groundwater contamination in a Wyoming gas field. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a letter Tuesday to explain a recent comment she made about the contamination in the Pavillion area in central Wyoming. Jackson told a Bloomberg news program last month that a petroleum industry practice called hydraulic fracturing could have affected nearby areas containing groundwater. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Kerry Huller,)
In this 2007 file photo, natural gas wellheads and other production facilities are shown around the rural community of Pavillion, Wyo. The ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is asking the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more information about an EPA investigation into groundwater contamination in a Wyoming gas field. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a letter Tuesday to explain a recent comment she made about the contamination in the Pavillion area in central Wyoming. Jackson told a Bloomberg news program last month that a petroleum industry practice called hydraulic fracturing could have affected nearby areas containing groundwater. (AP Photo/ Casper Star-Tribune, Dustin Bleizeffer)
FILE- In this photograph taken April 15, 2009, an unidentified worker steps through the maze of hoses being used at a remote fracking site being run by Halliburton for natural-gas producer Williams in Rulison, Colo. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday Dec. 8, 2011 in Wyoming, for the first time that fracking - a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells - may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2009 photo, Louis Meeks holds a jar filled with water from a contaminated well on his property near in Pavillion, Wyo. The ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is asking the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more information about an EPA investigation into groundwater contamination in a Wyoming gas field. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a letter Tuesday to explain a recent comment she made about the contamination in the Pavillion area in central Wyoming. Jackson told a Bloomberg news program last month that a petroleum industry practice called hydraulic fracturing could have affected nearby areas containing groundwater. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Kerry Huller,)
In this 2007 file photo, natural gas wellheads and other production facilities are shown around the rural community of Pavillion, Wyo. The ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is asking the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more information about an EPA investigation into groundwater contamination in a Wyoming gas field. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a letter Tuesday to explain a recent comment she made about the contamination in the Pavillion area in central Wyoming. Jackson told a Bloomberg news program last month that a petroleum industry practice called hydraulic fracturing could have affected nearby areas containing groundwater. (AP Photo/ Casper Star-Tribune, Dustin Bleizeffer)
FILE- In this photograph taken April 15, 2009, an unidentified worker steps through the maze of hoses being used at a remote fracking site being run by Halliburton for natural-gas producer Williams in Rulison, Colo. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday Dec. 8, 2011 in Wyoming, for the first time that fracking - a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells - may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time has implicated fracking -- a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells -- for causing groundwater pollution.

The finding could have a chilling effect in states trying to determine how to regulate the controversial process.

The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas.

The EPA announced Thursday that it found compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals in the groundwater beneath a Wyoming community where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.

Health officials advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found hydrocarbons in their wells.

The EPA announcement has major implications for a vast increase in gas drilling in the U.S. in recent years. Fracking has played a large role in opening up many reserves.

The industry has long contended that fracking is safe, but environmentalists and some residents who live near drilling sites say it has poisoned groundwater.

 

From Around the Web

  +