A new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology states that fracking doesn’t seem to be seriously contaminating Pennsylvania drinking water. Science Magazine points out that this manuscript contradicts other research released in 2011 & 2013 suggesting a stronger link.
The data encompassed in the Environmental Science and Technology research was from 11,309 drinking water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania. Researchers concluded that methane levels in the water are unrelated to the location of hundreds of oil and gas wells that tap hydraulically fractured, or fracked, rock formations. What is interesting to note is that New York’s ban on fracking was justified using two similar studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in which the two manuscripts showed a strong correlation between the drilling method and increased methane in drinking water.
But Donald Siegel Donald Siegel of hydrogeologist at Syracuse University in New York and who participated in the Environmental Science and Technology research piece states the fears surrounding fracking are overblown. He said his research found plenty of methane but it was natural amounts that are found in well water. He doesn’t deny there haven’t been problems but the transmission of methane gas via artificial wells created by fracking is very rare. He also says that the PNAS study took samples that were not only too small but skewed to locations where water wells were known to have problems.
Fortunately, this study has come out at a time when environmentalists seek to restrict if not outright ban fracking. Hopefully, it can be used as a means of refuting the studies done correlating fracking with polluting ground water. Unfortunately, it takes longer for the truth to get out and environmentalists have made the politicization of science into an art form. The Obama administration has recently released new rules on fracking which is a form of drilling used to extract natural gas since the mid 1940’s. The Keystone Pipeline and the EPA’s plan to cut carbon emissions despite the millions of jobs lost and people thrown out of work resulting from the agency’s decrees.