Thursday, March 18, 2010

EPA to study impacts of 'fracking' for gas

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will study "the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on human health and the environment," raising to a new level the stakes involved in a drilling technique that is producing natural gas from deep shales.

"Fracking" with water, chemicals and abrasives under pressure is an old technique newly applied, usually through horizontal drilling that follows vertical drilling. It has started a major gas play in the Marcellus Shale (left) in the Eastern U.S., and the proximity to major metropolitan areas and their water supplies has raised concern.

"The new study is being praised by environmentalists who criticized a 2004 EPA probe whose results were skewed, they say, by data collected selectively from sources with a vested interest in the oil and gas industry," Katie Howell reports for Greenwire. "Industry also welcomed the new study, saying it would prove claims that fracturing technology is safe." (Read more; subscription may be required)

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