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Fracking: Pollution finding could hurt gas drilling

Fracking – a modern method to extract oil and gas – may be contaminating drinking supplies in Wyoming. But EPA report on the impact of fracking is not conclusive. 

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Environmentalists have questioned both contentions.

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Amy Mall, a fracking expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the report "underscores the urgent need to get federal rules and safeguards on the books to help protect all Americans from the dangers of fracking."


Republicans in Congress have been urging the Obama administration to back off federal regulation of fracking because the industry is creating jobs and securing the country's energy future.

Senator Jim Inhofe, the ranking member on the Senate environment committee, who spoke with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday, said "EPA's conclusions are not based on sound science but rather on political science."

He called the findings "premature" since the report has not been subject to peer-review.

Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners, agreed that the EPA's report was not yet conclusive.

"The EPA has made the circumstantial case that fracking led to the pollution, but they stopped short of stating that definitely," Book said.

A leading Democrat countered that. "EPA's findings make clear the concerns around drinking water contamination by natural gas production are not unfounded," said Edward Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.

The EPA said it issued the draft report precisely to seek peer review of the research. The agency opened it up to a 45-day public comment period and a 30-day peer review.