Statement of Bruce Baizel, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project Director, on EPA’s Progress Report on its study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.
December 21, 2012
CORRECTION: An important part of this statement is incorrect. One fracking company, Chesapeake Energy, has volunteered to take part in a prospective (before drilling/fracking and after) case study with EPA.
"Earthworks welcomes today’s progress report on EPA’s study of hydraulic fracturing’s impacts on drinking water.
It represents a step towards EPA’s first real scientific inquiry into the safety of fracking – a step nearly ten years in the making. EPA’s 2004 study of the subject cannot be called science, as it was publicly revealed to be partially written by the very industry it studied.
To date, the only actual science on the subject – including EPA’s own investigations at Pavillion, WY and Duke University’s groundwater studies – suggests impacts and risks.
Most significant about the progress report is the lack of progress it reports. In its inability to find a single company willing to test water quality before and after drilling and fracking, the EPA is being thwarted in perhaps the most important part of its study of fracking’s impacts.
We are not surprised, however. Oil and gas companies’ unwillingness to cooperate continues a pattern of obstruction of actual science on the impacts of drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Oil and gas developers and their advocates are quick to claim that fracking is safe, but they are unwilling to put their money where their mouth is. Until they do, the industry has no credibility in the debate about the science and safety of fracking.
We look forward to EPA’s continued work on a scientific assessment of fracking during the coming year."