August 11, 2016
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) released its final report assessing EPA’s recent study of potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on drinking water resources. Congress requested the study in 2009, and EPA released its draft review in June 2015.
EPA found that drilling activities had contaminated groundwater, but concluded that hydraulic fracturing hasn’t caused “widespread, systemic” problems with contaminated drinking water. The 2015 draft report was then subject to peer-review by a 30-member SAB panel of scientists and academics.
The reviewers were concerned that the EPA study made national-level conclusions about localized drilling problems. In particular, the reviewers asked for more information on drinking water contamination cases in Dimock, PA; Pavillion, WY; and Parker County, TX.
EPA officials said they “will use the SAB’s final comments and suggestions… to revise and finalize the assessment,” with new studies and public comment periods. The study should be finalized in the coming months.
Sources: Energy Wire, Environmental Protection Agency, High Country News, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News