US EPA says fracking can impact drinking water resources

The US The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has changed the tone on the possible effects of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) on drinking water resources by saying Tuesday it doesn't have enough information to make a broad conclusion on the matter.

EPA said such statement, however, cannot become a “national, systemic conclusion” about the impacts of the oil and gas extraction method.

On its long-awaited report on the safety of fracking, the EPA says the technique can, in fact, have an impact on drinking water under certain circumstances, but noted it can not say the same when it comes to a “national, systemic conclusion” about the impacts of such oil and gas extraction method.

“That’s a different question that this study does not have adequate evidence to really make a conclusive, quantified statement,” the report says.

In the draft version of this study, published last year, the EPA had established there was simply no evidence of fracking leading to “widespread, systematic” pollution of drinking water, a conclusion the agency decided to delete from the report’s final version.

Fracking remains controversial in some communities as the technique involves shooting millions of gallons of water, laced with chemicals, into dense rock formations to create fractures and allow oil and natural gas to flow out.

“EPA’s report blows apart the anti-fracking campaign’s most common claim, namely that hydraulic fracturing is polluting groundwater all across America,” said Dr. Katie Brown, a researcher at the pro-industry group Energy In Depth, according to The Daily Caller. “This study took five years to complete, and the EPA found nothing to suggest that fracking is a serious risk to groundwater.”

The agency's 1,200-page report was mandated by the US Congress and was five years in the making. EPA says it's the most complete compilation to date of national scientific data on the relationship of drinking water resources and hydraulic fracturing.