Duke University professors, in a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists, claim that many of the risks environmentalists blame on fracking are untrue.
The study looked at 133 wells in Texas and Pennsylvania, News & Observer reports. Interestingly, the publishers have previously been accused of anti-fracking bias.
One of the major concerns of the locals surrounding these wells has been the possibility of toxic chemicals leaking into the water supply. The study blames the leaks on the well shafts on the surface, not the actual process of fracking. That process involves injecting a pressurized liquid into the wellbore to fracture rock and gain better access to natural gas and oil. (RELATED: The War On Fracking Is Over — And The Greens Lost)
Avner Vengosh, Duke Professor of geochemistry and water quality and one of the publishers stated, “We’re saying to the industry, the good news is we don’t think it’s actually from the hydraulic fracturing itself.”
“So far we can say pretty categorically that we have not seen escape of the gas from the shale formation into the overlying aquifers,” Vengosh said.
Thomas Darrah, another one of the researchers, summed up the findings, “The worst-case environmental scenario appears to be off the table, based on these studies. In reality, we focused on the areas that had the worst contamination.”
The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission is using the findings to continue to push for more strict construction standards for well shafts. It has supported fracking in the past, claiming that it is impossible for the mixture used in fracking to flow up through miles of rock to the surface. (RELATED: White House Doesn’t Mention Fracking Lowering CO2 Emissions)