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Environment

Advisers Disagree With EPA On Fracking

by Jessica Morrison
November 9, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 44

A scientific advisory panel tasked with reviewing EPA’s draft study on hydraulic fracturing and drinking water is at odds with the agency’s key message. When EPA released a draft report of the long-awaited study in June, the agency concluded that the controversial oil and gas drilling technique has had no “widespread, systemic impact” on water resources. Now, some on the peer review committee, which consists of scientists and engineers from academia and industry, think that phraseology needs clarification. One reviewer writes that the agency’s stance on fracking-related spills of “produced” water from wells dismisses events that can affect local water resources. Others say EPA’s report would have benefited from case studies of water quality near wells done before and after fracking. The comments from the reviewers were similar to those from environmental groups that pushed back against EPA’s initial report earlier this year. When the review panel completes its work, which could be months from now, it will issue a recommendation to EPA.

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