After five years of study, the EPA still has no evidence hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater.
EPA officials said in a Tuesday press conference that data gaps and uncertainties mean the agency can’t prove its previous assertion that there was zero evidence of national drinking water being contaminated. The agency acknowledged that it has no evidence of water actually being contaminated across the country by fracking.
EPA also said in the press call it worked with environmental groups to create the study.
“EPA’s report blows apart the anti-fracking campaign’s most common claim, namely that hydraulic fracturing is polluting groundwater all across America,” Dr. Katie Brown, a researcher at the pro-industry group Energy In Depth, said in a statement. “This study took five years to complete, and the EPA found nothing to suggest that fracking is a serious risk to groundwater.”
EPA’s new study removed a previous conclusion that the agency “did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”
The agency’s draft version of the five-year study published in June 2015 contained that conclusion, which the agency says was stripped from the final version of the report due to lack of empirical data to support it.
Even studies supported by environmentalists have found no effect on water quality from fracking.
A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati published in February found fracking couldn’t contaminate groundwater, even though it was paid for by environmentalists.
“Our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Amy Townsend-Small, the Cincinnati study’s lead researcher, told Newsweek in April. “We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.”
Environmentalists responded to these studies, saying, “millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates groundwater and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.”
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