Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

EPA Pushes Back Fracking Impact Study to 2016

Energy
EPA Pushes Back Fracking Impact Study to 2016

Mint Press News

By

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving back its timeline for release of its study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing from 2014 to 2016, the agency announced this week at the Shale Gas: Promises and Challenges conference in Cleveland, OH.

Dimock, PA, resident Julie Sautner, right, protests in front of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia before an appearance by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Jan. 13, 2012. Her sign reads “EPA: Do The Right Thing.” (File photo/AP/Jacqueline Larma)

The study, aimed at assessing the threats fracking poses to groundwater supplies and air quality, began in 2010 under the direction of Congress. The intent was to create a thorough assessment of the drilling method so states could make informed decisions on whether to ban fracking or regulate the industry.

With the study’s release still years away, some observers question whether it will mean much at all, as the industry is likely to continue its takeover. Horizontal drilling is already taking off in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Ohio, to name a few. Just this week, Illinois enacted a new law welcoming the industry into the southern portion of the state.

In June 2012, there were more than 680,000 fracking wells throughout the country, according to a Scientific American report—and there’s no sign of it slowing down. By 2018, North America’s daily supply of oil will be 3.9 million barrels higher than it was in 2012, according to the International Energy Agency.

This expansion of the industry will happen before the EPA study can provide guidance on the possibility of water contamination from the fracking process, which injects a combination of water, chemicals and silica sand deep into the earth to break up formation where oil is locked. The concern is that, once injected, those chemicals will seep into the groundwater supply.

“In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted,” Mario Salazar, a former EPA engineer, told Scientific American. “A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die.”

For some, it’s more than a concern—it’s a reality. According to EPA’s coordinator of hydraulic fracturing research, Jeanne Briskin, 1,000 chemicals have already been identified as those commonly used in the drilling process.

Without adequate understanding of what is happening and what the consequences are, particularly related to water supplies, a release date of 2016 could be too little, too late.

In the meantime, federal and state governments are attempting to put regulations in place, yet not everyone is convinced they’re doing enough to protect Americans.

Just last month, the Obama administration said it would force oil companies to disclose chemicals used in the drilling process. However, the requirement came with a loophole: The contents of the fracking fluid will be disclosed through the industry-run FracFocus.org, which doesn’t require companies to reveal chemicals that are considered “trade secrets.”

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

Lakota spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse attends a demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2015. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of his administration, a document reported by CBC on Sunday suggests.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A new study invites parents of cancer patients to answer questions about their environment. FatCamera / Getty Images

By Jennifer Sass, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan and Simon Strong

"Prevention is the cure for child/teen cancer." This is the welcoming statement on a website called 'TheReasonsWhy.Us', where families affected by childhood cancers can sign up for a landmark new study into the potential environmental causes.

Read More Show Less
Madagascar has been experiencing ongoing droughts and food insecurity since 2016. arturbo / Getty Images

Nearly 1.6 million people in the southern part of Madagascar have faced food insecurity since 2016, experiencing one drought after another, the United Nations World Food Program reported.

Read More Show Less
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst stand at the Orion spacecraft during a visit at the training unit of the Columbus space laboratory at the European Astronaut training centre of the European Space Agency ESA in Cologne, Germany on May 18, 2016. Ina Fassbender / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Monir Ghaedi

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.

Read More Show Less