The tightly-regulated, 60 year-old energy stimulation technology call hydraulic fracturing – which has been used safely more than 1.1 million times throughout the United States – has never in its history been found to adversely impact sources of underground drinking water. Independent scientific experts and state regulators from energy-producing confirm this fact, over and over again. A national organization of state groundwater water regulators has, as well. This year, the EPA told Congress that hydraulic fracturing has never resulted in a single case of groundwater contamination.
And in Pennsylvania, where the responsible development of the Marcellus Shale’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas reserves – enabled by fracture stimulation technologies coupled with horizontal drilling – are helping to put tens of thousands to work, top environmental regulators also continue to ensure that these critical facts are known.
Here’s a quick and recent snapshot of what PA DEP is saying about hydraulic fracturing’s long and clear record of environmental safety:
“Jennifer Means, a representative from the state DEP’s Eastern Oil and Gas Region Office in Williamsport, later substantiated Mr. Chacon’s statements. ‘So far it has not been our experience that the fracking process has caused any water-supply issues,’ Ms. Means said.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, 10/20/10)
“Thus far, the DEP says they’ve found not one instance of underground contamination of well water from fracking. ‘We haven’t had frack fluid come back from thousands of feet down and get into people’s drinking water supply,’ [DEP secretary John] Hanger said.” (KDKA-TV, 10/16/10)
“‘It’s our experience in Pennsylvania that we have not had one case in which the fluids used to break off the gas from 5,000 to 8,000 feet (1,500-2,400 m) underground have returned to contaminate ground water,’ said John Hanger, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).” (Reuters, 10/1/10)
FRAC Act supporters claim that fracturing is unregulated and unsafe, and therefore Congress must fundamentally rewrite federal law to give EPA outright authority to oversee this process. Inherently, though, energy-producing states are best situated to regulate this technology, and the 60 year track record of environmental safety underscores that fact. Put simply, the FRAC Act is yet another Washington ‘solution’ in search of a problem.